The Grenoble Burkini / Monokini affair, strictly out of a political perspective, calls into question the presence of bodies in public spaces, especially women’s bodies, religious bodies and women’s bodies. It also highlights the difficulty we have in legislating with concerns for both individual freedom and a united society.
The appearance of the body in public spaces appeals to modesty. What can we hide or show in the name of civilization or civilization? This is not the only concern Topless ; Wearing crop tops for young girls at school has given rise to surprising controversy in her time. We notice in the new generation more attention being paid to the body as a seat of personality, of solitude, which includes a subtle code of gestures and sensitivity. In short, a moral question with the sexual and feminine emancipation of the 1970s.
Yet the term “decency” has faded over time, both in law and in legislation, at least in the merits of work that violates decency. For more objectivity the legislator preferred to qualify the nature of the action (rape, sexual harassment, sexual display) rather than attacking the person, trying to evaluate his or her dignity.
However, we understand that modesty, shame, humiliation, this moral and religious lexicon comes back, for example in the context of the #MeToo movement: even without character aggression, what women say is that their decency has been violated. Moreover, it is not only the relationship between men and women that is in question, it is a complete representation of the body and sexuality, the return of desire as a mystery in pleasure which we have considered sufficient to organize them.
Burkini’s case in particular raises questions about the appearance of women’s bodies; We know that in some cultures it is more problematic than in men, because the bonds of kinship and filial piety are more likely to be uncertain. We are well aware of the ethnographic temptation to suspend a woman’s erotic charge, to save it for father and husband. She is the originator of the dress code that women must adhere to, especially in Islamic culture.
The Topless, Which the mayor of Grenoble also wants to approve has not yet entered into anything more: Gendarmes regularly asks women to dress on the beach. A certain feminism is involved against this temptation to hide a woman’s body. The philosopher Camille Freudevax-Metri thus portrayed the female body and its peculiarities, according to her, the seat of an authentic female emancipation (A body of its ownThreshold, 2021).
It is impossible to ban religious practices
The Grenoble Regulation also raises the question of religious affiliation. This social question is specially addressed in France because of our notion of secularism. It’s been light enough. In a decree taken five years before the 1905 law by the mayor of the Kremlin-Biketer, Cassack was banned because it required the submission of clergymen whose discipline was normal and whose actions were utterly useless for the good of the state!
Since 1905, it is no longer possible to ban religious practices solely on the basis of religion. From this relief, Catholicism has benefited: one can walk freely with a cask or veil. Only prudence is required, that is, to consider an environment and the ability to perceive, not to impose oneself in the eyes of all, as the only source of money.
Finally, in Grenoble it is a question of a religious woman’s body, the veiled woman: what is at stake here is the inequality between men and women protected by certain interpretations of religion (and which Catholicism has not yet abandoned). It nurtures Islamophobia which must be named and which finds its source in social, cultural and intellectual nationalism. Behind the woman wearing the burkini, citizens began to see organizations of anti-Western and anti-liberal proselytizing Muslim groups.
Finally, we must address the legislator’s difficulties in respecting common law and rights. Regulations censored by the Grenoble Administrative Court have in fact approved Burkini and Topless. It contrasts between the two feminisms. The first is Western and liberal, the second is Western and anti-colonial. However, there is a similarity between the two approvals given in the Grenoble Regulations: both are referred to as exceptions to the rule. Burkini is an exception to the rules of the swimming pool that require tight clothing, close to the body, and bare breasts is an exception to the rule that requires users to behave modestly and wear clothing that excludes nudity.
The two approvals given by the Grenoble regulations are derived from the same method of production, which is an unreasonable exception (because there are many special cases in law). This has consequences on the representation of the content of the law who no longer binds himself to the general rules but who can suspend it in his own interest and create another one. The individual becomes the center of the ideal by forming himself as an exception to the ideal. It thus empties the law of its compatibility. It no longer ensures solidarity in obedience but rather what I create by excluding myself from the general rules. So that the social organization becomes a potentially infinite series of exceptions to the law of emptiness from its substance.
The more we are called upon to respect individual freedom, the more we need to pay attention to the way we make laws so that it is not just for a few, it is actually an element of ordinary life.