This week a photo of French police enforcing the burkini ban by demanding a woman remove her clothing circulated the worldwide web and caused a lot of conversation over the ridiculousness and insulting imposition that had been placed across 30 French towns. Thankfully, France's highest administrative court ruled that mayors do not have the right to ban burkinis and suspended the ban.
When the idea of this burkini ban first arised, I thought how ludicrious. The fear boiling over in the French people (and a lot of people around the world) is not unfounded, but a anti-Muslim attitude is. Is a burkini ban really the way forward? Is telling a woman what she can and cannot wear whilst enjoying the sun and the waves going to stop terrorism? Of course, it's not about women, it's about religion right? Well in this case, the two are intertwined. I couldn't come close to understanding how they could not see the greater harm they were causing. How could they not see the bigger picture of their actions?
Some of these French towns saw their actions as championing secularity. It's about forcing Muslims to better integrate into French culture. Yet, the burkini was invented to help Muslims integrate, because it allowed them to go swimming and to the beach with their peers and friends. What the ban does is quite the opposite--it would alienate Muslims and that is dangerous. It is dangerous when you alienate any group of people. So much for liberte, egalite, and fraternite.
If I were to go to a French beach should I be banned from wearing my pendants of Mary and Jesus and my own saint, Santa Giustina? In a French public school, yes, this would not be allowed, but a public beach where I'm just looking for a good time and some Vitamin D? What if I wore a bikini that says "I LOVE JESUS"? Or what about the nuns???? Are they going to ask a nun to strip herself of her dress and veil??? Look at this first rule I found noted in a BBC article.
The first rule noted here says "...banned to any person wearing improper clothes that are not respectful of good morals and secularism." Who is to judge what is improper clothes and not respectful of good morals? 50 years ago, women's bikinis used to be measured for being "improperly" short. You know what's not respectful of good morals? Talking back to your parents, cheating, judging someone's looks, talking behind someone's back. You know what else is not respectful of good morals? This burkini ban. Maybe we should force everyone to be nude at the beach, no sacks no snacks, then we can really ensure everyone's safety.
As I went on and on enraged by this ordeal, I read various articles regarding the matter--most denouncing the ban and many showing the arguments in support of it. It's sexist, it's discriminatory, and it promotes Islamaphobia. One woman who supports the ban made an interesting point that made me stop to think. She said she was in support of the ban, because it relieved women who if given the choice would choose not to wear the burkini, and instead of facing the pressures of their families and cultural pressures, could blame it on the ban. Perhaps there are women who would choose not to wear a burkini, or a hijab, or other custom wear, but for being conditioned or pressured to wear them. That's the thing though isn't it? It should be a choice. Not matter what side of the sword you're on, it should be a choice. I have Muslim friends who wear hijabs and Muslim friends who don't wear hijabs, but it's their choice.
In fact, I just recently went to the beach with a Muslim friend and she chooses not to wear a hijab. However, she still believes in and is most comfortable in what she feels is modest clothing. She wore some lose yoga pants and a t-shirt, and we had a blast.
The bottom line is this ban went too far. It's on the same spectrum of wrong as shaming a woman for not sticking to traditional values and dress.
The more we play with fear, the more fear will play with us. May we find a way to grow more tolerant and understanding of each other so that we may build a world that does not teach our children to hate.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
The other day, Emma Watson announced she'd be taking a year off from acting to focus on her personal growth and do more in her work to support and fight for gender equality around the world. You go girl. Emma is the kind of celebrity role model our girls need today. This break she's taking sends an incredible message to them.
As girls, many of us are raised to always please others and it's part of our nature to always care for others and think of others, often times before ourselves. The fact that she's taking time for her own personal growth, which includes reading a book a week and doing more yoga, sets an example of how important it is to take care of ourselves. What we can do for others starts with what we can do for ourselves. More importantly, she's taking care of her body and mind.
The work she does with the UN and He for She is also incredibly powerful, because I assume she has many fans like myself--those who have loved her since she entered our lives as Hermoine Granger, and continue to admire her intelligence, grace, and beauty. We need more women like Emma, who are making feminists around the world look good. I mean, let's face it. Often times, people hear the word "feminist" or "feminism" and they almost fear it, because it carries some negative connotation. There's always got to be someone who takes it too far and kills it for the rest of us right? Well, women like Emma are shining the proper light back on to feminism as a fight for equality, which should have never had to be a fight in the first place, but it takes time to undo hundreds and thousands of years of social norms.
Miss. Emma Watson, you are a beautiful soul, and I wish you an incredible year of personal growth, because that growth can only mean a ripple effect of goodness to be spread around the world.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
“I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex
This popped up on my gossip newsfeed Friday morning, and I was extremely appalled. How Kanye chalked this up to artistic expression is beyond me. I'm not sure what's more troubling, that he claims "bitch" is a term of endearment in hip-hop culture, or that his wife was apparently okay with this. I am not an expert on hip-hop culture, so I don't know if that's true or not, but there is something very wrong with that kind of logic.
Not only is it misogynistic, as Taylor has apparently stated, but it's disrespectful, it's classless, it's demeaning, it's just plain disgusting language. Artists making strong statements through their music is no revelation, but here, Kanye is only making two statements: 1)that he is an arrogant, mysognistic, classless asshole with male entitlement issues; and 2) he's supporting the degradation of women.
What I cannot wrap my head around is that not only is he married to a woman, but he has a young daughter. I wonder if he thinks about his daughter when he makes his music. Would he be cool with someone talking about her like that? If he would be, then we have a whole different problem, and we need to call Child Services.
It seems much of the media is wrapped around the expletive word used, but I find equally as offensive, the first part of this statement. The amount of narcissism he carries is frightening. I'm sure if you put him and Donald Trump in a fight ring together, they'd certainly try to duke it out to see whose ego is bigger, but the arena would immediately explode, because no arena is big enough for even one of their egos.
How rapping about having sex with someone in such a derogatory way is artistic, I will never understand. And how the b and the n-word are considered terms of endearments, I cannot understand either. While he's correct in the sense that those two words have become somewhat commonplace in modern day society, the n-word is just hypocritical as he interprets and uses it, and the b-word is still derogatory now matter how sweetly and lovingly you use it.
This should be a wake up call to women who innocently call each other bitches, even as a "term of endearment," because we're just making it okay for other people to also call us bitches. It allows imbeciles like Kanye to think they can own women, as Kanye has made clear here.
How he still has fans, especially female fans, I have no idea. If we think, "Oh it's just music, it's just art, it's okay...freedom of expression," then we're doing ourselves a disservice by allowing influential people to badly influence us. There's freedom of expression, and then there's just obnoxious.
God bless Kanye for his daughter's sake.
BIG LOVE & HUGS