One illustration destroys the argument that the burkini ban isn't about Islamophobia.
France recently banned “burkinis,” which can be seen on women who are wearing headscarves and bodysuits and are primarily spotted on Muslim women. France has been a large perpetrator of Islamophobia, likely because of repeated attacks in their country, that have caused them to first ban scarves that cover women’s faces and now ban burkinis.
Now, when French police in certain cities encounter a woman wearing a burkini, they are allowed to force them to remove extra covering and give them a ticket with a hefty fine.
What’s terrible about this situation is that photos have revealed how this is shockingly similar to the way women’s bodies were policed decades ago. Photos placed side-by-side have been taken at the beach in different centuries to show how things have not changed. Back then, women were not allowed to show too much skin, and now they are essentially not allowed to cover up too much.
People in a range of different countries have expressed outrage over these new laws, as Muslim women are persecuted for their religious beliefs. One such concerned citizen is an illustrator named Amy Clancy, who drew about the hypocrisy of the burkini ban.
Although France claims that the law is to promote “good morals and secularism” and that it extends to people of all races, religions, and sexes, it’s clear that they are targeting this group of people.
That’s why Clancy’s illustration points out how France’s law doesn’t make sense and certainly doesn’t extend to everyone. On the left, there is a woman in a bikini with a swimming cap on. In the middle, the woman is wearing a wetsuit, which are often sported by surfers and others engaging in water sports. Both of these photos depict women who are within the realm of the law. However, on the right is a woman who is wearing a wetsuit and a bathing cap and can rightfully be given a ticket for her apparel. Clancy said of the cartoon,
“I like to represent ideas visually, and this clear example of double standards lent itself well to a very simple illustration. It was a small act of protest before I left for work. I only wish I had included a nun as well.”
It’s ridiculous because it’s the two legal items of clothing put together in one outfit that makes the ensemble illegal, and it’s likely that only Muslim women will ever be fined for wearing this outfit at the beach.
Polls have shown that the majority of French citizens are in favor of these new laws because of the widespread fear and hate. These are the kind of laws that America could see being adopted if Trump were to become president, as he is running on a platform filled with this same fear and hate.
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