Estelea's Blog

French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.

I am French, laic, democrat and feminist. Yet I don’t understand the burkini ban

I am French therefore I love complaining. It is in my DNA.

When I read about the French new combat on the infamous Burkini invading our beautiful beaches, I should have reacted strongly. Yet I still don’t understand the fuss. Why? I am a proud feminist, anti clerical and a born democrat. Still ..

Blame it on 20 years away from home. On meeting people from totally different cultures than mine, with a mindset billions years away from mine. That taught me that there are other ways to appreciate life, and those other values do not compete with mine. They enrich them. They open my mind and my heart.

Come to Asia and see how most of the Japanese and Korean dress up as soon as they feel the first ray of sun Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 09.31.20. Look around at the other people, and check who is shocked. No one! You must come from Occident to see a Burka where most of Asian only see a sun protector.Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 09.32.48

Now imagine how those people would dress at the beach! Where the sun could forever damage their fragile white skin, ultimate symbol of femininity and purity? Now we are talking suits: long sleeves, hats, trousers, even fashionable dresses are their version of our bikini!

Yes, you ll have the occasional Occidental tourist laughing out loud at them and wondering why why those people actually go to the beach. But after a few years in Asia, I honestly don’t notice them anymore. Wrong, I do notice them as they remind me to put some more sunscreen so I won’t look like a crocodile at the end of the day.

Now if a Burkini is too much for your taste, what do you think of the Chinese facekini? Believe it or not, it’s a hit over there!


Whenever you get a chance, travel!

It is the best remedy to all Trumpidity, Burkinshit and other pains our society is suffering from!

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 09.06.49






27 comments on “I am French, laic, democrat and feminist. Yet I don’t understand the burkini ban

  1. K.L. Allendoerfer
    August 17, 2016

    Wow, those facekinis are something! But I understand where they’re coming from. I’m very blonde and pale and I need to cover up in the sun too!

    • estelea
      August 17, 2016

      Would you wear it though ? 😉

      • K.L. Allendoerfer
        August 17, 2016

        Maybe I would in an environment where others were wearing one too. But no, probably not here in California.

      • estelea
        August 18, 2016

        Maybe you would start a fashion revolution though 😉 ..

  2. anroworld
    August 17, 2016

    That’s a topic to think of…I do not know how to react or whether react at all for such specific clothes…but I will mention one thing that unfortunately in Europe people started to be a bit afraid of specific features of face and a bit different clothing and they have reasons for it…I do not think that terroristic attacks were so frequent as this year, especially in France, it is difficult to forget and it has effect…maybe before it it would not cause such a strange response!

    • estelea
      August 17, 2016

      I do totally get your point dear friend. But as much I am supporting the prohibition burkini in public swimming pools, the total ban of the burka in our secular country, I think that the burkini ban on public beaches is awkward. Would we have the same reaction towards Chinese tourists covered from head to toes? If we want to be coherent, we have to set up rules on how to be correctly dressed on the beach, applicable by all nationalities, dont you think? My 2-cent 😉

  3. justbluedutch
    August 17, 2016

    Just looking at your post’s title made me squirk Lol..
    It reminds me of my reaction when I saw Muslim ladies swimming in the beach still wearing their Hijabs ,niqbs and Abayas. I was like OOO
    But then when I opened my mind I have learned from travelling the respect for other culture is a must if you want respect for yourself too.
    On the other side, I do agree on setting up standard “dresscode “in any given place esp. public places like swimming pools..It should be more functional and not just because of any cultural thing.
    I was in Munich ‘s central station and I saw japanese ladies dressed up in Kimonos strutting along with German ladies in Dirndl..far behind is an Arab lady wearing an Abaya & totally covered.
    Now, who am I to complain??

    • estelea
      August 17, 2016

      Man, in dirnl 😉 we are definitely not the ones to complain!
      It is sad that we have reached this point that we are becoming allergic to anything that is connoted “Muslim”. I would start worrying if I were a diver in France ..
      Of course I understand the fear and the trauma of the terrorist attacks, we do have to be strict on the already existing legislation of the burka. If the ban has really be implemented to avoid troubles and violence, then I can get the point. Sad but in our current times, understandable I must say.. What do you think?

      • justbluedutch
        August 19, 2016

        Exactly my thoughts.
        I’ve lived in a Muslim country and know their lifestyle..but talking about terror attacks is waayyy different.
        It’s something that you don’t discuss over a cup of tea here in Germany.
        Eventhough I see few Muslims here, my minds goes like..where is really the safe place for all of us? Is it in Manila, in Cebu, in Bavaria..or elsewhere.

        Maybe we can talk some more about ‘light topics ‘when we have a cup of coconut juice and telling me more of your wedding plans! 🙂 Yay

      • estelea
        August 29, 2016

        Definitely! Cheers to lighter topics, fun and smiles.. they are contagious ❤

    • estelea
      August 17, 2016

      (PS I love this first line of your comment 😀 )

      • justbluedutch
        August 19, 2016

        Glad you like it.
        You know you always make me look have a special way of writing that I brutally honest and yet funny.

      • estelea
        August 19, 2016

        Please tell me the past tense is just a typo error 😓

  4. lexklein
    August 17, 2016

    Dress codes are one thing; dress bans based on religious intolerance are another. You are so right that no one would bat an eye at an Asian person covered from head to toe to protect white skin, but people are up in arms over the burkini. I agree that travel is the best way to open our hearts and minds, but many people can’t afford to travel – how do we reach them? Reading is not enough; people self-select what they read, and they often only read things they already agree with. Oh, it is so tough … where are we headed in this world (or my crazy country right now!)?

    • estelea
      August 17, 2016

      You nailed it: how do we reach them? This is the real challenge!

      Education, education and education is paving the way to respect .. But yes, it’s definitely easier said than done. I can’t blame the fears and anxiety my fellow French have been experiencing for a year. Some reactions are all too human. I just wish our politicians wouldn’t seize any opportunity to take advantage of this sad situation. We need reassurance, but no politician will ever venture on this field. They are all showing their teeth and muscles, ready to fight. Next year we ll electing a new president, the games have started …

  5. Terri Webster Schrandt
    August 17, 2016

    This is such an interesting post, and I love the mark Twain quote! I need to do a better job covering up especially with my red hair and fair skin! Regardless of potential shock value, I think its the right thing to wear even if it might look odd. I’d rather look odd shielding my skin from the sun than look odd because half my nose is missing dunto cancer.

    • estelea
      August 18, 2016

      I totally agree with you Terri! Since we arrived in the Philippines, I have totally gave up on the bikini. The sun is so strong here, I d rather wear a short and a Tshirt – and the kids have those long sleeves swimming Tshirts. Actually we have been copying the locals, they always know better 😉 I am not ready for the facekini yet though. Big hat and sunglasses do the trick . Even though I am not sure people here would be so shocked if I were wearing such an outfit on a boat. This is actually how all the fishermen are dressed!
      Thanks for stopping by dear, all the top of the top from our little island x

  6. darwinontherocks
    August 22, 2016

    I don’t understand this ban either, I felt very shocked when I read it in the news. People should be able to wear whatever they want at the beach. I don’t understand why politics make a fuss about people covering themselves (and not bothering anyone). I understand this ban at the swimming pool (inside) because the clothes could bring dirt into the water (the same way they forbid shorts for men).

    • estelea
      August 23, 2016

      My point exactly. If we are coherent with this ban, then should we impose the bikini on our beaches?
      Some mayors who have enacted the ban said they had never seen a burkini on their beach! but it shows how sensitive and emotional anything related to Islam is now in France. It is sad especially when the only winners of such situations are extremists of both camps .. Imagine if Chinese swimmers with facekini were vacationing in France 😛

      • darwinontherocks
        August 23, 2016

        Haha exactly ! yes, I can feel a huge tension regarding everything islam-related in France. I came from Belgium originally, but live in the UK now. I don’t know how is the atmosphere in Belgium after all the bombing, I wonder if there is also an irrational fear towards muslims or not.

      • estelea
        August 23, 2016

        I couldn’t tell but I feel it can only be stronger in France, as we ll elect our new president next year .. And I would be surprised if we had a candidate with a neutral or at least constructive opinion on this subject…

  7. Andrew Seal
    August 25, 2016

    I don’t understand it either Estelea, as to the facekini, I don’t think it will catch on here in Western Canada 🙂

    • estelea
      August 29, 2016

      Hehehe, maybe not in Canada 😉 I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Korean or Japanese wearing a facekini in one of those fancy hotels by the sea we have here. Fashion is all relative …

  8. Ann GrubbsnCritters
    August 29, 2016

    The facekinis are something! I bet it would be a hit in Thailand, if not already. It’s a crazy world that we live in..and you know my take on this subject!

  9. Peta Kaplan
    August 30, 2016

    Great post. I agree the burkini “fuss” is ridiculous amd yes, one only has to travel in Asia ~ people covered up on the beach and in the water is normal. And in Nicaragua where we lived six years, most of the locals swim in clothes. Facekinis? New to me! So funny looking. You will enjoy these cultural posts, I think…


    • estelea
      August 31, 2016

      Here too locals swim in clothes! So I havent worn my bikini for years, it made me feel so naked 😉 THanks for the link Peta, on it ! Thanks for stopping by and have a great one!

    • estelea
      August 31, 2016

      I did not just enjoy your post Peta, I loved it 😀

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This entry was posted on August 17, 2016 by in Culture shock, expatriation, Me, My 2 cents worth and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

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