Survey Results: Modest Swimwear in North America

In the aftermath of the Burkini™ bans in France in the summer of 2016 and in anticipation of submitting a research paper to Ryerson University's admissions department, I embarked on a research project to understand the swimwear choices of Muslim and non-Muslim women. The survey was received with a lot of enthusiasm. Through a network of friends, family and social media, responses were received from around the world. This an analysis of the responses from North America.

RESPONDENTS


WHAT DO YOU WEAR BY THE WATERSIDE?

Regular: one-piece, tankini, bikini or similar.

A large majority of Muslim women in North America, 86%, cover fully at the waterside. Seventy-three percent (73%) of women who are not Muslim wear regular swimwear. The number that is most interesting is just over one-third of women, who are not Muslim, layer their swimwear. Many comments spoke to protection from the sun, body insecurity or modest values. Some, 9% of women who are not Muslim have discovered the Burkini™ and wear it while swimming. This may be an indicator of a desire for more covered swimwear options by women who are not Muslim.

HAS LAYERING SWIMWEAR OR THE BURKINI™

 GIVEN YOU FREEDOMS YOU DIDN'T HAVE BEFORE?

Overwhelmingly Muslim women have more freedom to spend time by the waterside with the introduction of the Burkini™ and other layering surf gear such as rash guard. Almost one-third (27%) of women who are not Muslim feel freer to spend time at the waterside. This is a large number considering these women have no cultural or religious expectations to present more modestly.

 HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANY NEGATIVE LOOKS OR ATTITUDE

WHILE BEING FULLY COVERED AT THE WATERSIDE?

These numbers show the difference in mindset between Muslim women and women who are not Muslim. Almost half of the Muslim respondents say they don't bother to notice or don't care. They have made a psychological shift to remove their mind from the consequences of how they choose to present themselves to the world. Women who are not Muslim never get any negative looks and a small percentage don't bother noticing.

HOW DRAMATICALLY HAS THE BURKINI™ AND LAYERING

CHANGED HOW YOU PARTICIPATE AT THE WATERSIDE?

1 - NO DRAMATIC CHANGE TO 10 - TOTAL TRANSFORMATION. Muslim women scored the change in their life at 5, ranked as "some things have changed" but not a total transformation. Full-coverage swimwear has made little to no difference for women who are not Muslim.

HOW DO YOU WEAR YOUR LAYERED PIECES, BURKINI™ OR SIMILAR OUTFIT?

Those women who cover more or layer at the waterside for sun protection, modesty or their own reasons described how they layer, this is a representation of their layering descriptions.
Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

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Modest Fashion, the Burkini / Burqini, swimwear, swimsuit