“In olden days, a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking.
But now, God knows,
I believe Cole Porter couldn’t have conceived just how apt his lyric would be today when anything really goes.
The debate about how people should dresss has been there since long but it has resurfaced in Europe when some French towns temporarily banned the ‘burkini’ (and any ‘religious’ clothing) on beaches – a move supported by many politicians including former French president Nicolas Sarkozy who has said if he becomes President he will extend the ban across France─ The fact that the burkini itself isn’t actually a religious item of clothing, means nothing and it leads to the hypocrisy as how it could be illegal for a Muslim women to be fully dressed while a western surfer in wet suit and hood is perfectly legal.
The reasons given for the ban include ‘hygiene’ (what even does that mean?!) as well as to prevent terrorism, (because of course bombs and guns have always been hidden in women’s layers of clothing)
Another reason which is increasingly being presented is that items of clothing such as the burkini and the niqab should be banned because they are ‘backward’ and not progressive.
These claims that Muslims should ‘move with the times’ are regularly brought when it comes to clothing as well as integration in general because some people feel that Muslims can’t in fact integrate unless Muslim women throw their veils off.
This perceptiom has all resulted in the innocent Muslim woman becoming a target for hate, something even the much loved Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain said she has faced.
In the West the clothing of past times was often seen as restrictive; in Victorian times all those corsets and layers of skirts plus the hats and bonnets. Men wore suits and neckties and didn’t go outside without a hat.
This stage of ‘clothed because sophisticated’ came after Man was first created, unclothed; a state of covering up began afterwards, first with furs and skins then, after needles were invented, with something closer to the clothing of today.
If we go with this approach, a man discarding his clothes is actually ‘regressive’ as he is moving back to his primitive stage.
Moreover, there is a clear discrimination when it comes to clothing as the standards are still different for men and women.
According to European standars, women who have lost their ‘restrictive’ clothing while that of men has just been modified.
The discrimination can be clearly seen when male news presenter wear a suit and tie while their female counterparts are scantily dressed and usually wear miniskirts.
Celebrity fashion too suffers from the same sort of discrimination as men’s fashion is mostly about covering their body parts in a way which makes them feel good while women’s fashion is about showing their ‘flawless’ bodies. All award ceremonies, fashion shows and even advertisements come with the same message.
Why women are encouraged to uncover them?? just because men find it attractive! isn’t this trend making women slaves of men??
Whatever the reason, this underlying hypocrisy is the reason I find the burkini debate so distasteful.
There are significant numbers of people who believe it is acceptable for armed (fully clothed) police to force a Muslim woman to undress in public on the pretext of liberation even if they don’t believe it prevents terrorism.
They want to ban the full face veil because they presume the poor Muslim women are forced to cover every inch of their bodies by their domineering male relatives. Thus the Muslim woman who decides to go to a beach with a full body swimsuit, is not only provocative but is also downtrodden and needs laws to liberate her in a world where there is no law to liberate a woman (actually a mental slave) who is wearing revealing clothes just to please men.
Liberalism, in its true form, is giving women as well as men the freedom to choose how to live and what to wear; sadly though, it seems women are actually a long way from gaining liberation.