3 years ago

What does “Are You Bikini Ready?” really mean?

I love Pinterest.  I venture there for dinner ideas, color inspiration, blogging tips, and DIY’s that’ll make the NAILED IT board.  Future PHD in Pinning? Inevitable.

I’ve been a Pinterest addict long enough that every time spring rolls around, my feed is overloaded with images of women’s bare abs, hips, legs, rear ends, and chests all under a similar caption of “5 ways to Get Your Body Beach-Ready.”

I love that Pinterest is available for women and men to utilize for their fitness goals. I love seeing that we have a common interest in staying healthy and fit.

What I don’t love is seeing photographs of women’s bare body parts, regardless of the purpose of the pin.

Another virtual indicator that spring and summer are ’round the bend is that my 2 year old post, Why I Don’t Wear Bikinis, starts getting a lot of love in Google search activity. I’m not even going to share because rereading it makes me cringe with all the caps-locking and the awful writing. Not that I’m any better, but I have to keep telling myself that so that I can continue blogging. Right.

Maybe I’m crazy by jumping to this conclusion, but judging from the terms searched which lead to my blog, and from what I see on social media outlets, there seems to be this struggle among young women about what is modest, and what message we might send by what we wear, while also feeling like women shouldn’t feel pressured to have to submit to those restraints.  And I know that was a run-on sentence and that I started this sentence with and but I’m on a time constraint: dinner approacheth and the Gnawing of the Ankles draws nigh.

property of C. Svellinger
While I typed the end of this post, my two youngest entertained themselves by filling this vent with those toys, and I had to face my fear that house vents lead to hand-eating black holes. They don’t. Fear conquered. Thanks, boys.

To belay the reputation that because I’m Catholic, I must view naked body parts as “dirty” or “sinful”, I reply that I view the human body completely opposite of that prejudice:  I’ve sat many an hour sketching nude models in figure drawing classes.  I’m not afraid of naked people. I understand the human body to be beautiful, in all forms, and is such a sacred creation, that the way social media portrays it, as a mere thing to be looked at, like a handbag or a pair of shoes, we find ourselves in danger of forgetting the context of who is the human body.

While wishing to stay physically fit can come from healthy motivation, I feel that lines become blurred when we share even fitness images and articles which reflect having “sexy beach body” in the context of displaying ourselves to be looked at by everyone.  

Maybe I’m the world’s most uptight prude, but I’m throwing those thoughts out there anyway.

Blahblahblah– all of that to arrive at this powerful talk, given by author and fashion designer, Jessica Rey.  I stumbled across her talk about a year ago from Stephanie‘s blog and I still love watching it.  Rey discusses the fashion history of the bikini, but more strikingly, Rey questions what kind of power women take on when they choose to wear revealing clothing.  Her talk, I think, makes a connection on how to be more deliberate in what we wear if we want to be viewed with dignity.  Which I think is more valuable than having that hot beach bod.

Enjoy, and please leave me your thoughts!

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8 comments

  1. Ugh swimming suit season is so terrible! I stopped wearing two pieces four years ago when I was pregnant with number 2 and I once posted a picture of myself in my one piece, sitting with my son on the beach. I ended up using it as my profile pic for awhile and it was swamped with likes, mostly by a lot of guys. I couldn’t, and still can’t, decide if this was just as insulting as guys liking a picture of me in a bikini and commenting “daym shortie,” or a much more positive way of guys pointing out that they can appreciate when a woman looks like a woman and not a silly girl. I don’t feel like I looked particularly sexy, in fact you couldn’t even see most of my body, hence why I used it as a profile pic. I’m not friends with anybody on fb who I don’t like, and who’s opinion I would say I don’t respect. So I choose to think of it as a sigh of relief for a mother who isn’t desperately hanging on to her youth or giving up but simply looking nice in a pretty setting haha.

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  2. I really like reading your blogs. I look up to you, you are amazing. At my house we have so many odd things in our vents from Tyler and I just have one kid. To the bikini comment I have worn one before the day of having a baby, and yes they do show too much skin now. These days it’s like your just wearing a string. When I do wear a bikini top I cover it with a tank top when I’m out in public and it protects me from little Tyler hands grabbing in the wrong spot and causing a peek a boo. Thank you for your blogs.

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    1. Lauren, thank you so much. I’m so flattered that you come to read- I’m just like you, just a momma! Thanks for leaving such a sweet comment. I hope you and your family are doing well!

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  3. In response to the video:
    While I have no problem with modesty to keep leering eyes away, treating ourselves with dignity, and not using our bodies as a source of “power,” I take issue with the idea that we as women should need to cover ourselves in order to make a man not treat us as objects; they should do that anyway. The problem is men should always see women with dignity, regardless of we dress, but they don’t. We need to teach boys that it is never acceptable to think of a woman as an object. If we teach our future and current sons to treat all women with respect regardless of how she dresses, we can change the functions of how men think subconsciously about women. Obviously this needs to be sweeping, in a way that may be impossible. Advertising teaches women and men that womens’ worth is in their looks. But if we teach our sons not to think this way, when they move into positions of power, hopefully that will resonate with them. We also need to teach our daughters that beauty and looks do not sustain you and that they are worth more than how they look. This may actually stop some of the teeny weeny stuff because no one really needs to be hanging out all over the place and I’m sure that if girls turn into women who know that their body is just a body, they hopefully won’t feel the need to having it showing in order to be advertising sexual desire or some idea of perfection. If we work towards changing the way people both men and women think rather than just refusing to dress a certain way, it will make a much larger impact. (and I’m in no way implying that you or this woman in the video don’t think that’s also a necessity when you say you don’t want to wear a bikini.)

    That said, I’ve never worn a bikini in my life. I’m a big girl, always have been and I have no problem with it. I had serious problems with it when I was a teenager and it seemed like everyone was skinnier than me. There’s still a part of me that wants to be comfortable enough in my own skin to wear a bikini in public; and not for a man’s attention. But for me. To be proud of my body the way it is. Even more so since having my surgeries that gave me an 8 inch scar down my belly, a ½ inch by 3 inch scar from my ostomy and small spot from my stomach tube. I’ve accepted my scars much more easily than my fatness. I’m ok with my fatness. (and I call it fat because that’s what it is, I’m not trying to be derogatory) But I want to love my fatness. I’m not there yet, but I hope one day I will be willing to wear a bikini and not give two shakes if anyone thinks I’m sexy. Self-love is a daily struggle. Here’s to never waking up to a “fat-day” again and to preventing future girls from even knowing what that term means. Here’s to boys and men that get more turned on by a woman’s mind than her lack of clothes. And here’s no more butt baring, bikini ready pins :)

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