One among the latest bit of newsbites has been the beach incident somewhere in France: Two armed cops are asking a woman to take off bits of clothing, i.e., her 'burkini.'
This is pretty alarming. The image of a woman on the beach being made to take off pieces of clothing is disturbing enough, but there's the whole 'religious freedom' can of worms lurking underneath. I'm fully supportive of the idea of being free to practice religion according to your own interpretation, so this incident in particular does seem a bit extreme if only because of the powerful imagery. On the other hand, I'm also sensitive to certain Islamic principles being totally out of whack with the French idea of secularism, so I can see the reasoning behind this move, security being the topmost.
There are hundreds of points to be made for either side: There are pictures of habit-clad nuns splashing happily on a beach too, to prove a point. Might not they be hiding explosives under all that fabric?
And for the body-positivity movement, I'm not sure on what side this incident belongs. Should the body-shamers be outraged? But isn't the whole 'cover your body cover your hair' ideology an ancient form of body-shaming itself?
It's the clash of civilizations, yet again. What a bore. I'm lucky enough to be pretty unaffected by religious strictures, so yes, I'm aware that I may sound arrogant. But I'm glad I'm an atheist.