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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Monokini Adieu?

Paris, Summer 2009. The after effects of an earthquake could not have been more disastereous for the French men than the content of an article that appeared in a French magazine called "Le Parisien" under the title: "Le monokini, c'est fini!". "Are we seeing the end of a French institution?" asked many bewildered men, young or old, on the streets of Paris and other cities in France after the publication of the article on a ordinary wednesday morning on July 22nd! Like other important historic events, the death of President Kennedy, the first man on the moon or the 9/11 tragedy, in future years many French men willl remember where they were on that day when this tragic news for them broke. What is it all about, you ask? Well, after more than 45 years, it seems that France is loosing one of its cultural corner stones for the summer and the beach: "the monokini"! For those few who do not know: the monokini is a woman's one-piece garment equivalent to the lower half of a bikini where the breasts are uncovered or a topless swimsuit, particularly a bikini bottom worn without a bikini top. Although the monokini was invented by the Austrian-American designer Rudy Gernreich in 1964, it were the French women that made the monokini a world wide phenomenon and a sign of women's liberation in the 6o's and the following decennia! The sinlge women who made it all happen and became an icon of the monokini was non other than French movie star Brigitte Bardot! From the moment she declared being a fan of sun worshipping in the semi nude on the beach of her south France vacation home, all the French and European women dropped their top half of their bikini while sun bathing on the European beaches. In the beginning, the elder female beach goers were a little suspecious when seeing a semi nude women sun bathing but only after a few years seeing naked breasts on the beach was nothing extraordinary any more and a view inherent while visiting the beach. And now, after decennia of chest liberty, an era is coming to an end! The journalist of the article noticed during his stay on several French beaches, that more and more young women are not topless while sun bathing. They even don't want to think about removing their top. Only women in their fifties, sixties and even seventies, who were young women during the start and height of the monokini, and quite frankly have never known otherwise than to sun bath topless, are now still doing so! Are those young women more prude than their mothers and grandmothers when they were their age? "No!", says Sabine, a young women selling bathing suits at the beach of Saint Clair au Lavandou (Var), France! "The reason is", she says, "that young women are more body concious about the negative effects of the sun on the skin resulting often in skin cancer! And secondly, the young women of today, do not have to fight anymore for their rights to do with their bodies as they like, like their mothers had to do!". And a last reason for many young women to not do monokini on the beach is the fact they regard wearing a bikini as more sexy and mysterious than showing all their assets at once to future boyfriends, lovers and husbands! So there you have it! The end of an era? Maybe, but like all things in life, everything comes in cycles, so maybe next summer in a year, five years or a decade, the monokini will make its triumphant return on the beaches of France and Europe, so the French and European men can rejoice again, and enjoy their view of women as God created them!

1 comment:

Keith said...

Great photos. That's such a shame though. That's always been one of the things that came to my mind when I think of France. Even when I visited Nice almost ten years ago, all of us guys made sure we hit the beaches.