From Bikini to Burkini, is a quick news item that took my attention as Lebanese-born, Australian fashion designer, Aheda Zanetti, has created a swimsuit for Muslim women. The Burkini. And what a controversy it’s created!
It’s becoming part of the current lexicon, but the bikini to burkini idea is taking off with Aheda Zanetti’s company, Ahiida, owning the trademarks to the words ‘burqini’ and ‘burkini’. Covering the whole body except the face, hands, and feet, the Burkini is made of traditional swimsuit fabric making it relatively loose to wear.
Apparently, Nigella Lawson wears one, more as sun protection that any religious statement, and also some Australian female beach lifeguards. There’s an interesting article that traces the history of swimwear from the mid 1800’s to the first modern bikini and beyond.
However, the burkini is not without its detractors. Some feminists and even a few politicians have suggested it’s akin to slavery and a retrograde step. Yesterday (Aug 22) the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, banned the burkini.
A simple Google search will show that women wear a variety of outfits to the beach from tiny string bikinis to board shorts and t-shirts. If the idea is to cover up from the sun then anything goes. But when it comes to the religious links to covering up, then all hell breaks loose. I guess that if a woman would usually wear a Burkha then, yes, she probably wants to continue her beliefs to the beach or poolside. Isn’t that her right? Why should she not be able to swim with her children?
If it wasn’t called a Burkini, wasn’t designed for Muslim women, and was simply a way for women to cover up from the sun or other modesty reasons, would it have inflamed debate to the same degree? I think not.
What do you think? I’d love to know your opinions on this. Would you wear one? Is the name inflammatory? Should they be banned?