You know it’s summer when the burkini argument starts trending on social media. This year is no exception. We’ve been hearing stories being shared all over social media of veiled women being denied access to beaches, pools, and even restaurants in Sahel just because of their veil. But it’s time this changed, enough is enough!
Egypt is a Middle Eastern country with Islam being the main religion. Hijab isn’t just a part of the religion, the majority of the population is veiled. That’s why it absolutely baffles me when Egyptians do not accept burkinis or prevent them from accessing the same pools, beaches, or places they go to just because of how they look.
Let’s just get a few things clear:
- A burkini is a veiled swimsuit and is made entirely of authentic swimwear.
- A burkini allows veiled women to enjoy summer just like everyone else.
- No one has the right to dictate what should or should not be worn at the beach as long as it consists of beachwear!
- Many people all over the world wear rash guards as a form of protection from the sun which looks exactly like a burkini minus the headcover.
- Across the whole world, burkinis are accepted in pools and beaches whether it’s in Europe, USA, Asia, or Australia. And yet Egyptians, who supposedly understand the cultural and Islamic aspect of it, feel that sense of entitlement and are classist and islamophobic towards veiled women.
This Islamophobia and fear of anything related to Islam and Islamic attire need to stop. We, as Egyptians, of all people should understand how wrong it is to judge based on appearance. We’ve been struggling with it for decades when living abroad along with other forms of racism and Islamophobia. Over the past few years, a fashion movement has changed the outlook of veiled swimwear offering unique, trendy, and fashionable burkinis that look absolutely amazing!
Social media posts are horrifying this week. Where do ethics and upbringing come in to be able to say that a certain style looks ‘disgusting’ just because they chose to follow a certain belief? Why has our identity as Egyptians become something so degrading or something to look down upon that even compounds ban veiled women from entering or using certain facilities? And most importantly, why is being veiled even considered to be ‘bee2a’ or disgusting?
Over the past decade or so, there’s a strong influence from the west that has taken over, but in a very wrong way. While Egyptians have been more accepting of western influence in terms of dress codes, habits, and lifestyles, it has come with an unexplained intolerance towards Egyptians who do not match their identity or the way of life they choose.
It does not help when beaches prohibit veiled women from swimming because of their attire.
It does not help when entities allow the decision to keep veiled women out because of the way they dress.
It does not help when we accept it and let people judge based on appearances.
Further reading: 15 Places to Buy Burkinis in Egypt