Since it’s still officially beach weather and pool weather, it seems not too late to plunge into the topic of bikini wear. Why shouldn’t all the sweet little Christian high-school and college girls don the skimpy suits and hang out with their friends poolside or on the boat or, even better, in the hot tub with the boys? And since my last post was about daughters, I thought I’d stay on topic for the moment and mention another dumb thing women (of all ages) can do. And though I don’t want to sound preachy, someone has to address this.
If you are the girl wanting to wear the bikini, or if you are the parent wondering if your daughter should wear it, or if you are an innocent bystander wondering why the sweet Christian girls are wearing them, here are a few things to consider. What does wearing a bikini do to the one wearing it? What does wearing a bikini do to your daughter? What impact is it having on her? I’m not even talking about what impact it has on the guys. That’s their problem. But what does it do to the woman herself?
I will tell you what it does. It hardens her. It makes her get comfortable being nearly naked in public, taking away her God-given impulse to be modest. It may be awkward the first time, but it will soon be easier, especially if she gets encouragement from her friends who tell her how great she looks or how much they wish they could look so good. And once she gets the positive feedback, she will enjoy it more and more. And she can tell herself that it isn’t really about modesty, but about being up-to-date. She can congratulate herself that she isn’t one of the “uptight” girls. And, after all, the other kids go to the same church as she does, and they think it’s okay.
This hardening also makes her accustomed to being looked over and checked out by the men, all kinds of men. In fact, she can start to keep score. How many heads turned to look? Funny how the guys like to cluster around. And never mind that the guys looking are married men or sex offenders or just horny high-school guys. This hardening transfers her sense of worth and well-being from being loved in Christ, to being found attractive by men, any men. And we don’t have to look far to see what this has done to the women in our culture.
This ushers her right into the world’s brutal competition with all the other women present who are also being checked out and looked over. “You look so hot in your swimsuit” is the compliment of choice. Hot and sexy, that’s what we want our daughters to be, right? If one of the guys commented out loud on her breasts or backside, she would be mortified and embarrassed and shocked. How rude! But she doesn’t mind letting him look, so long as he saves his comments to share with the boys later. But after awhile, she may not be shocked by such comments any more. That’s what hardening does. But pretending that she doesn’t really want the boys to notice is to play dumb to the extreme.
Once she has entered into the competition, if one of the other girls is “hotter” in her bikini, it just opens the door to envy, more competition, and discontent. Hard hearts come from somewhere, and this is one of the places it can begin. So consider what the bikini does to the wearer, not whether it is shocking the church ladies or is giving the boys a treat.