7.05.2006

"The emancipation of swimwear has always been linked to the emancipation of women"

My immediate reaction to the quote in the title of this post was "Really?" The quote is from this article , aptly entitled "Bikinis still abreast of fashion 60 years on" (do you think the title was a play on words, or were they really serious?), which chronicles the history of the bikini in celebration of the 60 year anniversary of the skimpy outfit. The article also includes these quotes:
"The bikini is a snapshot of fashion in the second half of the 20th century,
at once scandalous and forcing women to become ever thinner," said Saillard.
"The bikini transforms women into an object of seduction and desire, such as garage pin-ups. But on the other hand it shows that women are becoming increasingly independent and masters of their own bodies.
"In fact the biggest gesture by women to prove their independence is when in the 1970s they throw away their bikini tops."
Is the bikini really a symbol of womens' lib.? Should it be? What kind of message does that send--that the objectification of women actually served to "liberate" us? That the fact that women are bulimic and anorexic is a good thing, occurring in part because of mens' adoration of our bodies in this ridiculously teeny weeny outfit?

Of course women are welcome to wear whatever they'd like, whenever they'd like. I've got nothing against the bikini and personally prefer them over one pieces. But the bikini as a symbol of feminism? I'm not buying it.

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