4 years ago

Fashion History of the Bikini, and the Power it Gives to Women.

Captive The Heart shared this excellent video on Facebook today.  I watched it, and having written about the bikini myself, I want to repost my blog from last year, and include this video.  Fashion designer and actress Jessica Rey talks about what we are doing as women when we think nothing of bearing “everything but our mother’s maiden name”.  The bikini gave women power… but what kind of power?  Please take the 9&1/2 minutes to listen to this beautiful, modest woman speak.

Here is Jessica Rey’s website.

And here’s my bikini post from last year (I definitely would have used the “Bathing Machine” Rey talks about, when I was wearing bikinis.  But I wasn’t afraid for the reason she describes.  I was afraid because the power she explains we as women hold when dressed in a bikini, I innately knew I did not enjoy emitting.  The wrong kind of power) Enjoy!:

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May 8, 2012

The link at the bottom of this entry is wonderful. It’s actually titled “5 Reasons to Keep Bikini Pictures Off Facebook”

In typical Carolyn-type blogging fashion, I’ma gonna piggy-back off of her entry and expound upon my own thoughts.  It adds wonderfully to my previous post about 5 things I’d like to say to women.

This site offers retro, modest-ish suits... to help start anyone in their search...

Number 3 alone from the Bikini blog is sufficient enough for me to have turned away from the bikini days.
Waltzing around in my underwear in front of the general public- let alone freely POSTING photos of myself in nothing but on Facebook is something I would never do.
So why would I think wearing a bikini is any different? Cause it’s brightly colored, or has frill or a print on it?  sure….

Hey I’m a mom. Yes. Yes I am.

But that doesn’t mean I’m fat and covered in cellulite. This is my third pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean my body is gone to shambles. I am an athlete. My body is blessed with the privilege of muscle memory and rapid recovery. My stretch marks faded to the same color of the rest of my skin. I also don’t over-eat. I’m a tall girl and weighed 123lbs before I became prego with my current little sugar.

So one may assume that I too -mom of three that I am- could wear a bikini if I wanted to.
But I don’t want to.

The truth is, I’ve never found bikinis comfortable in the slightest.
I’ve never enjoyed the feeling of eyes following me around the swimming pool.
I’ve especially detested catching men I don’t know and/or don’t like taking enjoyment out of watching me tiptoe around in my bikini, hoping no one would notice- knowing by their shifting eyes that they indeed have.

I wore a bikini because …um that’s what girls are expected to wear. That’s how I felt anyway.  I -much like the vast majority of young women, I’d like to believe- just did what was “normal” without questioning it …until very recently.  What a blessing and an eye-opener it is to become a mother. It’s made me question my ignorances and strive to be better.  Heaven forbid.  (I see the nazi-fem in the corner tsk-ing and shaking her head in disbelief of my welcomed “oppression”)

I always thought the more modest swimsuits were just plain ugly. …or maybe i just didn’t seek out those other options. I am GLAD to be able to use being a mom as an excuse to wear a bathing suit that covers all of my top and all of my bottom.

Secondly, I feel SO MUCH better about myself wearing a swimsuit that I think is cute AND comfortable.

I remember that literally EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I arrived at the pool, I dreaded taking my clothes off to reveal my body-in-bikini.

I hated it. (but I wouldn’t let anyone know THAT.)

I would sit as long as I could until maybe there was a chance that no one was looking and I could snatch my shirt and shorts off real quick and hop into the water for cover.

Wearing something that covers the parts of me that I think should only be for the viewing privilege of my husband eases me. I can actually enjoy being at the pool. I can also enjoy a compliment on my swimsuit because I know it must be genuinely given and not in total distraction of the parts of my body that it is NOT covering.

Also, I feel more confident. I remember shopping for a new bikini, expecting to look like the Victoria’s Secret model wearing it in the advertisement. How disappointing it was when I didn’t look like her. Then, upon arriving at the pool, I’d notice other girls who look more like the VS models in their teeny weeny bikinis, and I’d feel even more insecure.
“WHY WONT MY BODY LOOK LIKE THAT?” I would wonder in depression.

It all ties into the lie that women are telling one another: that we are, in fact, an object and are free to flaunt and use it for sex if we so deem. And that we should consider ourselves “liberated” by being such. (yet today there are daily news articles over the anger that women feel over being objectified by their body, pressured by societal expectations and photoshop-izing of it, and “WHY IT MUST STOP!”)

Cover up that stuff and -BY JOE!- I can have a conversation with someone who will actually look me in the eyes and not 12 inches below. (it’s about 12 inches, right?)

I also integrate this thinking into how I wish to present my children.
ESPECIALLY my daughter, if I am ever blessed with one.  By allowing her to, at the earliest of ages, bare her midriff and exhibit her yet-to-be matured bosom, I am teaching her that it’s no different than a boy’s mid section or chest.  (“WOMEN ARE EQUAL!” that nazi-fem shouts from the back.)

And that couldn’t be farther from the truth!

Exposing a woman’s stomach exposes her womb:  The most sacred of places on a human body is the one that bears new life.  And allowing her to frame her chest like turkey on a platter, reduces it to just that.  Women are given a chest for one reason: to nourish the new, unique life within her womb.

If I were to teach my daughter to dismiss those crucial facts about her body, she then reduces her understanding of her sexuality to a mere object solely for lustful purposes, misinterpreting the value of the human body which will also lead to a distortion of how she perceives (or ignores) the dignity of a new human life and ultimately perverting her understanding of true L.O.V.E: God’s love.  And these warped perceptions will radiate into all facets of her life.

If I were to teach my daughter to “flaunt it”, to “work it”, that’s all she’ll ever know about the value of her body.  And it will confuse her when after “flaunting it” I tell her that beauty is deeper than skin, and that she needs to be a “good person” too in order to find a good man.

She’ll be further confused when she stumbles through multiple relationships that hurt her because she thought by giving the boy her body, that she would be loved.  Yet, she isn’t.  She’s been used for it.  And she’ll search her whole life, unhappy, filling it with the material things that only amplify her physical appearance.  Unless by God, some sort of wisdom befalls her and she reads a few books that make her question all that she understood about herself up until that point- and that she doesn’t angrily and obstinately throw it aside!

By allowing my daughter to dress this way, it opens doors to child predators who flood Disney World/Land, the pools she swims at, the schools she attends, the sports she plays, and all other public events she attends.

Read just a hair of a fraction into how to be aware of child predators and all the articles will tell you they infiltrate kid-friendly environments, watching and waiting.  Perhaps for the ones wearing that innocent “Fairy” costume I thought was so cute when she wanted to wear it to the park. They also infiltrate blogs and Facebook pages, looking for the mother who posts “cute” photos of her daughters wearing “big girl clothes” all over without regard to privacy settings.  (It’s why I barely post photos of my own children on this blog.)

Now that’s sort of cynical for me to go that deep of a route of thinking for my daughter that I’ve yet to bear.  But shouldn’t I???  Shouldn’t I, as the guardian of a human soul, be aware of the possibilities of what may befall that person if I don’t scratch the surface of even my intentions for dressing her the way I do, as innocently as they are formed?  Wouldn’t I be an irresponsible parent indeed if I didn’t think about how she will be formed to view her body?  Forget thinking that by being a responsible parent I must have been PLANNING financially… what about planning spiritually, emotionally, logically?

I can give my child money, but if she doesn’t know what can happen when she uses it to buy and wear a lacy bikini, I’ve hurt her far worse than not having saved the cash for her to buy it.
No, no.  No more bikinis for this momma.  Thank you!

Cute swimsuits that cover are out there, it just takes a little more effort to find them.
A fellow Cathsorority sister ads The Shabby Apple on her blog (http://caffeinatedcatholicmama.com/  she’s awesome!) and I was delighted by all the collections on the site.  Hopefully, it will give any one who is in need of a boost to find classy clothes some hope.  

I found swim bottoms (on sale!) at Lands End last year that I paired with a tankini top from JC Penny and it worked out perfectly.  Here’s the link:

http://www.landsend.com/pp/womens-beach-living-mid-length-swimmini~235384_59.html?bcc=y&action=order_more&sku_0=::HME&CM_MERCH=IDX_women-_-swimsuits-_-shop-by-silhouette-_-bottoms-skirts

*****

5 Reasons to Keep Bikini Pictures Off Facebook.

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