The Burkini : A Ban on Modesty?

The Burkini : A Ban on Modesty?

It’s not often I weigh in on political matters, even when they focus on matters of faith, fashion or food. However, when reading a BBC article about the ‘burkini ban’ in France, I was horrified by one phrase.

“Access to beaches and for swimming is banned to any person wearing improper clothes that are not respectful of good morals and secularism”

This comes from the mayor of Cannes’ ruling on burkinis. From what I understand about burkinis and the Islamic faith-fashion relationship, the burkini provides Muslim women with a means of enjoying their swim while retaining modesty as part of their faith. No intention of using their swimwear to conceal or hide anything other than parts of their body they would deem immodest to show.

Though I choose to wear a one piece when swimming, I know of Christian girls who prefer to wear board shorts, t-shirts or swimsuits that incorporate shorts/skirts in their design as part of their modest dress. How is their desire to dress modestly at the beach and pool any different to that of the Muslim women in France? Yet one outfit would be considered acceptable whereas the other would not. I personally do not think this is fair as modesty is an incredibly personal issue that is between a person and their beliefs.

Unfortunately, it is not this disparity in treatment of faiths that I find terrifying and heart-breaking. It is that the mayor of Cannes does not believe a swimsuit designed to protect a woman’s modesty to be “respectful of good morals”. Since when was modesty not respectful of good morals? If anything, the opposite is true. Women (and men) who dress modestly are expected to be more moral. It is a stereotype but one that has persisted through the ages*.

The mayor is implying that modesty is in opposition to good morals. So what next? In the extreme, bikini only beaches? No trousers or long-sleeved tops on the beach?

You can argue that I’m overreacting. I am prone to exaggeration to prove a point. But when a desire to dress modestly is equated with being against “good morals”, a concern grows within me. 

So I ask again, how long till modesty is considered immoral?


The post A Ban on Modesty? first appeared on CounterCultural. CounterCouture.


*I would point out clothing has nothing to do with morals. I am simply stating a common stereotype.

2 Responses to The Burkini : A Ban on Modesty?

  1. That story made me SO mad. I’m so sick of this fear of Muslims and men dictating what women should wear. Damned if she wears a bikini because that gives a man the right to rape her and damned if she wears a burkini because she might be a terrorist. I need to stop because I’m going to explode. 🙂

    • If you need to explode, it’s because you care about it. If you care, then you should do something about it. We were not made to be silent about our passions.

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