Blog: Burkini vs. Bikini

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Burt Ross

Perhaps it’s because my son Isaac runs Solid & Striped, a swimwear company, but I am fascinated by the various attempts to regulate what women can wear on the beach.

For most of my life, prudish male legislators tried to restrict how much flesh a female bather could reveal. Their attempts were hypocritical to say the least. If they enjoyed seeing a semi-clad or no-clad woman in Playboy or other similar magazines, they then tried to outlaw any resemblance on the beach. If you see the logic of that, you are way ahead of me.

The pendulum has now swung fully the other way, and the very French who gave us the real bikini (not a two-piece bathing suit, but a series of strings strategically placed) are now trying to outlaw the burkini. Apparently, this swimwear worn by Muslim women reveals too little. 

This battle between too much and too little actually occupies the time of many legislators as if there were nothing else in the world going on which might involve their attention.

I have, unfortunately, done no research on this topic, but I wouldn’t be surprised if several jurisdictions have allowed tops while prohibiting bottoms, or perhaps even vice versa. We live in a strange world. I don’t know of a single jurisdiction that has allowed the right side of a woman to be displayed while at the same time prohibiting left-side exposure. I trust if I live long enough, some lawmaker will try that one on for size.

What confuses me is that legislators continue to look for a solution to a problem which was solved millennia ago. If you ever visit a museum in Italy, the solution will be all too obvious. The fact is that God took care of this problem not long after Eve coaxed Adam to eat that apple. Oh, that devilish Eve! With a blink of an eye, the young couple formerly dressed au natural were adorned with fig leafs. Yes, fig leafs as bathing suits. Sounds good to me!