10 Striking Portraits Show Beach Life In Bangladesh

Photographed by Sarker Protick at VII Photo Agency
In the U.S., summertime magazine covers demand we get our "bikini bodies back" and offer tips for toning and dieting our way to a "presentable" beach bod. But global beach cultures are as varied as the people who visit them. To check out how women experience the seaside around the world, Refinery29 sent reporters and photographers to six international beaches to expand our notion of what it's like to be a woman near the water.

Here, 10 women on Laboni Beach in Bangladesh tell their stories.

It's your body. It's your summer. Enjoy them both. Read more Take Back The Beach stories here.
1 of 10
Photographed by Sarker Protick at VII Photo Agency
Fariha Tabasuam, 21, Student

"I have a feeling other people are judging my body. But I don’t do that [to others]. I don’t feel like [judging] others by their structure or bod… We all are different, so why should we judge? It’s a bad practice.

"I do think about my dress — which dress I am going to wear? What [will] other people will say about my clothing and me? For these reasons, I like wearing something that no one can say any bad comments about. No one can think badly about me or look at me in a bad way."
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2 of 10
Photographed by Sarker Protick at VII Photo Agency
Ibtida, 22, Student

"I do worry about how I look on the beach a little bit, because people are staring and making odd comments; for that I am a little worried. Their way of looking [at us] is not good; they stare at us really badly. Today, while I was standing in the sea, many people started staring, making bad comments… [There’s] nothing I can do."
3 of 10
Photographed by Sarker Protick at VII Photo Agency
Monuara Akter Lija, 13

"I feel that other people are judging me, but I don’t judge others. I don’t feel any pressure."
4 of 10
Photographed by Sarker Protick at VII Photo Agency
Jasmin Sultana, 35, Sociology Lecturer

"Actually, I come here to see nature, so I am not really worried how people are thinking about me. I came here to see the sea and to see the waves. I am not feeling anything except that I am on a vacation.

"I don't feel that others are judging my body, because I have crossed that age. I think people here are busy with their own lives."
5 of 10
Photographed by Sarker Protick at VII Photo Agency
Zareen Shakila, 21, Student, Dance Teacher, & Part-Time TV Anchor

"I used to judge my own body and myself and actually thought I had to live my life in a certain way or wear something particular to look good. But I felt it’s better I should do what my heart says. [I'd] rather let my feelings be free.

"Sometimes, in the past, I used to judge other people, but now I don’t. We live in a certain society where people will judge you, but it is up to me if I am thinking like them or living like them."
6 of 10
Photographed by Sarker Protick at VII Photo Agency
Jebu, 17

"The pressure around women's bodies comes from the people who look [at us] in a bad way, which is not good. They should respect women."
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7 of 10
Photographed by Sarker Protick at VII Photo Agency
Mehreen Kabir, 21, Student

"It is a common trend in our culture that a slim figure means beauty, but I don’t think this is the only way to measure or define beauty. Actually, true beauty is inside one’s heart. Yes, other people are judging my body… The pressure for me comes mostly from my family.

"I think we are not perfect in everything and we are born with imperfection, which itself is a beauty."
8 of 10
Photographed by Sarker Protick at VII Photo Agency
Oni, 25, Student

"If any one looks at me in a bad way, I feel pressure. There are certain groups of people who do such things. But these are people with a bad mentality who always think negative."
9 of 10
Photographed by Sarker Protick at VII Photo Agency
Rubama, 22, Graphic Design Student

"I think I have come to a certain period of time [in my life] where I believe every girl or woman should not be worried or [have] a headache about what others are thinking. Not if we want to be successful. Not if we want to take our country forward.

"Our Prime Minister who runs this country, she is also a woman. So I think we should not be too much worried about our bodies. I do not judge people by their body, but I judge on their mentality."
10 of 10
Photographed by Sarker Protick at VII Photo Agency
Boronika Sharker, 30

"We men and women are all wearing clothes, but men look at us differently. They have a tendency to tease or harass us. And the way they look at us makes me feel ashamed. We women are talking or thinking about equality or equal rights, but we don’t actually get equal rights. We have to face harassment in different situations."
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