Burkini ban – hypocrisy, sexism or plain perception?

The picture of a woman on Nice beach taking off the top of her burkini (full-body swimsuit) apparently at the request of police officials has been making sensational headlines across the internet. She was also reportedly fined.

At least 15 communities on the French Riveria have banned burkinis, arguing that the swimsuit defies French laws on secularism.

Now, if secularism is an idea wherein people of different beliefs are equal before the law, the ban on burkinis is debatable. Human rights groups have been arguing the bans are in breach of French laws, but local leaders believe the ban is to protect public order.

Social media, as always, is divided in its reaction on the issue. Especially in the wake of the heightened security following the recent attack and shootings in France, the ban calls for closer scrutiny, say majority.

The court is expected to deliver its verdict this week on the ban, which is effective until August 31, 2016.

Meanwhile, social media comments by some women reveal a universal truth – swimming or beach-wandering is a private matter of people. Who is anyone to dictate what women should wear while they are out on the beaches? Beauty-conscious women cover their hands or opt of long-sleeved tops when driving to protect their fair skins from being tanned. Shouldn’t it warranty a ban, too?