We’re Saying No To Bikinis: Modesty is NOT Body Shaming

In Advice and Encouragement, For the Ladies by Debra Fileta53 Comments

It’s summer time. And you know what that means? Bikinis. They are everywhere.

Being a married woman, with a daughter and two sons, I notice my surroundings more than I used to, because I see them in light of what my kids are taking in. Which is why I found myself thinking through this concept just a little bit more while at the beach last week.

There was an insightful TED talk going around a few years ago, where former model, Jessica Rey, was sharing her thoughts about wearing bikinis and the evolution of swimwear. In her video, she cited a famous study in which images of women in bikinis were shown to men. Brain scans revealed that the men’s brains would light up seeing a scantily clad woman in the SAME EXACT area of the brain that would light up when they saw a tool. Seriously. Like, a drill. There was NO emotional reaction or attachment observed in the brain, and researchers were able to conclude that women in bikinis actually caused men to react in a way that the women were simply seen as objects. 

Conclusion: what you wear has a direct impact on how people see you.

Whether or not you like this conclusion, it’s science based. You can argue with the facts, but they’re still the facts. 

Which leads me to my next question, what, then, is the purpose of wearing a bikini? That’s what I want my daughter to consider one day when this question comes up (and in this culture, I’m sure it will).

Is it because it looks stylish? There are lots of stylish suits with more cover.

Is it to get her stomach nice and tan? Who’s going to be seeing that stomach?

Is it to get attention from the opposite sex? That kind of attention has nothing to do with true affection.

Is it because “I CAN”? Why not choose to assert your rights in ways that actually benefit you and society?

Is it because “I have a nice body”? Yes, you do! And you should protect that awesome body from people who don’t value it.

It’s important to challenge culture and the perspective we have regarding modesty, because there’s a sad trend going around in which encouraging modesty has been slammed as “body-shaming”. As though covering up our body parts means we’re ashamed of them. “Don’t be ashamed”, says culture. “Flaunt it!”

But shame has no place WHATSOEVER in this conversation. This isn’t about covering up our body because we’re ashamed, it’s about covering up because we’re proud. I want my daughter to know that modesty is not body-shaming, it’s the very opposite – it’s body-VALUING.

You choose modesty because you value your body and realize that anything of value is worth protecting from objectification (and let’s not forget from the UV rays of the sun!) You choose modesty because your body is so valuable it’s not just for anyone.

In fact, as a married woman, I value my body so much that I choose to reserve it for the one I value more than anyone else in this world: my husband. Knowing that he will cherish it both physically AND emotionally. 

In the same way, I want my daughter to value herself and in turn to value her body, because it’s so much more than flesh and bones. I want her to begin grasping that message now, as a little girl. As a teenager. And as a young woman. 

Because anything of value is worth protecting.

All this to say, we’re saying no to bikinis in this family. Feel free to disagree. But that’s how we’re living our lives over here. Modesty is empowering, and it’s what we expect from both our girls AND our boys. 

Catch the follow up article to see what I mean, because there are so many important pieces to this conversation: “Boys Will Be Boys” Until We Expect Them To Become Men

Share below: what are your thoughts on the subject and why? (only kindness will be accepted in the comment section). 

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. Her newest relationship book is set to be released in the Summer of 2018! You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web! She’s the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, reaching over 4 million people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!

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Comments

  1. This is an interesting perspective about the issue. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I feel the same way. I have loosened up a little as we (my daughter and I) exercise in the lake across the street where there are no onlookers and a two piece is more comfortable to wear with a water belt. But when we are with the opposite gender (except my husband) we go one piece.

    1. Author

      That’s really wise, Theresa! I appreciate you sharing that perspective, too.

  3. Thank you so much for this!! You’ve said what I’ve been feeling but been unable to put into words. I totally and completely agree 💓💓

    1. Author

      I appreciate the encouragement, Melannie! It’s such a hard subject to tackle without coming across as judgmental, but it’s something that needs to be talked about. Feel free to share with others!

  4. I totally agree. It was actually the men in my family, particularly those closest to me like my uncles, my dad, and my grandfather who were so honest and forward about how men viewed women and what they saw when women dressed a certain way. They always told me the truth about what men really think. They taught me the reasons why it’s always better to modest as a woman if u want a mans Respect, and not just his attention. I learned in my life that it’s always much much better to earn, and have a mans Respect, as opposed to anything else. His attention will just get him into your bedroom, and once he’s done out of it and possibly into someone else’s bed. His Respect is what gets you a ring ladies. That’s what makes him see you as much much more than just your body parts. When young ladies really get this then they will realize the difference between the two, and how important they are. I’m sure if your daughter hears this from dad then it will hit home much better.

    1. Author

      Thanks for sharing that, Jayla! What a gift it is to have such honest and caring people in your life!

  5. What a great article – thanks Debra! I think it can be freeing to choose to be modest which can sometimes mean being countercultral.

    One point i’d differ slightly on, is when you mention: choosing to reserve your body for the one you value more than anyone else in this world: your husband.

    I have thought this for years and it’ll be great to reserve my body for a husband. But what if i dont get married and ive tried to be modest all this time. Will it seem like wasted effort?!
    Then I came to a conclusion, that a better way could be choosing to value (if that includes reserving) my body for God and not reserving my body for a future husband. I know your situation is different as you are married. I still feel that reserving and valuing our bodies for God (whether married or single!) could be better than doing it for a husband -if that’s a current one or future!

    Hope that makes sense

    1. Author

      It makes SO much sense, and I totally agree. I probably worded it that way without thinking through it too much, because I AM a married woman…you are so right, and I agree that applying that mentality is so much better because it’s seeing life for the bigger picture: our relationship with GOD which is the forerunner to everything else. Well-said!

  6. I have a few questions for the ladies in the comments. I totally get what you’re saying – your body, your choice! But I’m confused by a few things in this article

    1) Is “I wear them because I like them, and I think they’re cute” a viable reason? Seriously! I just think my little crochet top is the most adorable thing and I love my belly button!

    2) If not, does that mean that women who wear bikinis don’t value our bodies enough? The article really seemed to say “I wear covered swimsuits because I have self respect”.

    3) Where does modesty end? In the eighteen hundreds it was full bodices. In the 40’s it was a long sleeved, ankle length suit. In the eighties it was the one piece. In a world where the definition of modesty is constantly changing, why do we today draw the line at tummies?

    I promise I’m not trying to be incendiary. I really just would like to hear perspectives on these things.

    1. Author

      I love your sincere tone, Jecca….thank you for that. I’ll wait to let other ladies answer, and then I’ll add my thoughts too. Thanks for being involved in the conversation even if you disagree – that means a lot to me! 🙂

    2. Hi, Jecca! Great points to bring up! In my opinion, the definition of modesty is not what changes, but society’s perspective of it does. In my mind, physical modesty is the act of keeping anything covered that may sexually attract an onlooker. It’s not that you don’t have any self-respect if you choose to wear a bikini, but it is choosing to respect others by not “flaunting” the treasure that is your body. Modesty encourages your sisters in Christ (especially the younger women/girls) to dress as if they are more than a body. Because they are so much more! And modesty encourages your brothers in Christ to abstain from temptations and focus on the Lord and value (or wait for) their wife .

  7. Thanks for this piece Debra. As a young woman who did a bit of modeling in the past (I still compliments about my body) I was never for once liked bikini because I felt it draws attention to my body and not who I really am as a person. I feel insulted to be remembered by how great my body looks instead of my intelligence and other great stuffs about me.

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for sharing, Denike!! That’s a really insightful perspective.

  8. Interesting points, Debra. Two things I’d mention:

    a. I’ve heard that some women prefer two-piece swimsuits (not bikinis, necessarily) because they can’t find one pieces that fit. (Too tall, too thin, what have you.) I didn’t know if your concern was strictly with bikinis here, or two-piece suits in general (i.e. midriffs).

    b. I’ve grown up knowing women who wouldn’t wear anything but long, heavy cotton or denim skirts and dresses, would they allow their daughters to. They would have never set foot in the water. Jeans and shorts were out, and swimsuits (even the stylish one-piece examples you give) would have been greeted with horror.

    Why did you stop at bikinis, for instance, instead of at swimsuits, or perhaps even at shorts. How did you finally settle on what was modest? Is there a practical guideline out there for families? Or is that something each family has to work out for themselves?

    Thanks!

  9. Woah! That’s quite a challenging thing to do…as for me I didn’t use bikinis before when I was younger I had trouble accepting my body now I use them. It’s hard not to use bikinis especially when I’ve been leaving my entire life on a Mediterranean island (we have 4-5 mos of summer) so we’re basically “all day everyday”at the pool or at the beach.

    But then, there comes the exception when I go with the church mates or at a summer camp or summer conference I use full body bathing suits and of course no social media posting of me at the beach I always cut them
    so that I won’t cause anyone to stumble or be offended since my European upbringing embraces bikini-wearing they’re used to it so for them full bathing suits would pop out or call more attention. I think it’s more a heart issue and a matter of the conscience rather than a cultural thing.

  10. You have the right to do what you want to do as a parent. But I’m tired of having to view women’s bodies, including my own, as shameful. Where’s the modesty teaching for guys? Why do guys get off scot free? Is it because women aren’t visually attractive and it’s our responsibility to make sure they don’t fall into sin?

    Just because a woman wears a bikini doesn’t mean she’s not modest. There are countries where it’s completely normal to breastfeed in public, and no one bats an eyelash.

    Not every woman is going to follow these sorts of guidelines, Christian or not. Like I said, you have a right to tell your kids what to wear and whatnot. But that doesn’t mean you can dictate that opinion to others.

    The saying “Men give love to get sex, women give sex to get love,” is not only untrue, it’s offensive for both genders. Women are attracted visually as well. And it’s disrespectful to view guys as uncontrollable sex machines. They deserve better. Both men and women do.

    1. Author

      Rachel, I’m curious where you get the idea that your body is shameful? I don’t think that was portrayed in the article.

      1. It’s just something that I think gets unfairly lobbied at girls. Our sexualized culture makes us insecure enough as it is.

        Besides, I have high-functioning autism and am a very black and white thinker. If I’m not comfortable with my body now that I’m single, how am I supposed to be comfortable with it if/when I marry? It’s not the waiting for marriage that I have a problem with. I just think there’s this expectation in the Christian community that on your wedding night you’re supposed to magically go from being a virgin to a vixen.

        But when you train your brain to avoid the opposite sex for so long, it doesn’t go away with a snap. Just being friends with a guy feels too risky for me. At the same time though I’m tired of feeling bound by my own insecurities.

        One more thing, men are going to pursue women no matter what they’re wearing. In the middle east, the women there are completely covered from head to toe. And guess what? Men still want women.

  11. I love the idea of modesty and living life as pleasing to God in every way….bu too often quantifying that as “a one piece is more acceptable than a two piece” makes life difficult and divides people in ways that can inflame pride and pretentious posturing as holier than thou. I find the following quote interesting in a Psychology Today study about men’s desire and ability to become aroused called “Why Do Men Find Women’s Leg’s So Alluring?”

    Yet, regardless of how this attraction is appreciated, the word that probably best characterizes such an allure is tantalizing—or, in some cases, taunting. Note the words of this respondent: “With clothing, legs can . . . be both revealed and concealed, which makes them almost uniquely empowered to allow women to tease and seduce men and inflame their imaginations. Legs being long, a little can be revealed, then a little more, then . . . and so on, all the way up. It all depends on how much [the woman] wants to show. And sometimes less can be more. In addition, the momentary flash of legs through a slit skirt while a woman is in stride or crossing her legs can burn a potent image into a receptive man’s mind . . . [partly] because they suggest sexual availability” (Quora.com).

    Where do we draw the line when covering up to keep a man from desiring and keep our bodies “protected” and modest and respectable as well as saving our bodies for our “husband”. God has not asked me to keep my body totally covered. He has not asked me to cover up in any way specifically. The Bible makes some cultural references to head coverings and other ways to be modest such as not braiding your hair and wearing outrageous jewelry. No where does it say….you shall not wear a bikini. If we follow the logic of this article….we would soon be at a full body hijab. There is no piece of a woman…..even her eyes are capable of inflaming a man’s desire……..nothing is modest in and of itself. Our bodies delight and glorify God. He made us naked. He put us in the garden naked. It was only sin that caused the covering. He is delighted in us and made us to be delightful to men……..and I do not think a one piece makes us more delightful in His eyes and a bikini makes us sinful or less delightful. It makes us no less self respecting and no less modest. I could be fully modest and be naked. Lady Godiva confidently glorified God as she rode through town naked on her horse. I am confident that my wearing a dress that shows a little of my legs is capable of inspiring lust in men. My little sleeveless shirt can turn a man on. My eyes alone can speak to a man’s desire. My modesty comes not from what I wear, it comes from a heart that is vulnerable and truthful before God. My modesty may allow me to wear a bikini in one situation and allow me to know in another that I should wear my loose fitting dress with close toed shoes. I will know in one situation to keep my eyes averted and in another to use my glory to draw others to Christ. If we continue to make an arbitrary line the measure of our modesty….we will end up fully covered under a loose fitting garb that covers even our eyes. We will be shapeless, formless blobs parading around crying out that women should walk more like men because our very stride is causing them to sin!

    1. Author

      I agree with you – in that I don’t believe this is about a one-piece vs. a two-piece…this is about a bigger issue: the idea that modesty does not equal body-shaming. No one is responsible for a man’s inappropriate thoughts, actions, or behaviors but that man himself – and in the same way, no one is responsible for myself or how I dress but me.

      Modesty doesn’t rely on what others are thinking about me, it relies on my own personal responsibility to myself….but that doesn’t mean that I totally disregard my impact on the people around me, either. That could be a dangerous slippery slope if we applied that kind of disregard to other areas of life.

      1. Well, that’s not what God’s word says. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:10 that we, as believers, are NOT to do something that makes a brother or sister stumble. If I wearing a sexy outfit makes a brother in the Lord stumble, then I shouldn’t do it, period. I am to give Glory to God in all places. You have no scriptural basis for what you are saying. Paul even told Timothy to talk to the women in his church to dress modestly 1 Timothy 2: 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

        So is God now wrong? Is Paul wrong? Should we just define God to make Him comfortable for us? It sounds more like you are trying to find approval to do as you please. would you wear a revealing bikini in front of Jesus and think that’s ok? Would do that in front of Paul? You say you love God. Well how much do you love Him? To do as He says in His word or to define Him to make Him comfortable for you?

  12. Debra, I don’t think body shaming was not portrayed in your article. Instead, I think it’s a question of the wider modesty culture — at least some circles of it.

    I’ve read too many accounts from fundamentalist-raised women — for whom modesty and shame were inescapably joined in their upbringing– to discount the possibility that at least SOME modesty teachings lead to shaming and damaged views of self-image and sexuality.

  13. I found another Christian perspective towards Jessica Rey’s movement and findings. Just food for thought offered peacefully.

  14. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10

    23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

    25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”[f]

    27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

    31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

    In other words, if me wearing a bikini causes a christian MAN to stumble, then I am NOT walking as Jesus has told me to do. You have to decide, whom do you love more? God or yourself? If you think it’s ok to wear a bikini and you have the right to show off your body and the guy should just look away, then you are NOT doing as God has called us to do.

    1 John 2 says Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[c]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

    As believers in Jesus, we can’t do as we please because we think we have the right. Paul was clear about not doing things that cause someone else to stumble. You lost your rights when you accepted Jesus as Savior. We were bought with a price, we are not our own. It’s your choice. Don’t expect God to use you or bless you if you decide to go your own way and do as you please.

  15. I’m probably going to offend someone – but this is my opinion.
    Female swimwear in general has always been evocative, since I reached puberty.
    Now 48, and having met and formed a relationship with my fiance, I don’t want her to wear a swimsuit as per standard – my problem with swimsuits is from mid-thigh to the hips.
    Ladies, in my opinion, you should wear what you feel most comfortable wearing, but for the sake of the male population, please wear shorts, so that your vulva and pudenda are not only appropriately covered, but also so that they do not attract the attention of those who will not value you.

  16. Many of these comments involve whether or not modest swimwear = body shaming. But a more basic question jumps out at me: what exactly IS modest swimwear? And what exactly does it look like in practical life?

    Unless I have misread your article, Debra, you’ve drawn the line at bikinis, while permitting one-piece outfits. Basically, your line divided immodest/modest (again, sorry if I’m over-simplifying), with your family sticking to the modest side.

    But I could take ten evangelicals, for instance — even from the same church — ask them to define modest swimwear, and get a heated, irreconcilable discussion. It’s confusing and daunting, and I’m a guy.

    How did you arrive at your own conclusions? Do you think there are definite, objective standards that could be applied — both here and elsewhere?

    And I haven’t even mentioned mens’ swimwear!

    Not trying to blast your comment box, Debra.☺

    1. Author

      For me PERSONALLY, modesty is covering areas that we generally deem private…that’s what it means for me and my family. So for us, both the men and women in our family make it a point to cover from their chests, down to their private areas, and everything in between (literally). These are the things that are covered on a normal basis, so we feel that even at the beach, they’ll be covered too.

      I don’t think there are hard and fast rules to what is “modest”, because we don’t want to walk the line of legalism either, but I do think that it’s important for each person to value their body and come to those decisions for themselves.

  17. I seem to remember reading something somewhere, I believe it was C. S. Lewis — sorry, I don’t have the exact reference for all you cerebral types — basically saying that modesty (a cultural?) and heart issue. For example, on some island in Tahiti, a girl might wear a long skirt and go topless and that might be considered perfectly modest, while in Western culture, that would be seen much differently!

    Modesty can be cultural issue. What’s considered innocent in one culture might not be in a another. I remember years ago, a female friend talking about going to some country in Africa and being asked by a Christian African man, “Why are American men so obsessed with breasts? They are nursing instruments!” My friend explained that in North America breasts were considered to be sexual. The story goes that the man put his hands on his wife’s knee and said, “Oh, you mean like a knee?” and then my friend understood why she had been asked to wear long skirts on this trip! Clearly, what’s considered modest in one culture might not be considered modest in another.

    That being said, for those of us in Western culture, we have to realize that, like it or not, *many* men do view scantily dressed women as objects. Jesus himself said if you’ve lusted after a woman, you’ve committed adultery. It’s what comes out of the heart that matters. I think the question is, do I value myself to not dress so that others will see me as a sexual object, and do I value others to help to keep them from stumbling? I think while modesty doesn’t solve the heart issue in the person viewing someone else as an object, it does help that person.

    Here’s the thing, though. I remember years ago asking a guy friend about how guys think, and him saying, even if women were perfectly covered up, men would still stumble. To echo what some others have already said in this discussion, my point is that modesty both a cultural issue and a heart issue.

    BTW, as a side note to the person who mentioned that the Bible talks about that women shouldn’t braid their hair or adorn themselves in outrageous jewelry, that was actually a cultural issue as in that culture, at Paul’s time, braiding hair and adorning with jewelry were what the temple prostitutes did. Paul’s point was not about the hair and the jewelry but that Christians were to act differently from those in the world. So, that particular truth was something specific to that particular culture.

    Hope this is helpful.

    1. Author

      A note on the cultural issue….so would you then say each person should stay within the limits of their cultural modesty? Or is sometimes culture questionable? Also, should God’s people be called to culture’s standard or a different one? Just some questions your way to continue the conversation 🙂

  18. This is awesome!! I loooove it. I completely agreeeeee and recently I’ve felt compelled to dress in a more God & man honoring way, so as to wrap myself up as a valuable , mysterious present for the right man if that is God’s plan for my life. 🙏🙏🙏🙏 Bought your book recently and I devoured it, well said.

  19. I think this is well said. One thing I’d like to add: it’s about how modest it is, not about how many pieces. I’ve seen one-pieces that aren’t the slightest bit modest, and I’ve seen two-pieces that are quite modest.

  20. I totally agree with Leslee.
    It’s not about the clothes you’re wearing, it’s about how you think about yourself, and your thoughts can be reflected on others.
    But even if you do have selfrespect and wear a longsleeved shirt and trousers, men who wants to see woman as objects will still see you as an object.
    And if they only see woman in bikini’s as objects, they clearly don’t know that even a naked woman is to be respected, because she is made in Gods image and God loves her (also if she doesn’t love herself or the body she’s living in).
    Woman with no selfrespect often have been sexually abused, and God wants us (man and woman) to show love and respect to people who are broken like that.

  21. Thanks Debra! I’m glad it made sense and SO glad that you are talking about an important subject. Bless you and THANK YOU ☺️

  22. This couldn’t be timed for perfectly! I just graduated high school and at all the pool parties I am one of the few, or sometimes the only girl in my class who doesn’t wear a bikini. And I went to a Christian school! I wish they could understand the importance of not only modesty, but also not going with the worldly culture we live in. Thank you for this encouragement to live for a higher purpose than fitting in.

  23. I definitely agree with being modest. But I think you can wear a Bikini while still being modest.
    I’m curious would you suggest men and boys to wear ..shirts?
    I also think is more about wearing proper attire in the right places.
    I believe it’s similar to a women wearing a form fitting dress or short dress …I think a women should be able to wear something to make them feel attractive if it’s at the right place. Going out with their husband on a date or walking on the beach. I feel it’s more about who you are with & where you going…or what you plan to do.
    I don’t necessarily think there is an article of clothing we need to deem immodest.
    I do think it’s great to have guidelines for our family and everyone can pick and choose what’s best for there family.

  24. This post is great and sparked some of my own questions on modesty that I’ll have to look further into.

    1. Author

      I’m so happy to hear it. That’s the goal in all of this – good conversation, different perspectives, and figuring out how we can become the people God calls us to be.

  25. I absolutely agree. It is so important for girls & boys to learn the importance of Body Valuing…maybe then as adults the girls won’t choose to wear bikinis and other revealing clothing…and hopefully the boys will appreciate it when girls don’t wear bikinis and other revealing clothing.

  26. Some questions
    1. If you have decided that women in your family can’t wear bikinis anymore, then does that mean that your husband and men in your family have to wear a shirt at the beach?
    2. What makes it okay to show the legs and not the stomach?
    3. Modesty is great – I think it should be done by men and women both. But why is it that topics on modesty are always targeting women?

    1. Author

      In all honesty, men in our family do wear shirts at the beach. So yes, for us, it’s a standard that applies to both genders.

  27. So what about when men who wear “banana hammocks” aka thongs to the beach? Or short and tight swimming trunks? That’s why we have choices in fashion and people can choose to wear what suits their own tastes.

    People are going to wear what they wish, it’s up to everyone else to control their own response to what others choose to wear. And ultimately, a woman’s choice to wear a bikini, tankini, one-piece, sarong, etc is truly nobody else’s concern.

    Women don’t need to be held to particular dressing standards just because some men don’t know how to act. Enough of this already! Whatever your fashion choice is, just wear what makes you happy but please don’t impose it on others.

  28. This is really interesting. Thank you for sharing this Deb. I’m definitely sharing with friends

  29. I’m 76 years old. Bikinis have been around a long time. I’ve never worn one, but my reasons were’t these reasons. I’ve never wanted to be that exposed to either sex. Even though my spouse tried to get me to. I love what you said. Wish I’d had your wisdom when my 2 daughters could have greatly benefited from it.

  30. I’ve been reading through most of the comments and definitely read through the article, as spending time at the beach is something I absolutely love, and I have to say I do not completely agree with the message, and I think it’s a bit short and limiting in so many ways. I love your articles and I mostly agree with your view on different topics, though I never found it challenging enough to comment on matters.
    I study Biomedical Science, and one thing that struck me was the UV bit. UV light can be damaging, definitely, but is also paramount for Vit D production (it starts in the skin), which acts as a hormone, and is needed for healthy bone growth. From my limited 2nd year student knowledge, I can also confidently say problems such as skin cancer, are, in most cases, prevalent in people genetically predisposed, as well as in UV overexposure cases (someone please correct me if I am wrong). Studying in Nottingham, UK, summers can be quite cold, and going home for the summer, in Romania, I like to get as much sun as I can. I never came across people who think much of whether you’re wearing a bikini or not.
    Also, I like tanning. I don’t tan for others to see, or for one person. I like to tan for myself, because it can be healthy, because I love the heat of the sun. Because I love my body. And I will take care of it by avoiding sun burns and protecting myself and my skin (e.g. keeping hydrated, applying sun screen, etc). Similarly, I never swam in a full body swimming costume, but I imagine I wouldn’t feel as comfortable as in a one piece, which leaves my arms and legs uncovered. And why wouldn’t my legs be just as important as my tummy? I mean a few hundred years back, showing legs wasn’t appropriate, why is it now? Why would showing a stomach be appropriate or not? Or why would covering it up with something tight make a lot more different than showing your skin? A one piece would still show just as much of you forms, as a two piece, you just can’t see skin.
    Though I am aware of the passage in the Bible that has already been mentioned, where Paul says that we shouldn’t be a stumbling cause, I have also came to the conclusion that we all have a responsibility for the way we act and for how we take our thoughts captive. If culturally, in different countries, bikinis are accepted and are not a cause of stumbling, and people see it as something normal, then it means that, besides us as women beeing modest, we can also, as humans and superior mammals, control ourselves. And that’s what I would most like to fight for as a Christian woman, for healthy attitudes and thoughts and for living freely with God rather than harsh boundaries.
    I also believe sex has so much more to do with our minds. And whatever we feed our minds and our soul with, that’s what we will mostly deem. Our bodies will fade, and what makes attraction so much stronger for me is the intellect. As a single young woman, I have struggled with desire not because the guy was the best looking (though sure physicall attraction is a thing), but because of their traits and intelligence. You just click with some people for some reason. And while objectification may be a thing, lust is not always linked with how covered up or scarcely dressed one is. And I believe foreplay can begin in the mind – maybe I’m wrong, long before you see someone showing their stomach. So the brain may light up in certain ways, but our intellect is also so much more than just that, and let’s not forget we actually don’t fully understand our own brain. I’d like us to address more meaningful and insightful questions. Such as why do we find certain things arousing, are they wrong, or right or healthy, can we change? Is what we like a concequence of something that happened to us – or a cause of the fall and sin, and if it is how can we ask God to help us, if we’re in that situation, rather than just dodging (or covering them up, or never talking about it because we’re too judgemental to approach and admit to such things, and because as Christians we’re shaming people about sexual attraction) arousing situations, just because they bring about lust? After all, Adam and Eve were naked before the fall and they were never ashamed of it. I wonder, if sin had never entered the world, would all their children have been running around naked and wild? Why would that not have been an issue if so? Surely they had the same biological body as we do – unless we bring evolution into the conversation. What made them pure at heart regardless of their nakedness is what I’m after. It’s God I’m after, not set boundaries.
    Maybe I’m just annoyed that I have to be the one to cover up, and I also have to be the one that has to control my thoughts (things I gladly always try to do for God and for myself), when in the world wide society men are ok dressing a lot less at the beach (or if I’m being honest, just generally) than women. You mentioned in a comment that men in your family wear shirts at the beach, but you didn’t mention a single word about this kind of thing, or men covering up in your article. I do not want to stir up lust, but I also can’t please and protect everyone. And hearing of religious views where a woman can make a man lustful only by uncovering her hair makes me want to fight even more for a healthy attitude rather than just a covering up boundary. If it’s what works for you and your family, that is great! And if I didn’t believe we could, as humans, manage bikinis without lust, and if covering everything up was the only way, then I would stand up for it myself. I definitely don’t want to show off (I’ll wear a one piece at an indoor swimming pool, for example) and want to be as humble and as modest as I can, but I somehow don’t think limiting ourselves to a one piece swimming costume at the beach is the answer, or that it necessarily reflects modesty. A lot of things are made relevant by the heart attitude, the culture and the environment, and if I was in a culture where I’d have to cover up, I would, out of respect, not because I believe it’s the only way – didn’t someone in the New Testament (I’m so sorry I’m forgetting who) circumcised just so he could reach people? I hope this makes sense and it doesn’t come across as harsh or insensible, or too utopic. I am very passionate about open conversations, and helping each other out, as Christians, by being open with our struggles and by being accepting of one another, giving grace and fighting sin. Maybe I’ll come to the same conclusion in a few years time, but I’ve grown in a culture where it never seemed to be an issue (I mean I’m not talking nudity), and I don’t believe it has to be – What if doctors made an issue when seeing your body on the surgery table? Or would that just be okay because it’s for a greater good? Or does that not apply because you don’t think doctors would be attracted to anyone in such situations? I hope they aren’t (I don’t think I would be if I ever become one), and this was a grim example, and maybe a bit exaggerated, but my point is, we can manage by taking responsibility and our thoughts captive, and by fighting and asking God for help, rather than just getting complacent because that’s just who we are.

  31. Awesome, awesome, article Debra as always. Its so refreshing and good to know that some deems modesty important and not old fashioned. I wish others held modesty in high esteem and honor. I always been told that a woman’s true beauty is what she possess on the inside and it shows through to the outside. I know we live in a world where its anything goes, but things should be left to the imagination both to the men and ladies in the body of christ on the single and married side. I pray for Single Ministries to be in all churches so the singles can know how to conduct themselves and be that good and special thing for someome equally deserving as they are. I appreciate your stand about bikinis and its opened my eyes like never before. Thank you again for talking about the tough and difficult topics affecting singles, have a great weekend Debra!!!!! 😊😊😊😊😊😊

  32. Wow,great piece Debra. Lots of interesting perspectives. I most definitely agree with Kim on this one. The bible says in 1Peter 2:9,”But you are the chosen race,the king’s priests,the holy nation ,God’s own people,chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God,who called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light.” So like Kim said we are not our own and need to be guided by God through His Spirit (The Holy Spirit) on all matters.
    My thoughts

  33. That’s what long t-shirts are for… as long as they’re not white (no wet-shirt contests, lol). Buy whatever swimsuit works with your body. Then put over a t-shirt that covers your butt at the back, and you’re set. I have a 2 piece suit, but it’s closer to a tankini. Regardless, I don’t want my body exposed to any sun or anyone. So I got a mesh wrap-around that goes in the water, & it’s great. This past weekend, I used a poly-cotton blend leggings to go on the waterslides at church for the summer event. I felt comfortable with my swim suit underneath it, too.

  34. I’m seeing a lot of women hete saying things about how its not wgat you wear but how you feel etc. NO, NOPE, NOT EVEN CLOSE LADIES!

    You couldn’t be more off the mark because modesty is an isdue of the heart but it involves your outward appearance and behavior. Men can’t see your feelings!

    Let me ask you this: if you were having to walk by a man who was a sexual predator would you flaunt your body or cover up to protect yourself? The answer is obvious.

    But since most guys are nice then flaunt away and rely on their decency to not take adventage of you. Who cares if it makes them uncomfortable, other women self conscious or encourages the sexualization of girls. It’s YOUR body right?

    Come on ladies we can live better than that. The Christian life takes sacrifice. Let’s grow up.

  35. Does anyone know of places to buy modest swimwear? And swimwear that has shorts too?

  36. Ah thank you, thats AMAZING! I did read the article but didnt realise the writing in red was a link!

    Blessings

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