Thursday 8 December 2016

You say bikini, they say burkini. I say it's nobody's business what women wear

Lorraine Courtney

Published 07/09/2016 | 02:30

What we wear at the beach is no one’s concern
What we wear at the beach is no one’s concern

Do you think what you wear on the beach is your own business? You're wrong. But if the burkini is the sign of a repressive society, then what is the body-shaming reaction of Western society to the body of a woman in a bikini, deciding if she's 'beach ready' or not? At the heart of both stories is the same unhealthy obsession with women's bodies and how they should or shouldn't be displayed.

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This summer was the 70th anniversary of the bikini. The two-piece was launched in France in 1946 by engineer Louis Réard; this was also the summer the bikini died. Loads of retailers are reporting plunging bikini sales and a rise in sales for one-piece swimsuits instead. Victoria's Secret has even announced that the company will stop selling swimwear by the end of this year and introduce a new 'athleisure' line in its place. For years, the bikini body was a tyranny we couldn't get away from, but it appears that we've finally had enough of the 'beach body' shaming and are covering up instead.

Marks and Spencer became the first British high-street retailer to launch an Islamic swimwear range in the UK earlier this year, and high-end designers Dolce & Gabbana launched a 'modest wear' line of beach clothes in January.

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