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Covered, naked, or in between: artist shows how women are scorned regardless of what they wear

This illustration, titled “The lottery of Indecency,” is as depressing as it is accurate.

Protesters stage 'Wear What You Want' demonstration outside the French Embassy in London, England, United Kingdom to show support for Muslim women on August 25, 2016 after 15 French towns introduced and started to enforce a ban on the burkini.
Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

“Burkini? A Wetsuit but there’s ‘burk’ in it so it’s forbidden. Undress yourself”

That’s just one part of the text on a powerful illustration by an artist who goes by @LaSauvageJaune on Twitter, which astutely depicts the way that women around the world risk scorn and moral judgment for almost any choice they make about their appearances.

Her work was inspired by the “Burkini bans” — the relatively new ordinances in about 15 French towns that forbid beachgoers from wearing the full-bodied swimsuits (essentially, wetsuits with hoods) that some Muslim women choose. Those laws became the topic of intense international scrutiny when images circulated this week of a Muslim woman in Nice being confronted by French police, forced to remover her long sleeved garment, and fined for not “respecting good morals and secularism.”

@LaSauvageJaune’s visual commentary places this in the context of a larger, infuriating pattern, while neither attempts to meet mainstream standards of attractiveness nor extreme modesty are enough to protect women from appearance-based moral judgments and criticism.

Originally in French, the text was translated by Twitter user @Bitofkit and reached an even wider audience this week, resonating with those, like Shireen Ahmed, who said it “illustrates what women endure from those who constantly police our bodies.”

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