Burning Bikinis – Bikinis, Society, Women

Click to Enlarge – Letter from Archbishop Gonzi to Prime Minister Borg Olivier, 28th June, 1969 – Courtesy of the National Archives, Cabinet Papers, 413/51

Antonella and Carla have been busy carrying out research for Burning Bikinis. This week they looked through relevant Cabinet Papers covering the years between 1964 and 1969 with the helpful assistance of Joseph at the National Archives in Rabat. The documents contained correspondence, memos and newspaper clippings of the furore surrounding the “deplorable state of public morals” (Ref: OPM/413/51 Memo 1348, Courtesy of the National Archives) and the suggestions of the setting up of a special branch in the Police Force to safeguard public morality.

Correspondence was also found between Archbishop Gonzi to Prime Minister Borg Olivier dated 28th June, 1969, as can be seen further up. In response to the letter a Memo was drafted and presented to cabinet, an excerpt can be seen below:


Courtesy of the National Archives, OPM/413/51, Memo No. 1348. Click to Enlarge

Although the text was not adopted in full and references to the bikini were removed from the final Memo, the discourse surrounding what was morally acceptable beachwear and behaviour continued.

Furthermore, a number of interviews have been carried to with women active in various feminist movements in Malta in the 1970s and 1980s. These women were the primary movers in enabling the public to discuss fairer family laws, the possible introduction of divorce and abortion in those decades.

This information will be used for the final docufilm which will be released in the first quarter of next year. We are also eager to hear from anyone who was a young women in the 1960s and therefore please contact us on antonellasgobbo@aditus.org.mt or carlacamilleri@aditus.org.mt.

Watch this space !

For more information visit the Burning Bikinis project page


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