Burkinis, boobs and sexism

burkinisboobssexism

It’s tough being a woman, your automatically entered into what feels like some kind of shit lottery when you have a vagina – not the fun kind that you would win if you played the Lottoland EuroMillions either!. Every day there is some way you are judged, some way that you are told you fall short of the requirements, some way in which your male counterparts haven’t even contemplated. It covers so many branches too – religion, attire, work, sexuality… The list goes on.

It’s become so bad, so pathetic that a few weeks ago the newspapers were devoted to several incidents where Muslim women wearing burkinis, a full coverage swimwear item that does NOT cover your face, but covers your hair, on a beach had effectively been made to strip in front of everyone by police. Western world, if ever you wanted to give Muslim people a reason to see you as “the bad guy” to rise up and fight against you, make their daughters, their wives, their mothers suffer this indignity. By becoming so fearful, so hateful and so ignorant that you could force a woman to strip because she was “too covered” we play into the hands of extremists by becoming extremists.

Prior to that, the presidential candidate Donald Trump attacked a Muslim couple whose son had died as a solider, because the mother “didn’t speak” and as he put it “probably wasn’t allowed to”, yet the same man who seeks to tarnish the reputation of Muslims as women haters is openly sexist and believes that women are sexual objects for his gratification. It isn’t just trump either, but rather society. Women in burkinis are too covered, too religious, yet women in thongs are sluts, asking for it. Even down to using our breasts for their intended purpose is scrutinised, shamed and attacked as “attention seeking”, “exposing yourself” – as is choosing to NOT use them.

So tell me, where do we stand? If I cover my body I am prudish at best, indoctrinated and brain washed into being subservient to my male counter parts at worst. If I don’t, and I wear skimpy clothes I am a slut, asking to be raped, goading men who simply can’t help themselves.

On top of this, the punishments for such acts as rape, one of the most heinous crimes I think we all agree, are totally dependant upon the speculative worth of the women raped. Is she wealthy? What colour is her skin? Who committed the crime and did his wealth out weight hers? A perfect example of this is the early release, after three months no less, of Brock Turner who was convicted of three counts of rape and indecent assault. No only was he rich and white, but so much was his worth that his parents wrote letters to excuse their son’s behaviour and plead for the remainder of this life. The victim? Reduced to nothing more than a “bit of skirt” according to the boy’s father.

Where does this end?

As a mother, especially to a daughter, I fear this societal impulse to attack females. I fear the attitudes towards my daughter as she grows and I fear the implications that this will have on my sons and their beliefs. Their reactions to the women around them and in their lives, the way they will feel they have an upper hand and how they view themselves.

Already I’m seeing the creeping of sexism colouring my daughter’s life; she will like princesses, she will like high heels, she will adore pink and while there is nothing wrong with those things, it is not the sum total of what she will enjoy. Reuben, at the sweet age of 5, has started telling me he has to protect his sister – she is a girl, she will need his protection. I don’t think so buddy, she’ll more than likely beat you and Toby up, but then that makes her bossy right?

Being a woman is tough in this world, whether you are a Muslim or a Christian, black or white, disabled or not. Being female automatically puts you in the firing line and we have to change this, not just for ourselves, but for our daughters AND our sons.

H x

23 Comments

  1. September 11, 2016 / 7:53 pm

    It’s such a hard and emotive subject, a woman should be able to wear what she wants, and not be forced to wear anything she doesn’t want. If a woman wants to wear a burkini, there really should be no problem. If she has been forced to wear one, or cover up, that is an entirely different problem.

  2. September 11, 2016 / 4:51 pm

    Ha well your opening statement had me in fits of laughter, definitely a phrase to keep in my head for when I need to use it x

  3. September 10, 2016 / 10:54 pm

    It is incredulous in this day and age that women are still being told what they can and cannot wear……but things will change as long as we protest loudly and often.

  4. September 10, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    Being French myself I can confirm that a big majority of people thought that all this fuss about the burkini was a way to distract people from more important stuff going on (and also a political argument aiming for the elections!)
    I feel like something bad is going to happen to our world, it’s like everything is going mad and people can’t even think properly! I hope it’s going to calm down soon (but I’m a bit pessimistic).

    Mika | http://www.la-french-connection.com

  5. Kelly
    September 10, 2016 / 2:36 pm

    We thought it, but you said it sister. Or at least I think you’re spot on. I keep thinking…how does burkini differ from a full dive wetsuit? They’re exactly the same stinkin’ thing, but no one in France is keeping Cousteau’s granddaughters from wearing full dive suits, I’m assuming? I think these things all made me cross before. But having my 18 month old daughter has made me like a raging mama tiger. When little boys come up to her and want to give her a hug or a kiss and she says ‘no’ and pushes them away, I don’t admonish her and tell her to be nice to her little friends. I let her respect her own intuition and body space. And I hope that in encouraging her to respect her own feelings that maybe, just maybe, she, as part of the next generation of girls might just not have any time for this sexist shit.

    And that ‘grass is greener’ comment…WTF?

  6. September 10, 2016 / 10:45 am

    Well said, it’s a scary world out their for our daughters and I feel it’s just getting worse. Maybe there’s more awareness but there needs to be more action too. We definitely get the shit end of the stick sometimes but we can only keep fighting, one day maybe things will change again for the better.

  7. Daniel
    September 9, 2016 / 8:54 pm

    It is funny how the grass is always greener. Men don’t have it easy either. I personally use statistics and studies to guide my behavior. We can never please everyone, might as well try to get the majority.

    • Harriet September 9, 2016 / 10:13 pm

      Is this a genuine comment Daniel? I hardly think a post about rapists being let free early and women being forced to strip under duress requires a “men don’t have it easy” comment does it? Or are you a “all lives matter” kind of guy when it comes to “black lives matter” too? The point to this was to say that life nowadays, as a mother of a daughter, is frightening due to statistics (something you apparently favour – though which statistics I’m unsure, maybe the 1 in 5 sexual assault stat? Not quite the same ratio for men I believe…) and just as frightening as a mother to boys because I fear they will grow up to be given the impression that they have an automatic foot up. They don’t. Neither do women.

      Feminism is, and should be, about equality. About teaching the future generations that men are not above or dominant to women, and women are not above or dominant to men. We should no more be blaming men for inequality than we blame women for rape stats – the future generations of both sexes should be taught to respect each other, as equals. At present we have a very uneven playing field and it is tilted in favour towards men. Hence the reason I believe I’m justified in the statement that it is tough being a woman.

      • September 10, 2016 / 5:50 pm

        Hear hear Harriet. To say that life can be tough for men too really misses the point. The way women are still viewed in society and the outrageous objectification of women in the media needs to be addressed because it perpetuates a climate in which men are conditioned to think some kinds of sexual assault are ‘ok’ or not entirely the perpetrator’s fault. That harms all of us and means misogyny will continue to exist despite leaps forward in other areas of gender equality.

  8. September 9, 2016 / 8:36 pm

    As a mum to two teen daughters, society generally is a real cause for concern. I read that we shouldn’t be teaching our daughters to cover up / not drink etc etc – we should be teaching our sons to RESPECT women, And to NOT do the things men do against women As I also have two sons, I completely agree. Kaz x

    • Harriet September 9, 2016 / 10:22 pm

      Yes! It’s a respect thing. Sadly in a rape blame culture we teach women to “be aware of danger” and “cover up, don’t drink too much” etc, as opposed to teaching men to be respectful. It’s a huge part of education – mainly targeted around consent and the understanding of that, about respecting both genders equally and not expecting dominance. It’s a scary world we live in!

  9. September 9, 2016 / 4:57 pm

    The world has honestly gone mad. I was so shocked about the women being made to strip on the beach. Terrible.

  10. September 9, 2016 / 3:26 pm

    The worst thing about being female is, females degrade each other. Then blame it on men.
    We should be sticking together and fighting for better things, not arguing and slagging each other off.
    It’s one reason why I don’t have many female friends if I am honest, they get on my tits being so judgy.

    • Harriet September 9, 2016 / 10:24 pm

      It was two male police officers standing over the woman wearing a burkini Sam… and Brock Turner raping and getting away with it seems worse to me than a few backwards, bitchy women with low self esteem. I couldn’t agree more that women should stand together and NEVER seek to drag one another down in order to build themselves up, that is just sad and pathetic, but I do feel there are bigger issues at play.

    • September 10, 2016 / 5:56 pm

      I think that saying a whole gender judge and slag each other off is a bit unfair. And though I don’t doubt that it does happen, the absolutely appalling statistics relating to sexual assaults and violence against women, and the double standards they reveal, are by far the worst part for me. We live in a society where some people will genuinely think that a woman deserves to be raped, or the rapist exonerated, simply because the woman was drunk or dressed ‘provocatively’. That is by far the worst part for me and one of the most unpleasant and harmful ideas ingrained in our society.

  11. September 9, 2016 / 2:54 pm

    You’re so right. I find it so scary how in 2016 we are STILL treating women like this. I don’t give a flying fig what a woman wants to wear on the beach-go topless if you like, wear a Burkini, or something in between-just don’t kick sand on my towel and we’re all good. I despair I really do.

  12. September 9, 2016 / 2:01 pm

    You’re right being a woman is tough regardless of your race or religion x

  13. September 9, 2016 / 11:27 am

    Donald Trump is a class A idiot. I’m sorry to go slightly off topic but as a new mum (or Mom) do you worry that someone like Donald Trump could get into power and what sort of world your daughter would end up living in? I’m just interested to hear your thought.
    Talking of women’s having it shit. I just been to a job interview – dressed myself all smart and nice. Apparently I got dressed down or not in the running for this job as I didn’t wear make-up. *Imagine a lot of swear words*. Any way don’t want to start ranting but yeah us women have it shit.

    • Harriet September 9, 2016 / 2:54 pm

      Appauling. So wrong.
      I’m in England so Trump won’t have much effect on me if he’s in power – other than secondary.He is a class A cockwomble.

  14. September 9, 2016 / 9:32 am

    This is a brilliant post!! You are spot on. Sadly. It has been a long time that we’ve been fighting and we’ve come a long way, but not far enough!

  15. September 9, 2016 / 8:42 am

    Fab post – I completely agree with everything you’ve written. Women get a VERY raw deal and sometimes it feels as though we are going forward not backwards – I really feel worry about my daughter growing up. Writing about it helps though I think, even if just a teeny bit it’s showing the world we aren’t standing for it x

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