Birkini Ban: My Threat is Bigger than Your Threat!

"Feeling Threatened" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
“Feeling Threatened” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

This cartoon is inspired by the story of the Muslim woman on a beach in Nice, France, who was forced by several police to remove her cultural clothing. In public.

You’ve heard the joke by now: “How many police officers does it take to force a woman to take off her clothes?”

Mix a little Islamophobia and a little sexism with a little power and what do you get? Tyranny!

Generally, it comes down to men telling women how to dress.

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26 Replies to “Birkini Ban: My Threat is Bigger than Your Threat!”

  1. If I owned a store, I would refuse to serve anyone who came into my establishment with a paper bag over their head. But if they want to do so in public space, well, I guess I would not make it illegal. But part of me whispers to my mind, that a good public dress law would be: if our best facial recognition software can’t tell who you are when in public space, then you need a permit for that dress.

    I am a big pro-liberty person, though a little less as I get older. But anonymity is not a natural freedom, in my book.

  2. Just think, David: if you had a choice, how would you rather sit at the beach in summer? Theo Van Gogh was shot for making a video with Ayan Hirsi Ali suggesting that a woman might like to feel the air in her face, her hair, her neck.

  3. You see Brigitte: as a man I get to choose how I sit at the beach. You as a woman are not! That’s the whole point!

    Her face wasn’t covered. She just had on leggings, sleeves, and hair-covering. Not her face at all. But she was “offending moral and liberal values” of France.

    Paper bags over our heads is not the equivalent of cultural dress. We in Canada serve people with head coverings all the fucking time and no one gets hurt.

    The world is becoming a world of wimps offended and scared of anything and anyone that they don’t agree with or isn’t like them.

  4. “Cultural Dress” — I don’t care if you call it culture, religion, nationalism or whatever, I am not a relativist. I don’t turn off my discrimination just because someone says “but it is my religion”, “it is my culture”. Even you, David, decry many cultural practices.

    Head coverings, are different than face coverings — look at your cartoon. You are talking about some situation but drawing another — it adds to confusion.

    In NYC I was almost hit by a van with (supposedly) a woman if full burha — even screened eyes. THAT should be illegal. cultural smartural.

    I love difference, I hate dangerous.

    If Burka covered Muslims canvassed my neighborhood like Mormons do, I would most certainly not open my door.

    PS: Brigitte mentioned a very innocent point about horrible cultural practices. See the AHA foundation & see the article on Ali & Gogh — horrible ideas deserve criticism.

    Several issues here:
    1. Should we be able to dress as we please
    2. Is hiding our identity something that everyone, everywhere tolerated
    3. Should we criticize male-religions (or cultures) that tell women how to dress – even if many of their women buy into the domination?

  5. Also, David, her boobs are discernible. That could be against her male relative’s honor, and we know what that means. AND, the burka is not pitch black, there are some clerical opinions out there, that forbid anything but black. With gloves. Make it even hotter for her.

  6. Persecution based on religion/religious clothing plain and simple. Those police officers/the state are bringing freedom to that oppressed woman just like the US military brings democracy to unstable foreign oil rich nations. Let’s put one side of this debate aside for a moment and for the sake of discussion assume that that woman is oppressed, hot, and uncomfortable. Is law enforcement demanding she remove clothing in a public and embarrassing way the appropriate response? Is this woman now free? Are her oppressors now appropriately dealt with? Does she now have fewer, or more numerous oppressors? The approach that is being taken in France divides people, the disrespect shown to this woman will lead to more hatred and entrenchment. The approach from Canada, of openness and tolerance and embracing people with different religions and cultural backgrounds is one we can be proud of. We must continue to say no to fear and the intolerance it brings.

  7. Sabio, WHY do you CARE which bit of her is exposed? If we all bared are genitals as ‘normal’ and there was ‘genital recognition software then I suppose you’d want her to expose her genitals. That is one of the most ABSURD bits of logic I’ve heard from you…..and I’m usually a fan of your ‘non-conformist’ posts here.

  8. Good cartoon. Telling women they have to wear less clothes on the beach? Come on.
    What do they tell nuns that go to the beach?

  9. ooops ….’If we bared all OUR genitals’ is what that should say. Ugh I DO HATE IT when I misspell things.

  10. @ purvez
    Let’s keep it simple:
    (1) Do you condone a culture that tells their women (on penalty of jail or far worse) that they should cover their faces?
    (2) Do you think driving with Burka is safe.
    (3) Would you open your door to people completely hidden under a sheet?

  11. The optics are definitely bad. And we can feel for the woman who has already achieved something by just going to the beach, even in the Burkini. It might even be a great garment when the weather is a bit more inclement. The problem is that a “modest” woman must wear something like that. That makes all the rest of us “immodest”. This is what bothers me, a lot. I meet someone on the beach, and they will form a judgement about my character based on my not wearing a Burkini.

    The comparison with the nuns does not work, because they are not under threat of being called unChristian if they wore something more comfortable or appropriate to the setting. For them it really is a choice.

  12. Those who call themselves “left” on the spectrum and “liberal” don’t lift a finger to actually rescue Muslim women from oppression, forced marriage, violence in marriage and honor killings. Now these same individuals want to prove their freedom loving, liberal worldview by declaring that the wearing of the Burka or Niqab is a human right.

    NO. The rights of women are human rights. Instead, Gender-apartheit is a violation of human rights.
    Hamad Abdal Samad, German-Egyptian intellectual, said this the other day, see below. However, he does not want to inhibit Muslim women who are getting into sports.


    Forced marriage and honor killings are legitimized by this very segregation of the sexes. This view of gender-segregation also is the cause of terrorism because it rejects and despises the lifestyle of an entire society, but also because it leads more readily to the actual committing of violent acts against this “sinful” society!

  13. It still leaves the question. If most are against the face veil, does the one who insists on wearing it have the “right and freedom” to wear it, for one thing so she does not run over Sabio in her car. If there will be an officer who makes her remove her face veil, what are we going to say? What if the situation were like the cartoon is drawn? Then what? Sabio already asked that.

  14. Maybe you can draw a cartoon where the veiled woman is yanked out of the car by religious police in Saudi Arabia. What about the “human rights”, in that situation? That is the point made by Hamad Abdal Samad. It is the sort of thing, liberal minded people, so-called, just let go, trivialize, ignore.

  15. @Brigitte:
    I agree, the issue for me is first, face veils — which was my point from the beginning, and David’s post shows face veil but then he talks about the burkini incident inspiring the inaccurate cartoon.
    Second, the issue of many Islamists (even moderates) telling women how the MUST dress — I think that cultural must NOT be tolerated even if many women buy into it. (I am alluding to the Stockholm Syndrome, of course, among other such things.)

    For what it is worth, I think head coverings look cool and attractive. But I think enforcement of them is horrible. It is face veiling that is horrible under all conditions. Oh, and btw, my Pakistani home-stay “Mom” wore full burkha in public and head covering in house. It took three months before she even lowered her scarf to show her face (just eyes, prior) to me in the home. Eventually her and I cooked breakfast each morning together. On leaving she cried and hugged me saying, “Now you leave after finally learning Urdu, and at last, being able to roll a round chapatti.” [just wanted David to know my positions do not come from naivety or reactionary ideas ]

  16. How Hamad Abdal Samad has it tonight: “If you are outraged that the Birkini is banned on the beaches of France, but you are not outraged that they don’t permit churches to be built in your country, you are a hypocrite. If you are outraged that Mohammed was drawn with a bomb in his turban , but you are not outraged that bombs drop on your brothers, who are real people, you are a hypocrite” (Google translator from the Arabic.)

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