September 11th, 2011

Burkini vs. Bikini

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Written by: moeadra
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Burkini vs. Bikini
Bums, buttocks, tushes. Since I am on vacation at the beach it is no surprise that they are everywhere. Big ones, baby ones and ones that I covet for my very own. Yet, as different as these bottoms may be in size and shape they are almost uniformly appareled in teensy weensy bikini bottoms.


I grew up in a conservative Muslim household and would sooner order pork loin for dinner washed back with a couple of bottles of Heineken than stroll down the beach in a two piece. Even if modesty wasn’t an issue, my 40-something derriere and my belly that housed and protected three children would put a kibosh on the bikini shopping. Do some of these women not have a clue as to what their backsides look like? Do they not have a passing acquaintance with a mirror or a trusty friend who could possibly say, “No offence but, THAT is not attractive.” So, I have to assume that bikinis on the beach are akin to skis on the slopes or cleats on a field-worn without question.

But as I look – or rather attempt to look away– I wonder where is the concept of modesty among these women? As a mother of a teenage girl I wonder how other mothers are willing to send their daughters out the front door dressed in a little more fabric than found in a large handkerchief. I can only deduce that the dual concepts of shame and modesty that were so earnestly indoctrinated into me and my sister at home and all of my peers in Islamic Sunday school never made it to the masses lounging beside me poolside. Or maybe these principles were inculcated into these women but the ubiquitous nature of pop culture has obliterated these lessons from memory? A culture that believes the human body is beautiful and ought to be flaunted, deems celebrities who pose nude on magazine covers while pregnant empowered, and considers a skintight dress "hot" but a low-cut skintight dress "hotter" leads to major dress drama when trying to shop for clothes with a teenage girl.

My daughter is generally pretty easy going. Well, equal parts mellow and diva as only a teenage girl can be. But growing up in the Brittany Spears/Rihanna/Lady Gaga era has had some influence on what she deems acceptable attire. In the winter her wardrobe doesn’t cause a fuss. Stick her in a pair of jeans, a pair of Uggs and a North Face fleece and she’s happy, I am happy and her dad is very happy. In the summertime, however, the livin’ ain’t so easy. As temperatures rise so naturally do hemlines and shirt sleeves. My daughter escaped from her Islamic school and instead attends an all-girls Catholic school, and while the nuns dictate the dress code, they allow considerable leeway within the guide lines. Surprisingly enough, the nun’s idea of conservative and mine don’t mesh. Here is where FBI negotiators can drop by our home and brush up on their skills – observing the ferocious debates between my daughter and I over the exact definition of cleavage.

In the spirit of full disclosure I should say my daughter and I do not cover our hair, and it is the rule of modesty not the rule of the Qur’an that governs our clothing battles. We each have our lines in the sand. I need sleeves. I need no boob-age. I need loose. She needs cool and usually a designer label. We manage to find middle ground even in beach attire. Luckily, there are many brands out on the market today that make this easier without resorting to the infamous burkini. So, we are able to frolic in the sand with our heinies modestly covered trying desperately to avoid those that are …not.

By Nausheena Ahmed


Nausheena Ahmed was born in England, raised in Canada and is currently living in New Jersey. She is busy raising three kids whose names she never wants to see on a front page with the words "serial killer" or "psychopath" beside them.




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