Saturday, October 1, 2016

The burqini has two things to do with women's choices

To be clear, I am NOT on the side of banning the burqini or any other kind of clothing, regardless of whether I like it or not. I don't like g-strings or sagging pants, but I'd never want those to be banned either. People who are free cannot have their clothing legislated upon.

However, I have a BIG problem with this whole argument being framed as being all about women's choices. Here's what the burqini debate has to do with women's choices:

1. Jack.
2. Shit.

It's really about what kind of man we want to have domain over women's bodies. Do we want it to be the kind of man who thinks women's bodies need to be on display for public consumption or do we want it to be the kind of man who thinks women's bodies need to be hidden in shame?

Forcing a woman out of her clothing is not about liberation any more than forcing a woman into clothing is. Yet, you have millions of people lamenting, "BUT WIMMINZ' CHOOOOOIIIIISIIIIZZZZZ!"

Let's be really, REALLY honest here. The following statement is bound to be unpopular, but that doesn't make it untrue. Without extremely misogynistic, religious/cultural conditioning, there would be no such thing as a hijab, a niqab, an abaya, a yashmak, a burqa, a burqini or any other of these restrictive garments that were specifically created to shame women for existing, let alone an argument about how much of a choice it is for women to wear them. If these were just cool outfits that some people like to wear, they'd be more universal.

I'm not too convinced that in a society where women were truly free there would be such thing as a bikini either, to be honest. Yeah, let's go to the beach in some tiny, ridiculous thing that is really likely to come untied or be swept away into the ocean! It's fun to have lycra go up your butt! Don't get sand in it though, or you'll saw yourself in half.

What I do know for sure that if women ANYWHERE felt free, fashion would look quite a bit different. It seems like a good deal of fashion is designed specifically to restrain women's movement, be it by covering her too much or uncovering her too much. It remains completely unquestioned usually because these are things that we just accept as, "the way things are."

Fine, if that's what you're "comfortable" in, wear it. I'm not going to tell you that you CAN'T wear what you want, I'd be no better than that asshat in France, but don't act like there's no misogynist history behind it. I wear a bra. I sometimes wear high heels. I have even been known to wear a corset. I don't deny the sexist histories of these things, but, like you, I have things I'm not comfortable without wearing...like a bra. Though, that has more to do with having ginormous titties that I can actually feel stretching my skin when I'm not wearing a bra....but that's beside the point!

The point is, unfortunately, in modern culture, nothing is allowed to be examined so long as it's someone's "choice." It's gotten to the point where, no matter what a woman is doing, we just assume she's doing it out of choice, when so often, that is not the case. Many women do many things for many reasons and a good deal of things that women do aren't just because they felt like it, as it often is with clothing.

If you want to know what you would really wear if you truly had a choice, think about what you wore the last time you had the house all to yourself.

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