Did we ever think the Fashion Police would become a real thing, with a gun on its hip and a sneer on its lip as it instructs sartorial offenders to take their clothes off in public?
Even though a French court has ordered suspension of the burkini ban, the utter stupidity continues.
This week the world endured the degrading spectacle of French police forcing a female French citizen to undress in public, on the grounds that her clothing covered too much of her body.
Four armed men forcing a woman to undress.
Think about that for a minute. You’re not naked enough. Take off more clothes or we’ll arrest you.
Was the woman wearing a niqab, that vile dehumanising mask, that symbol of female oppression rejected by the majority of Muslim women?
No. The lady was simply overdressed, in the opinion of the police, and her clothing was of an unapproved style.
Of course, when the image of a policeman standing over the woman hit social media, the French authorities issued threats of prosecution for anyone reposting the image which is one sure way to get yourself right up there where you don’t want to be, as Barbra Streisand discovered when she tried to prevent publication of a photo of her house.
The Streisand Effect is now a recognised phenomenon and the French cops are its latest victims.
I think it’s safe to say that there would have been a huge public outcry in France if the police had ordered a nun to undress in public, and yet the argument they put forward against the burkini applies equally to the nun’s habit. If anything, the nun’s habit is more religiously-based than the burkini, so why exactly is one illegal while the other is not?
Unwittingly or otherwise, these policemen have removed the veil (so to speak), exposing the naked (so to speak) xenophobia behind these laws.
A woman can cover up as much as she wishes, provided the woman is a Christian, an atheist or a Jew. But if a woman is Muslim, she must bare more flesh than she feels comfortable with or risk being called a terrorist, arrested and fined.
That, in anyone’s words, is Islamophobia.
But it’s worse. This is hatred and oppression of women. Of all women. This is a state telling women what they may wear and what they may not wear.
Masks are another matter. No civilised society should tolerate the niqab and I agree with the French ban on it. We need a similiar ban here in order to begin the emancipation of those women who are oppressed in such a manner, but the burkini has nothing to do with this. The burkini is simply a woman’s choice of how to dress, and no civilised society has any business interfering in that choice.
Today, I heard a magnificent lunatic on Liveline trying to justify the ban on security grounds. Explaining that a woman on a beach might be able to hide a bomb under her burkini, this individual proved that ISIS have truly captured the hearts and minds of idiots.