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Are You Ready for Bikini Season?

By: Bethany Baird

Bikini season is back! Stores all across America have traded in their furry winter coats for the itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-polka-dot-bikini.

Summer is almost here and girls are heading to the malls to pick out their new favorite swimsuit.

Bikinis are the standard when it comes to Summer swimwear. Just the other day I walked into a Target store and the first thing to greet me was a mountain of bikinis. If a store is stocking up like that, girls must be buying them.

Check out this statistic: American women spend more than 8 billion dollars a year on bikinis alone.

Wow! Bikinis must have something going for them or girls wouldn’t buy them. Here are a few reasons I think girls are so bikini obsessed:

  1. The world says they’re cute!

  2. You get the opportunity to showcase your entire body and it’s totally acceptable.

  3. You can get some serious attention from guys.

  4. Everyone does it.

  5. What else would you wear?

Okay, so I have to be honest with you  – I don’t wear bikinis. In fact I will never wear one in public. And to be even more honest with you, I don’t even wear a regular one-piece bathing suit in public.

Hold up! Why would I do that? Am I Amish or something?

Before you write me off as a total freak and weirdo, hear me out.

Let me give you a short bathing suit history in the life of Bethany. Growing up I thought two-piece bathing suits were the bomb. In fact, Kristen and I would fight over who would get to wear the hot pink polka dotted bikini to the pool.

As I grew up and got a little bit older, my parents started talking to me about the concept of modesty. My perspective on bikinis slowly started to change.

I came to the conclusion that a bikini is basically like a bra and underwear but designed for water. I realized that although the bikini is culturally acceptable, it doesn’t mean it’s right.

I would NEVER go anywhere in my bra and underwear, so why would I go swimming in something that covered the same amount of body?

After that thought process, I upped my swim gear to a tankini top and very short board shorts. Was I proud of myself or what?

I thought I was the ultimate standard of modesty.

Although, I didn’t wear short little shorts in real life, or string strap shirts that showed cleavage every time I bent over, this was swimming. Somehow it was different. Right?!?

I convinced myself that the water world was different than the dry world. I guess guys were supposed to turn into super humans and not be affected by the extra excess of legs, stomach, and cleavage in the water world?

Okay, so you see where this is going. Slowly but surely God worked on my heart and convicted me that I needed to be consistent.

I wanted to help my brothers in Christ and honor my future husband. Ugh, I didn’t like what I was realizing. Being convicted by the Holy Spirit can be really inconvenient sometimes.

I knew I needed to change. I knew that I needed to be consistent. I needed to uphold the same modesty standard for every situation and circumstance.

I threw my little shorts and tankini away and went to get my new gear.

Thankfully I found some great long black board shorts and a super cute hot pink surf shirt. Yes, I had to buy a triple extra large surf shirt because those surf shirts are made to fit, and fit tight.

I’ve decided that I have to be consistent. I can’t uphold one standard for the dry world and another for the wet world.

Let me clarify. I know that I still have a ton to learn in this whole “bathing suit” area. By no means am I perfect or do I assume that everyone should do what I do. This is what God has shown me, and my goal is to be open and honest with you about where I am.

My encouragement to you is this – just because the culture says it’s “okay” doesn’t mean it’s right. Just because bikinis are totally acceptable, doesn’t mean they are the best.

Set a new trend!

Set your own standards for modesty and then stick to them. Be confident in your convictions. Study modesty and figure out why you do what you do.

You have an audience of One you are trying to please. Dress to impress your Creator, not His creation.

Don’t let the culture push you around any longer. You have much more at stake than getting nods of approval from the world. You have a King to bring glory to, a future husband to honor, and brothers in Christ to help encourage towards purity.

Final Thoughts:

What are your thoughts on the bikini? Do you think it’s an appropriate bathing suit to wear in front of guys? Why or why not?

Are you consistent with your modesty standards in the dry world and the wet one? What is your reasoning behind your answer?

Are you willing to join me and set a new trend in the bathing suit world?

Photo credit: www.flickr.com | chiarashine

Are You Ready for Bikini Season

 

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  • Nicole Smith Robinson

    I agree! Amen!! If we’re totally honest, we also don’t want to cause a ‘sister’ to stumble either. Let me be frank, . There are lesbians out there and there are Christian wome who struggle with homosexual thouvhts. We do ‘t want to cause them to sin either. Thank you for your obedience to Him and your honesty.

    • That’s a good thing to think about as well! Thanks for your encouragement.

  • Claire T

    Even I had a problem with tankini tops and short shorts! Now I know that I’m not the only one out there who disagrees with “modest” swimsuits compared to a bikini. Do you have any advice on where to buy long board shorts? I can never seem to find them. Anywhere.

    • It’s always nice to know you’re not alone! 🙂 Since we are really tall, it’s extra hard for us to find long board shorts. However, the brand “Volcom” seems to sell long enough board shorts for even us! http://tiny.cc/sao8fx
      We own the black ones at that link and they’re great!

  • EmilyJ

    @disqus_AVwvcSjG1S:disqus, http://www.landsend.com/ usually has some long shorts and swim tees and things. That’s where I got my suit

    • Great suggestion Claire.

    • Amber

      I get mine there too and love them! I appreciate godly girls standing up against immodest swimwear. My husband refuses to go to the beach or a public pool in the summer time because of the immodesty.

  • Jacey

    Hey Bethany! I totally agree with your views on immodest swim gear. Me and my sisters have never worn bikinis either. Modesty is very important, and I’m beginning to appreciate it more and more as I grow older and older. Thanks for your articles. They are really encouraging to me.

    • We’re so glad you value modesty Jacey! We have learned to value it more it more as we’ve grown older as well. Keep shining for Him!

  • Kristina

    Wow! I’ve been so encouraged by the articles I have been reading here lately. I’ve always been baffled by the inconsistency when it comes to swimwear. What magically changes when it comes to water?! Not a thing! Yours is not a popular position, but I am so grateful for your willingness to speak to this issue. Thank you!

    • @Kristina! Thank you for the encouragement. Modesty in the water is definitely not a popular trend right now. So grateful we can support each other in this area.

  • Exactly my thought process. Great article!

  • Statistics and numbers can easily be taken out of context. By pointing out that women spend 8 billion in bikinis you use gigantic number to heighten your story and argument. (Also, you might want to cite your sources when you use numbers.) If I wrote an article on the consumption of sugar I could heighten my piece by googling the topic and get:

    ‘In 2010, the spending habits of Americans included $29 billion on candy and $76 billion on soda, according to “Business Insider.”’ [http://goo.gl/Q7ncQ3]

    “Okay, so you see where this is going. Slowly but surely God worked on my heart and convicted me that I needed to be consistent.”

    I get that you later say you do not want to force your opinions on people but why share this conviction? As you said this is a personal conviction, a conviction though that was first brought to your attention by your parents. This could easily guilt trip females into doing what you are doing by writing about how wrong you were to wear bikinis.

    “just because the culture says it’s “okay” doesn’t mean it’s right. Just because bikinis are totally acceptable, doesn’t mean they are the best.”

    When it comes to cultural norms regarding clothes on some level it does make it “okay”. Would you go out to the bush tribes and Africa and say that women are making men stumble when they walk around with no top on? No, because you would recognize that it is a social norm and so in that context it isn’t wrong for women to show their breasts. Would you go to Europe and criticize anyone at a nude beach for being nude? I hope not, because that was a place established for that. If men are going there to lust you can’t really prevent that. If men are going to lust they’ll accomplish that with or without your help. Wearing bikinis at the beach is a cultural norm. By stating “dress to impress your Creator not creation” and “Don’t let the culture push you around any longer” you imply that women who choose to wear bikinis do it to attract attention without recognizing that it is a social norm and not inherently wrong. But what IS wrong is to continuously put pressure on women to take responsibility for men’s lustful eyes. So many impressionable girls may read this and immediately think that they are immodest and are causing their brother to stumble when in fact that is unbiblical to put that pressure on women. If men struggle with lusting after women in bikinis then in order to not stumble they should refuse to go to the beach; not go to the beach and blame women wearing bikinis as the reason they lust.

    “I convinced myself that the water world was different than the dry world. I guess guys were supposed to turn into super humans and not be affected by the extra excess of legs, stomach, and cleavage in the water world?” I wear bikinis and my husband and I go to the beach and he has told me he doesn’t lust after the women there. I know plenty of men who would say the same. Why? Because it is a social norm. It isn’t immodest anymore. What I have heard from men is that there struggle with lust usually plays out in a struggle with porn where women are in bikinis… posing seductively… looking straight into the camera (which would mean looking straight at the man in some sense). But at a beach you don’t find many women posing seductively trying to entice men as they walk by.

    It is great you have your own convictions, and I don’t judge you for that, but I have worked extensively with teenage girls and it’s blog posts like these that cause them to “stumble”. What I mean is it plays into a need to be “good enough” and pure enough to come before God. You didn’t just write an article that lists your own personal conviction but projected your conviction on others through your word choice, tone, and statistic you cite. It is hard enough trying to be modest on a day to day basis when the focus of many church lessons are on how immodest women are in our generation. Girls do not need anymore flack for what they wear.

    • dhodges02

      Wow, I don’t think the writer could have said what she did in a more Godly manner. I think the article was loving, informative, and convicting at the same time. It seems you are fighting for the wrong side.

      • Could you explain what you mean when you say “you are fighting on the wrong side”? Do you mean my position specifically on bikinis? I don’t want to respond without knowing what you mean.

        • DaughterOfHim97

          I know what dhodges02 is saying.
          You are reading a modesty blog (obviously not with intent or hope that you might learn something), yet you are not on the modesty side. You are reading this only to pick it apart, and point out anything you don’t agree with, calling it a flaw. This is your pride. You can justify yourself, and I’m sure you’ll continue arguing, but it’s all pride.
          Modesty is essentially an outward manifestation of humility. So by you raving on here about how right you are and how wrong the rest of this community is, you are expressing an outward manifestation of pride- the opposite of modesty! You might be completely covered right now (or you could not be), but your spirit is fighting for the enemy. Satan is using you as a tool to try to undo the work that this blog has done. (Congrats, Satan, on choosing a very willing and motivated warrior.)
          Here’s the deal, I’m not going to stalk this site waiting for your reply, and trying to think up a clever word trap. But you really need to slow down and consider what you are doing.
          1. If this isn’t your type of blog, don’t read it.
          2. True, Godly Christians aren’t going to criticize to pieces true, Godly advice.
          3. Get ahold of your pride before it completely consumes you, if it hasn’t succeeded already.
          Consider what I’ve said. I dare you to sleep on it before striking again. Thank you for reading.

          • hisno1girl

            WOW! Angry much? It sounds like YOU are the one who is striking here. Chelsea is being very respectful in giving her opinion and backing up the facts. It is much easier to be taken seriously when you argue your point with a little more grace and maturity. SMH…

    • Hurricane

      I absolutely agree with you Chelsea, thank you for point all of this out.

    • Rebekah

      Hello! I realize this conversation is super old, but I thought I’d throw in my two cents. While you’re right that a sin (lust) is the fault of the sinner, I believe the point is that it’s a Christian’s duty to help out our brothers and sisters in their areas of weakness. “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9, NIV). Wearing clothes that we consider immodest could be a stumbling block, because you never know if there might be someone in the group who struggles with lust. However, I do understand that it could be difficult to distinguish standards of modesty in a world that continually changes them. I would say, personal convictions are a good standard, but it’s best to err on the side of caution. The most important thing to keep in mind is that we dress modestly to honor God first and foremost, and our bodies which are his temple. It’s mentioned in another post (I’m not sure which) that a good standard to go by is, paraphrased, “How much can I save?” rather than “How far can I go?” While we can’t earn holiness with our actions, we should always strive to be as moral as possible.

  • Justine Hilton

    I used to model swimwear and be in bikini pageants BC but since Christ, my views and heart has change. It doesn’t strike me any different than underwear. Im voting for modesty as much as you can in swim attire. 🙂

    • That’s awesome to hear @justinehilton:disqus 🙂

  • Christine

    Such a Godly perspective Bethany. I bet your parents are proud and I KNOW the Heavenly Father is! Hugs

  • Diana

    Thank you for writing this! It’s great to know there are others out there that believe the same and even have a higher stand for modesty than I do:) very encouraging! Don’t let those comments that I read on here get you down. It sounds to me like conviction from hearing your testimony. I didn’t feel like you were being pushy or judgemental. Thank you for your stand! God Bless!

    • Diana, Thanks for your encouragement! 🙂

  • The problem with research in general as well as the research you listed is the lack of variables being factored in. The whole story isn’t given in the research, for example how were the women posed? Was it just one woman in a bikini in front of them or is it a picture of a regular beach scene? What about how the brain lights up when they are viewing a real live beach scene, where the participants are at the beach? Does that skew the data? I could imagine that looking at a picture versus a real live human would easily make a man objectify a woman, heck I think I would objectify a picture… because it is easy to distance yourself from an image rather a live human standing in front of you. Statistics and research are always biased and unable to capture the whole picture, it just isn’t possible and you have to ask the question what was the researchers’ agenda? What was Jessica Rey’s agenda by citing that research? Honestly if she didn’t have her own line of modest swimwear and she said all of that there would be much less bias however that video is clearly a market scheme. The more people you convince that ALL bikini’s are bad and lead to objectification the more sales she will get.

    My point is that if you want to wear a bikini, wear it and don’t feel guilty, it is socially acceptable. Citing statistics and numbers are easily skewed and point to your own personal agenda and leave out other research that lessens your point. What is considered modest and immodest changes generation to generation. You have to come to your own moral conclusion through prayer, wise council, and personal intuition because there are certain things that are simply not black and white. You can’t draw a line and the sand and say here is what is modest and here is what isn’t.

    My point of contention is that when people start posting their convictions and are a leader they have a strong influence over people that follow them. And using guilt is just plain wrong! Guilt manipulates people to follow your set standard for morality. A line was drawn in the sand in this article. Here are a few quotes to support this:

    “I would NEVER go anywhere in my bra and underwear, so why would I go swimming in something that covered the same amount of body?” – I don’t know how you can read that and not feel like you have lower standards of morality that this person.

    “You get the opportunity to showcase your entire body and it’s totally acceptable.”
    “You can get some serious attention from guys.”

    -The above two quotes reduce everyone who wears bikinis to wanting to show off their body and grab males’ attention.

    I can admit that they do say, “Set your own standards for modesty and then stick to them. Be confident in your convictions. Study modesty and figure out why you do what you do.” – Even though they say to modesty needs to be determined individually it still doesn’t negate the fact that most will read this and feel guilty if they do not come to the same conclusion as the writer based on research listed and the above quotes I listed.

    • Jayme

      My first thought when reading these posts was – on judgment day will you be perfectly comfortable standing before Jesus and God in your bikini? That is the standard I use for all my clothes now.

      • But pretty sure we’ll have new bodies and we’ll be naked like Adam and Eve … so yeah I guess so. Also grace is so much bigger than you can imagine. Luther stated, “When you sin, sin boldly” … why did he say this? Because he followed up by saying “lean on Jesus boldly”. I can’t approach Jesus wearing whatever because he accepts me right where I am, that’s why he died. And as the post stated at the end use discernment, wisdom and decide your standard if modesty because it is an incredibly subjective topic. But if I approached what to wear by asking “would I wear that in front of Jesus” really gives me a lot of freedom! Check out the book scandalous freedom by Steve Brown, he explains what I’m saying way better, its incredible and it revolutionized my thinking and faith!

        • Julia

          I dread getting in the middle of controversy, but here I go… I used to wear a bikini. In fact I never owned any other type of swimsuit. Things changed when I had a daughter and started buying her swimsuits. I didn’t want anyone looking at her in an inappropriate way (which sadly does happen even at young ages). I also wanted to set a foundation in her life for purity and modesty. The more I see life through my daughters eyes, the more I realize about myself. I now realize that the only reason I ever wore a bikini was to feel sexy, to feel good knowing men found me attractive. I can still pull off wearing a bikini, but I don’t want to anymore. I know of many men that struggle without temptation in front of their eyes. I certainly don’t want to make it harder on them. I chalk it up to loving others, as God has asked me to do. I also want to be a good example to my little girl. I want her to know that beauty comes from the heart, and our approval should come from God. 10 years ago I would have likely argued in favour of the bikini as well but, after learning much in this area, I now see that I would have been arguing to avoid changing. I used to feel that Gods request of purity before marriage was unrealistic and outdated too. However, that thought process was one that backed up my current feelings. Part of loving God is being obedient to the plan he has for your life. I am confident his plan for my life involves modesty. I’m sure I could still afford to be even more modest, but I’m slow at changing. We are called to live in this world but not to be of this world. We can’t let society define what is acceptable. The best thing we can do is go back to Gods word, see what he wants to say to us, pray about it and be willing to let his Spirit convict us. I don’t believe this post was written to make anyone feel bad or wrong. I believe it was written in the spirit of love. If you are feeling that this topic is putting you on the defensive, maybe you need to dig in deeper with God and let him speak to you. He will show you what his hopes are for you. In the end, we are living to glorify God. It shouldn’t matter what any one person says about the bikini (or anything), wether for or against, we should be seeking our approval from our Heavenly Father. I think the purpose of this entry was to get us doing just that. The author was simply sharing their own convictions.

          • 1. Not feeling defensive, I’ve come to my own conclusions through research, prayer, wise council, biblical studies
            2. My point was not that the author was unloving but that the tone and some of the word/sentence choices would cause guilt to the reader making it difficult to disagree with the standard of modest that the author believes
            3. I also believe in purity before marriage and I am married and I did practice purity
            4. Part of my research regarding bikinis involved asking men/guys regarding how they perceived women at the beach, did it cause them to lust and the responses I got was that they lusted just as much at the beach as they do around pretty girls that were wearing incredibly modest clothes and that a really attractive girl may cause a few thoughts to go through their mind.
            5. I completely understand not wanting your daughter to wear bikinis, my mom held that certain standard as well until my junior year of high school and then at that point she said I want to give you freedom to make a decision based on what you believe is modest since in a year and half you will move out and go to college in a different city so you will get to wear whatever you want. That was a great way to let me take responsibility and think through this idea. It was great to let me start testing my own ideas of modesty standards especially before I left for college. I had the opportunity to start making my faith my own which was so important knowing I would go to a liberal college where my faith would be highly challenged.
            6. I don’t think this discussion is super controversial. I am getting a Masters at Reformed Theological Survey and I really enjoy debates. I enjoy doing research and a post that makes me think, make an argument, and then defend an argument helps me grow as a student and as a Christian. I know I am opinionated but my goal is to pursue a PhD in theology so it is helpful for me to practice writing on topics that are interesting and engaging. I love writing and researching … nerd alert … so I find different places to write on topics involving biblical ideas. Hence the long posts and research cited. Practice makes better (not perfect since that won’t happen in this lifetime 😉

        • Precious Leonard

          you wouldn’t want to stand dressed unholy before a Holy God and His host of angels…Even the seraphims (holy angels) that are by His side cover their faces with two of their wings (Isaiah 6), then who are you or who are my to come and boldly say I can stand in front of God in a bikini? do you fear God at all, I mean, do you really fear God? the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. DO NOT abuse God’s dispensation of grace

          • Jaq

            I think it displays a lack of fear and respect for God if you are concerned with something so trivial as your clothing in the presence of God. Matthew 6 says we shouldn’t be concerned about what to eat or wear, and that pagans run after such things. Furthermore, focusing on your clothes and trivial details of how you would present yourself before God seems awfully like Martha, running around concerned with the trivial concerns of the household and feeling judgemental toward her sister who prioritized sitting at the feet of Jesus.
            I can honestly say that I could stand before my creator, naked as He created me, and feel no more shame for that than a naked newborn baby would feel in the presence of his parents.
            I am sure I will feel shame and guilt for all the many sins I committed that Jesus carried for me on the cross, but my attire at that moment would be the last thing on my mind.

  • Bethany

    this is a wonderful article. It’s great to know there are still people out there who feel this way. I have never worn bikinis and am so thankful for being taught modesty from little up. Thank you for writing this… keep up the good work and please don’t let the comments discourage you! 🙂

    • Bethany, so glad you were encouraged! 🙂

  • hisno1girl

    Thanks for your post, Chelsea. I think it is SO important for fellow Christians to keep an open mind and support each other even if you don’t agree with fine points of their convictions. After all, convictions are personal. What God has called me to do/be may be completely different that His call for my sister in Christ. I signed on to your blog and now follow you. I hope to use portions of you writings for my women’s group meetings. Blessings to you, sweet girl.

    • Wow, thanks so much for the feedback! I really appreciate that!

  • Hurricane

    If these types of clothing make you feel more comfortable in your own skin then great, go for it! I don’t agree that there is anything inappropriate about this kind of swimwear for anyone else though. Every girl should be able to dress how they feel the most comfortable, just like you, within the bounds of what is social acceptable. Obviously (due to the sales stats you pointed out) many women and girls feel perfectly comfortable in bikinis and shouldn’t made to feel guilty about that in any way. I really hope you’ll be careful about implying that women need to somehow censor their bodies for the sake of men being caused to stumble or some nonsense like that from the “excess of legs, cleavage” and whatnot. We should never shift the blame of someone else’s sinful actions or thoughts onto a girl simple because she owns a pair of breasts or legs. Please try to avoid shaming women for their bodies and if there was something inherently wrong with them.

    • Fernanda Santos

      Romans 14:21 ^It is better not to take meat or wine or to do anything which might be a cause of trouble to your brother.

      • Jaq

        There is no evidence that men lust less when women wear more clothing. In Bible times most women wore a great deal of clothing, but lust was still a problem. In the days of the Puritans, clothing was strict and men and women dressed plainly, in dour colors and fully covered, and yet lust was still a problem. If all women were to wear long board shorts and rash guards, and give up their bikinis tomorrow, there would be no less lust in the world tomorrow than there is today.
        I don’t want to cause trouble to my brother, but there’s zero evidence my clothing does that. Only a lot if guys pushing off responsibility for their sin. Throughout history and worldwide, men have always lusted after women, regardless of their clothing. Men who don’t want to take responsibility for their sin find problems with women’s clothing no matter what. You can find list of things, looooooooooong lists, detailing the truly endless things men think women should stop doing to “help” their brothers. It is impossible, and there is no evidence that it will actually help anyone.

  • Marla Erika Suan

    I would gladly join you.

    ***My encouragement to you is this – just because the culture says it’s “okay” doesn’t mean it’s right. Just because bikinis are totally acceptable, doesn’t mean they are the best.

    • Jaq

      Following your conscience it what you are supposed to do with matters like these. The problem arises when arrogant people want to speak for God and say “No, you are wrong for wearing that.” Personal convictions apply to you, and personal conviction about that to eat or wear or drink are talked about by Paul as personal freedom. I know some people who will not eat meat or drink alcohol or drink soda, or buy clothing make in countries where slavery and exploitation are rampant in the textile and manufacturing industries. We all make choices daily that *could* contribute to or support sin. But the Holy Spirit doesn’t convict us the same way for everything. We are all individuals with different weaknesses.
      It seems to me that in the past, the author liked the attention she got from wearing certain clothes. So immodesty and desire for attention from men is a weakness of hers. Not everyone has the same weakness, so not everyone is going to go to extremes to avoid appearance of immodesty, because what other people think of their swimwear isn’t at the forefront of their mind. The author should not sit in self-righteous judgement of others who do not share her weakness or her strict convictions and no one should condemn the author for her weakness. In fact, she should be applauded for making changes to her personal life to address her weakness. We all have weaknesses. I have a weakness for coveting and gluttony. I have many pretty things, nice clothes, and jewelry, yet I always want more and more. So I have to curb my weakness by strictly limiting when I can buy things and how much and what I can buy. But I would never impose my personal rules set in place to counteract my personal weakness on others. Doing that is essentially attempting to add your own opinions and words to scripture, which is false teaching.

  • Parri Kilburn

    I so appreciate what you stand for and the example you set through these articles.

  • Kyra

    I have never worn a bikini before, I did do the takini one year though… but I too have changed in swim suit standards since then. My swim suit now looks a lot like a regular loose fitting tank top (non cleavage revealing) and shorts that are just above the knees. Something that I would wear both in and out of the water.

  • Kwini Acosta Altamia

    It really breaks my heart to see Christian girls in our church going crazy about bikinis , well their minds are cultured by Western ( sorry, this refers to America) especially there are really a lot of good beaches in the Philippines, so they love and like to flaunt their bodies. Thank you, this article reminds me also to examine myself in regard of modesty. I used to wear rash guard / and short board shorts but i’ll have to get over them now will try to find larger ones and long board shorts. Thank you

  • Tyra

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wearing a bikini in it self. If you do it to get attention it’s wrong, but if you do it because that’s what you prefer wearing in the water I don’t think it’s wrong. Personally I wear a bikini when in the water or when sunbathing but when I’m doing something else on the beach that involves standing up (such as playing with my brothers) I normally put something else on. That’s because when I’m in the water or sunbathing someone would have to intentionally look at me to see that I was wearing a bikini while when I’m standing up doing stuff I’m drawing attention to myself in another way. Maybe it’s because I’m European, but that’s how I see things anyway.

  • surfergirlsarah

    hey Bethany. I know you wrote this article a while ago, but I read it just now. Can you tell me what you do for althletic clothes in the summer? 😉

    • Hey! I actually wear long athletic shorts. I find that girls shorts run on the “shorter” side, so I shop in the guys section. I grew up playing basketball so I am very comfortable in long athletic shorts. I trained for a marathon last year in the hot Texas heat wearing long basketball shorts and a basic t shirt. I wasn’t a style icon or incredibly cute looking, but I was modest and the clothes did their job 😉

  • Jazzy

    I love what you wrote, and completely EMBRACE your opinion, which I find is now mine! You’re blog is such a HUGE blessing, you don’t even know half of it. I’m thankful that God allowed me to stumble onto your blog. I’ve loved every bit, every post, of it. Thank you! =) ‘
    -Jasmine

    • Hey @disqus_nZamI6kFuU:disqus, I am so glad you stumbled upon our blog. Thanks for your encouraging words and for taking the time to read 🙂 -Bethany

  • Rae

    Ugh! I agree and struggle a bit with this a bit. (I never wear bikinis tho& never plan to!) still, I usually don’t struggle with worrying about looks with swimwear, but this past year I have become very style conscious and have such a urge to look and feel classy in what a wear. I realize that this isn’t important but goodnesssss I want to look like Audrey Hepburn and I found the cutest one peice that doesn’t show clevage unless I bend wayyy down and can wear my short swim shorts over them, my mom is pretty happy that I make an effort to be modest and it’s better than what most people wear right? Yeah. But I suppose it’s not good enough and to top it all off it cost $80. .. Not crazy about that. I want to be modest (and by most standards I am) but hate feeling like a dork and don’t want my style to suffer. I realize that it’s truly not important what I look like and that I shouldn’t cause men to stumble or distract anyone from God, but it’s so classy and flattering and my friends who understand modesty loved it and a lady at the store told me she hoped I would buy it since it looked so nice on me and it was refreshing to see a youth wearing more material than a bikini and gave me a coupon! Gee wiz. I am between a rock and a hard place. Please help.:)

    • Hey Rae, In the next several weeks we will launch a modesty video campaign specifically talking about swimwear. I think that video will help answer all of your questions. Keep an eye out for it 🙂 -Bethany

  • Lauren

    Thank you so much Bethany! I love that we have the same story concerning our journey to swimwear modesty. I was cracking up reading this, because I totally related to just about every word you wrote, even down to the long black board shorts and hot pink surf shirt. Thank you for your ministry. I have been so encouraged by your blog posts and your youtube videos. Keep going after God and changing the world!
    Your sister in Christ,
    Lauren 🙂

  • thehappygirl

    Totally agree with you Bethany! I’m taking a vacation with my family this spring and am faced with a choice of what to wear. I was kind of tempted to show off as much as possible (I wouldn’t wear a bikini but more along the lines of what was mentioned above, tankini and shorter shorts). It’s hard to be modest sometimes and not conform to the norm (maybe I should trademark that last part haha). Anyway, I have made my decision… Long board shorts and a rashguard/surf shirt. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one. Thanks for another great article ladies!

  • Ashley

    Hey!! Love your blogs and y’all! but I now feel like I’m doing things wrong. I have told myself that I would get new clothes this summer when I get more money because most of my stuff is to small and I WANT to get modest clothes. but, I just got a bikini for the summer. it does cover nice, but it is a bikini. I’m 12. should I throw it away and get something more modest? I haven’t even used it yet though.

    • Tessa

      Try buying a sports shirt from Goodwill or another used clothes store. You can wear that over your suit. You can also wear athletic shorts, the long kind, like for basketball, on the bottom. I admire your heart.

      P.s. As you look for new pants, here’s something I’ve been told helps our brothers: wear pants that wrinkle easily when you move.

      • Ashley

        Thank you so much!

    • Hannah B

      don’t through it away ! return and use that money for something better! (while it’s not what I prefer) I have a regular one piece and shorts!

  • Pingback: Embracing Modesty During the Swimming Season | Hello Modesty()

  • Swim season is so complicated! The real problem is that even though my family and many of our close friends make it a point to wear modest swimwear, no matter where we go to swim there are other people who don’t share our convictions and who are trying to show as much instead of as little as possible.

    • Avi yah

      I definetely agree with you here. I like water a lot, but I’ve also found myself repelled by a “christian” guy who was constantly trying to make us go with him to the pool in Iceland.

      It seemed to me like he just couldn’t wait to see ‘more of us’ or show ‘more of him’ even though I know that the pool atmosphere in Iceland is something else, it’s like the after-work chill out place, yet there was so much flesh everywhere.
      My habit of going to pools or lakes has very much declined. I still like water a lot, but nowadays I’d rather swim alone or with equally minded in a private area.

  • This is a constant struggle for me! I found a place called Rey Swimwear (their hashtag is #whosaysithastobeitsybitsy) and they have some pretty modest swimmers! I found one with an adorable skirt attached. I wore in Southern California this week and young girls started complementing!!! It was a huge encouragement!

  • Shelby

    How do you feel about one pieces?

    • Chloe

      I personally think not even a one piece covers up enough. Some women say that certain clothing items are more appropriate than others depending on the situation, but I disagree. The main reason for this – and surprisingly Christian women rarely bring this up in their modesty articles – is that I want to save my body for only ONE man, my (future) husband. Always ask yourself, how holy can I be? What prevents me from pleasing God to the fullest?

      • Jaq

        What causes you to think a swimsuit not to your personal taste displeases God? That is quite an assumption to make. You can make your own choices about what you want to keep private for your husband. I personally feel no conviction to keep my belly private, or my legs, anymore than my ankles or my hair or my neck. If you measure Holiness by how much fabric your clothing covers, as your post implies, why wear shorts? You could be “holier” by covering your ankles, your feet, your head, if that’s how you see holiness.

  • Kayla

    I know this is an older post, but what do you wear while to go swimming?

    • Chloe

      Land’s End sells swim shirts and skirts/shorts. That’s the best option; my family does that. I personally, though, don’t swim at all!

  • Sydney

    This is definitely a problem that girls have today, thank you for this post! My mom has definitely encouraged my older sister and I to both wear modest bathing suits. However, she would let our 3-year-old sister wear suits which would not be okay for us. I’ve been wondering….is it appropriate for babies to wear bikinis? I mean, guys are probably not going to be thinking anything bad from a baby, but we don’t want to compromise. Thanks, and have a great day!

  • sandra

    I think that girls should wear bikinis if they’re comfortable!

  • Jaq

    It is always a good idea to read the research instead of blindly trusting someone who benefits from misrepresentation of research to sell her product. The long and short of it: Jessica Rey lied to sell her product. I read the study myself and it concluded basically the opposite of what she claims.
    The study was basically this:
    First, the men were given a survey to determine their levels of sexism. The survey differentiated between benign sexism (for example thinking women should be protected) and hostile sexism (for example thinking a woman who walks into a public space associated with mostly males, like a hardware store, is intruding).
    Then the men were divided in groups according to their scores- men with high levels of hostile sexism, men with high levels of benign sexism, and men with low levels of sexism altogether.
    Next, men were given a test to see if they were more likely to view fully clothed women, or bikini-clad women with active or passive sentences (was the women more likely to be doing something herself, or having an action done to her).
    The results? Men in the benign sexist and non-sexist groups had no significant measurable difference between viewing the bikini clad women as agents acting or objects having an action done to them. The hostile sexist group, however, WERE more likely to view the bikini-clad women as objects.

    So the problems with how Rey represented the data are as follows:
    First, it compared fully dressed women with women in bikinis, so it’s wrong to imply that “modest” swimwear would be viewed differently when it wasn’t even in the study.
    Second, and most importantly, it is AWFUL that Rey would say “men” when the truth was actually “ONE group of men, the group identified as holding hostile sexist views towards women.”

    The facts that the benign sexist and non-sexist men didn’t objectify the women in bikinis just proves the fact that bikinis are NOT the problem, the perversion of those men’s minds and their distorted, ungodly view of women is.

  • Christopher Michael Gallardo J

    Thank you so much for your consideration! I stick to my own modesty standards usually (although I did recently wear a wet white Chef Shirt in the kitchen at my work that have a tendency to become transparent when they are wet).

    I can sometimes be ok with this culture around me, but I keep veering off into lusting.

    My lust is completely my own sin and it is a struggle.

    Thank you for trying to help.


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