Burkini or Not





Burkini or Not

So 46 per cent are for banning the burkini. Here are some thoughts.

  1. My parents went on holiday in Southern Spain. Then, what at best could be called a developing country. One of their memories was of women swimming in the sea in the full black on black,toe to toe kit which  all Spanish women wore. The dominance of the church, the rigid conservatism of the Franco regime, the rural nature  of society, the undevelopment of  capitalism, the peripheral nature of tourism, the non existence of feminism(and the pill) all allied to create women swimming modestly in their clothes.

Times, regimes, economies, development, ideas all change. And today topless beaches in Spain are as common as anywhere else in Europe.

After all its wasn’t very long ago that a lady couldn’t go into a Catholic   church unless her hair and shoulders were covered.

1966  St Stephens Square, Dublin. A young couple are snogging on a bench. An old lady goes over and starts hitting them with her umbrella and telling then not to be so profane and godless. Then that city was still crawling with priests and nuns. They have gone as has the old lady, but the couples are still snogging.

In 1968 I went to Greece then very much a student destination with a little bit of first  and a lot of third world on offer. There too I saw women swimming in their black on black clothes. Within ten years they too were  topless.

In 2007 in Kerala, South India we saw the same. Recently Bollywood allowed kissing on  screen. We know where this ends,no more honour killing perhaps.

2008  Vietnam. Women swimming with tshirts on. Was that modesty or to keep the sun  away?

  1. A beach in Dorset. A Muslim family sits. They are awkward. The man plays football with the son. The mother and daughter sit. The males paddle and after a bit the women join them. Much laughter, they are a enjoying themselves, they are integrating. The burkini is a step in that direction.

First Victorian ladies went to the beach. Separate changing cabins which were wheeled to the water’s edge, of course. Then like the men they wore full length swim suits. These got smaller. Then the bikini. Then topless.

When Jews were forced into the ghetto, guess what? They developed a distinctive and alien style. Once out and into a liberal tolerant society, they became  indistinguishable (well almost) .

Maybe the Muslim faith is less tolerant, less flexible, more commanding.  However,  the difference between third generation American Muslims and Saudis is as pronounced as the difference between Indonesians and Somalis.

Hollywood v  the Koran; Women’s rights v the immans; religious intolerance v material progress. Historically we know these are unfair as contests. Let them wear birkinis, they will soon itch.


Link-Has M&S run out or taken them off the shelves?


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One Response to Burkini or Not

  1. On Dawlish Warren not long ago I saw a strictly orthodox Jewish family in the sun, holidaying out of their element, dressed in black from head to foot, the ladies lifting their skirts to their ankles to paddle in their woollen stockings. Topless in ten years? I doubt it.

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