The recent burkini ban has created a spark that was perhaps much needed. Despite the fact that the ban has been declared illegal by the French court, it has indeed left its mark. The ban basically stated that no woman could wear a 'burkini' or a full body swimsuit at a public beach. This caused fury not only amongst individuals donning burkinis but also amongst those who had nothing to do with such attire. The reason behind this was fairly simple- the ban violated the right every individual has to the freedom to choose what to wear. While it makes me happy to see the ban getting reversed, as no woman deserves to be coerced into wearing- or taking off- a piece of clothing against her will, it deeply troubles me since there are many other countries where women are not given the right to choose what to wear yet a public outcry of this degree hasnt been made.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is well known for oppressing minorities and women. Women, in the scorching heat of the desert, are required to be covered completely from head to toe in a black cloak. I strongly condemn the fact that women are forced into dressing in a certain way, be it women in Saudi Arabia or women in France. However, lately I have observed people strongly condemning the burkini ban while supporting the forceful donning of the veil in Saudi Arabia. The people lashing out against the burkini ban are supporting the draconian laws pertaining to women's rights in Saudi Arabia, including the right to be able to choose what to wear.
It is important to see the burkini ban from a perspective that dos not involve religion just as much as it is to see Saudi Arabia's rules regarding the veil. Several champions of women's rights simply bring in religion to justify the forceful covering up of women in Saudi Arabia while dismissing the burkini ban not as a ban that violates religious rules but as a violation of women's rights. Such hypocrisy is something that should not be tolerated.
The truth is, the burkini ban is yet another piece of evidence that shows how a male dominated world tries to control women, through whatever ways possible. The easiest way to dominate a woman is to criticise the way she dresses up. This ban highlights a problem that has been present since the creation of civilisation; inequality between the genders. Why does the world seem obsessed with dictating women what to wear and what not to wear? Why is it that men get offended if women choose to wear too much or too little clothing? Why do bans pertaining to clothing mostly target women?
The burkini ban is as offensive as the forcibly covering up women in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran. Recently, men in Iran wore headscarves in solidarity with their wives who are required by the law to cover their heads in public places. It is sad to see that these men didn't get as much support as men who were protesting against the burkini ban.
Women should not be dictated to wear, or take of, a certain piece of clothing. It shouldn't matter to anyone if a woman wears a burkini or a bikini, as long as the woman isn't being forced into it. And everyone fighting against the burkini ban yet supporting the forceful covering up of women in Saudi Arabia must put an end to the hypocrisy that has become embedded in the Muslim world.