The burkini ban

As most of you know, three French towns, two on the mainland and one in Corsica, have banned the wearing of “burkinis,” a garment allowing Muslim women to go swimming while preserving their modesty and adhering to Islamic standards of body coverage. There are all kinds; this one, religiously correct, is offered by Marks and Spencer in several countries:


As the New York Times observes, in an okay but somewhat misguided piece, these bans are ham-handed attempts to enforce France’s laïcité policy of secularism, a Gallic version of America’s First Amendment designed to keep religious influence out of government. That policy already bans the burqa (big cloth sack) and the niqab (face covering that shows the eyes) in public spaces. One can make a good argument for those bans, as FEMEN head Inna Shevchenko did in a new piece in Business News (she opposes the burkini bans). But the burkini? If you’re determined, as the French seem to be, to stamp out authoritarian rules about dress, what sense does it make to ban dress—a form of swimwear that, after all, was pretty much what people wore in the 19th century? There’s no public safety rationale, either, as there is for the burqa and niqab. It’s just mean-spirited, or seems to be.

As the Times states, it’s an attempt to preserve “French culture” in the face of multiculturalism, with the assumption that French culture is superior to that of Islam—at least when it comes to dress. And it’s a misfired attempt to get Muslims to assimilate into French culture. Like the Times, I think using bans to achieve that aim is doomed to failure, for it will only create a backlash against French authoritarianism, alienating the very Muslims they hope to assimilate. And really, people should be able to dress as they want, with nobody telling them (save, perhaps, their employers) what they can and cannot wear.

But that brings up a problem, one that the Times handily avoids. But let me defer that to the third point below. Here’s my take on the burkini ban:

1.) The ban should be lifted, as it serves no positive purpose, is authoritarian, and will only arouse resentment in French Muslims. This is pretty much of a no-brainer for any freedom-loving progressive.

2.) That said, neither the birkini, hijab, niqab, nor burqa should be celebrated by those with Enlightenment values. These garments are, by and large, signs of oppression: the oppression of women fostered by Islam. They are there for one purpose: to preserve “modesty”, which, in Islamic culture, is a sign of morality. (See Sarah Haider’s tw**t below.) With these garments, the onus is put on women, seen as temptresses, to avoid inciting the uncontrollable lust of men.  That, of course, is pure bullshit, since covering was much less frequent in Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iran before those states became theocracies. I doubt that the uncovered women in those countries in the 1970s set off an epidemic of sexual harassment and rape.  And it’s clear that the women now covered in those states do so involuntarily: the government forces them to, and there have been all kinds of protests, beginning when the garments were first mandated up to the #MyStealthyFreedom site in which brave Iranian women remove their hijabs. Clearly, those women aren’t “choosing” to wear the hijab. (As a determinist, I use “choose” here as shorthand for “what one does if one’s brain is not impacted by social or government pressure”).

So no, it’s not “liberating” or “heroic” to wear Islamic covering. It’s a visible sign of a patriarchal religion that sees women as inferior.  But, of course, the Regressive Left (who, properly, opposes senseless dress codes) has turned hijabs and other coverings into virtues, as “awesome expressions of personal style,” viz.  this (click screenshot to see article from, of course, PuffHo):

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 12.18.47 PM

No, they’re sad expressions of religious oppression. And putting flowers on your burkini doesn’t make it awesome.

3.) Covering is not a necessary concomitant to Islamic “culture” or “identity”. There are many Muslims who don’t cover, and many Muslim countries where covering is optional. And, forty years ago, covering in Muslim countries like Iran and Afghanistan was much rarer. One of the problems of the Times article is that it explicitly sees veiling as a sign of Islamic culture, and thus something that has ignited a culture war. But veiling is a latecomer, and although associated with Islam, is not something all Muslims do. In fact, I suspect that many Muslim women in the West would ditch the covering requirement if they weren’t pressured to do so. But that raises an important issue: “What about women who choose to veil?” And so to the next point:

4.) In my view, veiling is much less of a “choice” than it’s made out to be. Here’s where the NYT becomes credulous:

The veil is an especially potent symbol of anxiety over assimilation because wearing it is a choice. Whereas fixed characteristics like race or skin color do not imply any judgment on French culture or values, clothing implies a decision to be different — to prioritize one’s religious or cultural identity over that of one’s adopted country.

Of course it’s not a “choice”—in the sense I defined above—in many countries. And even in the West, if you’re part of a family that sends you to a Muslim school where you must wear hijab, or belong to a social group of Muslim girls or women who wear hijabs, how can you claim that your decision was free from social pressure? I certainly wouldn’t accept at face value a Western Muslim’s assertion that she is veiled by choice. Whether that’s true depends on her social and familial history. As always, caveat emptor when accepting someone’s personal narrative.

When I hear the “it’s my choice” argument, I always remember a discussion I had with a bunch of Muslim women students at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. In that school the hijab was banned. I was there to lecture on evolution but had a great time meeting a number of curious and progressive Muslim students. (They were so progressive that we all went out drinking and dancing one evening!) I asked the group if they were in favor of the hijab ban. They unanimously said “yes!”, with their argument being this: “If the hijab were optional, some Muslim women would put it on, and then they would start to shame the rest of us as ‘bad Muslims’ for refusing to wear it.” Now that is social pressure, and it occurs even when covering is optional. If a Western Muslim tells you their choice was made without social pressure, look at their families and their social groups, and who they hang around with now. My guess is that although some women wear hijab or other garments without any pressure to do so, it’s much rarer than you think—or they claim.

5.) A culture that promotes covering is, in that respect, worse than a culture that doesn’t mandate or pressure women to cover themselves. The New York Times repeatedly argues that although the French see their own standards of dress as “competitive” with Islamic covering, this is a false dichotomy. They are not competitive, says the Times, and can coexist.

This is only partly true. Such cultures can and do coexist. But I claim that a culture that mandates few or no dress standards, particularly abjuring patriarchal ones, is better than the same culture with religiously-enforced or -pressured covering.(What I mean by “better” is “more conducive to human flourishing.”)

It stands to reason that wearing a symbol of patriarchy and oppression gives you less freedom than not having your religion, your government, or your family and friends dictate your dress. There will always be cultural dress standards, of course, but the French do see covering versus freedom of dress as competitive views—and for good reason. Covering, whether or not “voluntary”, is still a visual sign of religiously based oppression, and is counter to the Enlightenment values underlying laïcité.  So yes, a culture that promotes freedom of dress is, all things equal, better than one that promotes sexist coverings. And it’s for just that reason that it’s bad for the French to ban the burkini: it takes away some people’s freedom.  

But that brings us to the last question:

6.) If we see veiling as bad, but we don’t favor banning it, what can we do about it?  Well, one thing is to call it out, as I’m doing here (and see Maajid Nawaz’s tw**t below). We needn’t pretend that veiling is wonderful, or say that it’s none of our business because it’s Muslim “culture”. (If it is, that culture is extraordinarily malleable.) We know where it comes from—religiously based oppression of women—and that’s enough to make a cogent argument. Sarah Haider’s solution, below, is to make the argument that morality doesn’t equate to modesty in dress. She’s right, of course, as religious “morality” often has little to do with right or wrong, but more with things like sex and diet. But making her argument is a tough one.

In the end, the only way to solve the problem is to create the kind of a society in which women do not feel any pressure, at least from religion, to dress in a certain way: a society that doesn’t need hashtags like #MyStealthyFreedom. That is not French society now, and it won’t be if the New York Times has its way. In their own clumsy way, that’s the kind of society that the French cities were trying to create with their misguided burkini bans.

I don’t know the solution to the problem now, but I do know that creating such a society would be much easier if we simply got rid of religion.

And now, some tweets about the burkini (and covering in general) from ex-Muslims (Haider) and liberal Muslims (Nawaz and Nomani). Nomani’s tw**t is particularly lovely.


  1. Alpha Neil
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Wouldn’t the simplest response to the argument for covering as a “choice” be to simply ask “why don’t men chose to wear this?” If modesty is such a virtue, why aren’t men covering themselves as well?

    • Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      My guess: men are full of lust, more so than women (probably true in an evolutionary sense), and (the fallacy) it’s the women’s responsibility to curb that lust.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        To quote the Jesus’n’Mo cartoon and tee-shirt, “Thank you for not provoking my uncontrollable lust.” (Link goes to the Jesus’N’Mo merchandising site. Support The Author!

      • Alpha Neil
        Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        Getting covering supporter to say that women are responsible for the actions of men is the goal of my question. How anyone who considers themselves a progressive could agree with that thinking is bewildering.

        I wonder what would happen if I (a white male) wore a burkini on a beach in Saudi Arabia? My guess is that it wouldn’t be seen as an “awesome expression of style”.

        • Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

          Indeed. This celebration of “expression” is, to employ one of Jerry’s favorite Shakespeare-isms, making a virtue of [what is too often in Muslim culture a] necessity. And the regressive left are simply enablers of this kind of oppression. Instead of insisting this shit doesn’t stink they should be criticizing those who are defecating all over women/gays/etc.

          • Posted August 20, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

            Come on you flabby rationalizing liberals….wearing the burkini, hijab, niquab,whatever you call it is like wearing a Nazi swastika around your neck or on a T shirt. It is a political statement of what you represent, not a cultural choice. Every
            complaint or demand for privileges a Muslim makes is an assertion of privilege and special status….or an assertion of women’s inferiority and slave status and patriarchy. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just trying to avoid appearing illiberal or “racist”. It’s not illiberal to defend women’s rights and equality or attack male Muslim domination. We can thank the loony left for all of this. Why do they do it? Main reason:
            hatred of America and by extension secularism. Any time they have a chance to attack western civilization or the US, and to brush Islamofascism out of the picture they grab the opportunity. As a result the American left is now the greatest threat to our personal freedoms, the Constitution and our civil liberties/free speech today…not the CIA or the FBI or the NSA or Homeland Security. This is what is called Stealth Jihad. It is like the left that defended Stalin, Mao, Chavez and Castro, the biggest
            perpetrators of violence against freedom in history. And Jerry fell for it. Nice try, no cigars

            • Filippo
              Posted August 20, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

              Let women wear what they wish at the beach.

              But, Islamofascist (spell-check does not recognize “Islamofascist”) men – or any other men – dictating to any woman what she ought to do about the matter ought not be tolerated.

              • p. puk
                Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:04 am | Permalink

                And this is the entire problem (and futility) with the burquini ban.

                The ban only punishes women who might not otherwise get to enjoy the beach because they are not permitted by their husbands / sons / culture / community / religion to wear anything else to the beach.

                So, while I agree there is plenty wrong with burquinis, we should be punishing the husbands / sons / culture / community / religion who are the enforcers.

      • Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        “My guess: men are full of lust, more so than women (probably true in an evolutionary sense)”

        I’m waiting for the shit to hit the fan from the SJW crowd in response to that, but maybe they won’t notice.

    • eric
      Posted August 19, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      As a pale white guy losing his hair and patches of skin cancer, I DO kinda choose to wear stuff like this at the beach…or the western cultural equivalent. Floppy hat, sunglasses, blousy-like shirts, very long shorts.

      I agree with Jerry’s 4 and 5, but my answer to #6 in western societies is pretty much: be supportive of a women’s clothing choice whenever you see someone giving them crap about it. Be friendly and supportive of women co-workers, even the ones wearing it, so that when they do choose that culturally unpopular step, they can count on you and lean on you for support. But when you see someone wearing it at the beach? Do nothing. Because quite frankly, you would’ve said nothing to the surfer wearing a wetsuit that looks exactly the same. And you would’ve said nothing to the pale white dude covering up just as much skin. Which means if say something, it’s really you complaining about her culture, not her choice to cover up a lot of skin at the beach.

      • Posted August 19, 2016 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        But we can tell the difference between floppy hats, wet suits for water sports, and burkinis. The point is that women who wear a burkini are not doing it for sun-avoidance/water sport reasons, and we know that.

    • Filippo
      Posted August 20, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Right, Muslim men are exposing their bloody nipples on the beach. (What does the Quran say about the purpose of nipples on men?) Women may get excited and want to tweak and titillate men’s nipples in public.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:45 am | Permalink

        I sometimes think, given my svelte and Adonis-like figure in all its quasi-Bibendum glory, that I should have to wear a burkini on the beach. For the protection of the public, you understand. I’m afraid the stampede of excited women are more likely to be running way than titillating me. But then I just think, there’s worse things to be seen on beaches**, so they can just not look. 🙂


        (** such as, decomposing whales)

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      The answer is officially that men *are* modestly dressed as well. Just the *standards* for whatever inexplicable reason are different. I mention this only in the interests of accuracy and for the sake of those want to argue without strawman arguments.

  2. Jiten
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    “I asked the group if they were in favor of the hijab ban. They unanimously said “yes!””

    Well women might secretly be thankful of the burkini ban too.

    • J.Baldwin
      Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Maybe…but it seems likely to me that if Muslim women are subject to the social pressure to wear burkinis, they’d be subject to the same pressure to not swim at all if burkinis are banned. What would they be secretly happy about, not being able to enjoy the sea at all?

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted August 19, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        I agree. The burkini is slightly different.

        NZ has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. (All the northern hemisphere crap drifts down here and in our summer we have a huge hole in the ozone layer.) Many NZers, especially children, wear a thing like the burkini for swimming except with no head covering, short arms, and short legs. It’s worn for protection from the sun.

        Except for the hair covering, a burkini doesn’t look that out of place here and NZ is always at or near the top in global indices of freedom and women’s equality.

        • Christopher
          Posted August 19, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          As a ginger and one with some body image issues, I can see why being covered at the beach could be beneficial, but then the other gingers aren’t beating me in public if I don’t cover myself!

          My son, on the other hand, who lives for the gym, walks around in his underpants even in the winter, showing off his immodest muscles, and yes, since he won’t cover up, I do want to give him a smack, but he’s bigger than me now…

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted August 19, 2016 at 7:47 pm | Permalink


            I prefer being a bit covered up at the beach too. I just don’t like feeling too exposed.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 20, 2016 at 2:17 am | Permalink

          I’ve never noticed anyone wearing a burkini-like thing at the beach. I have noticed a lot of people (mostly male) wearing tee shirts and shorts in the water, which I guess has the same effect.

          I do always wear an ‘Aussie hat’ (except when swimming) because (a) it stops the top of my head getting sunburnt and (b) the brim keeps the sun out of my eyes, since I hate sunglasses.


          • Filippo
            Posted August 20, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

            If Muslim women must wear this garb at the beach, then Muslim men must wear Larry The Cable Guy attire.

        • Filippo
          Posted August 20, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

          In addition to the ozone layer problem (and why is there no ozone layer at the North Pole – is it a land-related thing?) – if I (here in Amuricuh) have read correctly, during winter in the NORTHERN hemisphere, the Earth is approximately 10% closer to the sun than during the summer. (And usually that is all that is said about it, as if the SOUTHERN hemisphere did not exist or does not warrant mention.) Which means of course that the Earth is 10% closer to the sun during the SOUTHERN hemisphere SUMMER when the sun is bearing down most directly on the southern hemisphere, which would appear to be something of a double-whammy, vis-à-vis the northern hemisphere, in terms of sun exposure, eh?

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted August 20, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            My science isn’t too hot but it’s something to do with the way the ozone-destroying chemicals drift in the atmosphere that they head south during our summer making a big hole in the ozone layer so we’re not as well protected from the sun’s dangerous rays at that time of year.

            I vaguely recall that the northern hemisphere does have a similar problem, but the hole is much much smaller because there are only a fraction of the people/industries producing ozone-depleting chemicals in the southern hemisphere to drift north in your summer.

            • Filippo
              Posted August 20, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

              By the way, do you need level-headed, reasonable, rational, congenial nurses and school teachers in NZ?

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted August 20, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

                Not sure about school teachers (maybe, maybe not) but we need nurses. Check out the NZ government immigration website. I think it says which occupations we’re looking for at any particular time.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:56 am | Permalink

            No, if the figure varied by 10% then the heat hitting earth (inverse square of the distance) would vary by 21%, I think. Which would be wild.

            The actual figures are ~146 million to 152 million km, or 4% (which would give 8% difference in heating).


        • Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          This is horrible. Makes me think of a post-apocalyptic fiction where a white person lingers in a deep basement to avoid getting skin cancer and relies on his black beloved to forage and bring him food.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

            There was a political campaign ad on TV here years ago of an elderly man and his grandson walking along the beach together. It was set in the future and both were wearing white outfits that looked like a cross between a spacesuit and a beekeeper’s coverings. The grandfather was telling his grandson how everyone used to be able to play on the beach in minimal clothes etc. It was a warning to do something about climate change.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted August 23, 2016 at 2:56 am | Permalink

            It’s not quite as bad as Heather’s post suggests, for several reasons. One is that the weather is highly changeable, cloudless days are in a minority, so more often than not there are clouds to provide some cover. (Not for nothing is NZ known as Ao-tea-roa – ‘Long white cloud’).

            It’s just necessary to remember to slap on sunscreen and wear a shirt and hat, except when swimming. It’s a matter of controlling your total exposure.

            I head for the beach (in summer) any chance I get, in fact a couple of years ago we had an unusually long fine spell and I hit the beach every single non-work day for four months straight. No sunburn.


  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Spaghetti strainer on the head – no different.

    • Alpha Neil
      Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      May sauce be upon Him

  4. alexandra moffat
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know the solution to the problem now, but I do know that creating such a society would be much easier if we simply got rid of religion.”

    The operative sentence – oh for that time to come….

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Wrong idea to “get rid of” religion. Better to drive it ALL back into the museum.

      • Filippo
        Posted August 20, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Or maybe kindly, sweetly persuade it to sit on a chair and look in the mirror?

  5. Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    This Islamophobic thread is demonstrating insufficient empathy for Muslim fears.

    Swimming on public beaches gradually reduces a child’s or woman’s shame and modesty. It leads in Southern France to young women walking around with barely any clothes on and a rise in the divorce rate to 90%. It’s too late to change this by the time young Muslims get to 15, so you must inculcate it early: young kids must cover up. Islamic science tells us that the skin is very valuable.

    Do not believe the infidel taqqiya of Justin Marozzi who lies about Egyptian prostitutes who wear the burqa.

    Peace be upon you. I’m reporting you to the wordpress administrators.

    • Alpha Neil
      Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      What is an appropriate amount of empathy for the fears of others and who are you to decide what that is? Perhaps you are not showing sufficient empathy for those who wish to be uncovered?

    • Alpha Neil
      Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Wait a second…is this satire?

      • KenS
        Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Ummmm, I vote “yes” to satire.

      • Alexander
        Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Of course it is satire.

        • Alpha Neil
          Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

          “Islamic science” should have been the tipoff.

        • Alpha Neil
          Posted August 19, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          Wait a second… are you being sarcastic?

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted August 19, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            I’ll admit to being fooled at first. But this is definitely satirical and sarcastic. A tip-off for me was the reference to “infidel taqqiya” since, however it’s transliterated, it refers to what Muslims are permitted to do under duress; it doesn’t refer to the lies of infidels. And Mr. O’Sullivan is hardly a devotee of Islam, as his frequent previous comments on this webpage demonstrate. However, the material he linked to is not satire; it leads to a webpage maintained by the Islamic Center of Beverly Hills, and the link is worth reading.

            • Posted August 19, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

              Oh, I’m sorry, Alpha Neil, Tom and Patrick, yes, my post was satire.

              Islamic science is a thing. It corresponds to what Christians call exegesis. There’s an analogy with the Islamic term ‘peace’ defined as synonymous with the rule of Islam. So Islamic ‘peace’ and ‘science’ expand the empire of their meaning to become meaningless and unrecognizable in any agreed definition of the terms.

              This is the idea that Caroline Fourest teases out in her critique of Tariq Ramadan’s ‘double discours’, double-speak. He can use the same vocabulary to communicate different ideas to a western audience ignorant of Islamic definitions and to an Islamist auditor who know what he is really talking about.

              • Alpha Neil
                Posted August 19, 2016 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

                No worries. I was kind of excited that PCC had let one of the loonies through so we could have a go at them. Sorry I assumed you were a looney.

              • Posted August 19, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

                Alpha Neil, I think the days are long gone when Jerry let the Xtian moon-faced semi-literates comment. Oh how we used to have fun toying like cats with a faith-filled ball. Felix fidelis.

                Chuck ’em a bit of Catholic Latin and they were flummoxed.

              • Jenny Haniver
                Posted August 20, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

                It was fun for me to contemplate whether it was tomfoolery or not by thinking about taqqiya — took me back to the old days when I studied some Islamic theology at UC Berkeley (that’s after I studied nutty Catholic theology at a Catholic school, and I’m sure, Mr. O’Sullivan, you’re familiar with that. What gets me is that the drivel on the Bev. Hills Islamic Center website ain’t satire. Treacly, regressive drivel, but I love the fact that it emanates from Beverly Hills, of all places; the ritzy, sybaritic home of the abonimable Kardashian clan and their fashion monstrosities. By the way,satire rules!

              • Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

                Well, Jenny Haniver, you were right about my dodgy transliteration of ‘taqiyya’. 1 ‘q’, 2 ‘y’s. I can never remember; Freud might have summat to say about that

                It turns out, given my sneer about Christian semi-literates, that I’m semi-transliterate: which intertextually makes me an intersectional intersex dyslexic. Or something…

    • Patrick
      Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      I, for one, do not see this as an “Islamophobic” thread. I think the point is to create an open dialogue and allow the readers an opportunity to weigh-in on the opinions expressed in a civil manner.

    • Tom
      Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Please do not confuse critisism of this daft idea of “proper” beachwear with the latest dreadful buzzword “islamaphobia”
      Perhaps an understanding that this strange creature”Islamaphobia” (however you may define it) could be the consequence of several decades of intolerant fundamentalism, anti West propaganda, terrorism and general mayhem.
      Please could you make the effort to your own house in order rather than pressing the rest of the world to accept the theology and traditions of what is merely (to the rest of the world) only another rather dreary, vacuous cult; one of a long line of such human follies.

    • Posted August 19, 2016 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      It is a bit unsettling that more than one person was confused by this and did not immediately see it as satire.

      • Filippo
        Posted August 20, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        I guess satire is an art, not a science. Like most anything else, one gets better with practice in divining it.

        Seems it’s kinda-sorta like someone saying, “jest kidding!” On the other hand, Donald Trump has been doing a lot of that lately. How does one know when Trump (or some other such character) is serious and when he is “just kidding”?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 20, 2016 at 2:25 am | Permalink

      “Swimming on public beaches gradually reduces a child’s or woman’s shame and modesty. It leads in Southern France to young women walking around with barely any clothes on…”

      So, what’s the downside?


  6. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to remember who invented the wetsuit. It may (or may not) have been Frenchman Jacques Cousteau. Certainly he was using protective suits in the late 1940s.
    Oddly, Wikipedia puts the invention of the wetsuit at 1952, but I think that’s (arguably inappropriately) taking “wetsuit” to refer specifically to foamed neoprene items, when close-fitting rubberised canvas had been used for nearly 20 years by then, at least in the CDG. And that was never considered patentable, being an obvious development from the water-proofed suits used in hard-hat diving.

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    • eric
      Posted August 19, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, that was my first thought too on seeing the burkini. “Looks like a wetsuit, but more comfortable.”

  7. Roger
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Looks kinda neat like a superhero costume.

  8. Brian Davis
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m curious to know how they go about defining what qualifies as a burkini. Do they ban any head covering at a beach or pool? Do they mandate that legs and arms must be exposed? Would it be illegal for a woman to pull on sweats over a bikini?

    • Posted August 19, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      The only solution, obviously, is enforced nudity.

    • Filippo
      Posted August 20, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      One image shows her feet and, it being only her feet exposed (other than her face), obviously being that much more problematic for foot fetishists and Muslim men (who, I assume, are glad to take what they can get).

  9. Hempenstein
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    My suspicion: The ban is really a twofold effort to a) thwart Sharia police from coming down on Western-beach-attired Muslims, and/or b) to thwart ostensibly large burkinily-attired suicide bombers from showing up at French beaches.

    In haste…

  10. Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I suggest a controlled experiment to find out if women in western outfits are absolutely doomed to be raped by men. Let’s investigate how many women in western countries are raped by the personnel of the Middle East embassies, say Saudis, against how many women the western employees, say the Brits, rape.
    Maybe it turns out the Muslims really rape nonstop if we wear dresses or bikinis.

    • Alexander
      Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      The main problem in Islamic societies seems to be incest within families, and child molesting, just like in some catholic environments.

  11. GodlessMarkets
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I should be working… But anyway, couldn’t resist going to HuffPo to read the comments on this article. It’s just bizarre. So many people saying, “oh, what a great idea, I’m going to buy one myself.” Someone on WEIT previously mentioned this, but how come there’s nobody at HuffPo celebrating Mormon magic underwear or Amish outfits or the garb the Flying Nun used to wear? Ugh. That said, I do like the Jesus and Mo t-shirt linked above.

    • Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Amish and Mormons are not people of color, and aren’t considered oppressed.

      I LOVE that tee shirt and want to get one. It’s the best Jesus and Mo bit ever!

  12. Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Ye, banning is counterproductive, as well as contrary to liberal values. If you want to make people want something, ban it.

    • Posted August 19, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      So far, banning different aspects of Western culture in Islamic countries and Russia hasn’t made locals crave these things. On the contrary, governments there are considered “strong” and enjoy higher ratings than Western governments.

      On the other hand, being nice and accommodating to Muslims so far has done nothing to bring these Muslims closer to Western values, and much to harm the West. It sends fundamentalist Muslims the message that the kafirs are ready to be invaded because Allah has deprived them of their senses. The French are trying the opposite strategy. I agree that it is contrary to liberal values, yet I am not sure it is counterproductive, and I do not feel in a position to tell allied how to wage their war.

      • Posted August 19, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        “Allies”, of course.

      • Posted August 19, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        I doubt that such a ban will increase muslim respect for the “strong” french government. Besides, are you going to also tell other religious people, like orthodox jews, that they cannot wear their modest swimwear (which except for the head covering looks not unlike the burkini)?

        • Posted August 19, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          I will be going to – as soon as an Orthodox Jew starts shooting at a concert or smashing pedestrians with a van.

          • Posted August 19, 2016 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            Because there are muslim terrorists we should worry about muslim women wearing burkinis?

            • Posted August 20, 2016 at 1:14 am | Permalink

              I do not know whether we “should”, but so far the policy of allowing large numbers of Third World Muslims to immigrate and letting them being who they want to be has produced terrible results. Prof. Coyne and many commenters here say that it is an assault on liberal values to tell people how to dress by decree. True. But you cannot keep your liberal values anyway if there are a large number of citizens ready to gun you down if you try to use these values.

              In our resorts, vacationers are allowed to wear swimming suits at the beach and around pools but not in the streets of the resort. Maybe, if I start to walk around in bikini, nobody would mind it. I have never tried. In my city, courthouses do not let in citizens in shorts. Dress codes are enforced all the time, but we do not mention it, because we conform to them anyway. It becomes an issue only when it interferes with the whims of Muslims, as usual.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 20, 2016 at 2:35 am | Permalink

          “Besides, are you going to also tell other religious people, like orthodox jews, that they cannot wear their modest swimwear ”

          I certainly would. Why not? Same rule for all.


          • Posted August 20, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            That is my point. Are you going to tell everyone you cannot wear modest swimwear at the beach? Who wants that sort of government?

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:07 am | Permalink

              “Who wants that sort of government?”

              The people who wear burkinis, mostly, I think.


  13. KenS
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    So, Burkinis (does the “B” have to be capitalized?) are “an awesome expression of personal style.”

    What are the odds that complaints of cultural appropriation would arise if non-Muslim women started wearing these?

    • Posted August 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Too late: Nigella Lawson already did (see here.) I don’t recall her being criticized.

      • Richard
        Posted August 20, 2016 at 3:26 am | Permalink

        But she is the Domestic Goddess, and is above all reproach. I worship her shadow.

  14. tubby
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I kind of like the cap. I always get sunburned on my scalp and neck where I can never seem to get enough sun block rubbed in through my hair to stop it. But then again, no one is really in a position to force burqa swimwear on me.

  15. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    As someone who has always associated any kind of leopard skin outfit with eroticism and sensuality, there is to me something inherently odd about the leopard-skin burkini.

    Someone who really wants to offend Muslims needs to write new lyrics to one of Bob Dylan’s most hilarious songs “Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat” regarding this piece of wear.

    First the original lyrics.

    • Christopher
      Posted August 19, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Odd that this full body covering is still able to incite in me a wee bit of lust…

      now, if she were wearing a regular wetsuit and a swimming cap, would that still be ok for her to be seen by other muslim men on the beach (and wouldn’t that put a whole new spin on Dylan’s song Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35?!) and likewise, would she fall under the ban with that wetsuit/swimming cap ensemble?

  16. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Never have cared for clothing police, French or otherwise. Long ago in junior high years I think, there were teachers who spent a great deal of time constantly telling us to tuck in our shirts. I suppose they were saving humanity with this work.

    • Posted August 19, 2016 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      Perfect analogy.

      Completely OCD, useless clothing policery.

    • Filippo
      Posted August 20, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Now they have to tell young male human primates to pull up their pants so that no one HAS to look at their bloody drawers. Adolescent oppositional defiance – a real carrot to prompt one to make a career of teaching, eh?

      What would you say to private corporate tyrant employers regarding their dress codes?

  17. Posted August 19, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Trying to attract Western tourists, some Muslim countries ban burkini in certain areas:

    “No Islamic attire by pool, Egypt tells Norwegian

    A Norwegian Muslim woman has filed a complaint with her embassy in the Egyptian capital of Cairo after a beach resort banned her from swimming in the pool because she was wearing an Islamic bathing suit.

    Caroline Boston vowed to never return to Egypt after she went to spend her summer vacation in the Muslim country, where she says she was insulted and disrespected.

    “When I was heading to the swimming pool with the headscarf, the hotel security stopped me,” she told Al Arabiya in a phone interview. “They said that according to the rules I was not allowed to be in the pool with the veil.”

    Caroline, who was staying at the Carlos Hotel in the Mediterranean city of Marsa Matrouh, went to the hotel administration where she was told that the rules are from the Ministry of Tourism and that only women in Western style bathing suits are allowed in the pool area.

    …The hotel’s administration told them they were following the ministry’s rules, which force five-star hotels to ban veiled women from entering pool areas designed for Europeans.”

    “No burqinis! Morocco hotels ban “halal” suit

    Some private pools in Morocco’s tourism hot spots have banned women from wearing burkinis, sometimes described as halal swim-suits, which cover the body and have a head covering attached.

    Several resorts in the touristic city of Marrakesh have reportedly banned the burkini in their private pools, with many citing “hygiene reasons,” according to local news reports.”

    • KenS
      Posted August 19, 2016 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      I am now officially, and completely, confused.

      • Posted August 19, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        It is logical. These countries want income from Western tourists. You do not attract Western tourists by forcing them to look at burkini.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 20, 2016 at 2:48 am | Permalink

      I’m delighted to see that.

      I trust the Norwegian embassy will give Caroline’s complaint the degree of attention it deserves.


  18. jumpedupchimpanzee
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    The burkini ban is ridiculous. A burkini looks hardly any different, and certainly covers no more, than a full wetsuit, or a hooded track suit. It’s only classified by its marketing name. If it were renamed something like a “hooded sport suit”, would or could it still be banned?

    • Posted August 19, 2016 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      The beaating your wife ban is ridiculous. The bruises and lacerations from a good beating look hardly any different from an innocent fall during a jog or down the stairs.

      • Helen Hollis
        Posted August 20, 2016 at 2:33 am | Permalink

        The Sunburn on patients with skin maladies can go off themselves I guess. They should know better than to go enjoy the outdoors in the summer. Fools to try.

        • Posted August 20, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink

          The point is that there is a difference between bruises gotten from falling down and bruises gotten from a beating, just as there is a difference between a burqa and other clothing meant to avoid sun exposure. Burqas are not meant for avoiding sun exposure.

          • Filippo
            Posted August 20, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

            What if one wore, instead of the outfit in question, a straw hat, long sleeve shirt and jeans or sweat pants (perhaps pulled up to my knees), never announcing her/his reasons for doing so? Do the French oppose that too?

            This is what I, a male, am anymore determined to wear, as a consequence of the liver spots, splotches, and other cumulative sun damage I incurred as the result of an incautious, sunburn-inviting youth. Or shall I stay off the beach so as to avoid offending certain sensibilities?

            • Posted August 20, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

              It’s not difficult to see the difference between voluntary covering-up to avoid sun exposure and involuntary burqa-wearing.

              • Helen Hollis
                Posted August 21, 2016 at 3:19 am | Permalink

                Sorry, I need help seeing it your way. It must be difficult for me though.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted August 21, 2016 at 3:47 am | Permalink

              “What if one wore, instead of the outfit in question, a straw hat, long sleeve shirt and jeans or sweat pants (perhaps pulled up to my knees), never announcing her/his reasons for doing so? Do the French oppose that too?”

              You know perfectly well they don’t.
              If your outfit was mandated by religion, and your religion would, if sufficiently powerful, impose it on everybody else – then the French would oppose it.


  19. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    It is (irrational) symbol politics. Like when France banned niqabs, burkinis are claimed to be rare. [ ]

    In daily life, it won’t mean much. In politics, it may mean a lot. It is used to play the “Islamophobia” card. [Ibid] (And for once, it may even be correct!)

    • Posted August 19, 2016 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Hijabs also used to be rare. As for the “Islamophobia” – I think part of the rationale for such acts of legislature is to send message to Islamic fundamentalists wishing to immigrate that they are not welcome. That is, to declare Islamophobia.

      • alexander
        Posted August 20, 2016 at 3:11 am | Permalink

        Strangely enough, many of the women wearing hijabs belong to the second generation of immigrants who did not give a hoot of islam. These women wear it as a protest against their parents, who often integrated. The immigrants that started arriving during the sixties in Europe were glad to get away from an oppressive society (the Arabic students I knew were very popular with Dutch girls!).

        • Filippo
          Posted August 20, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          I can see a woman, profoundly weary of the uninvited overtures of rude, intrusive, skanky, pot-bellied, Philistinic male human primates, VOLUNTARILY wearing such a garb as a solution.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted August 21, 2016 at 3:52 am | Permalink

            Oddly enough, I have never observed any bikini-clad women on any beach I’ve been on undergoing such a barrage of attention as you describe.

            Maybe it happens more often in Islamic countries. (Was that a racist crack? Yeah. Do I care? No.)


  20. Christopher
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I am very much on the fence about this one, I admit. I can say though that it is yet again very telling that in a recent news article I saw online (The Independent, last week, I think) that as soon as ISIS/IS/ISIL/Daesh was kicked out of the Syrian city of Manbij, women burned their burqas and men shaved their beards. So much for it being a “choice”.

  21. Dionigi
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I was walking in to town yesterday and came across two arabic men and one woman on holiday here. The woman was dressed in a burka, the men were in shorts and tee shirts. If the woman was wearing the burka because it was traditional why were the men not dressed in dish dasha?

    • Filippo
      Posted August 20, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      A most bloody reasonable question.

      • Alexander
        Posted August 20, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Because it is the men that decide what the women wear. And it is not only that, in Europe you often see a man in a fashionable red tea shirt and jeans, with a manicured beard and fashionable haircut, walking, followed by a miserable woman in a tent, pregnant, at a distance of 20 feet (as prescribed in some Islamic cultures), often lugging the shopping from the local market.

  22. Coolred38
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Here in Bahrain you are just as likely to see a Westerner wearing one of these as a Bahraini woman. offering protection from the sun is a huge selling point.

    • Filippo
      Posted August 20, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      For sure, and males should surely be no less concerned about skin protection.

  23. Posted August 19, 2016 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Your 2nd point concerning the oppression of women by Islam is apt. In fact, ALL religions oppress women, as you have pointed out in the past. All religions work hard to control people and the aspect they want to control the most is sexuality, especially female sexuality. The burqa, niqab, etc. are tools in that oppression in the guise of modesty/morality. A pox on all of their houses.

  24. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 20, 2016 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    “As the Times states, it’s an attempt to preserve “French culture” in the face of multiculturalism, with the assumption that French culture is superior to that of Islam”

    I’d go with that assumption, 100%. There aren’t many cultures that are not superior to Islam. And if the French can’t attempt to preserve their own culture in their own country, then who can? Muslims will have a legitimate beef about it, if and when visitors can wear bikinis in Saudi Arabia.

    I defended M&S’s burkini when it came out – after all, if ya gotta wear a sack, it might as well be a stylish sack. But if banning it helps preserve French culture I’d be right behind the ban. I do have doubts about its practical effectiveness, though.


  25. Helen Hollis
    Posted August 20, 2016 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    If a person suffered from skin cancer or another ailment that prevented them from being outdoors without protective clothing be out of options to protect themselves if it were illegal for them to do so?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 20, 2016 at 2:50 am | Permalink

      I’m sure a doctor’s certificate would be appropriate and efficacious.


      • Filippo
        Posted August 20, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        As opposed to no less requiring a doctor’s certificate certifying that the certificate bearer’s skin is sufficiently sun-resistant so as to allow the bearer to bear much of her/his skin to sun exposure?

        (I’m reminded of, “Mind if I not smoke?”)

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:28 am | Permalink

          I think the point is, whatever any particular rule might be, there’s usually an exemption allowed for medical reasons. So Helen Hollis’s argument is a bit of a strawman, IMO.


          • Helen Hollis
            Posted August 21, 2016 at 3:10 am | Permalink

            There is usually an exemption for religious reasons allowed for those who refuse immunizations.

  26. Posted August 20, 2016 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    The French would be French without their occasional arbitrary decrees (enacted in the name of la liberté, of course), and their other frequent contradictions. A France without paradoxes would be no France at all.

  27. Posted August 20, 2016 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    On the other hand, aggressive Islam should be shown no tolerance at all. Especially in a predominantly Catholic country that is intolerant to ostentatious displays of Catholic piety. Such tolerance would, to Islamists, be an obvious mark of weakness, meriting full exploitation.

    • Alexander
      Posted August 20, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      I wouldn’t call France a predominantly Catholic country, only one in twenty attends church. I remember an interview by a French journalists of one of the protagonists of the Dover evolution trial, and she gasped when the interviewee said he was a Christian. Nobody would ever say on French Radio that he or she is a Christian.

      • Posted August 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Although very few regularly attend church, the vast majority of indigenous French identify as Catholic, and it affects their thinking, and is ingrained in their culture.

        • Alexander
          Posted August 20, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          I don’t agree. Which other country has banned the teaching of theology from its state universities, and religion from its high schools? And unlike Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany (and probably now some formerly communist countries)you don’t have political parties affiliated with religions. Unlike other countries, clergy is not paid by taxpayers, and the French state owns all churches built before, I believe, 1905. The French constitution views the public space as secular, in which the exhibition of religion and religious symbols has no place, and this causes the problem with the display of religious symbols by religions that are obviously proselytizing. Orthodox Jews don’t proselytize, and therefore their dress is not viewed as offensive.

  28. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted August 20, 2016 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    I suspect the ‘burkini’ ban is just one part of a bigger political issue. There’s a noticeable proportion of Muslims in Western societies who choose to maintain a separate (from mainstream) cultural/religious existence. When it is just ‘I like wearing these clothes’ it’s a matter of personal preference. When ‘it’s I wear these clothes (eat this food, pray this way, follow these religious laws) because the rest of you are infidels’ it becomes divisive and allows fear and victimhood to fester on both sides of the cultural divide.

    So I’m not keen to ban the burkini, but equally keen to establish a ban on particular forms of dress for valid secular reasons. So you don’t allow face covering in banks (which includes hoodies and cycle helmets as well), posing for ID photographs, or (possibly) teaching children..

  29. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 20, 2016 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    Retweeted by human rights watch:

    Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein)
    8/18/16, 06:47
    Time for a swimwear quiz: Banned in France or not? 4 photos to highlight the hateful idiocy of the #BurkiniBan

  30. sensorrhea
    Posted August 20, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    To me the point about the implicit shaming of non-covered women by those who choose to cover is key here. It’s more than shame, it’s fear induced in uncovered women that there is a patriarchal culture waiting for its opportunity to enforce its ideas about women’s rights.

    The culture of “voluntary” covering in the west is a sham because it emanates from countries that enforce such covering.

    • Alexander
      Posted August 20, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      “The culture of “voluntary” covering in the west is a sham because it emanates from countries that enforce such covering.”

      This covering is also enforced in Europe itself. Not only on a family level-I know a case where parents of a girl were terrified by the prospect her marrying a fundamentalist Muslim, who will demand that not only she covers up, but also the mother and the sisters, since he will be the “boss” of the family. And recently there have been several cases of self-appointed “religious police” in Muslim areas in Germany who harass women walking by themselves after nine, whose clothing is not Islamic, etc.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:14 am | Permalink

        “I know a case where parents of a girl were terrified by the prospect her marrying a fundamentalist Muslim, who will demand that not only she covers up, but also the mother and the sisters, since he will be the “boss” of the family.”

        I would hope the mother and sisters would take great satisfaction from telling the brother-in-law to comprehensively fuck himself any time he tries anything of the sort…


  31. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 20, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink (@khamenei_ir)
    8/20/16, 08:32
    All must appreciate from bottom of heart value of woman athletes attending intl. arenas with hijab. 3/11/13 #Rio2016

  32. Filippo
    Posted August 20, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    ” , , , French culture or values . . . .”

    On NPR a few mornings ago, French teen/early 20’s women were interviewed, saying to the effect that smoking was part of French culture, and that they were determined to do their part to preserve and perpetuate that aspect of the culture. Seems that the French gov’t needs to focus less on burkinis and more on youths’ obsession with being “cool” by smoking.

    I’m reasonably fine to hear any NY Times editorial criticizing the French ban on burkinis, so long as they immediately follow it with one criticizing Saudi Arabia’s modus operandi, and acknowledging in which country women are better treated.

    I want to hear the Time’s opinion about any Muslim woman in France declining to wear the burkini, or who wishes to leave the Islam faith, and getting abused (or killed) for it by Muslim men.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:17 am | Permalink


      Couldn’t help noticing, in Paris, that all* the women were quite stylishly dressed. They don’t need a dress code.


      (* Well, all the women I bothered to look at, anyway 😉

  33. Kevin
    Posted August 20, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    There should be no ban. Let them wear what they are forced to wear.

    The best strategy is to make people who wear restricted clothing understand that it is their lives that are restricted. It is a game of pretend to choose. No one really want any part of this.

  34. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 20, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Maybe a bit OT, but that word, “burkini,” reminds me of the mixed-race taxonomy Mo’Nique laid down for a faux-Jerry Springer audience in the sadly underrated, Tony Scott-directed flick Domino. (E.g., black + Latino = “Blacktino”; black + Chinese = “Chinegro”; Japanese + Hispanic = “Japanic”)

  35. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    The thing I find outrageous about the whole headscarf thing is how we are all EXPECTED not to say anything or ask anything of a headscarf wearer, yet, headscarf wearers have ALL the say, being the promotion of religion. More outrageous, when we socialize with the people in the big black robe things – oh, we can’t say anything ooo it’s their special religion. I even heard someone shout “I think that is AWESOME!”, as if to go the other way with it. Same is true for those sparkly shiny cross necklaces. Yet I sit there with an Old Navy tee, with my mouth shut.

  36. Anty
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    “I asked the group if they were in favor of the hijab ban. They unanimously said “yes!”, with their argument being this: “If the hijab were optional, some Muslim women would put it on, and then they would start to shame the rest of us as ‘bad Muslims’ for refusing to wear it.” Now that is social pressure, and it occurs even when covering is optional.” This reminds of a common argument against guns in school, that they make students that oppose them feel less safe, and creates an insidious pressure for everyone to have guns without it having a real effect on security. Interesting.

  37. Jaylemeux
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    “Here’s where the NYT becomes credulous:”

    I wouldn’t lay this on NYT as a whole. The article was written by Amanda Taub, who is of the “there is no such thing as political correctness” camp.…/political-correctness-doesnt-exist

  38. Dominic
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    People should be able to wear what they want – including nothing at all.

  39. Posted August 22, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    “France’s laïcité policy of secularism, a Gallic version of America’s First Amendment designed to keep religious influence out of government”

    I think this is only partially the case, which is why one gets seemingly more extreme situations (like this ban) in France (and my native Quebec, which has sort of tagged along in that respect since the 1960s or so). I get the impression that part of the goal is to help ensure that the country is *culturally* secular, not just the state apparatus. (I don’t think it works, to be honest.)

  40. Posted August 23, 2016 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    France has been hit hard, by Muslims that they wanted to take in, that they wanted to assimilate…They said no, Islam is superior, and screw your culture. Enough is enough. The Burqini is a symbol of political Islam and is a tool used to oppress women, just like the Hijab, Burqa, and Niqab. All of them should be banned in public. If you want crazy religious traditions then do them on private property. Otherwise feel free to join the 21st Century and time. I’ll be there with open arms to welcome you and help you rid yourself of this vestigial parasite that is Islam (same goes for any other religion of course, but Islam in particular as it is the worst religion by far based on number of deaths alone right now).

  41. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Tweet by Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein)
    8/24/16, 00:44
    Woman humiliated & fined for not wearing “outfit respecting good morals.” Not Saudi. France.…

    … here’s the Guardian article:

  42. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Let two of our “intellectual confreres” set everything straight:

  43. Nicholas Arand
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    I think this kind of ban is ridiculous. Completely senseless. Liberals should not try to fight oppression by oppressing the oppressed. I understand that a part of these women are choosing to wear their burkini the same way western women chooses to wear tops and shirts in places men can walk around top naked, but we should defend their freedom and their right to do so.

    It’s like trying to fight domestic violence by forbidding women from walking around with a black eye.

  44. Harold
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Muslim women need to wear special clothing in Europe so their brothers know who not to harass. If I was a non-Muslim woman In Europe I’d be wearing the Hijab

  45. TheMoralPhilosopher
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Now apply the above arguments to the question of the attitude of western society to the exposure/concealment of breasts by women in public (or – if you want to remove the gender aspect – the exposure of genitalia by anyone)

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