Hands off my burqa, Big Bro.

  In Burlington, you can step outside of your house completely naked without a hassle. Even in France, you can walk outside of your house in the buff and be scot-free in the law books; getting off, no pun intended, with a mere slap on the wrist if you enter a public building or if you inadvertently cause a public nuisance with your nakedness. But throw a burqa on that bare-boned body of yours and head down to see the Eiffel Tower with your other covered cohorts and you would face a fine or some jail time for that little walk of yours. Yes, France — the country with the most fashionable and pretentious population in the world — is making moves in the social equality pool, and the ripples are about to be felt worldwide. In a landslide decision, the French lower house passed an act banning the wearing of burqas, a garment worn by women which covers the entire body, head and face, by a vote of 335-1. The ban — which the French Senate passed 246-1 — will go into effect soon,  at which time the wearing of burqas in any public place in France will result in a $190 fine and a course in French citizenship, as well as a $19,000 fine and up to a year in prison for any man caught forcing his wife to wear such coverings. Oppressive old-world Islamic law, forcing women to wear burqas, has met 21st-century law deeming such a law is, in fact, oppressive. An oppressive law attempting to counter another oppressive law? Now, the trouble with law — any law — is the pure ambiguity of them in general. The law simply states that all body and head coverings are “illegal.” Illegal for whom? Just women? What about men? Or tourists? Or men-tourists?! Why the question about tourists and men in burqas? Well, in April of this year, after Belgium passed a similar law, an Italian tourist was fined $650 for wearing a burqa. Since there is no Italian law against them, the woman in question stepped on a plane in Italy a righteous person and stepped off in Belgium as a criminal. Now, the question this law begs the asking of is simple: When is it right to ban clothing? At what point is it just as oppressive to ban burqas as it is to force the wearing of one? Is the world doomed to resemble Lois Lowry’s “The Giver,” where a Big Brother-type forces us to live in a black-and-white clothed world of similarity to ensure fairness, non-discrimination and non-offensiveness for all? Or is it about time the world collectively drops our prudishness — and pants — and we just let it all hang out? I think I’ll stick with the latter on this one, thanks.