In the past, topless sunbathing was normal. Nowadays, you hardly see naked breasts on the beach. Why?
One of the most recurring questions I get when people watch the documentary Coco Cabasa about my life and my work is about a scene when the police wanted to arrest me because of ‘immoral conduct’, simply because I was sunbathing topless on the beach. The repetitive question is: “how could a Muslim girl sunbathe topless? in a Muslim country?”
It was indeed forbidden, but I did it. I did it for different reasons; such as rebellion (against suffocating moral norms), emancipation (the right to self-determination), body freedom (I liberate our body), esthetics (I don’t like the white marks of bikini on my skin), solidarity (with the women who fiercely fought to uncover their body-breasts)…
Today, 30 years later, I would not do it as easily. I would not anymore dare to do now, in the emancipated free West, what I did in the past in a ‘conservative’ Muslim country (N.B. my home country, Tunisia-North Africa is the most emancipated and free Arab Muslim country in the world).
If someone would have told me 30 years ago that I would not dare go topless, as a free woman with a free body, on the Western-European beaches, I would have laughed. But to my big embarrassment, I do.
Despite all the feminism, women emancipation and female empowering body work I do thanks to the magic Divine9 Dance, I must admit that I suffer also from what the feminist Naomi Klein calls ‘The Beauty Myth’ Syndrome.
From the latest research, it seems that topless breasts on the beach have basically disappeared (also amongst girls of 20!!), not due to morality or puritanism as many have thought.
It has to do with our new, limited definition of female beauty, that make us too much aware of how ideal breasts should look like.
When I read this survey, I had to think about the millions of women around the world who fought during the last 40 years against the establishment to change the system and gain the right to be free to sunbathe topless on the beach.
And how sad it is that we give up today about this hard-gained right because we have developed body shame about our breasts. A body shame due to the internalization of an unrealistic and f**ked up Beauty Standards, made extreme by the mass-media culture of sexualization and pornification.
When I came to this realization, I stood up, put a nice drum music and started doing one of my favorite Divine9 Dance movements: the ‘Happy Boobs’ Shimmy Breasts. I was shaking and shaking, with passion and desperation… Shaking all the s**t and the limiting beliefs and judgments that we have been swallowing and internalizing about our female body and especially our breasts.
I added the ’Kalashnikov’ Shimmy Breasts and while shaking even more frenetically, I
started shouting ‘f**k the Beauty Myth, f**k the Beauty Standards, f**k the Beauty Myth, f**k the Beauty Standards, f**k the Beauty Myth, f**k the …”
I shaked, shaked and shaked my boobs until I fell exhausted on the couch, empty, grateful and happy.
Empty from all the Body Shame-Breasts Shame S**t we, women, have been swallowing and internalizing.
Grateful to all the brave women before us, who fought fiercely so that we can be free and enjoy today the freedom to be topless on the beach.
Happy to be a woman and to have breasts, no matter the shape, color, size.. of my breasts!
Happy & Proud to Say Yes I Am a Woman and My Breasts are OK! Tout simplement!
Boussa on your Glorious Breasts,
- Want to see the documentary Coco Cabasa about my life/work? Look here.
- Want to free that Wild & Sensual Woman in You? Join me at the Aphrodite in Paradise Retreat in Tunisia 17-22 September (only 2 places left!!)
- Kaouthar recently on TV on the News program NOS (about Feminism, Emancipation, Islam, European law about Burqa interdiction)