The Burkini ban

I find it quite extraordinary that French police are demanding women remove clothing when lying on the beach. Have they gone completely mad? It seems like half the world wants women to cover their flesh and the other half wants them to expose it. Can we just let women wear whatever they want?

As an Australian I always used to wear a long-sleeved vest on the beach at home because of the skin cancer risk. That and a full-brimmed hat to cover my face. Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world. These muslim women, although their reasons are different, are at least protecting themselves from the sun and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I realise the French are feeling fragile after the recent attacks and there’s some anti-religion sentiment as a result. I’m not religious and don’t particularly like religions of any flavour but I don’t think banning someone from expressing their religious and cultural beliefs will have the impact they want. When you want a child not to do something the worst thing you can do is tell them not to do it. That’s a sure invitation for them to do exactly that. A better alternative is to encourage critical thinking and then let people make their own decisions, provided those decisions are not hurting anyone else, which in this case, they are clearly not.

18 responses to “The Burkini ban”

  1. You chose more kind words than I could have when the French betray freedom and European values. They are behaving in the same way as the behavior they claim to find unacceptable when it is done by Muslims.

  2. A friend in Sydney posted how the Cancer Society now are selling hats that look very similar to a Burkin! So it seems a bit stupid to ask these ladies to remove their, so disrespectful to them.

  3. I thought this went beyond religion. It seems more like the issue (again) is controlling what women can and can’t do with their bodies, which both Euro-American and Islamic fundamentalist cultures are guilty of.

    • It is very controlling and yes, they’re doing exactly what they accuse the fundamentalists of doing. Far better would be to set an example of tolerance and freedom of expression.

  4. It’s persecution. As for their blaming it on religion, I’d like to see them try it on a nun and see where that would get them.

  5. i am late to this thread, but I wanted to add my supprt for your thoughts. Some French mayors are saying it is a “provocation” to wear a Burkini, but that says more about the observer than the intentions of the observed. I remember a video of a black kid on the tube and it seemed to show him stealing a wallet that had been dropped … scroll on and guess what, it showed him seeking out the owner and returning the wallet. It illustrates how we colour our perceptions of what we see (and we ALL add colour, because we ALL have cultural bias, however much we say we do not). That is not to say that some people provocate, some people steal, but to ratially or culturally profile a whole people based on the few is really awful, and far away from the moral high ground. The mayors are the ones who are agent provocateurs, not the ladies who maybe have little choice but also like to tip their toes in the sand. Why not let them?

    • Yes, I agree that we all have our biases and cultural perceptions which is why it’s good in these situations to turn the situation around and pretend it’s a nun or someone else sitting there being asked to remove clothing. This makes it pretty obvious that what they’re doing is a violation of our fundamental right to freedom of expression.

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