There is so much wrong with France’s Burkini Ban

I guess to most of us it wouldn’t seem unusual to see a women undressing at the side of the beach.

In fact, I’ve probably been that girl myself a few times.

One of the supposed freedoms of living in the twenty-first ‘Western’ society is that I, and women in general, are able to make decisions on what we wear, where we go, and what we do without fear of penalty.

You can imagine my outrage last month when I heard the news that a Muslim woman on the coast of France was fined by armed police for being too modest and forced to remove excess layers of clothing.


What is all this Burkini Ban stuff about?

In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in major French towns, have decided to ban the covering of women in a piece of swimwear named the burkini by Australian creator and manufacturer Aheda Zanetti.

A Nice tribunal ruled on Monday that the ban in Villeneuve-Loubet was “necessary, appropriate and proportionate” to prevent public disorder after a succession of jihadi attacks in France.

The burkini was “liable to offend the religious convictions or (religious) non-convictions of other users of the beach,” and “be felt as a defiance or a provocation exacerbating tensions felt by” the community, it added.

Aheda was quoted saying to The Guardian online that she created the burkini to ‘give women freedom, not take it away’, and this is what I believe French officials have failed to understand.

Human Rights; are they under attack?

Honestly, when I saw this in the news my blood boiled.Basic human rights are increasing under threat for minorities, women, and minority women in an age where men can simply disagree with what you wear and decide that you must undress.

To me, there isn’t much between a burkini and a scuba-diving suit except for the purpose behind wearing one. Being over-dressed should never be a crime. And for me, the irony of this recent ban is that the same women they are attempting to ‘help’ are the same ones they are denying the freedom of enjoying the open waters on their own terms.

Patriarchal freedom?

Many French feminists are nowhere to be seen with this issue. Modern day feminism risks creating universal laws for which women must apply to or be in need of emancipation. Freedom comes in a thousand different shapes, colours and swimwear options. Let’s not decide whether these women have subscribed to a patriarchal freedom for them. Let’s hear what they have to say for themselves. Because to me, they look pretty damn happy.

Women in burkinis on Cronulla Beach, Sydney, Australia

Photograph: Aheda Zanetti
Stay informed,

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