The current burkini bans and the ensuing controversy are yet another indicator of the low standards of the French political class as a whole. Rather than acknowledging that terrorist and (even less) psychopath attacks cannot be always prevented and that a democratic society has to live with the possibility of such dangers, politicians of both sides engage into a blame game and try to cater to far-right and xenophobic voters by introducing anti-democratic measures such as this absurd ban. Measures that have no impact whatsoever on the security threats but strongly infringe upon civil liberties. The reasons advanced by the dozen of mayors who imposed such bans are non-sensical: from hygiene (walking or bathing on one of those beaches can quickly demonstrate this is not a shared concern!), to good manners (no matter how one defines this term, beaches are the last place to seek good manners!), to public order (if wearing a specific dress leads to verbal or physical aggressions by other beach-goers, the aggressors should be prosecuted, not the aggressed), to women rights (because the few women involved visibly cannot make their own choices) and to security (of whom? the wearer who could drown in 30cm of water or the watcher who could choke upon one’s extreme-righteous rage?!). No, the real and only reason is to exclude muslim gear from beaches, once again to cater to the extreme portion of the electorate. Further, as noted by many commentators on this ridiculous affair, this ban only impacts women, while no French policeman goes asking male sunbathers about their religious or political opinions… Local and State authorities would be definitely inspired in creating support against social, religious and sexual harassment on women, rather than adding to this harassment.
As someone permanently opposed to dress codes, whether imposed by State, religions or social environment, I obviously object to such bans as a privation of liberty. The way and the reasons people dress or undress the way they dress or undress is their business, it does not have to account for the feelings of the onlookers, and one does not have to provide justification for wearing long sleeves or a scarf on a beach. Just as one does not have to wear long sleeves or a scarf to obey social pressure. The very few times I could not avoid standing on a beach with no shade, I chose to cover myself as much as possible. And did not feel I needed to give a reason for my attitude. The same should apply to everyone: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité!