Monday, June 21, 2010

Bikinis and burqas: my day at the waterpark

It had been, oh 18 years or so since I was last at a waterpark. We had the opportunity to take our kids to a local one this past weekend. It was an eye-opener in a couple of ways.

First there was the vast amount of flesh on display. I was stunned by some of the swimsuits I saw. Let's start with women of a certain age and girth. Maybe they don't shop around and don't know that there are nice-looking, comfortable suits designed to cover and contain excess and, um, sagging flesh. (I own one, because I am of a certain age and I do have some excess flesh I'd prefer not to expose to the world.) I know we are into tolerance and fat acceptance and all, and I'm not suggesting that people with unattractive bodies stay home. (Did they try to ban fat people on the beaches of Brazil a while ago?) But people should have a little modesty.

Ah, modesty. Even the toned young women could stand to have a little modesty. I am always particularly shocked by the proud dad walking beside his teen daughter whose suit leaves nothing to the imagination. Do these guys not get it, that men are looking at their daughters' bodies? Or do they like it, maybe? I would have preferred to die rather than have my father see me in a tiny swimsuit, if my mother had even let me wear one, that is. But the moms are just as bad.

I guess, though, there's no point to the belly-button bling if it's covered by a swimsuit. I did not know it was required attire now. Live and learn.

But then I saw the women in burqas. Black burqas covering every inch of skin, out in the sun on the deck of the wave pool. It must have been torture. The kids and dads were dressed for the waterpark, and left the moms sitting there sweating while they went and played in the water.

I don't get this. If the sight of a woman's flesh, even her face, is evil or sinful or whatever... what are they doing at the waterpark? Why are they letting their sons go to the waterpark to be exposed to it all? Why their daughters, who will grow up to be covered like their moms? (OK, I am assuming they were moms; since I couldn't see their faces I have no idea if they were old grandmothers. Or old men, for that matter.)

Don't think I am saying that they should not be allowed there. Of course they have the right to be there. (Though like many others I am creeped out by having masked people out and about in our society.) But why are they there? Why are they sitting there sweating and watching other people, dressed inappropriately, having fun? They have rejected the notion that women are free to dress as they wish so why do they come to a temple to uncovered women? I would have liked to ask them if they wouldn't rather be playing in the pool too. Or why, if their husbands believe women should be covered up, they are out there playing next to uncovered women? (One can't help but wonder if their husbands don't secretly like getting a glimpse now and then.) Why are their sons and daughters out there? That has got to be some weirdness for a kid: mom can't even show her face out in public, but here we are with women showing everything. And it's cool.

Of course if I had my way, everyone would adhere to my standard of appropriate dress. It would be somewhere between complete coverage and let it all hang out.

We had fun anyway.


G said...

There's got to be an in-between, a happy medium, somewhere!

DADvocate said...

If I had my way I'd lock up my 14 year old daughter for the next 10 years.

Marbel said...

DAD - I think that is a normal response for a father!