Disciple of Thecla
7/8/13 at 06:26 AM 17 Comments

The Hypocrisy of the Bikini and Why Modesty Empowers

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At a young age, I decided to stop wearing swimsuits. It was also my first experience with a bikini, and I did not want those from the start. I was around eleven or twelve years old. Mom took me shopping for a new swimsuit because I was maturing into a young woman and because we were going to visit family. One of the family hobbies used to involve a trip to the lake.
The first thing I noticed was that all the 2-piece bikini swimsuits resembled brightly-colored bras and underwear. And each 2-piece was $80. Mom refused to pay that much money for a small scrap of fabric. The search frustrated me as well. I kept thinking "I can put a bra and underwear together to make a swimsuit for a lot cheaper than what I see here. Maybe I should just wear bra and panties to the lake." After all, the bikini swimsuit covered the exact same amount of skin anyway, so there would be no difference between wearing that or wearing bra/underwear.

I mentioned this idea to my mom - that I should wear a bra and underwear, which I already have, instead of an expensive scrap of fabric. It sounded like a good idea. Bras were around $5 each; a package of underwear cost $10. If you get 10 pairs in one page, that leaves $70... 50+10=60. Ten bikini swimsuits for under the price of one. $20 left to spend from the original $80. That would be a lot of bikinis! Mom hated the idea. I did not understand the offense. It covered the exact same amount of skin as the bikini swimsuit anyway, so what difference would it make?
Mom was angry and frustrated with how long it was taking to find me a decent swimsuit. I felt rather frustrated as well. Actually, the more I thought about it, the more I felt conflicted about the bra/underwear idea. Because bras and underwear went under the clothes, they should not be seen in the public; therefore, anything resembling a bra and underwear should not be seen in public.
The search was taking much too long. I suggested to mom that I would like a swimsuit similar to hers - a one-piece that covered the entire body. Mom also hated that idea despite the new idea's stronger modesty. Something about the age difference. A 11-year-old should not dress as a woman in her 30s, or maybe it was because our bodies were very different. This confused me even more than before. As a girl maturing into a woman, I should want to wear what all the older women are wearing, right? Furthermore, there never seemed to be anything wrong with mom or her swimsuit, which she wore since her 20s. And I had worn a 1-piece swimsuit that covered my body during previous trips to the lake...
Now, I'm an adult. Every time I see bikinis or swimwear on a magazine cover, I still wonder what the difference is between a bra/panty combination and a bikini. I think these women would be more modestly dressed if they did wear bra/panty. The contradiction continues to baffle me. I'm more deeply analytical now, and I have a stronger comprehension over women's issues. Even so, I still do not see a difference between a bikini and a bra/panty. Underclothes cover more skin than a bikini does, so the underclothes are actually more modest than the bikini. Why is it acceptable to reveal more intimate skin in public that is typically hidden by a woman's underclothes? The whole purpose of underclothes is to cover skin for extra modesty. If a woman wears a bikini, mainstream culture accepts her. If she wears only underclothes, this worldly society considers her weird and strange, even though she is now dressed more modestly than a bikini allows. If she insists that women should have more modest swimwear - similar in modesty to underclothes - then, she is labeled a prude who wants to oppress women.
I am NOT saying women should actually walk around in their underclothes. I'm just pointing out the cultural hypocrisy.
People say "you cannot wear this because it is private," about bra/panty and yet those same people would say, "you can wear this and show more privates!" about the bikini. Some of those bikinis cover only the genital parts anyway and leave everything else out in the open. The contradiction makes no sense precisely because it is a contradiction. It is like a form of inverted modesty. It is certainly hypocrisy.
The popularity of bikinis coincided with the sexual revolution or sexual empowerment of women. What does it mean to be empowered?
At the start of the women's rights movement - by that I mean the right to vote, hold jobs, and be accepted as intelligent, rational, humans - women wore clothing that was bulky, heavy, and downright prudish by today's standards. Swimwear covered a woman's body entirely except for her arms and legs.
Women obtained the right to vote in 1920. Back then, when women were fully-clothed, there was a strong movement for women to be recognized as intelligent, thinking humans equal to men. The "sexual revolution" that supposedly empowered women occurred forty or fifty years later. Then, bikinis became popular. Now, there is no longer the emphasis on women as intelligent or rational. Now, the emphasis is on women as sex objects. Mainstream, liberal women parade themselves as being subservient to men for their pleasure - not as equals to men, not as intelligent humans deserving of respect.

"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption..." (2 Peter 2:19)

Mainstream liberal women consider modesty repressive, yet they thrive on calling women hookers, sluts, and hoes. Somehow, this is sexually-empowering to be a subservient plaything for men. There is no equality in being someone's plaything. There is no dignity of the human spirit, either. And subservience is slavery. The modest or prudish dress is actually more empowering sexually because it liberates women from being playthings. The woman's body remains strictly her own.
There is the saying that we should not judge people by how they dress. This saying is true to a certain extent. How we act and react to people displays our worldview - our beliefs, attitudes, and even how we feel about ourselves as well as others. How we dress is a part of our behavior. How we dress tells people what we think of ourselves, what we want other people to think of us, and shows part of our belief system or worldview. Deciding upon which on clothes is a behavior, and belief systems determine behavior.
Modesty seems outdated. Modesty is accused of being against women's empowerment. But there is nothing empowering for all these immodest or anti-modest women to parade themselves as subservient tools for men. Hookers, sluts, and hoes are subservient playthings. To be a subservient tool strips away power, strength, and independence.
In certain tabloid-style magazines today, there are pictures of women in bikinis with their faces blotted out by a rectangle. Inside the rectangle are the words: "guess who?" as though people should recognize individual women by their privy parts alone. This type of objectification is only made possible through the bikini, which reveals most of a woman's body. If women wore a one-piece swimsuit or something a little heavier, there would be a stronger need to focus on their face. And all the rectangles that force people to look at the body parts would become senseless, pointless, and obsolete.
Modesty and the modest dress are more empowering to women. When the body is covered up, then the only thing left to see are the faces of women. The modest dress forces men to look at women's faces, to take note of their expressions and what they have to say. When men are compelled to take note of women's words and thoughts, then they are compelled to regard women as intelligent and rational humans, their equals. When women dress modestly, then they must also consider who they are as individual human beings because now they must focus on their soul and spirit. When women dress modestly, then they stop referring to themselves by terms of subjection and oppression. Women only began describing themselves with oppressive and derogatory terms after the popularity of the bikini, and these women oppose modesty.
So, the modest dress is actually more empowering to women because it returns the emphasis to the human soul, the human spirit. The modest dress is more empowering because the modest woman cannot be a plaything for men. Because she is not a thing, she must be considered an equally valuable human being. The modest dress compels men and women to equality and develops the individual for life.

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