Is there, after all, an argument FOR the burkini?

A magazine cover from the Y2K edition of Shuteye Nation

A magazine cover from the Y2K edition of Shuteye Nation

Maybe we’ve been looking at this too politically. Let’s cast all the religious contention aside (or better yet, chuck it into the nearest beach trash bin) and think about the esthetics. I mean if we’re going to pass laws about what people can wear Oceanside, and let’s face it, we’ve done that forever***,then there’s an argument that some people really should be required to wear the Burkini.

Back in 2000 I covered the emerging feminist insistence that men should be required to love fat female bodies as much as thin female bodies. About the time when plus-size fashion models began to be thrust upon us. I imagined the predictable mass media response:

Hot Mega-Babes are Here!

“They’ve been telling us for quite a while now that men have to stop lusting after the ectomorphic rarities which predominate in advertising and show business images of women. Part of the solution is to start showing us images that are more, uh, real. Now we have the premier issue of the first high-fashion mag for women who buy their clothes in factors of X: 2X (2 times normal size), 3X, etc. The time has therefore come, gentlemen, to start learning how to lust for LARGE. The swimsuits featured in this publication may or may not represent an effective first step. On the plus side, it’s probably safe to say you have never seen more exposed skin on a bathing suit model. On the other hand, it’s kind of daunting to realize (pun intended) that there really might be such a thing as too big a breast. You be the judge. Maybe after a cruise through these pages, you’ll start wishing that Candy Crawford splinter could gain a few hundred pounds and start looking good for a change. Maybe not. But be advised. Somewhere in this great nation, some politician is already drafting legislation that would make it illegal for a male to refuse to be aroused by a real-sized woman…”

Well, that’s that. Oh. About my asterisks…

***Purely by accident, yesterday I stumbled across this incredibly scandalous bathing suit from 1907. People were outraged and hastened to ban it. It took 20 more years for popular mores to catch up. What do you think?

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