Jenée Desmond-Harris, Vox:
“Burkini? A Wetsuit but there’s ‘burk’ in it so it’s forbidden. Undress yourself”
That’s just one part of the text on a powerful illustration by an artist who goes by @LaSauvageJaune on Twitter, which astutely depicts the way that women around the world risk scorn and moral judgment for almost any choice they make about their appearances.
It was good of Vox to publish this piece, because they rightly identified an underreported aspect of this 'burkini' story: the whole debacle has less to do with what it purports to be about - conservative Islamic influence seeping into secular Western culture - and more to do with the simpler, more sinister reality that women are so judged and stereotyped by what they wear, to the point that we see frivolous, demeaning and categorically sexist laws created wholly to control their appearance. Even if the justification paradoxically has nothing to do with the women themselves, or the appearance in and of itself.
The whole genesis of this debate arrived under the pretense of the idea that the burkini was regressive towards the liberties of women, forcing them to conform to a controlling Islamic influence. But if you look past the thinly-veiled Islamophobia present in that loaded conjecture (which implies that a burka is a universal garment of shame brandished upon helpless and hapless female Muslims), the actual impetus for their invention was all about enabling Muslim women to more freely participate in western society/culture. It allowed for greater integration, diversity, and exposure. It's hardly enabling or harboring the sorts of opportunities for Muslim women that the Islamic State would enthusiastically put their seal of approval on. So the sole argument in favor of the (thankfully now-dead) burkini ban was illogical at best, and more likely insincere.
I'd go one step further and assert that the ban was worse yet, being counterproductive to the goals of those who were advocating for it in the first place. I don't think I have to say much to make a convincing argument that having police officers accost women, and force them to strip down in public view, does much more to segregate and harbor hostility and 'radicalism' than not having the ban to begin with.