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The burkini, a symbol of gender inequality?

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Hannah

Avatar Hannah
Member since June 8, 2015
  • 37 Posts
  • Age 19

Photo credit: twitter.com

Photo credit: twitter.com

When some French cities introduced the burkini ban, a member of the NVA (one of Belgium’s political parties) pleaded for a burkini ban in Belgium. Later, party leader Bart De Wever came back on this statement and said NVA is not going to plead for a ban because from a legal point, it is not achievable. On principle, the party is in fact against the burkini. Why? "Our party unanimously rejects the burkini that we see as a symbol of the inequality between men and women. Even if it is a woman's own choice, we prefer not to see it.”

With freedom as argument, I get why people think the burkini ban is a good idea. I don’t agree because I do not believe that those who were forced to wear a burkini are going to be allowed to choose what to wear to the beach because the burkini is banned, while those who freely chose to wear a burkini are not free anymore. Yet I do get it and definitely do acknowledge that there are women who are being forced to wear a burkini and it is a problem. But if a woman 100% freely chooses to wear a burkini, then how can it be a symbol of gender inequality? Gender inequality is not about wearing the exact same clothes or beachwear. I mean, are they going to forbid the bikini too? Or are they going to make men to wear a bikini? Men and women are not wearing the same thing on the beach anyway so why does a burkini symbolize inequality while a bikini is perfectly normal?

Gender equality is not about women and men being exactly the same. It is about being the same in value, about having the same opportunities, and about freedom for everyone, regardless of their gender. If a woman wants to wear a suit, then she should wear a suit. If a woman wants to wear a dress, then she should wear a dress. If a woman wants to wear a bikini, she should wear a bikini. If a woman prefers a burkini, then a burkini it is. The same applies for a man. Whatever he wants to wear, he should be able to wear.

In general, ‘Western’ countries want immigrants to integrate into our societies. We want them to respect our values and make them their own. Immigrants must adjust. In Western countries we say freedom is the most important thing but we are willing to take away someone’s freedom to make them obey our values? Isn’t that a contradiction? This is what the burkini ban is doing: it wants to force “gender equality” upon Muslims by making sure that - free will or not - women do not wear something men never wear. It also wants to underscore the importance of freedom by preventing a woman is forced to wear a burkini. But at the same time, freedom of women is undermined because they are told that they can’t wear a burkini, not by a family member this time but by the government. The burkini ban basically takes away freedom because we want to “protect” (women's) freedom. Doesn’t freedom mean that everybody can be whoever they want to be? Or in this case that women can wear whatever they want.

I think that banning the burkini is more of a symbol of gender inequality then the burkini itself is. Forbidding the burkini often is a bigger restriction of women's freedom than the burkini itself. Also, wearing a burkini is more ‘Western’ than banning it is. If we agree that freedom is such an important thing, then why would we limit it?





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