Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Only the oldies go topless on French beaches
Times Online UK ^ | July 23, 2009 | Charles Bremner

Posted on 07/29/2009 4:05:00 PM PDT by Cincinna

The Paris Plage people knew what they were doing when they put that retro bathing-beauty on this year's beach poster. Body-covering, single-piece swimsuits are indeed the fashion, but for want of real news, le Parisien decided to fill a page yesterday under the headline: "Le monokini, c'est fini!."

Le Parisien's story was over a decade out of date, but that did not prevent foreign media from lifting it as a suitable silly season item. Topless bathing in reality ceased to be fashionable well before the fin of the last siècle and for years few young women have been venturing onto a beach in just their bikini bottom -- like their mothers did and sometimes still do. A sunbather called Nathalie at Bornes-les-Mimosas, a very touristy spot on the Mediterranean, knowledgably informed le Parisien that only two percent of women now went topless there.

A tiny band of feminists still campaigns for the right to go topless in city pools but their cause seems more like 1970s-80s nostalgia. They are competing with Muslim campaigners demanding women's only swimming sessions. Most topless beach-goers nowadays are their 40s, 50s and 60s. An Ifop poll on nudity last April found that French women between 50 and 64 were by far the least pudique -- modest -- about their bodies (The survey was commissioned by Tena, a company that makes products for urinary incontinence.)

The topless phenomenon, which France pioneered in the late 1960s, was always about female equality and women's freedom to be natural. The fashion was bitterly resisted at first by the guardians of morality. There is an amusing account of the period in a new history of France's bathing culture by Christophe Granger, a sociologist.

Newspaper editorialists said children were shocked by naked breasts. "People were hostile and treated the monokini bathers as prostitutes while their advocates called the critics prudes...After a decade of discord, L'Express Magazine closed the debate [in the late 1970s] with a definitive survey under the headline: "Naked breasts: the French are for them!" Granger says.

Granger's book, Les Corps d'Ete, is largely about the furious fight in the 1920s and 30s between the authorities and bathers over the right to show their bare limbs at all. "The old Christian bouregoisie led a moral crusade against these new summer practices. The conflicts were sometimes very violent, with the beating and stoning of women bathers. They accused them of holding public orgies" he says.

I suspect that many women were never comfortable with the topless fashion even though they practised it. As a man, I always found it unnerving. The pretense was that the monokini was not a sexual display. You were supposed to act as thought you didn't notice that the mother of your son's friend, with whom you usually shook hands politely at the school gate, just happened to be naked from the waist up (to mention an episode I remember from the 1990s).

Jean-Claude Kauffman, a sociologist, defined this the other day: "The male on the beach was required to have a completely blank expression, a display of lack of interest, navigating around the beachscape without avoiding the naked breasts nor staring at them."

The demise of the monokini fashion was put down to a return to modesty. I'd say it was more a return to common sense.


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Health/Medicine; Society; Travel
KEYWORDS: bikini; france; nudebeaches; toplesssunbathing

1 posted on 07/29/2009 4:05:00 PM PDT by Cincinna
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Cincinna

2 posted on 07/29/2009 4:06:28 PM PDT by ConservativeMan55
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna; nctexan; MassachusettsGOP; paudio; ronnie raygun; Minette; fieldmarshaldj; untenured; ...

*** FRENCH POLITICS AND CULTURE PING LIST *** FREEPMAIL ME IF YOU WANT TO JOIN ***

When I lived in Nice, across from the beach, I would watch in incomprehension as topless women toasted themseves as the Arab men stood and looked on from the Promenade des Anglais.


3 posted on 07/29/2009 4:08:56 PM PDT by Cincinna (TIME TO REBUILD * PALIN * JINDAL * CANTOR 2012)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna
competing with Muslim campaigners demanding women's only swimming sessions.

We had more than a few FR threads about the muslims in France harrasing French sunbathers. That plus not wanting their photos all over the internet has probably caused more women to cover up.

4 posted on 07/29/2009 4:10:01 PM PDT by fso301
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna; a fool in paradise

The rules, the rules! (i.e. NO PICTURES!)


5 posted on 07/29/2009 4:10:39 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMan55

Gee, Monica looks a lot older than I thought.....


6 posted on 07/29/2009 4:12:46 PM PDT by LoneStarC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Revolting cat!

The odd thing is that after seeing all that nudity on the beach, in ads in the Metro, and on TV, after a while you don’t even notice it.

I have often thought that is why the French men are so jades and promiscuous... seeing so much of it all the time, very little excites them.


7 posted on 07/29/2009 4:14:23 PM PDT by Cincinna (TIME TO REBUILD * PALIN * JINDAL * CANTOR 2012)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna
The isles of Greece! The isles of Greece!
Where only burning noses peeled,
And bathers battled with police,
When naughty portions were revealed . . . .
8 posted on 07/29/2009 4:19:15 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna

Apparently, someone is going to the wrong French beaches....


9 posted on 07/29/2009 4:19:44 PM PDT by cranked
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna

If I wanted to see Fried Egg on a nail droopage I would go to a Biker Bar.........The thing about going to France is you have to put up with the French....(Beautiful Country...wonderful food..and wine..I liked the Calvados apple brandy better...and the women..Oh LA LA..)


10 posted on 07/29/2009 4:21:33 PM PDT by jakerobins ( NO)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna
When I lived in Nice, across from the beach, I would watch in incomprehension as topless women toasted themseves as the Arab men stood and looked on from the Promenade des Anglais.

It is the same nowadays (at least last year) I noticed the behavior of the Arabs as well.

11 posted on 07/29/2009 4:24:14 PM PDT by AdmSmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMan55
She's our friend now.

ML/NJ

12 posted on 07/29/2009 4:26:26 PM PDT by ml/nj
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna
"monokini"???

That has to be one of the worst "backformations" I've ever seen.

13 posted on 07/29/2009 4:31:44 PM PDT by Tanniker Smith (Obi-Wan Palin: Strike her down and she shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cranked

When I was in Nice entire families were topless, from prepubescent girls to grannies. Also a lot of tourists who just wanted to show how hip they were.


14 posted on 07/29/2009 4:34:20 PM PDT by Oshkalaboomboom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Tanniker Smith

The French are very logical people, and their language reflects it.

The term “Monokini” to describe a one piece “Bikini” makes total logical sense in the realm of French logic.


15 posted on 07/29/2009 4:37:05 PM PDT by Cincinna (TIME TO REBUILD * PALIN * JINDAL * CANTOR 2012)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna
Meh, the girls have just moved on to wearing Wicked Weasel bikini's. Not much there to begin with, and when they get wet.. well....

No need to imagine.

16 posted on 07/29/2009 4:39:57 PM PDT by AFreeBird
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All

When I was young and studly, I visited “Hippy Hollow” a “clothing optional” swimmin’ hole near Austin with a couple of female friends of mine-—it was a total sausage-fest. The only women of note were the two I arrived with.


17 posted on 07/29/2009 4:43:05 PM PDT by Maverick68 (w)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna

Jeez, the author acts like the French had some sort of monopoly on this. Go to a beach in Spain. Go the schwimmbad in Germany. Go to a Greek island. Women from many countries have breasts I have noticed.


18 posted on 07/29/2009 5:08:15 PM PDT by Prodigal Son
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna; AdmSmith; Berosus; bigheadfred; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; ...

Hence the boom in Arab immigration to France. ;’) Thanks Cincinna.


19 posted on 07/29/2009 6:56:25 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna

Eh, after awhile it sort of becomes passe’, how nice, breasts, pass me another Chablis..


20 posted on 07/29/2009 10:10:48 PM PDT by padre35 (You shall not ignore the laws of God, the Market, the Jungle, and Reciprocity Rm10.10)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Prodigal Son

And, sadly, most of the breast have converted long ago from size 4D to 36 Long. :(


21 posted on 07/30/2009 8:56:22 AM PDT by 05 Mustang GT Rocks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Revolting cat!; Slings and Arrows
The good news is Bridget Bardot is going topless at the beach...

The bad news is this is how she looks today...


22 posted on 07/30/2009 10:34:57 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (There is no truth in the Pravda Media.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: a fool in paradise
I call Bardot's current looks "good news". She never felt the need to chop up and inflate her face into a mannequin's grotesque mask. She's just an old lady. Funny how time does that to even the most physically attractive people. It is also why you should never forget that the important side of a person is the inside, not the outside. "Beauty is only skin deep". There are lots of physically beautiful women who are as ugly as hell on the inside. Here is what I would call "bad news"...


23 posted on 09/12/2009 10:33:56 PM PDT by Freedom_Is_Not_Free (Depression Countdown: 50... 49... 48...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: a fool in paradise

I agree. She just looks like an old lady, which is okay.


24 posted on 09/12/2009 10:47:24 PM PDT by Yardstick
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson