Monday, January 30, 2012


Most people have heard of this term before and many know the iconic look of the bikini (sorry, I'm not including a picture of one). Of course, this term denotes the two-piece swimming suit worn by women.

The origin of this term comes from the Bikini Atoll. This island chain in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean became famous for the location of the first peacetime atomic bomb tests by the United States. After the Second World War the United Nations developed a program where wealthy countries would ‘look after’ smaller countries and help them to develop. The U.S. decided to help the people of the Bikini Atoll by removing them from their island and proceeded to blast the island with more then 15 atomic bomb tests starting in July 1946. The people of the island chain were assured that they would be able to return to their island after the testing was complete. Clearly this was not the case due to the extreme levels of radiation left over from the tests.

After the publicity of the tests a French fashion designer named Louis Reard launched an aggressive marketing campaign for his revealing new swimsuit: the bikini. People loved the new swimsuit at first but it did not take long for Catholic countries to begin banning the new bikini and Hollywood also fell in line. By the 1950s the new bikini gained more popularity and the bans soon disappeared. In fact, Hollywood decided to put the new swimsuit in their movies beginning in the mid-1950s.
Atomic bomb tests on Bikini

As for the people of Bikini, they were soon forgotten. Many were resettled on other islands and the U.S. did try to bring them back to their island but many refused believing that it was not safe. The people of Bikini have launched a number of lawsuits before the U.S. Federal Court with the backing of the authorities of the Marshall Islands.

For all the women, and some men, who enjoy wearing their bikinis don’t forget about the people of Bikini and their sacrifice for fashion.


  1. I had no idea that is where the bikini name came from! It is too bad that people are unaware of the true inspiration of this name. Thanks for informing me, I know I will be more appreciative when I'm picking out bikinis.

  2. That is crazy and I had no idea. Its amazing how Louis Reard unknowing would cover up the true meaning of bikini for future generations. Looking forward to all the words and phrases you uncover!

  3. Great topic, I also had no idea. I bet your google image search for the pictures here was fun, too.