Here's Everything You Need To Know About The "Burkini" And Why France Wants To Ban It

26 August 2016, 16:34 | Updated: 8 May 2017, 17:09

Burkini Ban
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

And why you should care.

As you may or may not know, the internet has been embroiled in a bit of an ideological debate about something called a "Burkini" for the last week or so. 

For those of us not in the know, this is what a Burkini looks like: 

Burkini photo

It's portmanteau of the words "burqa" and "bikini" and is a swimsuit primarily worn by Muslim women (although many non-muslim women wear them as well) to preserve modesty while at the beach. You may have spotted Egyptian volleyball players sporting the Burkini during the Olympics, something which also sparked fierce debate. 

Now, Burkini's are back in the headlines and not just because people like mashing words together. 

An incident involving French police and a scarf wearing beachgoer in Nice, France (some people are pointing out that she's not even wearing a burkini) has raised eyebrows about the policing of muslim women in the country where 30 towns have officially banned the full body swimsuit. 

French authorities have said the ban is because of growing terrorism concerns, obviously alluding to the Bastille Day tragedy in Nice and other recent attacks in France. "I refuse to let the burkini impose itself at French beaches and swimming pools ... there must be a law to ban it throughout the Republic’s territory," said former President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

But people aren't buying it. The Burkini ban looks a lot like oppression to a whole lot of people. 

President Obama had a hot take about the Burkini. 

And so did others who couldn't quite figure out how telling women what to wear constitutes as a policy for stopping terrorism.

Other people are saying this....which seems like they're missing the point a little...


(A gentle reminder that, while many women are oppressed all over the world, the hijab and other coverings are a personal choice for many women who are not oppressed. Labeling everyone who chooses to cover their hair as "oppressed" is not progressive or correct and it perpetuates the same harmful narratives that leads to these bans.)

The highest administrative court in France has temporarily suspended the ban on Burkini. A statement was issued from the court saying that the ban "seriously, and clearly illegally, breached the fundamental freedoms to come and go, the freedom of beliefs and individual freedom."

Right! Now that we're all caught up, what's your take on the the Burkini debate? Should women be required to wear other forms of dress at the beach because of safety concerns, or should we stop telling women what to wear altogether? Tell us in the comments!