Beach Bummer: Bogus Burkini Ban


Gabriel Revita

Marissa Gallardo, Staff Writer

When someone goes to the beach they usually don’t question the fact that they will wear a bathing suit. When at the beach you don’t expect to have your swimwear of choice debated while your toes are buried in the sand. Dress codes are for school and work, so why are some places in France restricting what women can and cannot wear to the beach!

In recent news you may have heard about the first town to ban the burkini. Cannes, a resort town in France, banned the modest swimwear on July 28, 2016. All the while other women can go topless in French beaches. This ban on swimwear is completely unnecessary.

There is a reason behind the restriction, quite a few reasons actually, but one of the most popular amongst the supporters is that they take the burqa as a sign of oppression towards women. Many liberals tend to reject the burqa, niqab, or hijab because they choose to take it as a sign of male hierarchy. It can indeed be interpreted that way, but one thing that they clearly forget about is something called personal preference.

When you want to eliminate cultural barriers between a widely discriminated group and the majority, forcing people to disobey something important to them, like their culture or religion, is definitely going to get some backlash. Former president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, thinks that Muslims, must assimilate and shouldn’t “impose their differences on the majority.”

What this says is that we see and understand your culture, but we are going to disrespect it anyway. There is an obvious fear of anything Muslim because it is, sadly, often related to terrorism and with the recent happenings in Nice, France anything that seems “too Middle Eastern” is taken as a threat.

Burqas and burkinis are brave, they are liberation from western culture. In western culture the male gaze is something that is always taken into account when it comes to what women should wear. When Muslim women wear something that protects their bodies from the objectification of men it is a statement, and what people don’t realize is that not all clothes needs to be a statement. If it feels good, wear it.

Humiliation is not the way to go in this case, it rarely is. If you want a group of people to live harmoniously with others and assimilate, you need to be more understanding and inclusive of their own culture. Instead of insisting that they strip down on the beach, such as the common culture in films, books, and everyday life suggest. Being open and receptive of others is the way to go.