Sunday, June 30, 2013

On Modesty and the Bikini

It's Sunday. Let's chat about something tough to talk about, shall we? 

This video has been floating around and I shared it on my Facebook wall. Jessica Rey is a swimsuit designer. She started off much like most of us in the fact that she couldn't find something, in this case, a cute modest swimsuit for herself, and decided to make one that was both stylish and covering. More and more people wanted to know where she got it. Now, she has some completely adorable swimsuits in her own line called Rey Swimwear!
It was taking a stand on her own convictions that modesty is something to be praised and respected, that we are made in His image, and when we, as women, dress modestly, we are revealing our dignity and actually respecting ourselves and our bodies.

I'm sure this has been a hard place to stand in a culture that praises women (and men) as sex objects.

My own personal views on bikinis have changed over time. When I was younger (16 - 21ish) I had no idea the effects that a half dressed woman can have on a man and I proudly wore my bikinis. Most women feel like it's not their own responsibility to care whether or not their own overt nakedness has any affect on surrounding men.

I beg to differ, but it's only because I've talked to my own boyfriend, now husband, quite a lot about these issues. Even now, 4.5 years of marriage later, my husband has to turn his head or fast forward through sex scenes in movies, sexy half-dressed women in commercials, or even just clothing ads and magazines that come through the mail. He constantly has to guard his eyes and heart from lingering too long on women. Otherwise, he says it causes him to sin and he has trouble removing those pictures from his mind later.

As a young woman, I didn't WANT to believe that the way I dressed caused him to stumble. I wanted to look attractive, sexy even, so that he would like me. I thought he wanted that, too.

I think he must have had a hard time admitting these things to his then, girlfriend. He didn't want to appear weak and felt some shame having to tell me that my cleavage was causing him to have impure thoughts, before we were married. Could I please sew my bikini top up a little more, so he wouldn't see too much on his girlfriend? I remember rolling my eyes and angrily obliging, feeling ridiculous that my suit had to be sewn up some.

Even now, there are times I catch myself flying towards anger first when my husband does the silent pull your shirt up motion out in public. I've had to work on my own heart and letting my body be something that honors God first and foremost!

Modesty is so desensitized in our culture that most women just don't feel like it's even a big deal anymore, but to a huge portion of men that struggle with lust, adultery, and pornography, it is a huge deal in their attempt to protect their hearts.

For these men, it's honoring to them and to God to dress modestly on the beach or at the pool. Not to mention how gross I feel when I can obviously tell that a man is letting his filthy eyes stay too long on my body. This is NOT the attention that I want to have.

When, I did my swim shirt rash guard tutorial for The Sewing Rabbit earlier this month, I struggled with it at first. It wasn't easy for me to take "cute" photos pool-side of myself, even in a swim skirt and long sleeve tee. In fact, I was freaking out inside! The woman you see in those photos is confident and modest. That is the woman I want to be.
It's taken me a long time to accept the fact that the way I dress, does in fact affect men, or at least my own husband, and I have taken it upon myself to protect other's hearts, ultimately aiming to please God in how I dress and act.

The true reason why I made this swim shirt, was honestly not really to even cover up when I  get too much sun, although that is partially a good reason to have made it, but it was in fact that my one swimsuit I ordered from Land's End is actually a bit low for me to be comfortable in front... I struggled finding a completely modest swimsuit this year, even at my go-to Lands End! And I like the option to cover myself up when others are around.

That brings me to my next point. I believe Bikinis have their time and place... such as, alone with my husband in a hot tub or alone at the family pool just the two of us. In fact, my husband prefers this. I am his and he is mine.

I want us as Christian women to be confident, humble, and modest, giving God the glory for the bodies that He made, temples of the Holy Spirit. He made us beautiful and in His image and we are to reflect his glory in what we put on and how we dress!