burkini ban

Women’s bodies have always been a battleground in one way or another. Married women regained their possession of their own bodies during the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th and in the 1960s we gained the right to choose if we didn’t want to bring a new life into the world. That right is still a tenuous one in other countries, and that battle rages on. Freedom lies in choice, the option being there to take when needed. When a bond that holds us back and ties us down is cut, that’s a step towards freedom. When another bond is tied in place, that’s a step away from it.


The so-called ‘burkini ban’ in France is one such bond; a travesty that’s recently come to light after a woman was forced by police to remove her headdress at the beach. Whoever thought up the ban perhaps believed that they were taking a positive step towards freedom. On the one hand, burkas and headscarves can be seen as symbols of a misogynistic and repressive attitude towards women; representing the idea that women should cover up in public to be hidden from other men. Islam is hardly alone in this, though no one ever seems to mention Christianity’s less than open minded attitude to equality between the sexes.

On the other hand, burkas can represent a woman’s faith. It can be her way of expressing a vital part of her identity; women can be devout too with religion being just as important to them as it is for men. Wearing a headscarf or burka expresses that, rather like a Christian wearing a crucifix necklace. The important thing is that an individual woman has the choice; she should neither be forced to wear a burka or banned from wearing one. 

burkini ban

In the end, this ‘burkini ban’ is nothing more than an expression of fear after the terrorist attacks on France. In that way, the terrorists have won a small victory. This persecution has added to the nastiness and hatred that they perpetuate. A fear response should be overturned and forgiven; after what France has been through, it’s easy for people to get scared and lash out. But if it persists and turns into hatred and persecution, that’s much harder to forgive. Who wins if that’s what our world turns into? burkini ban

Thankfully, the outcry at this woman’s forced disrobing shows that humanity’s not quite there yet. As a majority, we still recognise what freedom is and we’re still fighting for it. France, I hope, will remember its almost religious devotion to liberty, and this particular battle over women’s bodies can end in victory for the side of reason and the right for women to choose what they want to wear with no one getting in our way.

About the author

A chronic idiot with a passion for travelling and writing and travel writing, Rosie graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in English Literature and a Masters in Creative Writing. Whilst she aspires to be the next Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Dr. Seuss or E.L. James, Rosie prepares to enter the adult world and become a responsible member of society. Both of her university degrees go toward making terrible jokes, rambling blog posts and reading the popular literature that we all feel obligated to read. When she’s not sat in front of her laptop, Rosie can be found just about anywhere. With Iceland, Thailand, Barcelona and Belgium under her belt, there’s still the rest of the world to experience.

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