Tuesday, 1 September 2009

A fundamentalist Christian, a Muslim, and an Orthodox Jew walk into a swimming pool...The Burkini Debate

I didn't think I'd live long enough to see the day that a woman would be punished for wearing too many clothes or being too modest - but the day has arrived.
I remember the hubbub back in the 60s when Jean Shrimpton wore a skirt with a hemline above the knee to a race meeting in the UK where the queen was in attendance, oh the outrage, the shock and horror. And now we have the complete opposite in the recent display in France of heat (but not much light) when a woman was evicted from a public swimming pool for wearing a "burkini". Basically, a burkini (a play on the words 'burka' and 'bikini')is just a lightweight wet suit with a loose top and a long cap that covers head and neck. Speaking as someone engaged in a constant battle with skin cancers I think the maximum coverage it offers sounds like a great idea.
The outrage baffles me. What's the issue? Its nothing to do with Islam specifically, why should any woman who feels comfortable being more covered in public, be penalised for that? Questions of hygiene are spurious.
The desire for modest clothing is found not only amongst Muslim women but also Jewish women and female members of conservative Christian groups as discussed in this link from the Anchorage Examiner, referred to in the title of this piece.
Not everyone wants to wear a microscopic swimsuit in public. I like boardies and a teeshirt, that's the way it is and nobody is going to make me front up in public in a cozzie designed for a wafer thin 17 year old! And this is one of the aims of the modest swimsuit designers, to provide a range of clothing that enables more conservative women or *any* women who prefers not to display acres of flesh in public to enjoy the recreation offered at a pool or the beach, to participate in swimming as a recreational activity or just enjoy time in the water playing with their kids.

There are numerous websites for vendors of modest clothes and swimwear that you might like to visit to see what's available. You may also find the story of Shereen Sabet, a keen scuba diver, a Muslim and founder of Splashgear interesting.

And on the same note, how is it that the smaller the bikini, the more it costs?

Article source: Gulf News
It's simply called women's conservative swimwear - a line of fashion clothing that, as industry players put it, is all about giving women a choice.
Given the Middle East's largely conservative background, it may be understandable that fashionable swimwear has not been commonly associated with the region's women, even in a popular beachfront destination such as the Gulf. This may also explain why designers of modest clothing apparel have not been as aggressive in promoting such products compared with the more liberal designs.
But as fashionable, conservative attire continues to evolve, designers catering to this niche segment discover that more women are now embracing this type of clothing.
"I'm very confident," says Dubai-based fashion designer Jenny Rose Nicholson, describing the prospects of her "MyCozzie" line of swimwear, which is inspired by the cultural sensitivities of the region.
"It has already picked up within the retail industry and we're stocking very large retail outlets," she said.
Farhana Farooq, creative director of Farashati, a retailer of conservative clothing, agrees.
"I have always been aware of women who experience a dilemma between fashion and values. I personally feel this dilemma is market-induced since fashion houses tend to concentrate only on liberal styles," she says.
"Currently, the only option conservative women have is to layer their clothes - which isn't just uncomfortable but also offers them minimal fashion options - even if they are ready to pay the price for it.
The gap we're discussing has always existed in the market - whether in the Middle East or otherwise. Farashati has been created to give these women the option of choice," Farooq adds.
The Middle East has been a particularly key growth area for the industry, with the region's immense potential market of Muslim women and a growing retail industry.
Nicholson's foray into the modesty swimwear segment started four years ago when a Saudi princess commissioned her to create a swimsuit that would preserve her modesty and was suitable for her to exercise while she was pregnant. The positive response of the Saudi princess to Nicholson's three-piece Lycra and polyester bodysuit convinced the business-minded mother of the huge potential of the product.
"We just decided to expand the range to offer it to everybody. Our main idea was to offer our customers the choice of being able to cover fully, three-quarters or even short-sleeves - it's about giving women a choice," Nicholson said. "Now we have a huge following and we are bringing more and more items into the market."
Fashion and modesty, however, are not the only key selling points of modest swimming apparel, notes Nicholson.
"We offer 90 per cent UV protection," she says. "It's the highest available in the market." Nicholson's collection also offers chlorine resistance and a rapid dry feature, which allows the swimwear to dry within 10 minutes after coming out of the water.
The increased interest and the boost in market demand in conservative swimming apparel within the Middle East, especially in the Gulf region, and all over the world may have also been influenced by a recent incident in France, where Nicholson's conservative swimwear took the spotlight.
A 35-year-old mother named Carole was thrown out of a public swimming pool in France for wearing MyCozzie swimwear, which she had bought in Dubai earlier this year.
The costume was labelled as "unhygienic" by French authorities, who banned its use at public swimming pools. "First of all, my swimwear is not unhygienic. My swimwear is made out of the exact fabrication as anyone else's swimsuit. So I have no idea where they based that decision," said Nicholson.

1 comment:

  1. Article about modest clothing from a Christian view http://www.modestclothes.com/simple/articles/plain-and-simple-clothing-for-christians-explained.html