Friday, June 1, 2018

Top Google Results - "no bikinis" rule

Note: this Google survey of cultural attitudes towards different types of swimwear for women and men is a followup to a previous post.

I typed "no bikinis" rule (with the "no bikinis" part in quotes) into a Google search and then surveyed the first page of results. Here is a summary of what I found, with my comments added:

1. What Do You Think?? a No Bikini Policy??
A mom questioning whether her daughter's friend's mom's "no bikini" rule at their home isn't unnecessarily repressive and overly body-conscious (especially for children - I imagine that the conservative parent wants to keep the child ignorant of the power her body holds, but ironically, ensuring that she keeps it covered up at all times just turns it into the elephant in the room).

2. No bikinis! Wear acceptable dresses in India
An article reporting on a minister warning tourists to "respect" the culture of India and cover up. Referred to in the article as "moral policing". I cannot be sure if this prohibition extends to men as well as women, but only "bikinis" are mentioned (and condemned) by name.

3. No bikinis, booze or cannons: 11 quirky Jersey Shore laws
I could not get the gallery to work properly, but presumably, this site is calling out a "no bikinis" law as quirky - which suggests the point of view that this sort of thing is unusual and undesirable, and worth calling out.

4. Everett: Espresso stand rules are not about the bikini
An article about the "bikini barista" controversy. Specifically points out that the newly-enacted restrictions are limited to work place employees (just as you wouldn't be served coffee at a Starbucks by a girl in a bikini), and aimed at curtailing illegal activity (apparently these places were dealing in prostitution). I don't agree that focusing on what the girls are wearing is the right approach, but that's beside the point. The article explicitly states that this "no bikinis" policy does NOT extend to the beach.

5. bikinis and diet coke... a long post about mormons...
A Mormon discussing the subculture's commitment to modesty (among other things), and whether or not their religious views actually prohibit girls from wearing bikinis (or if it could be considered a matter of interpretation and personal choice). Also questions whether bikinis are really that much less modest than other types of swimwear (which is a fair point - even one piece swimsuits reveal a lot of skin). Note that this article associates a "no bikinis" mindset with a repressive religious perspective (one that the author holds), and yet it is still questioning whether that rule is not too repressive.

6. Are bikinis okay? : latterdaysaints
A reddit post associating bikini anxiety with (again) the Mormon church. The poster is an uncertain male who wishes to buy a bikini for his wife, but isn't sure it would be appropriate for his wife to wear something so revealing, especially in public in front of other people. The poster's anxieties are rooted in concerns about modesty, and the fear of other men looking at her "in a way that might not be good." The consensus among those who replied to this post is largely that the OP should do whatever they feel most comfortable with, and that there are indeed Mormons who wear bikinis (some of them included among the commenters), so that is an option.

7. FACT CHECK: 'Multicultural Beach' Sign in Melbourne Prohibits Pork and Alcohol?
A Snopes article debunking the source of an internet uproar when a sign showed up making very conservative requests of visitors to a beach in Melbourne, Australia - specifically, prohibiting pork and alcohol, as well as dogs and bikinis. The City of Melbourne publicly disavowed the sign, saying it was not one of theirs. The irony is that the requirements are allegedly made to respect "multiculturalism" - albeit by forcing everyone to observe the rules of the most conservative culture. Snopes concludes, however, that this was most likely a racist prank, intended to poke fun at (or possibly incite hatred toward) Muslims, and not an authentic expression of (multi?)cultural zeal.

8. Dubrovnik gets a dress code: wear a bikini and pay a fine
A short article reporting on Dubrovnik's (presumably the Mediterranean city) new policy on fining those who wander from the beach into the city without covering up. I think the policy sounds unnecessarily restrictive. If you don't want to see people in swimsuits in the streets, then don't live next to the beach! But that's beside the point. I think it's safe to assume that the restriction does not extend to the beach, where actual swimming occurs. Moreover, this is the first article that explicitly lumps men and women together under the same rule, even though it's the bikini that gets the headline (and why not?). And it's presumably not just for skimpy swimsuits, either - among the images in the article, there is one that includes two guys in regular board shorts (in Europe? Must be tourists :p).

9. Bikinis are inappropriate??? What is your rule?
A poster on a mommy forum questioning (again) whether another parent's "no bikinis" rule for 8 year olds is common practice. Responses are varied, and while some recommend respecting the rules of the other parent (at least at her house), to my surprise (I had thought that the "mommy blogger" demographic ran conservative), quite a few suggest that whatever a girl likes to wear, and can find that flatters her shape - one piece or two - is a-ok, regardless of age (I guess you could count this one as a victory for the feminists). I would be inclined to agree. Putting so much emphasis on the importance of a young girl to cover up seems perverse. It's no more (and probably much less) her responsibility to deflect "attention" than it is for an adult in a miniskirt. What are we teaching her when we tell her she can't wear certain swimsuits because it will make the boys (or men) leer? Instead, we should be teaching the boys (and men) to be respectful - even in the face of an attractive stimulus.

[search performed on 5/23/2018]

Tally: Two sites questioning whether a "no bikinis" rule is too restrictive, even for children. Two sites featuring Mormons who are wondering if their faith truly forbids wearing bikinis. And five sites reporting on actual rules or laws banning bikinis - two of which don't actually extend to the beach, and one that is just a joke (a joke that wasn't received very well). Of the remaining two, one is singled out as being "quirky" (and it's quite possible that it has either been repealed, or is not actively enforced), and the last one is criticized as "moral policing" by a repressive culture. I'd say that's 9/9 websites in support of people wearing bikinis to go swimming!

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