The XX Factor

“Baywatch,’ the Burquini Edition

As always, the French end up looking like idiots when they ban certain items of Muslim wear. In the latest flap, officials at a pool in a Paris suburb banned a woman for wearing a “burquini ,” the latest fashion in Muslim swimwear. Surely some Muslim entrepreneur invented this thing, with its fetching name, to draw the French into a fight. As always, the French begin their objections by making up sober-sided bureaucratic rules-pools don’t allow loose clothing, arms can’t be covered, the clothes could contain “molecules and “viruses.” Then, by the end, some French official admits the real problem, which is some first-wave feminist frustration: ”We are going back in civilization,” said the town mayor. “Women have fought for decades for equal rights with men.” But the Muslims are a step ahead. The burquini is clearly a matter of self-expression, Photo shoots show smiling women in stylish burquinis , or Baywatch , the Burquini edition . The burquini happens to coincide with current fashion-a long shirt over leggings. The jogging women in these photos look anything but oppressed.

Photograph of women in burquinis courtesy of Ahiida Burquini Swimwear .