If France’s recent burkini ban sounds like the biggest steaming heap of sexist malarkey you’ve heard in a long time, you’re not alone.
When some 15 towns in the southern, coastal region of the country enacted temporary laws prohibiting women from wearing burkinis — full-body swimsuits worn by many Muslim women — at the beach, the ban was met with criticism from world leaders and celebrities alike. Policing women’s fashion isn’t anything new — governments and institutions have been doing it for decades — but it’s nauseatingly ironic that this new law is punishing a woman for covering up her body, not exposing it, which is usually the case.
Of course, Twitter has had a field day with the news — blasting the ban for being not only sexist, but Islamophobic as well. One user, a designer by the name of Amy, just posted a cartoon that accurately sums up the complete absurdity of what the government of France is trying to do to its women.
— Amy Clancy (@AmyClancyUK) August 24, 2016
It’s perfectly acceptable for women to wear bikinis, speedos, or (in some cases) nothing at all on the sands of France, but for some reason, fully covering up one’s body now puts up a red flag. Because, of course, every Muslim woman wanting to enjoy a facet of Western culture with her friends and family is also planning some kind of terrorist attack as well — and hiding weapons under her swimsuits.
The logic is completely ridiculous, but then again, sexism and paranoia are often devoid of any rational thought or modicum of intelligence. Enacting laws based on that fear and prejudice is even more ludicrous.
Amy isn’t the only one to troll the hell out of France for subjecting women to bigotry and humiliation. Plenty of people have shared their own outrage at the law:
— Christina Cerqueira (@cerqueic) August 23, 2016
— Mohamed Ghilan (@MohamedGhilan) August 25, 2016
— Naveed (@Seditious_medic) August 21, 2016
Unfortunately, the ban speaks to a bigger, deeper-rooted problem, not just in France but around the world.
The threat of terrorism is real, but it’s not going to be combated by targeting women exercising their right to practice their faith by choosing the clothing they feel comfortable wearing. And we’re not going to rid the world of sexism until people start realizing that women’s bodies — completely covered up or otherwise — don’t exist solely for men’s gratification or amusement.
Maybe someone should do France a favor and post this simple stick figure graphic on the windows of every police station in the country. We’re told some people are just better visual learners — they might get it then.