Swimsuit Season : Burkinis and Man Boobs


Today is officially the start of spring here in South Africa (and #zlotybaby’s bday!!!) and it won’t be long before people start stripping off the layers and starting to show off those hot bods they’ve been hiding all winter. It’s also a long time since fashion featured on #rinsebeforeuse so I thought it might be an appropriate time to talk swimwear, especially since it’s a topic that has been hitting the headlines recently with the somewhat unnecessary controversy over the burkini in France.  Today’s post looks at why there is this need to police what women wear and the impact that views on fashion have in dating, particularly with regards to the length some will go to please their significant other?

While we all probably expected more of France, a supposedly progressive country which is not only famous for being ahead of the times when it comes to fashion but also sees itself as a paragon of Western freedoms – it is certainly not the first or only place where fashion is being policed. Recently, India’s Tourism Minister ‘advised’ female tourists not to wear skirts for their own safety, basically insinuating that this Western ‘slutty’ style of dressing encourages dirty perves to commit dirty perverted acts. Obviously, there is more to all of this than burkinis and short skirts – for some, it seems that getting women to strip off is about liberating them from patriarchy and for others its have women to cover up to protect themselves from rapists and predators. Apparently, policing the way women dress is actually more to do with everyone’s fear of seeing their culture eroded in a more globalised world.

Blah blah blah. Whatever the reasoning, one factor which is minimised in these discussions on women’s fashion is the role played by MEN and the many ways the effect what women do/do not wear. Don’t worry I’ll try to avoid having a feminist rant here (I mean you can’t hate on them all when most of the world’s leading fashion designers are men). When police claim they are rescuing women from patriarchal systems, these are systems which benefit men and similarly would women really need to make fashion choices based on ‘protection’ if some horrible MEN (yes, despite the weirdos of Tinder I still believe there are a few nice ones left) weren’t out there trying to play power games.

And, if this was nothing to do with men then why does nobody feel the need to police what blokes wear? I don’t think we’d hear many complaints if the police arrested men for wearing socks and sandals or those vulgar cargo pants ?  And I wonder how those men running topless on Sea Point promenade flaunting their man boobs would feel if everyone called them a man-whore and told them to cover up? But luckily for them, the world doesn’t work that way.

Even on a more basic level when it comes to dating, much of what we wear is chosen to impress others, albeit subconsciously. I certainly don’t think taking pride in what you wear is a bad thing at all and everyone should be free to wear what they want. But if we really think about it? How much of what is on-trend in women’s fashion is defined by what is attractive to men? And sure, dressing up to make oneself feel good is always nice but I think the novelty of that would probably wear off if no-one (especially those that we like liked) noticed. Even though some chicks dress shabbily and claim they don’t care what other people/men think, the truth is that bucking the trend also requires effort and you’ll probably find they attract someone also embraces this shabby look.

So as much as I’ve ranted here, I don’t claim to be above this system where men basically infiltrate our weak little minds and have their say over women’s fashions. When it comes to dating however disillusioned I become after all these horrific encounters I still put some effort into the way I dress because even if he turns out to be a frog, you never know Prince Charming could be sitting at the very next table and no girl does herself any favours by looking like the Wicked Witch of the East. :D. And on a more serious note, of course we all need to employ a little bit of cultural sensitivity in certain places (like keeping the hot pants for the club rather than rocking them at a mosque or church) but summer is on the way and beaches are public places so if a chick wants to wear a burkini, a non-existent bikini or a unicorn costume the police need to leave her to it and busy themselves fighting the real criminals.

Rinsers – Please share your comments below. Do countries have the right to tell women what to wear? Why don’t they do the same for men? Do you agree that men have a major influence in defining what women wear?  How much do you think of what we wear is designed to make us more attractive? Does the same apply for guys and how they dress? And how do we balance expressing ourselves through fashion and mainlining an appropriate degree of cultural sensitivity?




  1. Interesting post and thought provoking as well. While men may have a big influence on the dress codes in fashion it’s not like women idlely stand by not today in fact many of them work in connection with men in fashion. Here in the states we are getting near Fall so for us summer is about over and the man boobs and the shorts and the tank tops are soon going to be replaced by…jackets and sweaters lol,
    I am not sure thought that fashion is pushed by men as much as you feel it is. There are some cultures that it is very much dictated by men (Muslim for sure) Other cultures to some degree but for many it is more liberal you think?

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think you are treading on dangerous territory with your comment about Muslim culture being dictated by men.

      If as some people claim a Muslim women wearing a burkini is a sign of her being controlled and oppressed by men, is it really any different from cultures where women pitch up to a club dressed in a hot pants to get a guys attention? Not really according to that logic in both cases we are governed by what men want. In an ideal world, we’d all wear whatever we wanted without any fear of being called a slut or pitied for being a subservient women.

      In public spaces, everyone should be able to wear whatever they want and if others feel offended by the sight of bare flesh or a burkini they can just turn away. Churches, mosques, holy places whatever maybe a bit different…maybe within those places people can be expected to conform to a certain dress code (but it should be applied fairly to both sexes) but everyone needs to get with the program – globalization is happening and policing what women are wearing isn’t going preserve our precious cultures or stop the dirty perves.

      How come we never see the same level of controversy over men’s fashion?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Do countries have the right to tell women what to wear? To a certain degree NOPE! I agree with the band on the Burqa for security reasons and the fact that it has nothing to do with religion makes me, even more, advocating against women wearing them. Why don’t they do the same for men? Because men are the ones making the silly rules. Do you agree that men have a major influence in defining what women wear? Yes, they are the designers and women hinge on the latest fashion trends. How much do you think of what we wear is designed to make us more attractive? 100% of men and women fashion is geared towards making us/them more attractive. Me, I dress more for comfort than fashion. Does the same apply for guys and how they dress? Unfortunately, our societies have NOT matured to that level yet. Men will never be told they were raped because of the clothes they were wearing, nor will they get cat calls for wearing shorts or speedos on the beach. And how do we balance expressing ourselves through fashion and mainlining an appropriate degree of cultural sensitivity? I don’t think we can. Fashion is becoming more and more risque in its sexualisation of women.
    It’s going to take a revolution for fashion to change, male designers are leading in the industry, women are keeping them in business. But what if women stopped buying what they design and demand that they make clothing more sensitive to our dignity. I mean hemlines up, shoe heels increased and women are still buying!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree with most of what you say. Except your point about burqas being banned for security reasons – just because acts of terrorism were caused by shoe bombers do we stop people wearing shoes. No, we just ask them to remove the shoes at airport security – which is reasonable. I don’t see why women in burqas need to object to such measures either, provided they are done respectfully BUT banning it all together is quite ridiculous and opens up a whole can of worms. Just because someone wears a burqa doesn’t make them a security risk the same way a kid wearing a hoodie doesn’t make them a gangster.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I used to feel the same way because I thought it for religious reasons, but have since been told by both male and female muslims that wearing full covering from head to toe has nothing to do with Islam. It’s a cultural preference and shows submission of women to her husband.

        In addition full covering CANNOT be compared to wearing a tennis show or hoodie. A tennis shoe only covers your foot and not your face. A hoodie covers her head and not the face. I think with more and more movement of people and yes with the acts of terrorism, you might see how certain countries feel about it and people being more cautious . For me I’m not comfortable either being not being able to see the person I’m being in contact with. If I’m attacked by a man wearing a Burqa, who am I going to tell the Police attacked me? A figure covered in all black? The same goes if I’m attacked by a woman in a Burqa.

        In addition to that, anyone travelling to Muslim countries have to respect the laws of those countries in terms or women wearing their heads covered or not being able to drive etc. So why then is it an issue for Muslims to respect the laws of countries they choose to live in.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree that the burqa is more a cultural thing than a religious one – I doubt the god had time to be discussing women’s fashion in the quaran to be honest. Whether its a form of oppression – I don’t know. There are lots of women who enjoy wearing it. And at the end of the day, it’s about choice not governments/men dictating what we should wear!

        I agree with you about the double standards of Western women having to conform to the dark age standards in Muslim countries. But I think we need to put pressure on the governments of those countries to reform and move forward rather than us back tracking and taking away the women’s right to choose what they wear – that makes us as bad as them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well times have changed. Not it’s more a matter of security than fashion or choice. As I mentioned before, if you know what you’re doing is going against the laws of a country. Then you’re taking a chance to move there. I think each country has a right to protect it’s citizens by any means they see fit. Whether is seems extreme to some or not. However you look at it, Burqas are a security risk for the reasons I mentioned in my previous reply.


      • I seriously feel that I need to apologise for letting this rant go on as long as it did. I’m usually NOT one to get in pissing matches with Trolls on here. You know the adage, ‘argue with a F001 only brings you to their level.’ So please accept my apologies 😉 Had this been open line forum, both of us probably would’ve gotten booted out already 😉


      • Not sure it was much of a debate! LOL! It’s easier when the other side is more informed and stick to the topic instead of running all over the place. That only makes for an exhausting discussion! But I’m at the point of OMG!! I can’t keep up with French laws and Pilgrims, when neither are connected 😉 I’m not trying to convince the world I’m right, just pointing out my take on the situation :p

        But at least you got a good rating on this post. LOL! LOL! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • @EttaD are you for real??????

      Men in suits have launched wars and killed millions of people since time immemorial. They’ve certainly killed more people than those wearing burkhas/hijabs – yet noone questions a business suit as a security concern!!!

      Get your head of the stand and stop believing all the bull that the Western media feeds you!!!


      • It’s not what the Western media is feeding me. I’m from the West and stating a fact. I can describe and man in a suit, most of the men you speak about are presidents, in my case prime minsters. Men are not the only persons who wear a suit by the way, I wore one for years in my former job. But I cannot give a description of someone wearing a Burqua, just as I would not be able to identify a person wearing a ski mask. A Hijab, yes because the face is not covered. Just a muslim countries have a right to uphold their laws of women being covered, then what is the problem of upholding the law of other countries? So countries do have a right to put in place whatever laws they feel will make it’s citizens comfortable, anyone disagreeing have a choice not to make that country their home. I know I won’t live in a country that takes away any of my rights a human being.


      • Why don’t you try to read some alternative media sources – well more than just Fox News!!!! Try Al Jazeera or anything more balanced – PLEASE !!!

        Please if your theory about hijabs/burkhas being a security holds any truth please find me some examples. Of course, at an airport muslim woman may need to remove the burkha for security search the same way as people are made to remove their shoes but if the search is done with some respect I’m sure any decent respectable muslim woman won’t object. They have nothing to hide.


      • I’m not a follower of Fox news! I worked in a diplomatic mission for 9 years and trust me, so I have a pretty open mind when it comes to media outlets, including Al Jazeera. You keep missing my point on Hijabs, which I have not problems with and Burkhas. So I’ll break it down for you as I have muslims friends, one of my best friends is married to a muslim from Jordan where she has called home for the past 12 or so years, beautiful country by the way, before that hey lived in Dubai. I have a niece who is also muslim her dad is from Pakistan. My daughter’s best friend is from Muslim also from Pakistan and wears an Hijabs. Yes we get stares whenever I take them on outings. So I’m not relying on news sources to make my decisions or post comments. In addition, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on any matter, it’s called freedom of speech and free thinking. I pride myself on having an open mind. Sorry if my opinion on Burkhas don’t sit well with you. But that’s my opinion on the matter, like I said, for me they’re no different than walking around in a ski mask, I cannot identify the individual under the mask or Burkha. Both Sunni and Shias have indicated that Burkhas are worn by choice, not mandatory of being a muslim.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Diplomatic mission???!!! Sure you weren’t brain washed by the Bush administration.

        Yes, burkhas are worn by choice. And you cannot ban them based on your own fears.As I said before we should be allowed to wear them and autoroties should be allowed to ask us to remove for identification processes if appropriate and done according to protocol. (i.e. by a woman out of public site) and as I said no law abiding muslim would object to that but please don’t use ‘security’ as a reason to treat us unfairly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • First of all I’m not American, second I never served under any US Presidency. I’m from the Caribbean. Thirdly you again miss the point of people being entitled to have their opinion, you see it as your choice to wear, other’s are allowed to see it as threat to their national security else. You cannot move to another country and MAKE them accept your way of live is they’re not open to it. Just as now Americans have passed the law to discriminate against people wearing locs. Which proves that countries CAN pass laws based on their fears and prejudice. Btw! America is not the only country with Diplomatic missions. Now I think you’re the one who needs to get their heads out of the clouds. Maybe you should follow news sources other than Al Jazeera!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion AND also entitled to wear whatever they feel like wearing !!!

        There American citizens who are born and bred in the US who wear burkhas and the USA is their country. They didn’t move there, they were born there so you can’t essentially tell them if they don’t like mainstream US fashion to go elsewhere -which YES is what you are suggesting !!!

        Just because a country can create laws that limit people’s freedom doesn’t mean they should. America really isn’t a pillar of democracy. People want to scream and shout bout Saudi stopping women from driving (which for the record I also object to that) but the USA is just as ba, but we choose not to see it and believe all the BS they feed us.


      • Sign!! I see where this is going and it’s not in me. I should’ve ignored your initial rant. So I wasn’t brain washed by Fox News or the Bush Administration, Not Muslim. So now I guess you’re on qualm now is American citizens who are Muslim having a right to wearing Burkhas.

        I agree everyone has a right to wear whatever they want. But a Burkha is considered a religious dress not high fashion! America, just my home country, is a Christian Nation not Muslim, though they are open to freedom of religion. But just as Christians respect the laws of Muslim countries, I guess Muslims whether born there or not can respect the laws or other countries. NO? Like I said I have friends and family members of the faith, visiting a Muslim country I accept the fact that as a woman I’m not allowed to drive(KSA) and also covering my head, I’m fine with that.

        Incidentally, Burkhas are not banned in America or maybe they did and I’m not aware.


      • Christian nation????????? Are you for real ???? Was the USA Christian when the pilgrims arrived? Christianity is an import to the USA, as is Islam. We don’t see anyone telling the mormons how to dress do we!!!!!

        I don’t agree with how Saudi operates. But I expect better of so called liberal democracies !!!


      • I seriously think you need to find a hobby, beside trolling on here. Richest blessings to you my dear, hope you’re able to get some help with your misguided anger issues.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Well it seems you’ve lost the argument here honey. The USA is not a Christian country…nobody told the Pilgrims to take their rules and their dress back to where they came from so what right do they have to do that to Muslims.

        Likewise, I think Saudi Arabia, etc has no right to tell Western women how to dress. If it offends them look away. By the same token, if the burkha offends you, LOOK AWAY !!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Didn’t know it was a contest. We started off speaking about bans in France, now you’re speaking about Pilgrims in America. So if it was a pissing contest, I guess you would’ve lost that one because you’re aiming the wrong one. Let me educate you a bit here. My ancestors were brought to the Caribbean as slaves, we traced our ancestors back to the Ivory coast. While many Western countries are not as extreme in their practice of religion like Islamic states. Christianity is written in their constitution as it’s religion. Now speaking about pilgrims, they came to America to escape religious persecution and I’m sure if the Native Americans, which is also apart of my heritage, had known the carnage they were bringing, they (Pilgrim) would NOT be so welcoming.

        Now you’re telling me if me if Burkhas offend me, I should look away. I never said I’m offended by women wearing Burkhas, I simply said I understand why a country may ban it. Nuns wear covering from head to toe, but at least I can see their faces. If you’re comfortable wearing a Burkha, by all means carry on. But don’t ask Non-Muslim countries to accept it!

        You seem to have issues with the United States. You’re barking up the wrong tree because I’m not American! I have no say of what happen 100’s of years ago, my only concern is the age I and my children are living in.

        So if it’s that important to you to carry home the trophy and say you’ve won the argument. Then I’ll be the BIGGER PERSON! And concede because this is a conversation that’s going no where! Like is said, the conversation was about France and their ban. Now you’re on America, clearly your mind is all over the place. Which I’m guessing is due to lack of exposure. There’s a big world out there, get to know the planet you’re living on, like I said sounds like you need to watch more than Al Jazeera!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Not a contest … but the point I’m trying to make is country’s don’t belong to a particular type of people, really. If anything it would be the natives of that land – but for most places its hard to tell who that even would be. You can’t tell people to keep their culture in their country, etc, etc. That is what we don’t like about countries like Saudi, so we should not have it within our own states.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So, here is the question:

    Why do you think that doesn’t go the other way as well?

    I agree with basically everything you’re saying, but I see a fair amount of the opposite as well. (Obviously there are some extreme non-examples).

    But every guy I know who cares what they dress like, do so in a manner to be perceived as attractive. The guys at the gym in their muscle shirts aren’t wearing them for functional reasons, they want to be noticed… They want to be objectified, frankly.

    A man who obsesses over the cut of his suit, or the knot of his tie, is doing so in an effort to be attractive. Attractive to who? Anyone really.

    Sure, sometimes as women, and men, we dress up “just for ourselves” but “dressing up” is socially defined by sexual appeal.

    Can / should a government dictate what a women wears? That’s a big ‘nope’. But I actually think in a way you are playing at two related but actually separate issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well. the reason it doesn’t go the other way…the reason why no one feels the need to ban socks and sandals (a trend which makes no logical sense and is also a crime to fashion in my opinion) or nobody shouts out MAN WHORE when a man goes around topless is because over time this patriarchy has been so ingrained in our minds – we are all pretty much indoctrinated. Sure, its easy for some to argue that Muslim women are the only ones oppressed but really are we any better here. I mean even if you wear a short skirt or your dress gets blown in the wind – as a women you have to deal with cat-calls. (and sure, if we see a good looking guy we will also double take or point the hottie out to our friend – but on the whole women are probably more discreet!)

    I don’t want to see men’s fashioned policed…(I’m sure some women are turned on by socks, sandals and man boobs and who am I to deny them some eye candy) but its the principal of the whole thing. All these justifications about protecting women and liberating women – I think we need to ask who we need to protected/liberated from and then go about policing those people instead of blaming burkinis and mini skirts.

    Of course there are lots of men that take pride in their appearance and that is most definitely a good thing. I wish there were more – I am yet to meet a guy that pitched in a sharp suit or anything vaguely decent for a date (but maybe that’s just CT laziness). But in all honesty, I think the pressure for women to look good is probably higher!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the burkini is a great sign of the Islam changing with the times. Those people that dislike Muslim culture should try to see this as a way of Muslims who previously may have not gone to the beach of felt good swimming now being able to be more involved thanks to a simple fashion adaptation. Why not look at the positives?


    • That is also a good alternative way of looking at the situation.

      If the burkini makes beaches/sports more accessible to woman that may not be comfortable in the usual Western swimwear then their needs to be no objection.

      Thanks again for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

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