Burkini - the Reawakening of Modest Swimwear

Modest Beach Wear

The Burkini is a type of swimwear made for people who are looking for a more modest type of swimwear to go swimming or to the beach in. The swimwear was created by Aheda Zanetti in 2007, an Australian Muslim. After seeing her nieces playing volleyball in traditional Islamic garb, Zanetti realized a need for more sporty outfits for Muslim women.

Also, during this time in 2005 was an incident that happened in 2005 known as the  2005 Cronulla riots, in Sydney Australia, where there was a race riot between Muslims and whites on the Beach of Sydney. After the incident,  Surf Life Saving Australia launched an initiative to have a more diverse mix of lifeguards, including Muslim women. Zanetti's Burkini became the official uniform for Muslim lifeguards on Sydney beaches. 

What is a Burkini

I have my own personal experience with the burkini and modest Islamic wear. Back in college I was an avid surfer and also Muslim, I had several female friends that wanted to learn how to surf, however the lack of modest swimwear for women as well as being embarrassed or ridiculed from wearing traditional Islamic clothing in the water stopped a lot of the women from even trying. 

Today there are several types of burkinis on the market with several styles and shapes that fir any woman's need for beach fashion as well as stating modest and looking fetch. Not to say that there is not still some pushback and backlash from Islamic wear. France, Germany and a few other countries had banned the burkini, deeming it unhealth or a safety risk. However, there were ulterior motives behind that ban on the popular modest wear.

In an article from a 2016 in The Conversation, Banning the burkini reinforces a single story about Muslim women: they need saving, Pina Sadar says:

The advocates of the burkini ban not only allege that all wearers are adherents of radical Islamist ideas. They also suppose that burkini-clad women are necessarily the victims of these political systems, which force them into complying with their patriarchal laws.

This in fact is untrue, as most Muslim women can choose whether or not to wear the headscarf. 

Fortunately, with forward thinking American publications like Sports Illustrated, who is know for their scantily clad female models. There is a push to focus on cultures that dance to the beat of a different drummer. In 2019 the first Burkini clad model was shown in sports illustrated and Halima Aden became an over night sensation. 

Burkini Sports Illustrated Halima Aden

I am looking forward to seeing more modest wear on the beach without ridicule and people who would not have the chance to take part in beach sports now be able to enjoy the same liberties that I have. 

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