Art has a way of making people see things they might not recognize in the real world, and a powerful new illustration is showing that women are never safe from shaming, regardless of what they wear.
On Monday, Twitter user @LaSauvageJaune posted an image of a cartoon called "The Lottery of Indecency." The illustration is of a woman, who on the left is donning traditional Muslim garbs and on the right is topless with a blue short skirt. From top to bottom, La Sauvage Jaune notes the different criticisms women hear, whether covered up or baring all.
"Burkini? A wetsuit but there's a ‘burk’ in it so it's forbidden. Undressed yourself," the left side of the woman is told. When she does, she's likely to hear, "OH MY GOD a (woman's) nipple! Cover that up. You should be ashamed. You have no self-respect."
The illustration was inspired by the “Burkini bans,” new ordinances in 15 French towns that forbid people from wearing full-bodied swimsuits at the beach, as many Muslim women do. The laws have been largely criticized, especially this week when officers in Nice forced a woman to remove her Burkini and fined her for not “respecting good morals and secularism.”
International scrutiny around the laws forced the country's highest administrative court to suspend the ban on Friday. While the legal victory is worth celebrating, ideas around women’s bodies and indecency remain, and they go beyond the burkini.
"Long skirt? Too many religious connotations. You don't belong in this school," young women, like the one in the cartoon, often hear. But those who prefer a shorter length are also condemned. "Short skirt? Too many sexual connotations. Don't be surprised if you're raped."
Take a look at the powerful illustration below.
— La sauvage jaune (@LaSauvageJaune) August 22, 2016