Lately there has been a lot of talk about France banning the Burkini on the beaches. The Burkini is of course a swimsuit designed by an Australian Muslim women for Muslim women.
The interesting thing here is that if France had not created such a fuss about it the rest of the world likely would remain ignorant of the whole thing. It is always amazing how supposedly educated people and no doubt after legal counsel continue to believe that by legislating something they can a) prevent it, and b) keep it low key and out of the public scrutiny.
The “Streisand Effect” comes into play here. The Streisand Effect was coined in 2005 by Mike Masnick(1)” in a different court case where lawyers were trying to suppress information.
In the Streisand’s case (2003) she sought court action to suppress photographs of her mansion in Malibu California which had been inadvertently taken during an aerial survey to map coastal erosion for the state of California. Naturally her court case caused more people to be aware of the pictures than if they had left everything alone.
People in public office never seem to learn, and especially in today’s internet savvy public that the more you try to suppress, the more the people will log on to find out what all the fuss is about.
For me when the media continued to broadcast France’s stand against the Burkini is when I decided to search out what exactly does the Burkini look like and why was France having such an issue with it. I understood that it was being worn by Muslim women and knowing that they tend to be overdressed not under dressed my curiosity was tweaked.
This is 2016 and I was amazed to discover that the swimwear in question, the Burkini, had actually been designed and launched in 2004, 12 years ago. But then why had we not heard about it? Why should that surprise me? I am certainly not Muslim so I would not be aware of any need for women to have one. Certainly it was never featured (that I am aware of) in any swimsuit edition magazine. Of course my familiarity to the Sports Illustrated Swimwear Edition I am familiar only from friend’s copy or quick news stand peeks.
However I detract from the Burkini issue and today’s subject of discussion.
How different are the physical attribute of Muslim women to any other culture. Well in a crowd they are easy to distinguish by the burqa that they wear. The men on the other hand you would never pick out. Why? Because they dress just like everyone else. It is only the women who cover up with a burqa. Of course I have heard many reasons for this and many from Muslims which I have worked with and other reasons from articles I have read on the subject. No I am no Muslim expert by any stretch.
These days there is such a stigma with Muslim culture in the media of being of terrorist association. Anyway for me I do not believe this or that all Muslim are trying to kill me, any more than I believe that every other society out there are made up only of honest and law abiding citizens. In every group there are radicals, who create a lot of noise, and that noise, unfortunately is what colors our perception.
For many years I have said that the fact that Muslim women are always covered up is fully a function of a jealous male dominated society. (my opinion of course) That situation will in time change, not by our politicians, other societal views or media frenzy, from the outside. It will change from the inside, by Muslim women themselves.
The Muslim male dominated society of old, might have kept their women wrapped up from view for a thousand years, but unfortunately today’s Muslim men have the internet to contend with.
Muslim women are now more than ever openly demanding more. Certainly as pointed out in the world renowned case of Malala Yousafsei(2) standing up for her right to an education in Pakistan.
Now more than ever people of all creed and culture are being exposed to each other, on a daily basis, without physically meeting.
Muslim woman, and only they can be the changing force which will, in time liberate them. This I believe will occur as ALL other women in every other cultures have changed their lot in life. The speed of that change will again be exponential for them as well.
It was not until 1918 in Canada that women even had a right to vote. It came later in the USA in 1920, Spain not until 1931, and France in 1944 and in Switzerland as late as 1971. The list is very varied and an interesting read.(3)
When it comes to fashion women wore suits not too unlike the Burkini in the late Victorian era (actually they looked and sounded even more uncomfortable)(4). Modesty was also then the operative word just as the Burkini is purported to be by the Muslim community today. The Victorian era was from 1837 till 1901. That is not that long ago.
My grand-parents were born during that period. Look at how much has changed in the world since then. The speed of change has accelerated many more times since.
So to me I say bring on the Burkini. Even if reported as a comfortable attire, they cannot offer the same water freedom as does today’s female swimwear; even the more modest version. They do however, I am pretty sure, offer more freedom that the standard Muslim Burqa.
For me the Burkini represents change in the Muslim community, it means the younger generation are slowly moving the line to the right, they are slowly expressing their desire for more freedom and little by little releasing the shackle hold which the male Muslim populous holds over women.
Yes change will come, these are perhaps small steps but once it takes holds the overall changes speed up. I am not saying that everything we have is for the better for as we all know we have our own social issues, different from Muslim culture.
However the more the Muslim society changes towards us the more we also inadvertently change towards them.
The more similar we are to each other the easier it will be to see and accept each other.
(If you like what you read…please let me know …I’d love to know who has visited me….leave a comment…if it’s only one word it is great….THANKS)