Friday, July 11, 2008

The Bikini Battle

Growing up my sisters and I were not allowed to wear a bikini. We despised our parents decision at the time, and thought we were highly dorky and out of style due to our lack of swimsuit options. (Yes, I did just say dorky.) And of course, upon leaving their care and living on my own, I went out and purchased my first bikini. (I'm sorry ... that has got to be an incredibly frightening thought to those who only know me post-baby size.) I'd lay out at the pool only to burn my belly button. Was I a better swimmer with my new bikini? No ( in fact, I can't swim anyway - only stay alive in water). Was I less hot on a 100 degree Nebraska day? Nope, still as hot. Did I feel more self confident in my bikini? No, the opposite in fact, way more self-conscious and "fat feeling".

Fast forward 10 years. Now I've got 2 daughters who have already begun to be drawn to those tiny little 2 pieces hanging on the shelf. Good things come in small packages, right? Wrong. We have placed the same rule on them that I had ... 1 piece only (or a modest "tankini" if they are lucky, because yes, I will admit - going to the bathroom is easier when there is a top and a bottom). However, here is where I feel the difference is in how we approach the topic. (And maybe my parents tried this, but I was too angry to hear it at the time. Who knows.) We are going to give them reason ... in fact, many reasons. Here are some of my thoughts..... (leave a comment if you wish).

Bikini's themselves are maybe not the core issue here. In fact, they aren't the issue at all. It is an issue of the heart. (And you can say I'm thinking too much about this, but I think it is time that my generation that wasn't allowed to wear bikini's and have gone to the opposite extreme as a result begin to think too much about it.) WHY do we where bikini's is the question that no one thinks about. Of course, there is the time old issue of "not causing your brother to stumble". Men are visual, we know this. Thus, they see a woman in a bikini and they are now potentially facing a stumbling block. As it stands for our children - well, it is us as parents that are responsible for guarding and protecting our sons in fighting with our daughters to COVER THEMSELVES. (For the protection of our sons, but also our daughters in the sad perversion that is reality today with older men viewing our little girls.) As for us adults, well think about this. Ladies, you see a woman who in your mind (not your husbands I'm sure) looks better than you in her bikini. Now all of a sudden you feel this awkwardness knowing your husbands eyes will land on her - and even though he loves YOU, he will most likely stumble in his mind.... or at least have to put his heavy armor on to fight against it. You now hate that girl, and are angered at what she is revealing to YOUR husband. All the meanwhile, you are standing there in your bikini, and she is thinking all the same things about you! Her visual husband has also most likely landed his eyes on you. As wives, we need to protect our husbands as much as possible. And so I'm sorry, the womens liberation and freedom that is somehow found in a swimming suit has now become an issue in marriages around the world. As sisters in Christ, we need to protect each other against the viscous lies that run through our head when we begin to compare our bikini body with the other womans bikini body. It's just torture. Why we do this to ourselves, I do not know. We have to set the example of modesty for our daughters!

Okay, so that's one issue. Then there is the heart issue of WHY. I want my daughter to begin to reason these things in her heart now at the tender age of 8 & 5. Do they want to just "fit in"? If so, then it is my responsibility to teach them that we are "in this world" not "of it". We are not always supposed to "fit in". What a teachable moment in helping them realize that it is in the little things (even a swimsuit) that our lives can look different than those who do not love Jesus. It's also a teachable moment in telling them they are to honor their bodies as a temple of Christ who lives in them. They have not polluted their body with drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, or gluttony. That does not mean we shouldn't be training them about this temple they are responsible for. Like I said earlier, there are no real reasons for wearing a 2 piece swim suit. You are still just as hot (temperature that is), you won't swim better (in fact worse because you have to be always yanking the top up), and no ... you will not feel any better about yourself, eventually as a maturing young woman, you too will begin to compare yourself with other woman and feel things about your looks and your body that simply are not true.

I should probably step down now. (Sorry, Aaron and I took the kids swimming this morning and we left sort of wanting to post a "Nude Rec Center" sign with some of the suits, or lack of, that were being sported. ) So again, I don't have a problem with 2 pieces in general. I have a problem with the fact that 1) My generation of rebel bikini wearers don't think about WHY we want to wear one, 2) We don't teach our daughters to think for themselves, and 3) that the womens lib movement that was supposed to liberate women, has actually done the opposite in this department (yes, I consider myself a bit of a moman's lib if you must know) all because it made us NOT ASK WHY. Just do because we can. Well, I'm sorry. What is permissible is not always what is beneficial (for everyone in this case). Parents, we have to protect our daughters (and our sons). They can't reason to this degree for themselves, so we must do it for them. Young women who can reason, I urge you to do so. The men you will draw to you because of how much skin you are revealing ... are most likely NOT the men you want to be drawing to yourself. (When Aaron first saw me in a bikini (we were dating at the time), he actually asked me to not wear it around him...not because he didn't like how I looked in it, but the opposite in fact ... and he was protecting himself, and me to be honest.) As for wives, I don't care if you are on a beach somewhere with your husband and want to look "hot" for him. But for the sake of my self conscious mind (and most other women), and for the sake of my husbands battle (and every husbands), I urge you to think twice before heading to the rec center in that bikini. :) Ask yourself, "Would I want my husband to see another woman wearing this???" Because you know what? He's going to.

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