Summer is here, and water is a great way to cool off. Pretty fun too. All some people see are bikinis, but truth be known, most women don't wear them. I believe you can trust me on this as I am a man, and I notice bikinis. I believe this can be attributed to a bunch of factors, and I'm just spouting off a few guesses here (As I'm not female). First and foremost, I believe that most women are conscientious of their bodies, and therefore stride to hide them. This saddens me a bit because we live in a culture that glorifies the Barbie Model as the way a woman should look. Men believe it, women believe it, and we start our little girls off believing it when we buy them their first barbie. Beauty is first and foremost. Just look at the model above sporting that mascara. She's truly beautiful, but who wears mascara to go swimming? It's our culture, and it's fortified every day and night via entertainment, gender roles, advertising everywhere, and my personal favorite; where we break the ice with little girls by telling them how cute they are.
One might notice that Rachel made it a point to declare that she isn't shying away from bikinis due to insecurity. I believe her. Another reason is Modesty which is the topic I've come to weigh in on. Modesty is an interesting phenomenon brought about by the notion that hiding sexuality somehow does everyone a service. Religions preach it constantly, and at work, sex or sexuality is a taboo discussion point that's to be avoided. We're very careful about what is and is not appropriate for children, and sex ed is constantly being debated. There is a sub-sect of society that wants to hide sex and sexuality at all costs, and pretend it doesn't exist. Oh, Modesty...
The other day, I was walking to the store with my 11 year old daughter, and it was almost 100 degrees. She's a big one on modesty, and even covers my eyes when walking by the magazine rack so I don't see the models in bikinis on the cover. The walk wasn't far, maybe 1/4 of a mile, but long enough that she was pretty uncomfortable in her long shirt/short dress with leggings and an undershirt to boot. Yep, she was clad to high heaven, and on the way back, she was so miserable that she mentioned it several times. Poor Girl. She cooled off at home, and changed her clothes to something more comfortable, yet still modest. She's a good girl that was sacrificing her personal comfortablity for modesty.
But what is the Sacrifice for? 'Because how we dress affects those around us.' This is most assuredly true. But how does it affect. Proponents of modest clothes would have us believe that men are subversively affected, and will sin inside their own minds because they see a woman in a bikini. What is the role of men here? Are we to control ourselves? Of course we can control ourselves. We have to, otherwise it's sexual harassment at every turn. So is it a woman's job to help us control ourselves? The answer to that is no. Not at all. Some men are gentlemen, and some aren't. Whether you're wearing a bikini or a burka, a man who's going to sexually objectify you is going to sexually objectify you. A man that's not is also not going to, regardless of what you wear.
So am I advocating for you all to wear less clothes so that I can see every curve? Not at all, even if I don't mind in the least. Instead, I think I'll try and paint a clear picture of exactly the affect that modesty in general has on those who practice, and society in general. My hope is that you'll wear what you're comfortable wearing.
Women, do you want a man who notices your smile, or God loving personality, rather than your chest or thighs? Of course you do. You want to be known for you, right? The flaw in the logic is to exclude sexuality all together. We're sexual beings, and sexuality is a very important part of any relationship. I pity those who are in a relationship with absolutely no sexual attraction to their spouse. Oh the turmoil of the dead bed. Truth be known, I'm a hair and eyes guy, and both are accentuated by a nice smile. That's a truly beautiful picturesque scene right there when in the right light. Interestingly enough though, this scene is still objectifying the body. As for God.. If you love God, and a guy loves God, then you're both on the right track of making a God loving family full of God loving children. So why can't your hopes and dreams be complete while including sexuality? I assure you, they most certainly can.
Now, while women who have modesty bored into them may feel guilty for "causing" men to sin, what's it like for men? Men growing up in the same type of atmosphere are taught that their bodily functions are sins, and feel ever so guilty when a sexual reaction happens. They deal with it in different ways, and this is just embarrassing, but here we go. Some will completely blame women, and try to get them to be modest because women are giving them unclean sinful thoughts. Others will avoid women because the evil temptresses give them unclean sinful thoughts. The best type of man in this situation we can hope for will pretend that nothing at all is happening.
The sad part is each of these three types of men are going through their own personal hell. The first is a misogynistic asshole that is very controlling towards women, blames women for their own personal faults, and ultimately is just a little boy that wants a doting mother in the women he dates and/or marries. He will never have an equal relationship with a woman, nor will he ever know real love. Even if he beats a woman down to complete servitude. The second type avoids women, and will become the creep that women get scared of as he observes from afar. He's probably a nice guy, but just comes off as creepy when gets close and his eyes wander. A very lonely man this one is. The last type is one that's never honest about everything. Women go for him more often because the front is quite appealing. Since he's never honest, and upfront, problems are created due to hiding various things. Yes, we men suffer from the modesty indoctrination too.
But where is all this coming from? The campaign for modesty, or to completely hide from sexuality as if it doesn't exist. What is this campaign doing anyway? What's it for? Long story short. Sex sells. That's it right there. Sex sells. Sex is a commodity, and it's extremely valuable. The value is derived by everyone on the planet being sexual beings. (Minus 2 or 3 of course.) Since sex is a product that is sold, if you implement the laws of supply and demand, the supply must be controlled to keep up the demand which keeps the value up. It is for this reason alone that modesty and abstinence are preached so heavily.
The best example of this that I know of is City Creek Center, a mall built by the Mormon Church for a few billion dollars. The Mormon Church, otherwise known as the LDS Church is pretty well known for it's stance on modesty. This mall is quite literally the Mormon Mall since they spent most of the money building it. To the right is an advertisement for City Creek Center in which the Modesty Clause is simply being overlooked. Why? Because sex sells.
The more everyone covers up, the more that advertisements like this are noticed. Sexual repression in general winds us up like snare drums, and we tend to think about sex much more often. This of course makes sex, the perfect tool for manipulation. After all, how many men try to get you women to go to their parties? After that, how many of you men try to go to the parties where all the women are? Sex sells.
Anything that is hidden on the opposite gender will be sexualized, and right now, the culture in the United States during this time era makes it everything that is covered by a bikini for a woman. This makes absolute perfect sense for the vagina, but what about breasts and rump? Is the skin on a breast any different than the skin on an arm? Not in the slightest. Yet we sexualize what is hidden. We live in a culture that sells our own bodies to us, and then asks us to pay a tax for them.
Interestingly enough, this culture also glorifies the ideal that ugly people should cover up. Beautiful people should be wearing bikinis. Have you ever heard the statement that "fat people shouldn't wear spandex."? This is a commonly held belief that a lot of people share because being large is not considered beautiful as we were raised on the barbie mentality. All of this focuses on sexualizing the body. Beautiful people need to hide it unless it's permitted. Ugly people need to hide it because their bodies tarnish the media and capitalized perpetuation of the sexualized image of the body.
Society dictates that we shouldn't talk about sex or sexuality, and just pretend it doesn't exist. That way, when they sell or manipulate with sex, it's more effective. I don't want our bodies being sold. I don't want my daughters body being sold. It's disgusting. Instead we need to learn how to manage our sexuality instead of hiding from it. This is not advocating immorality, but rather embracing sexuality as a moral aspect of our lives.
Everyone is in charge of their own bodies, and yes, you will be looked at. But it is you who decides who can touch you, and who can't. Ladies, please don't be to hard on the guys that look you up and down. We are sexual beings, and you want a future partner to be sexually attracted to you. He does have the capacity to be interested in your interests as well, whether it be politics, art, sports, music, or something else. Just get to know him, and he will get to know you.
I simply ask you to try and be comfortable without worrying whether or not some random guy has rolling eyes. Those who do will look you up and down no matter what you wear whether it be a bikini or a burka. If you want to advertise your body around, there's nothing wrong with that either. Some people just need to feel sexy every now and again.
Oscar Wilde said "Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power."
Let's make a commitment this summer to take back our bodies. They are ours, and we should feel absolutely no guilt or shame in them. Nobody has the right to sell our bodies, and then make us feel guilty for having them.
P.S. You are enough.