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Bigsy Wigsy Burquni | Bathe Modestly In Line With Muslim Values

Updated on August 13, 2009
Photo: Danielle Smith
Photo: Danielle Smith

I wish I could take credit for the first part of the title, but alas, I cannot. The term “Bigsy Wigsy Sunny Screeny Crimson Plain Polyester Burqini” was coined by Georgina Robinson, and I hope she wins a Pulitzer for it, because she deserves it.

The Burquini, a full length swim suit designed to allow Muslim women who wish to maintain cultural modesty was created by an Australian woman, Aheda Zanetti. The polyester garment covers the wearer from head to leg, and has been approved by several countries, including Germany, Sweden and Austria.

The Burquini made fashion and political headlines when a French pool banned a woman wearing a burquini, claiming that her garment was a 'hygiene risk.' Anyone who has ever been in a public pool that allowed children to swim in it knows very well that dipping a toe in the water means throwing hygiene caution to the winds and trusting one's health to massive doses of chlorine. Those hot spots in the water aren't caused by global warming, you know.

The burquini is a stroke of genius and should be embraced. If women want to cover their bodies (as they have a right to,) they should not also lose the right to swim by default. The burquinis are a common sight amongst the Muslim swimming population, and it's a very good thing too.

Imagine growing up as a Muslim girl in the infernal heat of Australia and never being able to cool off in the nation's many swimming pools, and watering holes for fear that some swag man with his billabong might espy something he shouldn't see?

Of course, it is not surprising that France has taken this attitude, they are also in the process of trying to ban headscarves and burkas outright, ostensibly because they represent a repressive attitude to women. However I believe that it is not possible to fight oppression with oppression. If one ruling power tells women that they must cover up, it is not liberation for another ruling power to say that they must uncover, it is simply domination from another ruler.

Some Mulsim women actually prefer to cover up. They say that it allows them to be taken more seriously, and that they feel more comfortable wearing it. Whether these are objective truths is irrelevant. If a woman wants to go out in public wearing a space suit matched with a pink tutu, or if she chooses a burka, or if she wants to totter around in a mini skirt and heels there should be no-one to tell her not to dress as she wishes. This goes for religious leaders and governments alike.

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters


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      Gunnau 8 years ago from Central Coast NSW Australia

      With sun cancer at all time highs and nasty stinging critters like Blue Bottles, jellyfish and octopus, we all should be wearing more than we do at the beach. Long sleeve shirts and leggings and even lycra dive suits are acceptable in the water in Australia. It's not like the Muslim women are wearing burkas.( Although going by the looks of some women in Australia, i'd prefer it to one piece or bikini. Shudder)

      Men should be encouraged to wear a nice one piece as opposesd to board shorts for extra protection against the sun.

      Before i dip my foot in a public pool, i dip in a piece of litmus paper to see if there is enough urine.