Her skirt was apparently deemed too religious for school officials.
In the secular utopia that is France, a French Muslim teenager has been sent away from school twice because her black maxi skirt was deemed too long by school officials. Apparently, school officials felt that the skirt deomonstrated an uncomfortable religious affiliation, which is pretty weird, because my maxi skirts only express a staunch disbelief in God and all other deities. The officials say they were acting in accordance with French secular laws, which ban the display of religious items in public places.
“The girl was not excluded, she was asked to come back with a neutral outfit and it seems her father did not want the student to come back to school,” a local education official told the AFP.
According to the girl, who is identified only as Sarah, her skirt was plain, with no adornment, so it’s unclear what exactly made school officials see religion in the threads of her clothing. I would suggest that had Sarah been a blonde and blue-eyed French girl, there’d be no speculation about the religious orientation of her skirt, and she’d probably be allowed to attend school in peace. I would also suggest that France’s pronounced “secularity” is racism dressed in lawfully permissable clothing. France has always been hostile to its marginalized Muslim and Arab minorities, but the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in January have exacerbated its intolerance towards its subjugated citizens in the banlieues.
These kinds of incidents, however, lay bare France’s hypocrisy—and this incident in particular has generated a fair amount of outrage from people all over the world. On Twitter, Sarah’s supporters have rallied behind a hashtag, #JePorteMaJupeCommeJeVeux, which translates to “I wear my skirt as I please.”
But France is not the only liberal democracy that likes telling women what to wear. It is a time-honored American tradition to send young girls home dressing too sexually. Just this week, a Houston school made news when its school officials told a kindergartener to cover up her shoulders. Women of the world: keep yourself covered. But not too covered—just covered enough. Until you’re not.