Women's Right to Wear What They Want: Burkini Ban

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 836 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Words: 836|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Table of contents

  1. The Burkini Ban: Limiting Women's Clothes
  2. Islam and Oppression of Women's Choice What to Wear
  3. Double Standards and Cultural Tensions
  4. Works Cited

The Burkini Ban: Limiting Women's Clothes

Along the beautiful coast of France’s Riveria, the public enjoys the freedom of soaking in the sun rays and displaying their fashion, while also respecting women's right to wear what they want. However, in recent years, what started as a temporary ban by one resort, expanded to European countries regulating what people can and cannot wear under the guise of public safety. Notably, this was the Burkini Ban (Dearden 2016). The Burkini sported by Muslim women to practice modesty yet enjoy a day at the beach ignited a discussion about the nuances of toleration and the implicit biases against those from Middle Eastern origin. A portmanteau of burqa and bikini, this modest swimwear covers the entire body except for the face, hands, and feet, similar to a wetsuit.

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Presumably, this targeted Muslim women by imposing a fine on those who do not wear something more like a traditional European bathing suit, which is far more revealing, or in some instances no bathing suit altogether for nudity. The secular state should allow women to wear what they want, and with the reasonable assumption, this does not lend itself to public indecency. The ban is discriminatory towards Muslims given the public outrage and footage of Muslim women being publicly confronted on beaches to remove their garments, whilst there were no instances reported about wetsuits or nun’s habits. This demonstrated that secularism has been wielded to discriminate against those practicing their religion in regular comfort but are subjected to civil annoyances and misdirected anger against radical terrorism.

Islam and Oppression of Women's Choice What to Wear

Based on the opposition, the anthropological assessment that Muslim women have been oppressed is relative to Western standards and without deliberate scrutiny. Commentary by the former Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, to the La Provence newspaper explains “The burkini is not a new range of swimwear, a fashion,’ he said. ‘It is the expression of a political project, a counter-society, based notably on the enslavement of women.” (Dearden 2016). The polarizing viewpoint of a right-winged nationalist is that altogether Islam degrades women and this apparel is a front for the radical Jihadist propaganda. While this resonated with a specific French political sect, this should have not been conflated with the public fears following the Nice attack when an ISIS sympathizer mowed down 86 people and injured several hundred on Bastille Day, July 14th. They should never be forgotten, but not at the mercy of misdirected angry towards the innocent and peaceful. This position poses crucial concerns for public safety; however, this definitively demonstrated an implicit bias against Muslim women.

For the sake of physical objectiveness, the burkini mimics the coverage of a scuba suit but for the Muslim woman to practice the modest option at the beach. Given there are many sects of Islam and distinct cultures within the religion, not every Muslim woman would wear the burkini but for those to elect to. As for skin coverage, this suit would even be suited for those facing skin cancer. With this comparison to other viable options with no fines imposed on those with wetsuits, this ability to fine woman demonstrates discrimination.

Double Standards and Cultural Tensions

Further, under this guise of regulating whether women can fully clothe themselves is ironic to the premise that the West is liberating and empowering to a woman by establishing a double standard of cultures. The ban illustrates the tension between those who are radically right-winged and those seeking refuge from the Middle East. As noted by Evan Haefeli, “toleration is a relationship and a deeply, inescapably partisan one, for it involves a relationship between two or more different parties, none of whom will be equally satisfied with whatever their particular relationship happens to be at a given moment” (Haefeli 2015). By deploying the term tolerance without context is to promote a partisan stance as this compromises the neutrality and fairness that the term elicits. As such, the Burkini ban was motivated from a deep-seated view that Europe is evermore transforming with ethnic and religious diversity despite attempts to restrain migrants.

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With no infringement on other’s way of life, a right-wing nationalist tout religious freedoms and women’s day-to-day liberties. This was a display that the political sects were so much further from the truth of their criticisms. Context matter, facts matter. This was without regard to decency and a way to project distaste of a developing pluralistic society. Moving forward, national governments whose missions are to establish secularity, should be vigilant and progressive to accommodate religious freedoms and not misuse their might to suppress statutorily protected traits of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability, age, and citizenship status. Western countries have political pipelines to ensure the protection of their people and can adapt to an ever-changing society with the power of democracy. 

Works Cited

  1. Dearden, Lizzie. “France Burkini Ban: What Is It and Why Is It Controversial?” The Independent, 17 Aug. 2016,
  2. Haefeli, Evan. “Toleration as Paradox.” Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 76, no. 2, 2015, pp. 321-342.
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Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

Women’s Right to Wear What They Want: Burkini Ban. (2023, August 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from
“Women’s Right to Wear What They Want: Burkini Ban.” GradesFixer, 04 Aug. 2023,
Women’s Right to Wear What They Want: Burkini Ban. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Feb. 2024].
Women’s Right to Wear What They Want: Burkini Ban [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 04 [cited 2024 Feb 26]. Available from:
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