Monday, August 22, 2005

Islamic swimsuit

There is such a thing, if you're wondering.

Did you know that the more obnoxious you are, the more extreme you are, or the more controversial stuff that you post, the more traffic that you get to your blog. The picture I posted showing two veiled women with a topless woman in a swimming pool got my blog a peak in traffic. People want to see it, simple. I wasn't trying to be obnoxious or to shock anyone, but it was just so real, and it was really up to people to draw their own conclusions. Some people could find it odd and funny, others see tolerance, understanding and diversity in it. I personally, just found it ugly (meaning that the picture is not a pleasant sight --especially if you've seen the original thing with the breasts unblurred).

I didn't take that picture if someone is wondering. A friend sent it to me, but I made an assumption that its real, because I've personally seen it in real life alot before. The new thing is that they're posing so close to each other, you even see one of the veiled women is literally touching the topless woman's breasts.

That picture brought up some thoughts that I've had for a while, not about topless women, but about women who swim fully dressed. I know some people have their minds set already that its disgusting, and some others have it set that its the only respectable way to swim. I; am not sure, but here are some thoughts.

Ofcourse, there are the topless (and the nude, but that's not in Egypt as far as I know), the bikinis, the one piece swimsuit, the "Islamic" (conservative) swimsuit, and then those who swim fully dressed.

The first three in the list are well-known. The conservative swimsuit covers more flesh than the one piece swimsuit. More like a wetsuit I suppose with some kind of a skirt over it. There are different models of it I think, some go down only to the knees, some don't cover the whole arm and so on.

I'm trying to think of alternative options of how these conservative women can manage to get in the water and swim whilst not revealing too much of their bodies, which they're trying to protect so hard from the gazes of the male species. Considering how much I value water and swimming, avoiding swimming all together is not an option that I can consider, and I just don't know how those who sit on the beach fully dressed not enjoying the water can do that. So then the options to me are to either swim at times and places those are not available to men, or to integrate and swim along the males, but segragate their bodies by swimming conservatively (while dressed conservatively that is).

In most swimming pools here there are certain times where the pool is only available for women. They are ofcourse taking from the men's rights and giving it to women, because women get exclusive time with the pool for themselves where men can't access it, while men don't get the same. So I would think that some conservative men could complain that they need men-only pool hours where they wouldn't have to mingle with unconservative women. Considering the number of conservative women here whom are not willing to reveal the parts of their bodies that typical swimsuites reveal, it seems very reasonable to have this policy of having women-only pool hours --as long as they're very few hours a week and at very odd times! Fortunately, I have access to a pool that doesn't (and can't) implement this policy, so I don't really care how other pools do it, and am glad they give a chance to conservative women to enjoy the water.

Those women who choose to integrate with men in the water however, or atleast swim when its not guaranteed that men won't be around, they go for the option of swimming in a conservative swimsuit. I'm not sure if the point of it is to reveal less of the body so that if we look, we don't see much skin or body parts, or that it should look so ugly that we're not interested to look in the first place regardless of how much skin it reveals or not. Those who can't afford that special consevative swimsuit or think its still revealing, and usually don't have access to swimming pools with women-only hours, will swim fully dressed --with their clothes on.

Now, there is a difference between that conservative swimsuit and swimming fully dressed. The most important difference I think is the material of the garment. I like to think that I don't mind that conservative swimsuit at all. Really, its not like they're covering me with it, its what they're wearing in the water, why should I care. Plus, if they're really swimming, you'll never notice how long or short the swimsuit is. Some hotels here forbid swimming in that conservative swimsuit. I think the argument is that its against the common sense taste in the hotel, or something like that. And the argument I've heard against that ofcourse is that they're allowing topless women to swim freely (in Egypt the Islamic country), while forbiding others from swimming in an Islamic conservative swimsuit. So you either reveal more of your body, or you're not allowed to swim! I think part of it also is that revealing less, covering more, and doing it in such an obvious way (special swimsuit) is traditionally associated with lower economic classes of our society. And we have a hidden cultural policy not to have different classes of our society mingle together.

For those who swim fully dressed however, I can't quite make up my mind about that. Its certainly not a pleasant sight for me, but I tend to think that its their right as well to swim with their normal land-clothes. As someone commented at the earlier picture post, it seems that sometimes those wet clothes do not end up to be as conservative as they might think. I also can't imagine how they can possibly enjoy the water with their clothes on, totally wet. Must be a terrible heavy and itchy feeling. I think it might be natural for people to find this an unpleasant sight, because maybe its unnatural to get wet with clothes on. You get naked before you jump in the shower. When it rains you try to avoid getting your clothes wet. Clothes will make you heavier in the water and will make you drown. So the first instinct is that the sight of a woman (or a man for that matter) getting in the water fully dressed is an unpleasant sight, but as soon as I start thinking about it I say its really non of my business regardless of how much distasteful it might be to me. As long as no one is forcing me to dress up before jumping in the water, nor to get naked, than I'm fine (although taking off that swimsuit makes a whole lot of a difference!).

28 comments:

LouLou said...

Mohamed,

I agree that it's really up to people what they want to wear on land or in water. I hate the concept of fashion police. Police should have better things to do than that.

As a matter of personal taste & preference though, women who swim covered don't bother me. But women who swim topless or wearing g-strings do. That is indecent exposure. It is disgusting & embarrassing. Like the way some girls persist in showering with the door open at my club. I know it's a ladies club & all but I really don't want to watch other women taking a shower. And it's not much fun scurrying into & out of the shower with your head down trying not to look left or right the way some of us do.

Personally I love swimming, jet-skiing, snorkelling, you name it. I would only get in the water in a women's only setting though because I agree with you. It's not much fun doing it with all your clothes on. Luckily here in UAE, we have beautiful beach facilities for women.

Some women are so conservative though they still swim with all their clothes on even with no men around. They say it's 7aram to show their bodies to non-Muslim women or unrelated women or whatever. One lady told me once that even if men can't see me the women who do see me might go home & describe me to their male relatives & that would add to my sins which is an interesting fatwa:)

Speaking of extremes though check this out.

haal said...

I dont like women who swim in the sea/pool with their cloths on. It is noy hygene actually especially in the pool. I actually dont mind the other types of swimsuit,just see it as too complicated. Why not just swim during women's hours. We do have womens hours, and now women plage at Marina.... well, they are nice but I dont go there. I prefer normal community, normal swimsuits (not bikinis nor shari3ee) and people jsut act like normal human. Respecting one another, respecting eachother's private space...etc. And I happen to think the more you energetically tell others they are animals, the more they act as ones.

Anna in Portland (was Cairo) said...

Salam
I live here in Egypt and wear hijab, and when we go to the beach I wear one of those hideous Islamic swimsuits because going in the water with clothes on is really awful and uncomfortable and also dangerous (our summer place is in Alex and the undertows are strong and people drown there every summer - mostly overdressed women who are weighed down by their flowing clothes). The Islamic swimsuits do not do much for yoru appearance. But at least they give women who wear hijab the freedom to swim like everyone else and not just hang out on the shore fully dressed. I don't see why they have to be associated with the lower economic classes - after all i bought mine at the sport mall in mohandesseen and it was not cheap.

MoonLightShadow said...

Well, I’ve got some points here.

I like naming that swimming suit as a conservative one rather than naming it Islamic or shar3ee.

I don’t like women going into water fully dressed.. coz clothes most of the time reveal more than it hides, plus it’s not hygiene as Haal mentioned, especially in swimming pools. If these ladies want to get into the water, I guess the conservative swimming suit is available, with a wide range of prices, starting 75 L.E. to 350 L.E. and by no way it will be more revealing than clothes.

Despite the fact that I don’t like the look of conservative swimming suits, nor wearing them, but they are the only available solution for some woman to get into the water in all times, not on women hours only. I don’t like the separation methodology. A woman might want to get into water with her husband, father, brother, relative, etc.. and that isn’t available at women hours. So as a result of these reasons, and since I believe that everyone is free to do whatever he/she wants, then I can’t object to conservative swimming suits. Myself, I used to wear that swimming suit 8 years ago, before it was that wide spread. Was from the very first people who wore it, even without being veiled. But after being that spread, I started hating it!! But I love water, and as Mohamed said, I can’t imagine having the need to swim, but not capable to.

However there are some women who don’t like wearing that swimming suit, the only available solution for them is the women hours, or women beaches. Though I don’t like that idea, but still I have no objection against it.

ritzy said...

I agree it is up to each and one how to dress; it is a matter of course, then we can always have personal opinions about taste. And sometimes we wish that people had a sense for where they are. A thong at a hotel, ok, it is your right although it is ugly. A bikini on sundeck of a cruiseship mooring in central Aswan? Absolutely not. But on any given day, you'll see hundreds of almost naked bodies, in the middle of the city.
It makes me uncomfortabel though when women feel they have to dress more conservatively because of peer pressure. A normal swimsuite does not reveal much and if you are so offended by a leg or an arm, think also about what gives you the right to force your opinions on others. The consequence is that many women - just look at Alex today - are wearing jeans and other heavy materials. It is unpleasant, uncomfortable and seriously a risk to their health. Hotels ban this because of hygiene, but also because they are caring for their less modest guests. Any hotel manager can tell you how afraid they are of being invaded by scores of covered ladies.
I'm also bothered by the separation. Beach time is family time and children should have a good day out with both parents. Swimming pool hours for one sex only, fine, you're there to exercise.
Last but not least, I have always found that it is the most conservative of the gentlemen who are most interested in viewing the ladies so I don't think that is the problem really.

ritzy said...

I edited and added a few pennies and posted it on my own blog; here's the link if you'd care to read. all best.
http://missmabrouk.blogspot.com/2005/08/islamic-swim-suites-vs-thongs.html

LouLou said...

"The Islamic swimsuits do not do much for yoru appearance."

That's not the worst part really.
Just think it kind of spoils the pleasure. Half the fun is feeling the water on your skin.If it wasn't for that & the floating sensation swimming would just be a boring stretching exercise that you can do in your room.

Besides I love beach wear. Love to go shopping for a nice swimsuit & matching accessories without having to feel guilty. That's also part of the fun. Would never spend money on something to wear that I personally didn't think pretty.

Not sure why I'd feel guilty though. Am not muhajaba. And in my family it's normal to swim in public. My sister does it.

But I could never get rid of the feeling that it wouldn't be a very Islamic thing to do.

Gilgamish said...

i think people should not make a whole fuss. people should wear whatever they like to wear. I think having the freedom dressing whatever is honestly refreshing, i do go to my university's swimming pool and most people that surround me are not arabs or muslims, and i do see at times, canadian women wearing long, baggy t-shirts on top of their swimming pools, well, most of women who do that (through my humble observation) are kind of over-weight women, and i definitely think that they look really respectable with the t-shirt on, better than showing the juggly-things.
i too, when i'm not in the mood to do my shaving/waxing, i do wear my tight-black pants sport wear, and it looks actually like professional swimmers gear.
i dunno, i usually wear the regular swimming suit, but honestly, if i'm around arab people , especially arab guys i would feel shy wearing that, i can't exactly explain that. and when i go with my mom and her friends to women hours, i see also some women covering themselves, i think some arab/muslim women are just shy.

ritzy said...

here is a great picture
http://missmabrouk.blogspot.com/2005/08/defending-right-to-appear-with-dignity.html

Sorry for taking up so much space in your forum!

The One said...

hmmm...

I think I have a bit of an unusual opinion about this (and it applies to a few other issues as well) so please bear with me!

Honestly, I believe in the owners' freedom to apply whatever rules they wish to apply. What I mean here is, if I own a hotel, and I make a rule that skinny-dipping is not allowed, then no one has the right to question me! I mean hey, I own the place don't I! You don't like it, don't come!

Same applies the other way around, if I have no specific rules, then "customers" don't have the right to try and force rules based on their preference on others.

Don't get me wrong, I agree 100% that the sight of things like speedos on big hairy creatures is outright hideous. But I must take it like a true democracy-fan because if there is no rule against it, then it is your right to do it! If I don't like it then I can either look the other way or leave!

Now if the rules I make up happen to go AGAINST the law and/or religion then it is a different story.

I remember the fuss created over the issue of the girl who was not allowed into the AUC due to the fact that her face was covered. I thought it was the AUC's right to choose whether to let her in or not. The consensus in Islam is that Islamic female attire should cover the body except the face and hands. So if the AUC has a rule that the face should be exposed then no one can say anything! Again (since it doesn't go against Sharia). If you don't like it, don't come here!

This leads us into the swimming-fully-dressed issue. Since land-clothes are not swimming gear, they are not really made to be used in water. This means that they may leave remains or paint behind them in the water. It also means that it may react in an unsual way with the body and/or its fluids when immersed. All of that becomes even more of an issue when in a swimming pool. So the owner has the full right to pose a rule against this.

Finally, if a place poses a rule that (say) seperates members of Islam, Christianity or any other religion and others, I don't see a problem with it. Once again, the owner of the place has the right to pose whatever rules he chooses. If this was a mosque, you can't force me to allow a Hindu for instance to be the Imam!! I realize that a swimming-pool/beach is not a religious facility, but it may be erected to serve a certain religious purpose.

Anonymous said...

Have you been looking for Modest Swimwear? Me too.
Modest clothing seems to be something that is out of style???? well I think modest clothing should be the style. We should wear and we should encourage our kids to wear non-revealing clothing. I haven't gone to the beach in years because of the inappropriate dress that I am supposed to be wearing. I am tired of it and I don't think I am the only one. I have done some web searches and there are many modest clothing web sites out there (Christian, Islamic, and Jewish). Muslims and LDLs have taken conservative and modest clothing very seriously and seem to be doing something about it. I would like to recommend primomoda.com.
I am especially impressed with the modest swimwear (modest swim wear) that primomoda.com is selling online. They have different styles that are made with very high tech material that is very light and water resistant. They also have modest exercise clothing that look great. Throw away the bikini and book your beach vacation with confidence while you wear modest clothing.

Anonymous said...

check this out - pretty cool for muslim girls afraid of standing out too much in wearing wacky swimwear colors
http://www.thecanadianmuslim.ca/muslimah_swimsuits.html

Anonymous said...

Have any of you seen mycozzie. I bought several beautiful swimsuits which I wear with pride and modesty. I love them. You can buy online at www.mycozzie.com
Trust me sisters. They are the best. I had bought from Burquini and the head piece was really uncomfortable. I refused to wear the one from splashgeear as it was just too ugly. But mycozzie is awesome!! Go girls!!

Yeni said...

I love the range of muslim swim suites from ZEHBA.COM. I have chosen one of their floral designs, which i believe to be a better choice for a moderate women. I have bought it from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Anonymous said...

Some swimsuit for Muslimahs can be fashionable too... like the ones shown in this website: http://www.manan01.com/swim/

Marie said...

I am heading to cairo for a time and love to swim. Where is a good place for swimming? I will probably be around the Zamalek area.

Anonymous said...

I've bought a few swimsuits for myself and my relatives at http://www.rubyzent.com

They offer the cheapest so far that I've come across, and the quality and designs are very good.

Posmena Sales said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Posmena Sales said...

Sorry I have deleted my post from yesterday and replaced it with this one, now I know how to make the link "clickable"!

Here is a link for islamic swimsuits:
- modestswimsuits.co.uk


Anonymous said...

i may be able to help if u accept it
chekc these links please
they may add some ideas of how to overcome these obstacles
http://www.primomoda.com/clothing-store/product.php?productid=477&cat=0&page=1

http://www.ahiida.com/index.php?a=details&cat=0&subcat=59&id=201&page=1

i hope it s a link that help all muslim girls to enjoy the sea activity without having to let go their hijab:)

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aiman said...

Hi Everyone. I found an online store that sells cheap but quality modest swimsuits for Muslimahs. I've bought and received my swimsuit model "Woman Black Stripes". I love it as it fits me just nice and the quality is excellent despite the low price tag! Just google "Rubyzent" or browse here http://www.rubyzent.com

Modestkini said...

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Steve said...

I have only one question, the Muslim women can use a swinsuit? because with all that strange laws, women can look a men to her face, men can't use Generic Viagra, man and women can't work together.

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gound said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gound said...

Hi. I understand it's very difficult to find places that sell Islamic swimsuits. It took me ages to find one for my daughter so if anyone's looking you can get them here.

This one is for kids:
http://neatstacks.com/?product=childs-spandex-polyester-islamicmuslim-swimwear

This one is for woman
http://neatstacks.com/?product=womens-modest-spandex-2-pcs-style-muslim-swimsuits-islamic-swimwearmuslim