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"Life's a beach in my new burqini!"
January 11, 2007 9:31 PM   Subscribe

Beachwear and modesty are generally considered mutually exclusive, leaving only the most modern of Muslim women out in the cold, so to speak. However, an Australian company has tackled the issue with their own line of made-for-the-sun attire specifically catering to a Muslim woman's need for propreity in matters of apparel. Even lifeguards are getting in on the act. I must be frank, until I read a couple of news articles, I thought this was a hoax site.
posted by zorro astor (64 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Not sure about the first link, but in the second one, that chick looks hawt.

I see this as a not-so-bad-thing if chicks can still look good.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:35 PM on January 11, 2007


Wasn't 'our Cathy' wearing one of these in the Sydney Olympics?

Also, good luck to the muslim surf live savers with the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation thing.
posted by wilful at 9:41 PM on January 11, 2007


I think it's a little odd that in an article about trying to recruit Muslims, they still hired bleach blond models to show off the new outfits.

Anyway, anyone remember the thread where someone posted that was basically 'modest' clothes for fundi Christians, fully body swimming dresses and so on. And of course it used to be women wore those kinds of things all the time in the US.
posted by delmoi at 9:44 PM on January 11, 2007


My personal policy has always been leave a little to the imagination and the latest g-string bikini trends popping up down here kinda do the opposite. These look cool though, and seem almost kitschy.
posted by liquorice at 9:45 PM on January 11, 2007


...and it doesn't get your hair wet! Woo!
posted by liquorice at 9:48 PM on January 11, 2007


Let me coin the doublespeak term, Religiously Repressexy!

(I have a personal affectation to the persian eyes who's bodies are covered with completely modest garb.)

My paraphilia is what I see in obscura.
That's right, I prefer completely clothed porn to the buck nekkid. . . like the stripper nun I saw at my buddy Ricky C's 21'st.

What was her name?
posted by isopraxis at 9:54 PM on January 11, 2007


isopraxis: "...
(I have a personal affectation to the persian eyes who's bodies are covered with completely modest garb.)
"

I totally feel the same way. I don't know what it is. I think the headscarf accentuates the natural shape of the face, and you get to see a womans face. It's so beautiful to me. Is it orientalism? Perhaps... I just know I like it.

My girlfriend shaves her head and I love that too... Maybe I just don't like long hair?
posted by symbioid at 10:00 PM on January 11, 2007


Christian fundamentalist swimwear (the code word for finding this stuff is "modesty"). I'm torn about stuff like this -- I don't like the movement or the philosophy behind it, but I also don't like showing skin (er, mine, I mean; you guys have fun).
posted by booksandlibretti at 10:00 PM on January 11, 2007


A group in NZ wants to set up special pools just for muslim women because not being able to swim covered up in other pulib pools is making tham all fat. Or something.

I don't have an issue with this, if a private group wants to make a swimming pool then go for it, but surely there are other forms of exercise available? Blaming their health problems on this one thing seems a little silly.
posted by shelleycat at 10:06 PM on January 11, 2007


Ug, what did I mess up there? That was supposed to be a link: http://stuff.co.nz/3924325a11.html
posted by shelleycat at 10:08 PM on January 11, 2007


Absurd.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:10 PM on January 11, 2007


Local pools in Melbourne will commonly have an afternoon set aside for muslim women. It's really no biggie, anyone who gets offended by it really needs to get a life.

But I don't think an afternoon paddling in the municipal pool will reassure me of a muslim chick's ability to rescue me from that dangerous rip.
posted by wilful at 10:25 PM on January 11, 2007


isopraxis:
You should check out the cutting edge porn flick Bone Dry (SFW).
posted by papakwanz at 10:25 PM on January 11, 2007


Why think it was a hoax?

If you visit any beach in Malaysia, you’ll probably see women enjoying themselves covered head to foot, with only hands and face exposed. Any progress on this front – that these women are comfortable with – is good to see.

My sig other recently pointed out with some humour that a bottle of shampoo we picked up on Lombok showed a woman on the label who, in fact, was not displaying a single strand of hair. Kind of unusual for shampoo, but really, until she pointed it out, I hadn’t noticed.
posted by dreamsign at 10:36 PM on January 11, 2007


"Burqini" makes me laugh.

But damn! Those suits are expensive.
posted by Brittanie at 10:40 PM on January 11, 2007


Persians are beutiful people. Covered, uncovered, whatever. I do wish they could rid themselves of this fundamentalism (and the US, too, of course). They are, otherwise, very civilized people.

As for the all-covered-up thing: I cringe when I see a woman in a black burka on a hot, sunny day. Black, in the hot sun? Modesty is fine, but the black is insane.
posted by Goofyy at 10:40 PM on January 11, 2007


"...they still hired bleach blond models to show off the new outfits..."

Delmoi, those aren't the outfits. I think that's an image for a related story about something else.
posted by Brittanie at 10:42 PM on January 11, 2007


That's just two lifesavers decked out in the usual lifesaving outfit as far as I can tell. Seems totally unrelated to the burqini story.
posted by liquorice at 10:49 PM on January 11, 2007


I see this as a not-so-bad-thing if chicks can still look good have fun at the beach.
posted by zarah at 10:51 PM on January 11, 2007


good luck to the muslim surf live savers with the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation thing.

I'm pretty sure that Muslims, like Jews, are allowed to break prohibitions in order to save a life.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:57 PM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, until 100 years ago Victorian men used to go swimming in one of these. And compared to one of these the burqini is downright provocative.
posted by three blind mice at 10:59 PM on January 11, 2007


delmoi :I think it's a little odd that in an article about trying to recruit Muslims, they still hired bleach blond models to show off the new outfits.

Not actually so odd as you might think. I have a Hispanic employee who converted to Islam when she married her Arabic husband. For the first two years that I knew her, she was covered. She and her husband have subsequently separated and while she still loves her newly embraced religion, she no longer feels an obligation to follow it's strictest tenants. As such, she started coming into work with her wonderful red highlighted hair exposed for all the world to see.

Because I had to know, I asked if she colored her hair when she was covered, and she explained: "Of course. Just because you all couldn't see it, didn't mean I wasn't showing off."

I like her world. Where a girl can be a looker even when no one is allowed to see. Now I assume that whenever I see a woman in a burka, she is a supermodel incognito. It makes life much more fun.
posted by quin at 11:13 PM on January 11, 2007


three blind mice: "And compared to one of these the burqini is downright provocative."

I thought they made the wearer look like a cross between a condom-enrobed penis, and a human-sized sperm.

So much for modesty.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:17 PM on January 11, 2007


I thought they made the wearer look like a cross between a condom-enrobed penis, and a human-sized sperm.

Some people are never satisfied.
posted by three blind mice at 11:38 PM on January 11, 2007


I see this as a not-so-bad-thing if chicks can still look good have fun at the beach look good.

But apparently the image I was referring to is standard lifeguard apparel in that area. I had apparently misunderstood and thought that the burqini was impacting other swimwear designs. So. That chick is hot. But apparently it's not relevant to the story.

In terms of the burqini in the first link, I think it's functional. Dunno about the hood. That just strikes me as strange looking regardless of person or situation. But still. Good for them.

The burqini sounds like something you'd order at a bar.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:10 AM on January 12, 2007


Wouldn't you get a similar effect with a wet suit? And have the added bonus of it being much easier to go diving in? :)
posted by kaemaril at 1:21 AM on January 12, 2007


Why only Muslim women… there are plenty of Non-Muslim women here in India who like to go for a frolic without having to wear a Bathing suit.
posted by hadjiboy at 1:46 AM on January 12, 2007


There are? Without a suit? I think that's pretty much the polar opposite of what this post has in mind :)
posted by kaemaril at 2:00 AM on January 12, 2007


:O)
posted by hadjiboy at 2:42 AM on January 12, 2007


Brings new meaning to the modesty inherent in a "two-piece" swimsuit.
posted by grouse at 2:59 AM on January 12, 2007


If such suits are actually easy and safe to swim in, protect people from sun burn (skin cancer, etc.), and let people relax at the beach without worrying about being ogled or mocked or otherwise embarrassed, I hope they catch on for everyone.
posted by pracowity at 3:32 AM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Their daughters will all laugh at mom's silly paranoia.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:37 AM on January 12, 2007


Hummm... wet burka contest...
posted by cardoso at 3:49 AM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


If such suits are actually easy and safe to swim in, protect people from sun burn (skin cancer, etc.), and let people relax at the beach without worrying about being ogled or mocked or otherwise embarrassed, I hope they catch on for everyone.

Absolutely! There are lots of fair-skinned folk for whom a day at the beach is like standing in a microwave. In fact a day in the sun is probably not much good for anyone.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 3:50 AM on January 12, 2007


cardoso: milk, breakfast cereal, keyboard.
posted by anthill at 6:01 AM on January 12, 2007


This is absurd. Are you people seriously talking about this as liberating and positive? Skin cancer? Are you crazy?

Look, if this was all a matter of personal choice, and individual concerns about modesty and UV rays and whatnot, great. I'm all for it. Frankly, I don't want to see 95% of the human population in a thong anyways. But you're kidding yourself if you believe that this is a matter of free choice for the vast majority of women who would be the consumers of this product. How many would be ostracized by their community/friends/family if they didn't wear them? Arrested by the religious police? Beaten? Killed? Even in Australia, or the US or Canada, is a Muslim woman living in a Muslim marriage within a Muslim community *truly* free to choose not to wear such a thing to go swimming? I'm not offended by anyone choosing to do anything - I'm offended when they don't have a choice (after the fact justifications aside). In countries and communities where women are not allowed to travel alone, drive, vote, own property or control any meaningful aspect of their own lives, to treat any of this oppressive, illiberal, medieval nonsense as acceptable and progressive is absurd in the extreme.
posted by loquax at 6:10 AM on January 12, 2007 [4 favorites]


Dislike the whole idea behind it but I actually like the look. Seriously, the suits in the first link look cool, much much cooler than that awful Christian fundamentalist swimwear. No contest.

But uh, 100% Polyester, argh. In the sun and heat? That's just foul.
posted by pleeker at 6:12 AM on January 12, 2007


Also, good luck to the muslim surf live savers with the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation thing.

For a variety of safety reasons, I don't think any on-duty lifeguard would do actual mouth to mouth any more. They have a mask they carry with them, to avoid AIDS, hepatitis, the common cold, etc.
posted by GuyZero at 6:15 AM on January 12, 2007


I'm going to agree with loquax and go against the grain here. I find this really sad and offensive.

I grew up in an extremely conservative religious community where women were required to dress very modestly. Of course, I can only speak for this community and *not* Muslim communities, but the degree to which women are supposed to be modest is generally directly correlated to the degree to which they are believed to be owned by their husbands/fathers/male family members. Modesty isn't just about propriety, it's also about not showing off something that doesn't belong to you. And of course, what loquax said: this isn't freedom of choice, it's social pressure or maybe even physical fear.

They want to have normal lives just like everyone else: exercise, go swimming. That they couldn't, until this site came along, is really sad to me.

I hope anyone doesn't find this religiously or culturally offensive: that's not my intent at all. I had to wear an outlandish swimming get-up (for modesty reasons) when I was a kid, and I guess I am speaking from scarred experience. It was pretty embarrassing to go to the pool wearing a t-shirt sewn onto loose-fitting bloomers.
posted by crackingdes at 6:22 AM on January 12, 2007


Now I assume that whenever I see a woman in a burka, she is a supermodel incognito.

Reminds me of the time I saw a bevy of burqa clad women walking into a Victoria's Secret at the local outlet mall. Brings up a mental image I've just never been able to get rid of.
posted by Standeck at 6:24 AM on January 12, 2007


Agreed, hoverboards.

Anyone nowadays not lathering themselves with sunscreen and donning a hat before going out in the sun is looking to get fried. Skin cancer ]melanoma[ is on the rise, yep, due to our increasingly large hole in the ozone where we're exposed to more direct deadly sun's rays.

I notice, when the first warm days appear, if I have my bare arm out the window while driving, it really burns, like in 15 minutes. I mean it's fried. I don't hang out on the beach with out my long sleeve white shirt and hat and sunscreen.

What of beach wear from 1917, see Death in Venice ]Luchino Visconti[. Both sexes were extremely clothed, at the time for modesty's sake. Note attire on cover is also beachwear.

How times change. Or not. Out of necessity.

It really makes sense whether you're a Muslim or not to cover up out in the sun.

As for the mouth to mouth, I think lifeguards would use a rescue mask.
posted by alicesshoe at 6:25 AM on January 12, 2007


That chick's wrists are hawt.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:27 AM on January 12, 2007


Looks like a wet suit to me.
posted by Mister_A at 6:30 AM on January 12, 2007


As a former competitive swimmer, I can not imagine truly *swimming* in that much cloth. It would get so HEAVY!

Still though, whole body suits are the big thing in the swimming-as-sport world right now, though those are closer fitting (the idea being that they're like "shark skin").

The design on these is pretty awesome. I hope they serve their intended purpose to make going to the beach more fun for Muslim women. I'm all for more fun.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:43 AM on January 12, 2007


I burn to a bright crispy lobster red in about five minutes on a sunny beach. I can't hang around in a regular bathing suit. A swimming suit designed to cover my skin, if it was comfortable and wouldn't get waterlogged, would be great.

Unfortunately, I would feel like a complete dork if I was the only one on the beach dressed like a ninja circus performer. These things are like the reclining bicycle of swim wear -- no one but the dorkiest of dorks would want to be the first on the block. But if everyone was wearing them, I might.

By the way, I have friends who can't go to most beaches dressed the way most guys dress because my friends have breasts and aren't permitted by society to display their flesh openly. Luckily for them, someone invented a swimming suit with breast covers that seems to have caught on. It's a little awkward -- they have to force their breasts into cups that are strapped and buckled to their torsos like a couple of animal feed bags -- but I guess they get used to it.
posted by pracowity at 6:48 AM on January 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


You can be covered from head to toe and still be sexy. (NSFW)
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 6:51 AM on January 12, 2007


I don't think anyone's pointed out that we've talked about some of this before.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:03 AM on January 12, 2007


If you're just looking for a bit of modesty and protection from the sun, you might consider getting one of those (close-fitting) surfer shirts. I was looking for one recently and it turns out the magic words to search for are "rash guard" or "rashguard". I finally decided to give up the battle against the sun when I got completely fried at the water park with my daughter this summer, despite wearing waterproof, very high SPF sunblock.

Anyway, these suits are cool, but way expensive.
posted by beth at 7:13 AM on January 12, 2007


Modesty is such a stupid term.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the human body: there is no need to cover it up. If you want to, fine. If you don't want to, fine.

There is nothing sinful about full or partial nudity. Any religion that tells you so is stupid. And probably sexist, too, as such religions often like to spend an inordinate time telling women exactly what God-given flesh is "sinful" to show anyone but their owner husband.

That said, the first link does not show very well what a burqini is, and the second includes no picture at all, which is silly.

Google the term to actually see one in all it's glory.

Burqini.

I'll be happy when we can get past this complete nonsense about hiding the human body, especially the female human body. It's an infantile, irrational impulse, whether it comes from radical leftist feminists, Christian fundamentalists, or Muslims, or whoever (and it's often poorly supported by the religious texts of the folks that insist women must be "modest"). It's very often blatantly sexist, and all the crafty rationalizations can't change that.

Once we get past that, maybe we can get past the bullshit idea that sex is dirty and must be hidden. And I want a pony.
posted by teece at 8:51 AM on January 12, 2007


Drats:
There is nothing sinful about full or partial nudity. Any religion that tells you so is stupid.

That should read: There is nothing sinful or wrong about full or partial nudity. Any religion or society/culture that tells you so is stupid.
posted by teece at 8:53 AM on January 12, 2007


I think I should note that my comment about the girl in the second link was meant to be somewhat tongue in cheek. Hence my usage of the term "hawt." I don't think I could take anyone seriously if they used that term.

I agree with pracowity and loquax also. If you want to wear it, great! It's good that this option exists for those who want it. It sucks for those who don't have a choice.

Also, Mr. Crash Davis, I agree without reserve. Nothing turns me on more than a good set of carpals. Rawr.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:04 AM on January 12, 2007


They just look really impractical to me. All that extra fabric, once wet, will just get heavy and saggy. I've swam in tee shirts and I've swam in proper swimsuits and I prefer the range of motion and lightness of a the swimsuit. All that extraneous cloth could be down right dangerous.
posted by Sara Anne at 10:09 AM on January 12, 2007


Is it just me or do they all look like 'sporty' versions of the nihilists in the Dude's Big Lebowski dream sequence.

(and I'm anti-swimsuit and anti-modesty in general, so I guess my opinion's kind of irrelevant, but that's never stopped me before so what the hell)
posted by jonmc at 10:22 AM on January 12, 2007


As a former competitive swimmer, I can not imagine truly *swimming* in that much cloth. It would get so HEAVY!

My first thought, too. They suck because they make swimming difficult.

Still though, whole body suits are the big thing in the swimming-as-sport world right now, though those are closer fitting (the idea being that they're like "shark skin").

It isn't the same thing at all. For one, no one works out in those suits, because they aren't really all that comfortable and are so tight it takes ages to get into them. (And the jeebus help you if you have to pee before your race.) Plus, many to most people don't wear the Ian Thorpe arms and legs and all suits because they can reduce your range of motion and feel for the water. That is, because even if it can shave some time off maybe and even if it is skin tight, it is really hard to swim in lots of crap.
posted by dame at 11:03 AM on January 12, 2007


As for the all-covered-up thing: I cringe when I see a woman in a black burka on a hot, sunny day. Black, in the hot sun? Modesty is fine, but the black is insane.

I seem to recall an example from college physics that addressed this. Apparently, the black clothing induces convection currents inside which actually do more to cool off a person than if they were wearing white. I didn't quite understand why at the time, and still don't. Can anyone verify, explain, or look up the example (I think it was in Halliday & Resnick)?
posted by SBMike at 11:32 AM on January 12, 2007


Iranian female police officers in their burqas.
posted by nickyskye at 12:41 PM on January 12, 2007


OK, that video clip is surreal... it's like an action movie spoof. Replace Will Smith in "Bad Boys" with a woman in a burqa.

In fairness, they rappel down that building better than I could, so I shouldn't make fun of them.
posted by GuyZero at 1:10 PM on January 12, 2007


I'm not sure if that video is funnier as is, or imagining them as Sith, or as nuns.

Hrm. I'm siding with nuns.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:29 PM on January 12, 2007


I don't think anyone here is saying that this is a good thing if the women don't have a choice about it, but I think you're underestimating the intelligence of many Muslim women in the Western world. I know many forward-thinking, feminist Muslim women who wear a hajib/burka out of choice, not out of family pressure and would find this a great option when going out on the beach. Some of you say it'd be super-dorky, sure if you were going out there alone, but if there were three or four of you donned in the same style I think it'd be very different. I don't think there is anything awkward looking about this.
posted by liquorice at 2:50 PM on January 12, 2007


I don't think there is anything awkward looking about this.

Most moms I know would like to dress their kids like this at the beach. I think my wife would buy our kids these. My son might really dig having a hood.
posted by GuyZero at 3:05 PM on January 12, 2007


Huh. Y'know, that picture actually makes the clothing seem pretty cute. Perhaps it's because this picture looks more natural than the others on the first site, or maybe it's the floral designs as opposed to the arabic writing.

It just looks like an elongated shirt... er... with a hood.

I retract my initial reservations about the first link.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 3:07 PM on January 12, 2007


many forward-thinking, feminist Muslim women who wear a hajib/burka out of choice

? This site expresses my opinions about the both Eastern and Western obsessing over the female body. The "use of the burqa arises from an obsessive sexualization of the female body by men." and "The burqa represents an extreme jealousy or possessiveness expressed on a cultural scale."
posted by nickyskye at 5:10 PM on January 12, 2007


*not the both, just both Eastern and Western
posted by nickyskye at 5:24 PM on January 12, 2007


I have to say, I'm not a fan of the burqa or veil, but then, I'm not a Muslim woman so frankly my opinion on either doesn't actually matter.

However, as a whiter than white gal in Australia, I regularly go to the beach wearing a rashie and boardshorts. Swim tops are widely available here.

They do restrict your movement to a degree. If I were to swim a long way I'd be weighed down. However, if I'm just going to splash around and have a nice day at the beach, a rashie is perfect.

And who does go to the beach and swim a couple of kilometres? A few people, but most of the teeny tiny swimmers I see at the beach are being worn by people who mainly lie around on the beach scorching their skin.

Yes I do feel like a bit of a dag at the beach, but I already have much less wrinkled and sun-damaged skin than many people my age -- and I'm only 28.
posted by jasperella at 10:18 PM on January 13, 2007


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