Earlier this summer, coastal French towns courted controversy when their respective mayors decided to ban burkinis on beaches. The burkini consists of a long-sleeved top with long pants and a head covering, and was developed for women who follow Islamic modesty standards so that they could go swimming while still covered. The term “burkini” comes from a portmanteau of the words “burqa” and “bikini.”
Despite the ban, burkini creator Aheda Zanetti says that online sales of now-famous swimwear have risen over 200%+ recently. (Now, we don’t know what her sales had been previously, or what the year-over-year change has proved to be, so unfortunately we have incomplete information.)
Zanetti says that her customers are not homogeneously Muslim. She reports that about 40% of her customers are from other faith traditions, such as Judaism and Mormonism, that adhere to modest dress standards.
The burkini ban stems from a stringent French view on separating religion from the state. The French government has banned religious symbols from government buildings since 2004. A ban specifically on burqas was passed in 2011.
Right now, about 30 French towns have instituted the ban, though the town of Villeneuve-Loubet has since overturned it.
With TLC’s special “My Husband’s Not Gay” premiering recently, same-sex attraction (SSA) has come to the forefront of discussion in sexuality. SSA is just what it sounds like: a person is attracted to someone of the same gender, or sex. However, someone with SSA may or may not act on the attraction, and may or may not identify as homosexual, gay or lesbian.
“My Husband’s Not Gay” follows three (hetero) married couples and one single man. All the men featured admit to struggling with SSA. The couples and man reside in Salt Lake City, Utah, and cite their strong Mormon faiths as to why they have a traditional male-female marriage (or, in the case of the single man, why he wants one). Since conservative Christianity, and Mormonism in particular, has traditionally frowned upon homosexuality, these men have made a decision to honor their faith and not their attractions.
I wanted to find some stats on SSA, but couldn’t find any information that weren’t connected to any religious sites (of the “pray the gay away” stripe). Apparently, no university has done a study with people who experience SSA but who do not identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual. (Kinsey Institute, get on this.)
Mormonism founder Joseph Smith, Jr. and his polygamist family
“The Talk” host Julie Chen revealed a family secret this week: her maternal grandfather was a polygamist. He had nine wives.
We’ve all seen “Big Love,” the HBO show centering on a Mormon man (Bill Paxton) and his three wives (Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny, and Ginnifer Goodwin) that ran 2006-2011. The show single-handedly brought a depiction of modern polygamy into premium cable holders’ homes and greater mainstream culture.
How common is polygamy, both in the United States and the world?
In the greater world, Polygamy Stop estimates another 100K+ people are practice polygamy in Western Europe. The site also notes that polygamy is legal in over 150 countries in Africa, the Middle East and various countries in the Third World (none are specified).
If anything, this news gives Chen quite the conversation-starter for her next dinner party.