Skip Nav
15 of the Steamiest Shows You Can Watch on Netflix This Month
24 Costume Ideas For Girls With Glasses
An Open Letter to My 18-Year-Old College Self

Should France Ban the Burqa?

The French love their fashion, but when clothes are used to oppress women, the government is not on board.

France has announced that it may soon ban women from wearing the burqa outside the home. A burqa, worn by some Muslim women, is the head-to-toe garment that typically has only a small opening at the eyes.

The French government plans to set up an investigative commission that will determine whether women are being forced to wear the burqa in public, and if so, a law banning them may be passed.

Of course the proposed law has some problems. In really strict households, it could mean that women will live more oppressed and confined lives, only being allowed to leave the house on rare occasions. In addition, a law that regulates what people wear raises questions of abuse of power and an violation of basic rights. Then again, maybe the study will demonstrate that the burqa is distinct from all other types of dress because it threatens France's free society by subjugating women.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
I dont believe that anyone should tell another what to wear during day to day life. However people should show their face when having their drivers license or passport photos taken, because of security.
MissyB1984 MissyB1984 8 years
^ Very well said, I completely agree
staple-salad staple-salad 8 years
I think it's time for the west to stop trying to force their own culture on others. I recently took a "comparative politics" course. The ENTIRE course looked at democratization with very little time spent looking at anything other than democracy or converting authoritarian countries to democracy, or the possibility of democracy in Islamic countries. And I thought it was absurd that only about one chapter in the 17 I read for the class actually mentioned the idea that MAYBE democracy wasn't the best thing for ALL countries. I think that sometimes an authoritarian government, or a theocracy, or an oligarchy MIGHT be the best situation for a country depending on the people living there. Point being: Just because the west sees burqas as something "bad" doesn't mean they are. While I'm all for women's rights (and by "rights" I mean equality, not OMG SUPERFEMINAZI!") because I believe in the equality of all people regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, economic level, etc. However, banning the burqa is France FORCING a certain ideal on a culture, restricting women's freedom to wear what she chooses and restricting religious rights for an entire religion.
bransugar79 bransugar79 8 years
I think it's all a personal decision, and I find it interesting that someone who can support a woman's right to choose anything to do with her own body, would try to justify telling Muslim women that they can't choose to wear a garment that has personal religious context in their own lives. I personally wouldn't choose to wear a burqa but I don't find that there is anything wrong with it. I don't think allowing women who choose to express their religious views in that way is a danger to anyone else. I'm not a Muslim woman but I do know that they are not all forced to wear the burqa. Some women take great pride in their modesty and in practicing the tenets of their faith. why should any governments be able to regulate that? Especially a government based in democracy? The whole idea just seems hypocritical to me.
Ac2366 Ac2366 8 years
I don't think it's right for any government to stoop as low as to dictate what you can and cannot wear. That being said, all of the banks in my area have signs ordering people to remove hats and sunglasses before entering for security reasons. It does make me feel uncomfortable when I can't see someones face, but that's just me.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
If France is going to ban burqas in public, they must do so - whatever reason they cite - for the protection of the GENERAL PUBLIC, and treat any case of domestic abuse (if some women ARE found to be forced to wear the burqa) on an individual basis. If the burqa, however, is an oppressive form of clothing in *itself* (meaning that wearing it is MEANT to diminish or degrade the woman), THEN it should be banned entirely. It doesn't seem like that is the case though (I don't know much about what the burqa means symbolically or religiously).
itsme3683 itsme3683 8 years
It's a tricky situation. When Burqas were banned in Uzbekistan, the women who went out without them were all killed because of it. Of course it's different there, because a woman NOT wearing one in modern-day France will probably not stick out as much as a woman not wearing one in Uzbekistan forty years ago...
cirrus1701 cirrus1701 8 years
Sweet. Haven't been called that in quite some time. Anykittens, I was probably unclear. Allow me to clarify, please. I love going into Chicago and loosing myself in the different towns--Chinatown, Greektown, Koreatown, you get the point. The goal here is cultural immersion. Food, language, culture and mannerisms...and hopefully I come off as one step up from a tourist. I interact with these people because I want to, not because I am forced into the interaction. This whole "diversity and tolerance" racket speaks of force. As for the security issue, I will not apologize for thinking the burqa is a threat. Believe me, I understand the need for modesty!! But, that's what the hijab and long sleeved pants and shirts are for. You can be modest and covered to your heart's content. Muslim women in Australia have even worked as lifeguards using the burqini! I am aware that there is great debate as to a woman's awrah. But, the key here is that you can and must be able to be identified. (There was a case in Hamtramck, MI, where a judge asked the plaintiff to remove her niqab to testify in his court. She refused and the judge threw out the case. He could not see her face to verify her testimony.) The comparison between sweatshirts/pants, etc. really doesn't fly. A skilled criminal can hide things pretty much anywhere. But, you have a few things working against a burqa. The face is totally obscured. It is essentially a ghost costume--yards and yards of billowing material. (Some of which is very pretty, but that's beside the point.) You can also hide a whole lot of stuff under there. Plus, the bad guys know that they can't be touched while wearing a burqa. What guard wants to take the chance of lifting a burqa? (Don't get me wrong. I understand the gargantuan woman's rights issue here. No burqua, no leaving home. Woman's rights groups both here and abroad are stepping up to help Muslim women acquire more freedom.)
elishevahazel elishevahazel 8 years
I'm French, and personnaly, I am favourable to this legislation. These women are in France, and in our country women have a lot of rights. Wear a burqa is an extreme behaviour, it is not just a yashmak ( with it, we see the face of the person with who we are talking). I don't think it is a question of tolerance towards muslims ( fundamentalists in this case), it is just a question of women's rights, and of security ( authorities have to see the face of citizens).
RubyMoon RubyMoon 8 years
I personally don't like the burqa, saying this as Muslim woman. But for France to outright ban a type of clothing is one of the most primitive, backwards, uncivilized ways they could of handled the situation. Burqa a security risk? You know what I actually think there could be a fear. You don't know who could be hiding under it... I'm saying this as a Muslim woman, who has heard of stories from my parent's home countries(Muslim countries). But I 100 percent believe and can even think of other ways to resolve the security risk. But to ban it, even if their intention was good, it seems very prejudiced and discriminatory. And that is the message they have sent the world, even if they didn't mean to. The US and the UK come across as (and actually are) far more civilized countries. Not perfect, but when push comes to shove, they really are great places to live.
MeiGaku MeiGaku 8 years
i'm taking a class on the european union's views of muslisms, and all i have to say is that the french treatment of muslims is about as bad as the way americans treated blacks fifty years ago. it truly saddens me that a country that claims to be the epicenter of enlightenment ideals would forgo individual rights for the claim of protecting "freedom" and "democracy." and yes, i am talking about france.
fuzzles fuzzles 8 years
Frank y Ava, I've got a pair of flannel pajama bottoms of which I am pretty sure I could smuggle two sacks of potatoes inside. I must be a terrorist. We must ban flannel pj bottoms! ;)
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
Hmmm some women wear burqas because they choose too. But this... True. However, the burqa is an extreme security risk. You really don't know who or what is under one of those things. This whole "diversity" racket is going to get us all killed one day. .... is the most intolerant statement I've ever heard in my entire life. You can't ban burqas or think a certain (and very large) group of people are going to "kill us all" because of what a few people do. The same could be said for hoodies, sweatshirts, baggy pants, etc. so unless all those clothing articles are going to be banned then you're missing the point or incredibly xenophobic (which i think you are incredibly xenophobic because you specifically said "diveristy racket is going to get us killed one day" but I digress).
janneth janneth 8 years
This is so sad. France, do not legislate what women can wear.
Bodhar Bodhar 8 years
RBF - I have to say in this particular case the problem is not Americans so much as "Western Society". I think there is a lot of assumption based upon non-western religion and cultures. I don't necessarily think it's impossible to understand why - it's hard to make a concise opinion based upon what you see on TV or people you see on the street and do not talk to. That said, I think a government should definitely hold itself to higher standards than the general population though.
bengalspice bengalspice 8 years
A government shouldn't have the right to tell people that the way they dress as a practice of religion is wrong. Some women actually choose to wear the burqa outside of the home. My mom is not a particularly strict Muslim, but she's open to wearing a hijab or a burqa once she has done the hadj because that is her choice. Also, wearing a burqa in public is nothing compared to being forbidden to drive or work or even go outside the home without supervision. It's a small price to pay to go outside if you live in a strict home. If the government wants to forbid burqas, it should be because of security measures [like being able to identify people] and not because of perceived oppression.
McDonald's Macarons in France
Emmanuel Macron to US Climate Scientists Video
Beauty and the Beast Disney River Cruise
Sydney, Australia, Same-Sex Marriage Rally September 2017
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds