July 9, 2013

The great bikini debate.

     Happy Tuesday everyone! I apologize for not having a post up bright and early yesterday morning like I usually do on most Mondays. This past Sunday was a rare full day off for me, and I spent the day at a lake in New Hampshire with one of my high school friends. It was a great day, and expect to hear more about that soon! But today I wanted to talk about a question that I've been pondering a lot lately: is it okay for Christian girls to wear bikinis?



     If you haven't seen this video yet, I highly suggest that you watch it! I saw that a few bloggers and some of my Facebook friends were sharing this a couple weeks ago, and after seeing it pop up so many times I decided to give it a watch. Jessica Rey (the woman speaking in the video) definitely knows the history of women's swimwear very well, and she definitely made some good points about how skimpy swimwear can affect guys. I think it's very cool how she was able to start her own swimwear line, and I also think it's cool how this video was able to reach so many people by going viral.

     The thing is, I have been unable to forget this video since I first saw it, and that's unusual for me. Ever since I watched it, I kept getting these almost weird gut feelings as I'd get ready to go to the beach that were telling me that perhaps I should stop wearing bikinis. I have been a bikini fan for awhile. My mom didn't use to dress me in them when I was little, but when I was in high school I started wearing them (minus a conservative phase that I went through a few summers ago). I always like to follow the trends, and until recently one-piece swimsuits were not in, so therefore I didn't even consider wearing them. My mom did always prefer that I didn't wear "string" bikinis, so the onces that I'd pick out would have thicker straps and more covering bottoms, but I suppose they still all showed a lot of skin.

     Aside from bikinis being trendy, I also like the feeling of not having tight fabric on my stomach. When I'm at the beach or the pool, I usually like to be in the water (even the freezing Maine ocean at times!). And when I swim, I hate the feeling of wet fabric on my skin, especially after I come out and try to dry off. Bikinis cover less, so that meant drying off quicker. Simple logic it might be, but it made sense to me.

     But yesterday while I was at the lake with my friend, I had her snap a picture of me in the water and then I instagrammed it (not out of the ordinary for an Instagram addict like myself ;-)). When I checked back on Instagram later, I saw that a good number of people had liked the picture (including some of my favorite bloggers!). My Instagram isn't private though, so there were some people that liked it that I have no clue who they are, including some guys. For the first time, this made me really uncomfortable. I was actually quite disturbed by the fact that random dudes were checking out and liking a picture of me in a bikini.

     And even worse is that this also happened in person yesterday! While my friend and I were waiting to get into the changing rooms at the lake, I noticed some guys that were way too old for me to be interested in checking me out. I also noticed that they weren't doing that to my friend, who was wearing a cute but covering one-piece. Instead of being flattered, I felt icky and rather unclothed.

      Yet all of these awkward feelings just aren't enough to make me want to part with bikinis. During my break at work today I found myself googling articles on my phone with questions like "christians and bikinis" and reading what came up. Everything I found pretty much said that if a woman wants to be Christlike, then she must be modest, and bikinis simply aren't modest. This started to make more sense to me. I started thinking about how Christians are called to be set-apart and "from this world but not of it." When I see people out in public that I don't know, if I'm dressed just like everyone else in skimpy swimwear then how would they be able to know that I'm trying to set a good example?  I also started wondering what my future husband would think about bikinis vs. one pieces or tankinis.

     But at the same time, bikinis are trendy, cheaper and I explained my reasons for not liking the feeling of wet fabric all over me after I've been swimming. So I'm a bit confused about what to do. I feel in my heart that God wants me to stop wearing them because that's how I've been convicted, but it's honestly hard for me to follow that. Listening to His voice is something new for me.

     Speaking of convictions, that's something else that I'd like to address in this post. In the bible study that I was in at school last year, one of the topics that we discussed was being respectful of others' convictions. Some people might be called by God to step away from certain behaviors, such as not drinking (after age 21), not listening to secular music, choosing courtship over dating, etc. While you might not be convicted to do those same things, it's important to not judge anyone for the things that they choose to do. For example, courtship is something that I don't feel like would work for me, but I still have to respect anyone who chooses that over dating, and I also should try to understand their perspective, even if I don't agree with it.

     So if you're wearing bikinis and loving it, I'm not here to judge you! This post is simply my way of sharing what God has recently put on my heart. I'm not trying to force this on anyone or make you think that you're doing something "wrong" by wearing them... heck, I was just in one about 48 hours ago at the lake.


     But what would I would like to know- what do all of you think about bikinis? Are they appropriate for Christians to wear? What type of message do they send? If you're married or in a relationship, I'd love to know what your significant other thinks of them! Always interesting to hear things from a guy's perspective.

     Since I'm still not quite sure if I want to make a big jump to not wearing them at all, I'm thinking that my next swimsuit purchase should be more of a transition piece... perhaps a bikini with a skirted bottom and a top with more coverage, or a one sheer one piece. See below for some of my Pinterest inspiration!



     xoxo Miss ALK

13 comments:

  1. I liked reading this post! I usually hate this debate, but you handled it well. I personally don't wear bikinis, but that's only because I don't have the body for them (I'm self conscious even in a one-piece, but I manage). So you bet that when all my working out and healthy eating pays off, I'll want to wear a bikini! I don't have a problem with Christians wearing them as long as they're somewhat modest? (Is modest bikini an oxymoron?) But I also tend to stand on the side of "guys should control themselves, we shouldn't have to dress assuming they can't". Anyway, this is clearly a complicated issue I'm still fleshing out but I'd love to discuss this over email!

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  2. very Interesting post, I personally do wear bikinis(though I do wear swimsuits as well) , I don't wear them because I want attention from the opposite gender, I just find them more comfortable. I come from a viewpoint where I think a woman should be able to where what ever she wants and not be be blamed for the actions of others because of how she dresses, and I say this as a girl who has very strong morals when it comes to dating, premarital sex,drinking,drugs etc. I don't think it about how your dress, it is about how you act and who you are on the inside that is more important. For I know girls who choose to cover up, but don't up hold these moral standards and essentially creating a facade of morality which I personally feel is so much worse.
    But when it comes down to it, it is a decision between a girl and god and nobody else should interfere (that includes boyfriends, and husbands)
    Rebecca Elizabeth
    xox
    englishprepster.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. Thanks so much for sharing this!! I had never seen the video before and it was full of facts that I never knew! I enjoyed this post so much. This is the first true time I started to think about this topic. I've seen my Christian friends wear both bikinis and more modest one pieces, so I always thought either was fine..never really thought about it too much. I started wearing bikinis because it was hard to find a one piece that fit me properly and of course because bikinis were the trendy thing to do. I still wear bikinis, but I think I'm going to reevaluate my next swimwear purchase.

    xo, gina

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  4. I think this is a great post Annaliese! It's a great topic to bring up because Christian girls are kinda caught in the crossfire with this. I know I've been before. And I go to a Christian school that has a big beach scene so there's always pictures of girls in bikinis on instagram or facebook. I also recently bought a tankini top for the camps I'm working at this summer (we can't show our mid sections in front of the kids), so I've thought about this issue too. I also love bikinis for the same reasons you do so it's really a struggle to fight over. However, I love your thoughts on it!

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  5. Great post, Annaliese! I'm pretty Catholic myself, and I do wear bikinis. That being said, I don't wear bathing suits that some of my friends wear when their boobs and bottom are more visible and have less coverage. Mine are usually fuller bottom pieces, and no push-up bra tops. I don't see anything wrong with wearing a bikini if you don't act in a skimpy or slutty manner. I hold myself at the highest respect when I wear bathing suits, regardless of how covered I am in them. I do understand your view on the matter, though. Great post!

    XOcaro | the caro diaries

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  6. Love this post! Great writing girl! One of my favorite Christian authors is Joyce Meyer, she talks a lot about following the spirits guiding individually in our own lives, and why it's dangerous to compare and reason with that with other peoples callings. As for bikinis, for me personally I think that they are okay, and I think the problem with them lies in the reason behind why so many girls wear them. I just wear them because I want to get tan on my stomach and I especially like them to lay out in on really hot days. Like you said, God may be calling you differently about that topic and he may be using you to be a wonderful modest example, were all given a unique calling! Awesome post!

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  7. I really love your post! I have found myself in the same position thinking about this issue this summer. I have felt convicted myself and fins myself less comfortable in a two piece. Occasionally i switch it up with a cute one piece and feel like I am being less flashy! I do agree with Jessica and think that it does vary person to person. God hasn't convicted me about this until this year.. I really like how you mentioned we are to be set apart. I think that is a valid argument as to why not to wear a bikini!

    xoxo- Maddy Grace
    http://lifeoffaithbymaddygrace.blogspot.com/

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  8. Great post, Annaliese!

    I wore a lot of one pieces growing up, and up until high school when I did wear a two piece, it covered my stomach (I think they call those tankinis?). My mother wanted to keep me “age appropriate.” I like to consider myself modest, but not a conservative dresser. Personally, for me, I have no problem with wearing bikinis. I don’t find their conflict with my faith. I don’t get uncomfortable when men “check me out.” What I wear still covers what they need to cover. Being a more modest dressed, I like things being covered; I don’t wear string bikinis.

    I don't wear them because I want attention from the opposite gender, I wear them because I like the way I look and feel in them. However, I like the way I look and feel in many one-pieces and tankinis, too. Personally, I feel that a woman should be able to wear and do what she wants so long as she isn’t be harmful to herself, without being blamed for the actions of others. (It isn’t a girl’s fault if a man wolf-whistles to her, even if she is dressing provocatively. The man should know better.) Who we are inside and our actions are more important than the way we dress. That said, if a girl chooses to cover up, by all rights – that is good for her. That is her decision. No one should make her feel bad about it. Just as it is another girl’s decision to wear a bikini.

    And I think it all depends on the reasons for doing it. My faith has taught me that doing things out of shame is unhealthy while doing them from a place of love and honoring of yourself is the most holy thing you can do. It’s all about gut, heart and intuition. That’s where God lives inside us. :) The issue is very individual.

    Perhaps when I get my blog up and running, I’ll do a post of my own about this and a few other related issues that have been on my mind. Really great topic! Love it!!

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  9. Great post. I saw this video around a few times but finally took the time to watch it. I have read similar studies to what she shared and I, too, have received unwanted attention from guys when wearing a bikini. I do wear bikinis but I try to avoid string bikinis and wear bandeau tops since they offer more coverage. I'm comfortable in that and my husband is fine with it. Who are we to judge what others wear right? Very thoughtful post and I'd love to hear more if you continue to feel convicted.

    (also love the sheer one piece!)

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  10. I love that you really explored your thought here! I agree with you, this topic is something that I haven't considered a whole lot, but lately I've been thinking more about it. I watched this video recently and it really hit me hard. I was forced to really think about the idea of the bikini and why I wore one. I really felt the Lord convicting me and I began to think more about it. I talked with my husband about it, but it wasn't something that he felt totally convicted about. He mostly just wants me to be comfortable. Now, I am going to start buying more cute one pieces or tankinis. We've been at the beach all week and I brought 2 one pieces and I've felt a lot more comfortable wearing them. I still have my bikinis, but like you, I have more "covering" ones, so that I don't feel totally exposed. For me, I feel that wearing more one pieces will be best. I feel a lot more comfortable.

    I have to disagree with some of your commenters. I don't believe the Lord wants us to dress in whatever way we want and not consider how it makes the opposite sex react. Yes, some men will look at women sexually no matter what they are wearing. But, should we invite all men to look? No! I think we should be respectful of men and how they are physical beings. I think it is unwise to have a mindset of "they need to control themselves". We should respect them and dress modestly so they don't have as big of a struggle looking at us.

    With that being said, modesty goes far beyond just what we wear. If we are modest in the way that we act and speak that will make a big difference too! There are many women who wear one pieces, but who don't act in a modest way. I think we should start this discussion in the way that we act! I know that I need to be more cautious about the way I act and speak. Just something to think about. :)

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and your convictions. You've given us a lot to think about!

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  11. Hey!
    Now, you may think me very weird for a 14 year old girl, but I have never worn a bikini or even shorts and a tank swimming. not even a 1 piece! I always wear capris and a t-shirt (with a one-peice under it). And I don't miss it! I am so used to dressing modestly that I would feel very uncomfortable in anything more revealing! I also wear only skirts at home.
    You probably think that I am very weird, but really, I don't miss it!
    one thing to consider is this, it was written by some very sincire young men.

    Dear girls,
    dressing immodestly is like rolling around in manure. yes, you'll get attention, but mostly from pigs.
    sincerely, real men

    also consider this story

    there was a teacher who had several girls in her class that had trouble with the dress code at the school. one day, these students came in early to class and told the teacher, "we wish that you where in charge of this school, we know that you would not make us dress like this!" the teacher was a bit surprised but said "yes I would. its not just what you wear, but it affects the young men around you" the girls looked disgusted and said, "the boys can take care of themselves, its not our problem if they can't keep themselves in line"
    the teacher said no more, but called class to order. the next day she separated the boys from the girls and sent the boys to another room. then she showed the girls a bag of candy. she said "don't look at the candy, don't think about the candy, don't talk about the candy, this candy is not for you! if you even look at the candy, you will get a demerit!" then she set the candy on the shelf and went into another room. when she came bag all the girls had their books in front of their faces, and several had demerits. the teacher then told them "this is how it is for the guys. you are like this candy to them when you flaunt yourself off. was it my fault you guys got demerits? if I had not put the candy there for you to see, you would not have gotten them. the guys can't help themselves from thinking about you anymore then you can about the candy!" the girls where very sober, but got the point................................

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  12. .................... I also think that we have a responsibility toward our fellow men. do unto others as you would have them do unto you!
    I don't want a husband who has been all over other women! and if they have been it is those other womens fault, not the mans! and do you think a man would want a women who would dress herself so that a 100 men have lusted after her? I think not! I want to keep myself pure for my husband and wait for gods timing! I also want a husband who has not lusted over many women! our thought lead to actions you know, and by causing other mens thoughts to go astray I don't want to ruin another couples marriage. I could be helping to put in action a habit of lusting and acting. that is not what I want to do my friend!!!

    anyway, amazingfacts.org has some good stuff on this. it is called "death of modesty"

    I really don't mean to point fingers a t anybody, so if I have seemed that way, i am sorry!

    ~Kaitlin

    www.contentinhiswill.blogspot.com

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  13. I also agree with a lot of what nicole said:)

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