Bikinis are powerful little pieces of fabric aren’t they? They’re supposed to be tools, a quick-drying outfit to swim in, covering as little skin as possible so the sun and water and summertime can soak into every pore. But they’re so much more than that.
For women across the board, bikinis are scary reminders that our bodies are not perfect. Clothing helps cover up our fears day-to-day. Push-up bras and Spanx even enhance them. But then we take it all off at the end of the day and remember that our bodies don’t match up to the ideal we have in our heads. When you put on a bikini, suddenly all those insecurities aren’t hidden under fabric; they are exposed for the world to see.
Women so often dread bathing suit shopping. They stare at the models in magazines and compare belly to belly, thigh to thigh, boobs to boobs. Then you try to find the bikini that makes you look like them, the airbrushed models, and not one bikini is magical enough to do so.
If that weren’t enough, it goes deeper than that for some. For some like me. Those of us who grew up learning that women’s bodies were “stumbling blocks” for boys and men. The good Christian girls who sacrificed style and comfort for their brothers in Christ by covering up their bodies. Modesty was a god. The “worldly” girls wore bikinis and tempted men. The rest of us either put on a cover up, a one-piece or simply didn’t go swimming. Apparently, boys were unable to look at a woman’s body any way other than sexually. And apparently, that was the girl’s problem.
Bikinis are radioactive little shame-reminders for so many women.
It’s funny that these problem bikinis are made to go in the water, one of the most enjoyable life experiences humans have. Life offers us this simple pleasure of cool water on a hot day – whether that be in a pool, on a beach, washing a car, or running through sprinklers. Humans love water. We love lounging by it, we love floating on it – we just love it. And that love coincides with shame for so many women, because it coincides with bikinis.
I say enough. No more. Not happening.
Let’s begin with body image issues. The media shoves images of highly photoshopped women in our faces daily. We cannot ever live up to those standards, because not even those women live up to those standards. Look around at the women you know. Ask them what they are insecure about. They will all have an answer, I promise. Want mine? I’m insecure about belly fat, acne scarring, knocked knees, uneven skin pigment that leads to uneven tanning, and my lack of thigh gap. What are you insecure about? List it, face it head on. And then move on. Get over it. Life is way way way too short to spend it hiding from your insecurities. You can hide because you hate a part of your body. Or you can say: screw it! I have one life and it’s going to be fabulous. Because I am fabulous.
To those women struggling with body image issues, wear that freaking bikini with pride. The people who judge you are idiots and not worth your time. Enjoy your life. Let your skin enjoy the water and the sunshine.
Now to the modesty issues. Your body is not a problem. Your body is not sinful. Your body is not responsible for anybody else. Your body is your body. If a man looks at you and thinks sexual things, welcome to humanity! We are sexual creatures; that’s how we are wired. Your job is not to hide for a man. We do not live in a man’s world where women are the pawns in the game. Not anymore. We live in a shared world. If men cannot control themselves, they can look away. They are not weak, they are strong. Just like us, ladies. Skin is not shameful. Bodies are more than sexual, they are used for swimming and running and laying down to relax. P.S. a man can look at a fully clothed woman and think lustful thoughts too.
To those women struggling with modesty shaming issues, wear that freaking bikini with pride. The people who judge you are idiots and not worth your time. Enjoy your life. Let your skin enjoy the water and sunshine.
Now to those women who truly just don’t like bikinis, simply don’t want to wear one, or feel comfortable rocking another type of suit, you most certainly don’t have to wear a bikini! But for anybody who wants to and feels insecure for one reason or another – embrace it. Allow yourself room to enjoy every bit of your life, every bit of precious summertime. Soak up the sun, sisters, ride those waves. Rock your bikini.