Sunday, June 24, 2012

Swimming Fashion

 I'll never forget the first time I saw Egyptian women swimming at a public beach, covered with burkas to conform with a stricter version of Muslim dress. I was stunned. All that black fabric had to be hot under the sun, and I was worried about them drowning wearing all those clothes. Times have changed a little. The second picture is the new, younger Egyptian women's style of swimming while remaining modestly covered. (Burkas and modesty aren't mandated. Other Egyptian women wear what they please, including bikinis.)

Before you get too horrified at ridiculous convention that puts women in burkas while men can swim in trunks, let's take a little trip through historic women's fashion...

Everything Old is New Again

In China, small feet were considered beautiful, so women broke their foot-bones and bound them to half their size. They could barely walk. A certain singing diva seems to like the look of abnormal feet, and teens are jumping on board, wearing super-high platforms.

In France, stratospheric wigs were common for women in Marie Antoinette's time. The things smelled awful and were flea-infested. Now, it's hair extensions sewn to roots and half shaven heads and dye-jobs. And did you know that some chemical hair relaxers use levels of formaldehyde that put salon workers at a health risk?

Corsets were fashionable in many countries and many time periods. Now, there's a group of super-skinny celebrities and models who starve themselves to look "beautiful" instead of wearing corsets.

I'd like to blame all these dreadful things on men, but I'm starting to think it's really women who are doing it to themselves. Maybe it's time for women to stop being fashion slaves...
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