In a blow for fairness, freedom and good sense, the top French administrative court, the State Council, has stripped towns on the Riviera of the right to ban women from wearing the so-called burkini or burqini.
About 30 towns had banned the wearing of this head-and-body-bag on their beaches on the grounds that they pose a risk to public order in the wake of the recent terror attack in Nice, and transgress secular French laws against the display of religious symbols.
As Islamic as the garment is clearly designed to be, however, it is not exclusively so. As Australian designer and owner of the burkini and burqini trademarks, Aleda Zanetti has been quoted as claiming, many of her customers are non-Muslim women who wish for reasons of their own to shield their bodies from public sight or their skin from exposure to the sun.
In any event, the whole ban was ridiculous, as vividly illustrated by a recent newspaper picture of two French police, both fully-clad in their uniforms, booking a woman on a beach for allegedly being overdressed.
And if it’s not ok for women to cover-up in the sea and on the sand, what about all the surfers disporting themselves on the billows and beaches of the world in full-body wetsuits?
Personally, as secular, indeed atheistic as I am, I would be delighted to see a great many people of all religious and other persuasions covering-up their far-from-bikini-standard bodies with burkinis/burqinis, for aesthetic rather than theological reasons.
For example, I’d be delighted to see streetwear extensions of the b’kini concept for people sporting pot bellies, flabby butt-cleavages and sundry other similarly unbearable sights.
And of course the range could be extended to the barkini or beerkini for big drinkers, the brrrkini for concealing the unsightly bulges and sundry other bodily blemishes of drinkers and non-drinkers alike in chilly weather, and of course the bedkini to enable them to look their very best in the sack.