By lauracohn
August 30, 2016

France’s highest court has overturned a burkini ban in the seaside town of Villeneuve-Loubet near Nice, but it hasn’t ended the debate. The New York Times reports that despite the ruling, France’s parliament could still ban the full-body swimsuit, and some of the candidates running in the country’s 2017 presidential election want to do away with wearing religious attire in public. Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, for one, has called the burkini a “provocation.”

Israel, meanwhile, is doing the opposite, telling women to cover up. The Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport announced performers at government musical events must be modestly dressed. The move came after singer and Israeli reality TV star Hanna Goor wore a bikini top with an unbuttoned shirt on top during a performance and was told by a representative from the production company to cover up. She initially ignored the request, but then later made a quick exit after the man re-approached her with a security officer.

Being told to take off clothes or put more on is disparaging to women. In either situation, “people in positions of power say, ‘We’re putting these rules in place for the woman’s good,'” as Deirdre Clemente, a history professor at the University of Nevada recently put it. “The implication is that women are unable to regulate their appearance themselves.” At least in one small French town, women are free to wear a burkini, if they so choose.


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