“Do you need burkini or bikini?”

by Anastasia Maniglio


M&S supermarket in London has been accused to enslave women, because of its choice to sell a sort of burqa, but for the seaside.


It means a suit that covers all the female body but the face. The only difference from the famous full veil is that “burkini” (fusion of “burqa” and “bikini”) is tight and does not hide mouth, nose and cheeks (a “facekini” already exists, though).

Muslim women in some countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia are obligated to choose a beach just for them, without being in the same of men and, in some cases, also not to wear tight suits even to swim.


To be honest, not all the Muslim countries (and not all the Muslim women!) have such a strict rules or way of living, expecially referring to Middle Eastern people who moved to (or at least have been for some periods in) “Western” towns, or live their religion in a less traditional way (tradition and faith are too much related to each other to decipher the borders and what is a prohibition by the first or the second).


Interviewed about these accusations to M&S, Sarah Muller, 28, Muslim who usually wears burqa, said: “It’s our choice. Let’s stop saying we’re not free.” She added: “I’d rather prefer not to go to the beach at all, but respect who does, who wears burkini and who does not.”

Giulia Serafino, 54, converted into Islam, admits: “I’m trying to do my best to wear hijab in my everyday life, but it’s difficult for me. I envy who can bear burkini without suffering from the heat.” She has converted only few months ago.


What do you wear to swim?


4 thoughts on ““Do you need burkini or bikini?”

  1. Oh Anastasia, what a minefield. To be ‘free’ must also mean ‘to be free to wear whatever religion you belong to requires what you should wear’. Not every woman enjoys the sea, or bathing in it. Not every woman enjoys exposing their body, should they want to bathe at the beach or in a swimming pool. Surely, true ‘freedom’ should allow a woman to feel comfortable at a beach (for e.g.) dressed in whatever attire she chooses – for whatever reasons. Unfortunately, many westerners seem to think that it is every woman’s desire to expose as much of their body as they are able – they may be wrong in that arrogance. My wife and I are atheists. My wife is an open water swimmer, swimming between one and three kilometres every day at our (relatively) sheltered local beach. She swims simply for the pleasure and physical exercise it affords her. She wears a (western) standard swimsuit, exposing only her arms and legs, and wears a swimming cap and goggles – she often encounters jelly fish, fortunately not the lethal type – and does not sun bathe. Her skin that is exposed is the colour of dark chocolate (she is Polynesian). Personally, I think religious ‘believers’ are credulous, at best, but I would never take it upon myself to dictate to them (or anyone) what they should or shouldn’t wear at the beach..


  2. So, my question is about the very last photo – it is what caught my attention and had me read through the post. If you look at the caps (I don’t know the proper name) of most of the photos, nobody has a stiff brim like the woman in the last photo. I’m wondering how that was accomplished and if it is a style or something just made up for the photo.

    i was listening to NPR today, and some countries want to ban the burkini. I’m wondering why a scuba suit is better than the burkini – it covers almost the same quantity of skin. To each their own…


    1. Dear jcbooth, the last photo represents just a different style, but the same concept of covering hair and neck.
      I totally agree with you about the scuba suit. The ban done in France is a shame, in my opinion. I wonder what would happen if French police face a Chinese person with a Chinese suit – I’m not a China expert, but the name should be facekini.
      Unfortunately I’m not that influent to make politicians change their mind. Hopefully the protests of Muslim and non-Muslim women around the world will solve the problem.
      Thanks for reading and asking. Have a lovely weekend!


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