The French Veil Ban: A Transnational Legal Feminist Approach

Posted: 12 May 2017  

Sital Kalantry

Cornell University - Law School

Date Written: May 12, 2017


After the gruesome terrorist attack that killed eighty-four people in Nice, many beach towns in France began to ban Muslim women from wearing the "burkini" on beaches. The burkini, which was created by an Australian designer, is modest swimwear that covers the body and hair. The Nice attack occurred on the heels of a series of attacks in France. The timing of the French burkini ban suggests it was targeting Muslims due to the anger over the attacks. The argument that burkinis are not hygienic is a fig leaf for other more pernicious justifications. Others argue that religious garb generally contravenes the French vision of secularism. Another line of attack against the burkini relates to gender equality. For example, the French Prime Minister argues that the burkini reinforces the "enslavement of women." In this article, I will focus on arguments that justify bans on Muslim women's religious clothing on the basis that they are oppressive to women.

Keywords: French veil ban, burkini, Muslim, oppression of women, Nice, modest swimwear, feminism, gender

Suggested Citation

Kalantry, Sital, The French Veil Ban: A Transnational Legal Feminist Approach (May 12, 2017). University of Baltimore Law Review, Vol. 46, No. 201, 2017; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-23. Available at SSRN:

Sital Kalantry (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

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