Or having to cover your head as many people and mostly females of many cultures do worldwide.
From one extreme to another:
I don’t actually mind burkinis, I really like them. I’m not religious or faithful to one culture but I have always had an issue with ‘modesty’ or ‘dressing appropriately for the situation’ (so that doesn’t always mean ‘modest’ because I ‘dress up’ too) and the weather. I personally don’t like revealing all or being too revealing. It’s usually two body parts (face and hands, and I often wear a hat and sometimes gloves even lace Summer gloves anyway) – I’m strange, I both like and dislike the sun, I think I’m partly Goth. My point is that I’ve always had a problem with swimwear; to me it’s just like going out in your underwear especially bikinis and they just get skimpier and skimpier. Waterproof underwear but still underwear, tankinis and two-pieces with shorts i.e. hot pants, or a tiny frill on a one-piece don’t help – they’re just like tokenism to ‘modesty’ and are more like ‘being girly’. It’s not my thing and I hate the hair removal process that goes with baring any skin for a female as well which if you don’t do you’re subject to additional public shame and humiliation. Somehow body hair on a female = dirty and an inability to be clean unlike men who can supposedly stay cleaner than us.
So over the years I’ve researched burkinis and found I like them as an alternative to normal Western swimwear. They do remind me a little of Victorian swimwear but they’re waterproof and a bit like wetsuits without being as heavy, however attitudes towards them are very Victorian. For example:
Brit tourists in burkinis made to do humiliating walk of shame out of Algarve pool as swimwear deemed ‘not acceptable for pool’
[Written by] Danya Bazaraa
Maryya Dean and her sister-in-law Hina claim they were told they could not wear their burkinis in the swimming pool while on holiday in Albufeira, Portugal.
They say they were told they ‘must wear a bikini to follow Portuguese culture’, during the incident on July 21 that left them horrified.
The family members were also outraged after a maintenance worker at the pool allegedly made Maryya’s nine-year-old daughter stand up to provide an example of what they should be wearing – a regular swimming costume.
Marrya, who suffers with bipolar disorder, says the week-long trip was supposed to be a getaway for her – but they were all affected by what happened.
They had booked a private apartment which had a pool shared with other flats in the complex.
Maryya, who was on holiday with her four children plus her sister-in-law and other relatives, told the Mirror Online: “Given my cultural background I was wearing a burkini.
“I was approached by the building security manager as someone made a complaint that I was not wearing a bikini and therefore not appropriate to be in the pool.
“I was compared to my nine-year-old daughter who was told to stand up out of the pool to see what she was wearing which I found completely rude – I was told I should wear that to swim.
“I was not allowed to wear swimming gear that I am comfortable in and that was actually made for women like me to wear.”
She said she asked the worker to point to a sign which said only bikinis could be worn, but there were no signs in sight. Maryya, 36, from Chessington, added: “The man then started making cultural references and said that Portuguese people wear bikinis and so should we.
“We were embarrassed as we came out of the pool with with four children and people were watching us like we’d committed a crime.”
Marrya’s sister in law, Hina, 31, was also in the pool wearing a ‘covered swim suit’.
The pair of them were not wearing full burkinis.
Hina described her swim suit as three quarter length leggings with a top which had sleeves down to her elbows, but it was water proof and designed for use in a pool.
She said Marrya’s was a regular swimming suit that also came with three quarter length ‘leggings,’ made for the water.
The kids were all in regular swim wear.
Hina said she spotted a gentleman speaking to Maryya’s younger sister, who was sat on a sun lounger at the time.
She claims he was pointing and said it was apparent there was an issue.
Hina went over to see hear what the problem was, as she said it was intimidating being pointed at.
She heard from the member of the maintenance team that they had received a complaint from a resident about them using the pool.
Hina said: “He said it wasn’t possible for me to be in the pool with clothes on, and said I must wear a bikini.
“We told him it was swimwear but he said ‘you have to wear a bikini or shorts. In Portuguese culture, it’s not acceptable.’ He said we had to abide by Portuguese culture if we were in the country.
“We told him we didn’t wear bikinis because we weren’t comfortable in them. It was a confidence thing.
“But he kept repeating ‘you have to wear a bikini’. We were feeling really humiliated.”
Hina said they wore more modest swimsuits for a mix of reasons – religious, cultural, confidence and comfort.
The sisters-in-law said they were the only family using the pool at the time but that people watched the incident from their balconies and they said it was “embarrassing”.
Maryya said they didn’t feel they could use the pool for the rest of their holiday after what happened, despite it being “baking hot”.
She said: “I keep thinking about it. We had to do a ‘walk of shame’ back to the apartment, it was disgusting.”
Firstly it’s just some man not even a lifeguard complaining about them, secondly he’s telling them they have to wear a bikini or shorts like he tells women what to wear, and thirdly he acts like he doesn’t even know what a one-piece if – why a bikini? Men wear t-shirts and/or proper shorts all the time on the beach or a proper shorts and/or a vest in pools. They have the choice to wear more risqué pieces but they have the choice.
I’d wear a burkini and I don’t give a damn, but then I usually wear a leotard with full sleeves and proper shorts in pools anyway (not that I like public pools and chlorine) or full lycra leggings (or shorts with a sarong) on a beach and people have not harassed me yet. That said I’ve not bothered with hair removal at times either. I still get compliments like “little mermaid” even though I’m more obviously dressed for aerobics than swimming but lycra is waterproof and people better not start with me.
Note – not all burkinis have a head covering and I’d think many Western women would find them cute too:
Either way, they look like and are sportswear and if women who wear them don’t mind or at least don’t ban or put down women who wear practically nothing as normal then why should we mind them being ‘decent’ as normal?
We’re finally used to seeing pregnant women on beaches (Madonna being the first obvious public example which sparked a trend years ago, though she has always been an extreme trailblazer in sexuality and gender politics – and I’m not a fan) and in clothing that isn’t too different in style from what they’d normally wear, we’re getting used to breastfeeding women (gawd we do sound backwards as a species don’t we) so why do we have to fight so much about what women wear to swim? As long as they’re not likely to drown (t-shirts banned in some places because of the way they swell in water) what’s the problem? We still see barely any clothing on women in tennis, figure skating or gymnastics for example and I remember judges looking down on me for wearing shorts in gym competitions because everyone else would wear leotards only including low cut, high leg ones even though we were children whilst the boys were allowed shorts and leggings – what is the bloody problem in dressing comfortably? I’ve seen volleyball playing with sticky tape on their arses (kinesiology) for crying out loud – just wear shorts they’ll give you support and don’t act like women’s volleyball and much of women’s televised and most popular sports aren’t about ‘the babes’.
Also remember that not all religious or very culturally minded women wear these and probably never will, many wear regular Western style swimwear and are fine with that and that’s their business but for some of these women if it wasn’t for swimwear like burkinis they wouldn’t be able to go in the water or to a beach at all.