Ah, the “burkini.” Not since the 1946 debut of the “bikini” has there been such a roil over women’s beach attire. Shortly after Frenchman Louis Réard unleashed his novel bikini on the unsuspecting world, he famously stated that the garment “reveals everything about a girl except for her mother’s maiden name.”
Modestly, clearly, was not the goal and the bikini went on to be banned in several European countries. Religious groups hated it; feminists loathed it. It was a scandal of French origins. But we’ll come back to that…
Now bear in mind, only a few decades prior to the “immoral” bikini, pro swimmer Annette Kellermann was arrested on a beach in Boston for wearing what today would be deemed a very modest one-piece swimming outfit which covered her entire torso down to her thighs. She was picked up for indecency.
Though shocked, the athletic Kellermann maintained her sense of humor, going on to say, “the judge was quite nice and allowed me to wear the suit if I would wear a full-length cape to the water’s edge.”
Catch that? Apparently she was so bootylicious the Yanks couldn’t bear to witness her body without it being draped in a cape! Indeed Kellermann, who later went into acting, was labelled the “Perfect Woman” in a Harvard study for her natural and healthy physique. So there is some credence to the argument she so voluptuously filled out her one-piece that the pruds had it out for her.
She had an uphill battle to fight in the early 1900’s, for women to have the right to wear swimming attire like her own preferred outfit. Her perseverance paid off and eventually she launched her own swimwear line based on like designs…which again would seem quite modest today.
In fact some of her outfits, which in photos even include a head covering, were not so different from the burkini. Indeed her arrest seems to parallel the recent incident in Nice, France, where a team of armed officers confronted a burkini-clad beachgoer laying on her back and minding her own business. She was forced to disrobe and issued a ticket for not wearing “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism.”
That first bit is startlingly similar to Kellermann’s alleged offense. The difference, of course, is that Kellermann was viewed as exposing too much; the burkini dares to not expose enough. In France, it’s bad morals to not wear one of their bikinis at the beach. It’s literally scandalous to be modest!
(Oh, France, we love you but sometimes…)
Such conceit is in-line with their often Bizarro world reasoning, though. And of course their larger complaint deals with the latter bit on the ticket—the “secularism” part. But is the burkini a strictly Islamic garment? Not according to the designer, Aheda Zanetti, who is dumbfounded by France’s logic (or lack thereof). “I hope that they understand that it’s not something that symbolizes anything,” she declares, “—that anyone can wear it, that it’s not harming anything in any way.”
So do all Muslim women wear burkinis? Some do, not all. Are non-Muslims allowed to wear the burkini? According to the designer specs, yes, of course! So Aheda is right, isn’t she? It isn’t “hurting” anything…
Oh, but it is, Aheda! It’s hurting France’s fierce secularity, as clearly stated on the ticket itself. Or, to put a blunter point on it, it hurts their fierce atheism. For let us be clear in our own declarations—France is well-known to be an unusually non-religious nation, or in other words, an atheistic one. In a 2010 poll, 40% of respondents agreed with the statement: “You don’t believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force.” That’s just one example of many.
Such is their choice, though. French society, in general, really seems to dislike religion…and naturally they aren’t required to like it. But it’s more than that; they disdain those who do like it. This burkini ban isn’t about fear of Muslims, it is about fear of faith in general. They relish in their lack of “faith-based morals.”
When the bikini came out, the French cheered. Oh, it’s insulting to the Puritan sensibilities of others? Bien!
Remember this is the country which birthed Marcel Duchamp, the—ahem—artist best known for “readymade” works, meaning he just took random junk and said, “oh, look, this is art” and then he signed it. One of his most famous pieces is an objet trouvé (or “found object”), a postcard of Mona Lisa which he drew a mustache on then wrote the letters L.H.O.O.Q. underneath (a middle-school pun which insinuated “she is hot in the arse”).
Duchamp is considered one of France’s most significant artists.
(Below: Another vital work of art by DuChamp…a toilet. Actually this is a replica of the famous and esteemed piece of art).
OPINION ALERT: The point is when it comes to culture, France has an extensive and varied history of making no sense and of producing ideas and concepts with the intentional aim of confusing or putting off the rest of the civilized world. There, I said it. Sorry, France, but you know it is true. How about those fashion show outfits, eh? Ever see a real human being wearing any of that garbage out on the streets? The answer is NO. We all hate these things! Please stop the madness!
And this burkini ban is yet another unsavory hors d’oeuvre in the long table of their bizarre offerings to Western society. Like a platter of frog legs, it is unappetizing and we’re better off without it.