VOA Burmese Blog

July 9, 2010

Burmese Girls and Modern Fashion

– Kaye Lin

AP Photo: Traditional Burmese Attire

Modern Model in Myanmar/ Burma

Girls are scrutinized in the Burmese culture, and a girl is to dress modestly as she is a representation of her family. Well, you can imagine what the model, Honey Oo had to deal with when pictures of her modeling in a bikini came to display. Burmese people complained and criticized her for her attire.

Honey Oo had an interview with the Irrawaddy, and she stated, “I have received many e-mails criticizing me for wearing them. I just want people to consider that I am creating art and doing a job.”  Oo says that she wants people to realize that in Burma, models do not have the same opportunities as models from other countries.

Fashion in Burma is its own politics: controversial. A woman is considered immoral for keeping up with the ” modern fashion” while modern fashion does not affect men. A woman is called unworthy, disrespectful and unpatriotic while these adjectives do not adhere to men in terms of fashion.

It’s a shame that women are still criticized today for wearing modern clothing and when they are a part of the modern fashion. However, the controversy of Honey Oo, brings up a very important point. Is it necessarily a good thing when Burmese women are changing their traditional ways to become part of the modern Westernized culture?

Women’s fashion in Burma remain very much the same. The traditional dresses are still worn, but some girls are following the Western fashion and media. Take a look:



  1. I do agree with your comment. Burmese traditional dresses are like Japanese kimonos which in my view are more suitable for wearing at ceremonies. They are not for women and girls working doing energetic work or playing sports. They are also suitable for immobile middle-aged ladies and senile grandmas some of whom may have forgotten how they had dressed in their teens. Traditional longyis without elastic bands at waists or without belts have always caused problems for us. We are criticised for refastening longyis in public (as being not very dainty and cultured) if they get loose as a result of walking too fast or doing something energetically. When I was a university teacher, I was always concerned about the middle of my back being exposed to my students or dropping my longyi while writing on the board which was hung quite high above the podium. So I normally wore very loose and long long-sleeved blouses to cover my back and to work during very hot weather. That attracted some criticism for not wearing a proper Burmese top. Yes our community inside Burma as well as in the West, unfortunately, is still full of self-appointed moral policemen and policewomen. About nakedness or semi-nakedness, once we were all naked “savages” before we became “civilised and cultured and above all democratic”.

    Comment by Daw Saw — August 7, 2010 @ 10:57 am | Reply

  2. ေလ့လာျခင္သူ

    Comment by queenslandmyanmar — September 29, 2010 @ 3:28 am | Reply

  3. […] Burmese Girls and Modern Fashion July 2010 2 comments 4 […]

    Pingback by 2010 in review- Thanks for Your Comments and Visits! « VOA Burmese Blog — January 6, 2011 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

  4. Be sure what you want and be sure about yourself. Fashion is not just beauty, it’s about good attitude. You have to believe in yourself and be strong and confedent
    Muhammad Zahid-22058

    Comment by zahid22058 — June 14, 2011 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  5. Right!We should not dress like that.

    Comment by ice — July 27, 2012 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

  6. If you go to a one hour photo lab and look at the images being
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    training sessions covers the basics concepts of photography.
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    Comment by photography tips — July 15, 2013 @ 4:12 am | Reply

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