The seaside city of Cannes, France, has made the controversial decision to ban women from wearing “burkinis,” or full-body swimsuits. Mayor David Lisnard has said the move is supposed to to protect women, but the ordinance ignores the fact that wearing a burkini ― just like wearing any other type of swimsuit ― is a personal choice and means of expressing individual style.
France’s government defended the ban Tuesday, saying it aimed to respect women’s rights.
“The burkini is not some new line of swimwear, it is the beach version of the burqa and it has the same logic: hide women’s bodies in order to better control them,” women’s rights minister Laurence Rossignol told French newspaper Le Parisien. “It is not just the business of those women who wear it, because it is the symbol of a political project that is hostile to diversity and women’s emancipation.”
The concept requires a design that covers everything but a woman’s face, hands and toes ― but that still leaves plenty of creative license when it comes to choosing the shape, color and fabric. Plus, the choice to remain covered up at the beach should be respected.
The burkini market has boomed in recent years, giving many Muslim fashion designers new ways to experiment with design. British retailer Marks & Spencer even sells a burkini line meant to keep the body covered “without compromising on style.”
Check out the latest in burkini fashion: