Religion Case Study

The purpose of this assignment is to:

  • Summarize the role of dress and appearance practices in the development of different identities.
  • Recognize and differentiate how marginalized communities in the U.S. use dress and appearance practices to express their identities.
  • Understand and evaluate social justice issues related to dress and appearance practices of marginalized communities in the U.S.
  • Deconstruct and reflect on one’s attitudes toward marginalized communities in the U.S. and their dress and appearance practices.
  • Reflect on one’s progress towards development of empathy related to social justice issues and dress and appearance practices of marginalized communities in the U.S.


  • Use this document, and save it as “Religion Case Study your first and last name”
  • Answer the case study questions beneath each question below (meaning keep the question in your assignment sheet).
  • Answer the questions using the instructional materials from the Religion module and the case study reading below. Be sure to cite the readings or instructional materials when paraphrasing or using a direct quote. Do not use or reference other sources that refer to similar topics when completing this assignment.
  • Keep answers typed, single spaced, 12-point font, no cover page, use Microsoft word, full sentences, 1” document borders, keep all of the assignment instructions and questions in your document

Case study reading:

The burqini: design, history, and controversaries:

Modesty is one important part of Muslim dress. That is, Muslim people often choose to dress in clothing that does not reveal parts of the body. This might mean wearing looser clothing or clothing that covers most of the skin. There is a significant variety in the degree of modesty a Muslim woman engages in. Therefore, some Muslim women cover more of their bodies then others.

The burqini is a full-body swimsuit that includes long sleeves, long pants, and a hood in an all-in-one design. Therefore, the burqini garment is worn by some Muslim women, but not all due to different perspectives and interpretations of modesty within the Muslim community. There are a lot of different styles for the burqini and numerous retailers that offer them. It has some similarities to a surfer’s wetsuit in design and overall look. The burqini was designed in 2006 by a Lebanese woman who lives in Australia: Aheda Zanetti. It was originally made for lifeguards in Australia and has since spread and been worn by numerous Muslim women across the world. In 2019, Sports Illustrated featured the first model wearing a burqini. However, there was much controversy over whether a Muslim woman practicing modest dress should model in Sports Illustrated, a magazine that historically has featured women in sexualized and objectifying poses. The burqini is not the only sports-related dress to consider Muslim women and their religious needs while being active. In 2017, Nike designed and introduced the Nike Pro Hijab for Muslim women athletes. Ibtihaj Muhammad is a champion fencer and Nike athlete and she described some of the issues she faced being a young Muslim girl and being active: “When I was in school, I always had to have a letter from a local imam that said that it was safe for me to wear my religious covering during sport…My coaches had to have that with them at all times.” In a research project at the University of Minnesota, scholars worked with Muslim women and young girls and inquired about their design needs for athletic wear. The young Muslim girls co-designed the athletic wear with the researchers to have designs that better met their athletic and religious needs. There’s a short video here that documented some of this process of this research project.

After the introduction of the burqini, some areas in France began banning the swimsuit for Muslim women. Once the bans were in place, the security or police required some Muslim women to have to remove their burqini in public. The introduction of the ban is related to France’s overall move towards separation of religion and the state. The secular principle in France was introduction into the law on March 15, 2004 prohibiting any clothing or other religious attire being worn in schools.

Controversary over modest swimwear deemed appropriate was not limited to France. In the United States in New Jersey in 2016, Muslim women swimming in public spaces said they received stares of confusion while another group of women were not admitted to a public pool because the pool officials stated the burqini was a safety hazard.

Sikh turban and Gucci:

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that originated in India. Members of this religion are referred to as Sikhs. According to a Pew Research Center report from 2012, there are about 500,000 Sikhs living the United States.

Rupinder Singh, who follows the Sikh religion discusses how his religion is reflected in his dress. Read about his experience in this article titled “11 Things You Wanted to Know About my Turban but Were Too Afraid to Ask.” The turban is one way that people who follow the Sikh religion symbolize their religion through their dress.

After you read about Rupinder’s discussion of the turban, watch this short video about “How to Tie a Traditional Sikh Turban.” The video highlights one way that a Sikh person can tie a turban.

Gucci, an international high-fashion brand in 2018 introduced a “fashionable turban” into their collection. The bright blue turban appeared to be very similar to way the Sikh turbans appears and are styled. There was significant backlash against Gucci for producing and selling the $800 turban. One article by the Washington Post discussed how introducing the turban into Gucci’s collection was an inappropriate form of cultural appropriation.

Case study questions:

  1. Review the case study and some of the news articles linked in the discussion of burqinis in the case study reading. What were some of the different motivations for banning or prohibiting women from wearing the burqini?


  1. Reflect on your experiences with and attitudes towards Muslim women wearing burqinis. a) Have you ever seen a woman wearing a burqini before? What was your reaction? b) What is your perspective on modest swimwear and whether it should be allowed or not?


  1. In Rupinder’s article on the Sikh turban, what reasons does he provide as to why he wears a turban? According to the article, do all Sikhs wear a turban?


  1. After reading Rupinder’s article and watching the short film on “How to Tie a Traditional Sikh Turban,” briefly describe how Sikhs put on turbans.


  1. In the article by the Washington Post, there are numerous arguments as to why Gucci should not include design and sell a turban that resembles a Sikh turban. a) Describe some of those arguments. b) Could Gucci have approached their design differently if they wanted to consider the Sikh faith when designing a turban for their collection? Should they even consider this style at all?



100 points total

Meets or exceeds expectations

All parts of questions are answered.

Questions are answered correctly and in accordance with the information presented in the reading.

Answers contain at least two full sentences, contain explanations and examples where appropriate and show synthesis of information in reading when appropriate.


Some parts of the questions are answered.

Questions are mostly answered correctly in accordance with some information presented in the reading.

Answer contains less than two full sentences, contains brief explanation or example and shows little synthesis of information from reading when appropriate.

Needs development

No or few parts of question answered.

Questions are not answered correctly or in accordance with information presented in the reading.

Answer is short phrases or not complete sentences, contain no explanation or examples and show no or little evidence of information from reading when appropriate.

Question 1 is complete, correct, and well developed. 15-20 points 9-14 points 0-8 points
Question 2 is complete, correct, and well developed. 15-20 points 9-14 points 0-8 points
Question 3 is complete, correct, and well developed. 15-20 points 9-14 points 0-8 points
Question 4 is complete, correct, and well developed. 15-20 points 9-14 points 0-8 points
Question 5 is complete, correct, and well developed. 15-20 points 9-14 points 0-8 points


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Dress, Appearance, and Diversity in Society by Kelly Reddy-Best is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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