The American Burqini, and modesty throughout the ages.


BB guestblogger Aman Ali's post about a modest bathing suit designed by Muslim women for Muslim women has sparked debate. At the time of this post, I'm also seeing that an anonymous Muslim woman has voiced her thoughts in the thread, and I encourage you to go read. She ends: "I own a burqini and LOVE IT."

Still, some non-Muslim commenters in the related thread take the position that "modest swimsuits" such as the burqini are a form of Muslim oppression against women. I think that's a silly, narrow, and factually inaccurate position.

I thought it might be helpful to point out a few related Western apparel websites:

* Stitchin' Times Women's Swimsuits
* Lilies of the Field: Modest Women's Apparel
* Simply Modest Swimwear Solutions

…and, I want to point out this series of posts about Victorian Bathing Machines, contraptions that allowed 18th century folks in England to bathe in the sea while adhering to the cultural norms of the era. Above, one proponent of modest sea-bathing in that era.

My point, such as it is: why must our first reaction to stuff like a Boing Boing post about burqinis be to judge or condemn? You may or may not choose to wear one, but the world doesn't revolve around you. I believe it is more fruitful to try and learn about and appreciate cultural differences than to get all flustered about whether or not you approve.

The commenter who loves her burqini (or any one of the smiling American customers on this "modesty swimsuit" website) does not care what you think about her garments or her beliefs. Nor should she.

Let all forms of happy mutancy prevail. (Thanks, Clayton Cubitt)