The Burkini is on Patrol!

Discussion in 'Women's Issues' started by Principessa, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. Principessa

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    The New Swimsuit Issue

    Thursday, Jul. 19, 2007 By LAURA FITZPATRICK
    http://img.timeinc.net/time/daily/2007/0707/a_lburqini_0730.jpg
    Enlarge Photo
    Mecca Laa Laa wears a 'Burqini' on her first surf lifesaving patrol at North Cronulla Beach in Sydney, Australia on February 4, 2007.
    Matt King / Getty




    Move over, Tankini. Since the full-coverage swimsuit dubbed the Burqini (as in burqa plus bikini) hit the international market in January, devout Muslim women have been snapping them up. The polyester suits were designed to accord with Islamic laws that require women to dress modestly and to eliminate the risk of drowning when the yards of fabric used in traditional burqas get soaked. Now, however, non-Muslim beachgoers are getting into the full-covered swim. Whether women are worried about health, weight or the tolls of age, the Burqini offers a comfortable alternative to a skimpy two-piece or clingy maillot.


    The demure suits, pioneered by two Muslim women on opposite sides of the globe, are like lightweight, loose, hooded wet suits and hide everything but the face, hands and feet. Australian retailer Aheda Zanetti, 38, says she was inspired to design her Burqini after watching young Muslim girls struggle to play netball in bulky layers. Her competitor, California microbiologist Shereen Sabet, 36, came up with her full-coverage Splashgear suits after searching in vain for Islam-appropriate scuba gear. The UV-resistant, stretchy swimsuits start at $90 and have found upwards of 6,000 buyers--most of them online--in locations as varied as Malaysia, South Africa, Mexico, Ireland and the U.S. "I'm a very small business with a product the whole world wants," says Zanetti.

    Conservative Christians, cancer patients, burn victims and senior citizens, among others, have shown surprising interest. Joanne Martinez, 37, of San Clemente, Calif., bought a Hawaiian-print ensemble to stave off chills during late-night dips. Her mother Norma Suarez, 69, got a suit because her medications make her skin sun-sensitive. "We're both hooked," says Martinez. Meanwhile, Kathleen Petroff, 59, of Helendale, Calif., bought her Splashgear suit for a snorkeling trip, after weight gain from multiple-sclerosis treatment made her old suit unappealing. If not for Sabet's design, she says, "I would have missed swimming with the dolphins."

    Anne Cole, the designer whose 1997 invention of the tankini was a landmark for conservative swimwear, lauds the reasoning behind the modest suits. "A woman should, above all, find a suit she can feel comfortable and be herself in," she says. But the new swimsuits have drawn criticism from both East and West. "This is like playing a game with Allah," asserted a poster on the website ShiaChat, complaining that the stretchy fabric reveals curves. Zanetti's design has also brought out anti-Muslim sentiment since she's become a high-profile member of the Islamic community. She has been called a terrorist online; she says she has even received a death threat.

    Some feminists charge that burqas in any form are offensive to women. "Clearly you're not considered a full human being if you're mandated to cover yourself head to toe in this tent," says Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of Equality Now, the international women's-rights watchdog. Sabet responds that Muslim men too have a dress code: the Koran forbids them to wear saffron or silk or expose skin from navel to knee. But Imam Mohamed Magid, who heads a moderate mosque in Sterling, Va., calls debate over Islamic clothing misdirected. "I wish there was more talk about women as leaders rather than talk about whether nail polish is acceptable in Islam," he says. "We need to move forward."

    Still, in this bare-it-all age of the string bikini, when young girls take wardrobe cues from Paris Hilton and body-image pressure is intense, the Burqini swimsuit is making a statement. And that's the point, the designers say: the suits allow women, Muslim or not, to choose comfort over conformity. "I know it sounds like an oxymoron," says Sabet. "But this is really about freedom."
     
  2. dolfette

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    i read about this a while ago.

    such a fantastic idea!

    i should get one for my cellulite & stretchmark days.
     
  3. Not_Punny

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    Heyyyyyy, now that's an idea!

    I love a bikini but with my skin (red head) and my aversion to goopy cream (other than cum) on my skin, I have to beach/swim at night... And in Vegas and Palm SPrings, where it's warm enough to swim at night, the only hotel pools open at night are at nude resorts and Motel 6. What's THAT all about?

    But all that's off topic. Great swimsuit idea. I just wish they looked a little sexier. Maybe they could make one that "looks" like skin wearing a bikini or maybe like "skin" wearing nothing at all!
    :wink:
     
  4. RideRocket

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    hotmilf - whatever you are wearing you would look incredible in!

    :wank:
     
  5. Not_Punny

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    Thanks RideRocket -- you also look good in your clothes (what I could see of them) !! (Just commented on your most recent pic) '-)

    Back to the burkini topic -- what about an Esther Williams style burkini?

    And whatever happened to swim caps from the 50's? I would swim a lot more if I didn't have to get my hair wet!
     
  6. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    Great color scheme. The model looks like a big hot dog.
     
  7. Gillette

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    The colour scheme is due to her being a lifeguard. Read the article. Other colours and patterns are available.

    I think this is a great idea. Not only does it give muslim women an intelligent option for swimwear but it appeals to other women for reasons of their own as well.
     
  8. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    Nevertheless, my statement stands. She looks like a hot dog. You interpret that as a criticism. Are you hot dog-phobic?
     
  9. Gillette

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    Damn you're quick! (sorry, shouldn't have made that public)

    Not phobic at all. I love a good wiener.
     
  10. whatireallywant

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    While I have problems with some of the extreme anti-sexual attitudes of fundamentalist religion (whether Muslim, Christian, or other religions), I think there is a point here - the article mentioned burn patients and I think these suits are perfect for them. Also women with body image issues even more severe than mine (I will wear a one-piece, but not a bikini - not because I'm against them, but because of the way I look. I wish I looked good in a bikini!)

    Another use for these suits would be similar to some of the bodysuits - for swimming in colder water.

    And of course, options are always good.
     
  11. dolfette

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    you can't change things overnight.

    only a couple of hundred years ago, western women had no vote, belonged to their father or husband, had no rights...

    it's a small step but it's moving in the right direction...which you can tell y the way the fundamentalists scream it's a step in the wrong direction.
     
  12. whatireallywant

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    Very true...this is one of the reasons I often say that I wish I could live in the future rather than the present.
     
  13. Principessa

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    I think this is a great idea for muslim women and other ultra-conservative groups (Amish, Orthodox Jews, etc).

    At least it allows the women to go out and enjoy the water. It doesn't look like it would restrict movement. I bet they could even surf or kayak in these outfits. I see this as a small step in the right direction for these women.
     
  14. dolfette

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    and to lots of women it's a personal choice rather than social pressure.

    for some, they're very proud to dress as muslims.
    it's insulting to assume that they're all victims.

    i hope they still feel free to do that in the future.
     
  15. whatireallywant

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    If it's truly a personal choice I have no problem with it. But it's hard to say if it's a personal choice or social pressure sometimes. Maybe we'll never know.

    Also, if they do this, but are ok with other people wearing what they want to, I'm fine with that, but if they are preachy about ALL women should wear this, then I have a problem.

    I come from a fundamentalist Christian background, so I have some experience with this sort of thing. Having been given so much flak for having traditionally male interests and all...not as much about what I wear, although some of my relatives did that since they do not believe in women wearing "men's clothing" such as pants. (and back then all I wore was pants and shirts.)

    Of course, if the social pressure was for all women to wear bikinis, I'd have a problem with that, too, since I look terrible in them! I wish I looked good in them but I'd need some major surgery for that! I'd actually prefer just to go nude rather than wear a bikini - I think I look better nude than in a bikini.
     
  16. dolfette

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    there are so many social pressures.
    in every direction.

    string bikini *shudder*
     
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