Anorak News | Marianne and the burkini ban

Marianne and the burkini ban

by | 31st, August 2016

France’s prime minister, Manuel Valls, wants French women to be like Marianne. “Marianne has a naked breast because she is feeding the people,” he declared. “She is not veiled, because she is free! That is the republic!”

As the Guardian notes, “Marianne officially became a symbol of the French Republic in 1848, after the fall of the monarchy”, who preferred crowns and fur-lined robes.

The paper than quotes the oft-ridiculous UN then wades into the debate over burkini bans – the UN Human Rights Committee features some unlikely members.

The UN human rights office welcomed a decision last week by France’s highest administrative court to suspend one of the burkini bans, ruling it “manifestly illegal”. This decision is likely to set a legal precedent. But most of the mayors who have banned burkinis are still refusing to withdraw the restrictions and four face further legal action from rights groups this week.

Is it “manifestly illegal” to make a woman wear a headscarf in Saudi Arabia, then, and ban them from wearing certain items of clothing in public?

Nora Mulready takes a view:

I have by now read countless tweets, articles, facebook posts etc with reference to some variation of “a woman was forced to strip at gunpoint by the French police.” I’m sorry, but this didn’t happen. The French police carry guns. If they give you directions, did they tell you to tourner à gauche at gunpoint? No, of course not. There was never any threat that the woman would be shot, and to suggest there was is either deliberately dishonest or genuinely daft. This is France, where they subscribe to Human Rights law, it’s not the wild west of an ISIS’ ‘caliphate’. She was never in any danger from the police. Further, there was no ‘force’. A woman was asked to comply with a publicly advertised dress code, or leave the beach. She was given a choice. She choose to stay on the beach. In Venice recently I wasn’t allowed to enter St Mark’s Basilica without covering my shoulders. I had a choice, wear a shawl given by the church security, or don’t come in. I wanted to go in, I made a choice, I complied. It’s infantilising to suggest that women are incapable of making such a choice without feeling mortally offended, feeling vulnerable, feeling violated. We’re pretty robust, rational creatures these days, capable of weighing up our options and making decisions.

The Enlightenment continues.

Posted: 31st, August 2016 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink