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French burkini ban rage

(44 Posts)
pigsknickers Wed 24-Aug-16 16:02:35

I am feeling incoherently angry about this today, after seeing deports of the woman on a beach being made to undress by armed police in front of her children (struggling to link on phone but sure you're bound to have seen it anyway). I'm not sure how to articulate my rage so hoping some of you wise MN feminists can help me!
Why why why does it always seem tobe women's bodies that have to "host" these culture clashes, if that'swhat this can be described as? How is it possible that a state can sanction a woman's clothes being removed by force? (Although that does seem depressingly logical in a hypersexualised rape culture). Why is it that women are being publicly humiliated in retaliation for the actions of some violent men?
The thing is, I've always been a bit ambivalent about defending women's rights to wear hijab, as I also struggle to understand a culture that requires modesty from women to a greater degree than from men...but now I want to put one on and go to France (I can't, I'm skint and heavily pregnant). Is the problem basically that whatever the culture, women's bodies are so frigging dangerous that they need to be controlled by men? Because actually that's basically it isn't it. Gah.

sharksontheplane Wed 24-Aug-16 16:08:07

It made me cross here too tbh. The lady who they made undress didn't even have a burkini that I could see just a blue top and matching headscarf.

So you have to have your arms uncovered now on the beach? If I went on with my leggings and long sleeved t-shirt and a hat would that not be the same?

pigsknickers Wed 24-Aug-16 17:23:09

Well, quite. I'm about as pale and freckly as they come - would I also be made to uncover or is it just brown-skinned women?

TheSparrowhawk Wed 24-Aug-16 17:28:47

I think women are bring targeted as a way for non Muslim men to passive aggressively piss off Muslim men while at the same time claiming to be promoting freedom for women. Women aren't even considered human in this charade - they are just being used as an easy, vulnerable pawn by the French police to stick two fingers up to Muslim values.

TheSparrowhawk Wed 24-Aug-16 19:45:01

The really horrible thing about it is that these women are stuck between a bunch of men on one side saying they have to cover up or possibly be punished and another bunch of men on the other side saying they can't cover up or they'll be punished.

Why aren't the police policing the MEN who are out there raping and murdering? Why are they even bothering with what clothes a woman is wearing???

Middleoftheroad Wed 24-Aug-16 19:49:11

It's just cowardly to pick on/scapegoat the women.

They need to address the bigger issue: crimes that are mainly perpetrated by men.

Graceflorrick Wed 24-Aug-16 19:53:25

I'm perplexed by this - how have we reached this situation! confused

Blue4ever Wed 24-Aug-16 19:56:49

I think they should ban the beard. Force men to shave. See how that goes down.

Why is it a majority of women who get racially abused? And in these cases, fined for choosing to wear something?

Coward is the first word that springs to my mind...

pigsknickers Wed 24-Aug-16 20:46:05

I think Sparrowhawk is definitely onto something - harassing and intimidating women is so much easier than going directly after the men who are perpetuating violence. Plus the women aren't really seen as entirely human in their own right, they are just the embodiment of a cultural struggle...and their bodies are basically commodities anyway, so this sort of shit is so much easier to get away with than, say, forcing men to shave at gunpoint (not that I'm advocating that!).
This is depressing me so much; I love France and I've always been a very vocal supporter of France's secularism. This is making me seriously reevaluate that which as a lifelong atheist is going to be tricky!

pigsknickers Wed 24-Aug-16 20:49:21

Also this can't be anything other than goading the would-be terrorists! How do they seriously think the fundamentalists are going to react - "oh yeah, well you've made your point really well, we're going to chill out now actually". Fuck sake.

GeneralBobbit Wed 24-Aug-16 20:52:05

I said this on the other thread. If we see it happen we have to put on their discarded burkini.

They can't fuck with all of us.

I disagree with the culture that forces them but defend their right to wear it. And I would defend it.

Bestthingever Wed 24-Aug-16 21:02:00

If this happened in Britain, I desperately hope there would be a massive public outcry. I don't agree with the burka but there's nothing wrong with the burkini. Actually having just returned from a two week beach holiday, I wish more people would wear them! grin
When we lived in the Middle East, we saw a woman wearing a burkini asked to leave a pool in the club we belonged to. Her kids had to leave too. We argued on her behalf with the security staff but they insisted. It's upsetting that people on that beach just sat by. I couldn't.

BertrandRussell Wed 24-Aug-16 21:07:02

The people on the beach did more than just sit by- they supported the police.

Bestthingever Wed 24-Aug-16 21:12:36

Bertrand 🙁. I just can't understand that. I absolutely hate the veil and the burka but I couldn't stand by and see someone treated like that. When living in the Middle East, I've had occasions when I've been told I wasn't not dressed appropriately or asked to cover up. It infuriated me simply because I felt as an individual I had the right to choose what I wear. I was already dressed modestly btw but it's amazing what offends some people. I can understand how that woman feels. Moreover it's absolutely counterproductive and will definitely lead to more extremism.

Lalsy Wed 24-Aug-16 23:04:11

OP, I feel angry too. I am trying to see both sides, and can see why some people are questioning exactly what the pictures show. But why would a country like France risk photos of men with guns apparently forcing a woman on her knees to undress? The policy so clearly wasn't thought through and I cannot see how it won't make things worse, as well as undermining the argument that men should stop telling women what to wear.

JacquettaWoodville Thu 25-Aug-16 06:30:47

Yy sparrowhawk.

VestalVirgin Thu 25-Aug-16 10:22:54

Why aren't the police policing the MEN who are out there raping and murdering?

Not much point in that, is there, if the courts are just going to let the rapists run free.

I am for the burka ban, but it should be enforced on the men of the household. Women should never be forced to take off the burka (forcing women to take off clothes, that's not something anyone should do!), but they should be accompanied home by two nice, armed policewomen, who will then explain to the men of their household that burka is not accepted in France.
If they just attack the women, the women will be attacked from two sides. That's not fair.

If you're going to treat women as objects, at least do it right - no one ever threatened a car with a gun to force it to drive away from a place where parking was not allowed.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 25-Aug-16 13:39:58

I am for the burka ban, but it should be enforced on the men of the household. Women should never be forced to take off the burka (forcing women to take off clothes, that's not something anyone should do!), but they should be accompanied home by two nice, armed policewomen, who will then explain to the men of their household that burka is not accepted in France.

I agree.

TheSparrowhawk Thu 25-Aug-16 13:51:38

I'm surprised you agree Lass. Surely the women should just stop being doormats and choose not to wear them?

queenofthepirates Thu 25-Aug-16 13:59:29

I'm confused-are wet suits on beaches going to be allowed? Looks pretty burka esque to me

pigsknickers Thu 25-Aug-16 14:13:53

What about all the women who choose to wear one themselves? It's pretty patronising to assume all Muslim women are being controlled by a man, as per the passive, downtrodden stereotype.

Nannawifeofbaldr Thu 25-Aug-16 14:21:06


"Doormats"? That's an appalling statement wholly lacking in any empathy, compassion, cultural awareness or in fact basic intelligence.

Feel very lucky that you were born in a place and time where you have such freedom, physically, psychologically and emotionally.

TheSparrowhawk Thu 25-Aug-16 14:29:00

Nanna, it's not my view that Muslim women are doormats. Lass has expressed the view on many other threads, at tedious length, that women who feel under pressure from cultural expectations should just stop being doormats. So I was surprised that she believes men should be tackled about burqas.

Boleh Thu 25-Aug-16 14:36:13

vestal what would you suggest that the police do with my Muslim female friends who live alone, entirely independent of any males and have their own professional career but still choose to cover up (generally with full length Lycra and hood - much like a 'burkini' but without the skirt)? Are they going to call their Dads in a totally different city and ask them to tell them off?!
Not all women are pressured into dressing in this way.

I also think the terms 'Burka' and 'Burkini' are getting jumbled - not necessarily on this thread but in the general debate. A burka completely covers the face as well as hair and body, if I'm honest I'm not keen on them and can see why the French authorities aren't either - mainly because it's very odd to have a conversation with someone where you can't even see their eyes and you have no idea what they look like / who they are / if you are seeing the same person again the next day. I don't actually know anyone who wears one (even having lived in a Muslim country 2.5 years until recently).

The 'burkini' is just a Lycra bodysuit with a hood and a skirt. Used for swimming and pretty tight fitting, leaves the face totally exposed and almost certainly would be considered too revealing by women who wear a burka. Most of my friends overseas wore a Lycra rash vest and trousers - as did I because the sun was so strong I couldn't be bothered with getting out every half an hour or so to reapply sunscreen. Some of the more conservative ones wore a thin Lycra hood or swimming hat. Plenty of people both male and female swam in their normal clothes. Most of the Muslim men I know would wear a t-shirt and long shorts so less than the ladies but more than most western men.

Loads of people put their kids in sun suit type things to swim - at what age is a girl somehow banned from wearing one and made to expose her body to the sun / stinging creatures in the water etc.
It's only in the last half century that the culture in the west has been to get nearly naked on beaches and when the sun comes out anyway, it's hardly an essential part of being French (or British). Quite different to having a full face covering which I can't think of having ever been a standard in western society (willing to be corrected on this though, I haven't done any real research!).

I just think anybody forcing any women to remove her clothing is unutterably wrong on any level. Either in public or by returning her home.

EllyMayClampett Thu 25-Aug-16 14:44:32

A Burkina doesn't look much different from a rash top and sun hat really. I agree this is goading Muslims by picking on the women, unnecessarily.

Btw, does anyone remember seeing pictures of Nigella Lawson wearing a Burkini in Miami a few years ago?

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