A French judge is today determining whether to overturn a ban on the use of burkinis after a number of sea-side communities have halted their use.
The ban, which was most recently imposed on beaches in Nice, has drawn world-wide debate, some of which is neatly summed up in an infographic currently doing the rounds on Twitter.
The lottery of indecency or “la loterie de l’indecence” as it was originally named in French, points out how a woman’s appearance regularly attracts criticism regardless of what she’s wearing.
Divided into two sections, the image shows a woman who on one side is dressed in a burkini and on the other is shirtless and in a short skirt.
The former accuses the conservative wearer of being “submissive” because she chooses to don a headscarf, and says that her long skirt carries “too many religious connotations”.
On the other side meanwhile, the woman is criticised for either looking “like a whore” or as though she’s “neglecting” herself depending on whether or not she wears makeup.
Her exposed nipple is something of which to “be ashamed”, her short skirt sees her accused of inviting rape and her unshaved legs are considered unhygienic.
The idea, according to Twitter user Ax is that, “In the lottery of indecency, the woman is the only loser.” Another user says, “In a nutshell; damned if you do, damned if you don't.”
Nice this week joined 25 other beach-side towns in France, including Cannes, in banning the burkini from is shorelines.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has defended the ban, saying the swimsuit – which has been compared to a wetsuit with lighter fabric – is a religious symbol in opposition to the French ideal of secularism.
“We have to wage a determined fight against radical Islam, against these religious symbols which are filtering into public spaces,” he told BFM-TV.
“For me the burkini is a symbol of the enslavement of women.”
The burkini’s Australian creator disagrees, telling SBS that her wares are a symbol of “freedom” that was initially designed to allow Muslim women to be able to enjoy leisure time in the Western world.
She adds however, that almost half of her current customers “aren’t from the Muslim faith”.
“We’re getting enquiries from skin cancer survivors, breast cancer survivors, women who don't want to wear a bikini anymore for whatever reason... we've had Orthodox, we've had Christians, we've had people from the Jewish faith," she explains.
"I don’t understand why people think they have the right to [tell women what they can and can't wear],” Ms Zanetti continues, “You can’t judge a wearer, she could be anyone and she is anyone.”