• Wear Whatever The Hell You Want

    photo by Lee Thompson
    photo by Lee Thompson

    France has made headlines recently when multiple beach towns implemented a ban on “burkinis.” Burkinis are a fully covered swimsuit often worn by Muslim women. They are pretty much burkas for the beach.

    People have long argued that burkas and by extension, burkinis are a sign of religious oppression. In many areas of the world, it is illegal for women not to wear burkas in public. In other places, women are coerced through cultural norms to wear burkas. On the flip side, it has been argued by some Muslims that non-Muslims have been brainwashed by secular cultural norms to wear more revealing clothing to please the men. Some Muslim women even argue that covering up is their choice to protect themselves against unwanted attention, stares, and advances made by men.

    Conversely, there is a movement in America to overturn laws forcing women to cover their breasts in public. Their argument is that women shouldn’t be shamed for going topless and that it is religious puritanism that is at the heart of these types of restrictive laws. Women have the right to their own bodies and just because they are topless that is no excuse for any negative behavior toward them by men.

    Points for both sides. Here is a novel thought, why can’t people wear whatever the hell they want whether that means wearing a sack over their body or wearing nothing at all. Sure, there are going to be some cultural coercive pressures on people to wear or not wear certain attire that fit with cultural values but we should make an effort to try to minimize that coercion as much as possible.

    If a Muslim woman living in a free society chooses to wear a burkini on the beach, that is her choice. And if an American woman living in a free society chooses to go topless on the city street, that is her choice. As long as no one is being threatened for their wardrobe choices, I don’t have a problem.

    Category: featuredFemnismFree SpeechIslamReligionsecularismSex PositiveSocial Justice


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.


    1. I tend to agree, but I haven’t been following this particular outrage so I may be missing something here. There are all sorts of things I see people wearing that I find ridiculous, but how others dress is not and should not be up to me. If someone want to wear traditional religious garb, so be it. I think that doing so in this case will likely be interpreted as a refusal to assimilate, but I suppose that is another issue.

    2. Under most circumstances, I would heartily agree that people should be able to wear what they want. But the French are faced with a serious threat. Unassimilated Muslims are a seen as a real risk to the safety of the people. That being the case, they may believe they are within their rights to encourage people to become part of their society.

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