You’re Worth More Than A Bikini

Swimsuit shopping. I shudder a little at the implications brought on by that short, heart wrenching, dessert guilt-inducing phrase. It is June, so if you are a female older than seven years old, you are probably feeling the pressure to pick out that suit that will have you looking your best as you lounge poolside or hit up the beach this summer. I know I have been there quite a few times in my life.

Years ago, I wrote my first blog on the topic of swimsuit shopping. At the end of that blog, I vowed to ditch my itsy-bitsy bikini days in order to help the men around me see me in a way that was not potentially damaging to their souls… and also to remind myself of my worth.

“Worth” is a vague word that I feel is thrown around a lot and most of the time without a clear definition attached to it. I want to explore the word “worth” in reference to the human person.

So what are you worth? Can a price be assigned to a person?

Surprisingly… yes.

When St. Paul instructs the Corinthians in his first letter to them, he tells them to treat their bodies well and to flee from sexual immorality. Paul tells them “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

What price can anyone possibly be bought at? And what were we bought from?

The price of buying the human race from the clutches of sin and death was nothing short of the death of God’s own Son, Jesus.

Each person in existence is worth the blood, agony, physical and mental pain, and ultimately death of Christ. Nothing short of that. When put in this light, I am better able to understand my own choice to wear more modest summertime clothing.

True modesty is not based on guilt or fear… it is based in knowledge of worth. If I’m being honest, wearing bikinis was something which I had hoped would make me desirable. I reduced my worth by basing it on how attractive or unattractive my body was to those around me. I did not see that by doing this I was selling myself short. I am so much more than just parts of a body to be put on display.

Some may (and do) argue that it is “my body. I can dress however I want.” … And since free will is a legit reality, that is partially true. But, I honestly don’t believe the phrase fully recognizes its own insufficiency to say anything very meaningful.

This phrase throws off any responsibility toward one’s fellow man and it blinds one from realizing the sacrifices that love requires. There is no real love without sacrifice.

In my case, the choices I made regarding clothing were not expressing love—nor were they welcoming it. I was receiving merely shallow attention and potentially drawing others into sin. This is what I needed to sacrifice in order to express and receive love in a more refined and honest way.

In order to rightly love myself and the people around me, I needed to stop objectifying myself and instead choosing to wear a modest (but totally cute and fashionable) swimsuit these past three years and I have felt more empowered, comfortable, beautiful, and downright appreciative of the body that God has given me than ever before.

This small choice has changed my heart about the way that I dress and has helped me to see very clearly the value of true, heartfelt, modesty.

When choosing a swimsuit this summer, don’t get sucked into the self-objectification which the world has normalized and praised. Do not let yourself be reduced to merely parts. This choice has changed my summertime experience in so many positive ways. I hope that you’ll join me as I continue to discover beauty in modesty this summer. You are worth so much more than this world is offering.

I’ll be praying for you as you go head to head with our sexualized society this summer.

God loves you so much and so do I

1 Corinthians 13

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RebekahRebekah Hardy lives in New Jersey and is a Junior at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland where she majors in Theology and Education. She is the vice president of the SGA executive board for her university, is a retreat leader for Campus Ministry, and is a FOCUS student leader. She enjoys playing sports, praying the Rosary, and drinking all different kinds of coffee. Connect with her through her blogand Facebook or on Twitter at @bekahhardy7.

 

10 Comments

  1. So what alternatives do you suggest?

    By Tony Vu | 1 month ago Reply
    • A one-piece swimsuit has more coverage than a bikini. If someone wants more coverage than that, there are shorts and skirts made specifically for swimming. These can be worn over a one-piece. If someone still needs more coverage, try a rash shirt and shorts. And another thing: more modest swimwear means less sunburn on delicate skin, which may mean a lower risk of skin cancer. Win-win!

      By Mary | 1 month ago Reply
    • As an 18-year-old, I totally understand the pressure to wear skimpy bathing suits. I also understand how difficult it can be to find modest bathing suits. However, stores like Dillard’s, Land’s End, and JC Penny are bringing back shorts and skirts as well as bathing suits that look like dresses. These can be very cute and also allow for mixing and matching. I have a short, skirt, and two swim tank tops. Hope this helps!

      By Olivia | 1 month ago Reply
  2. It’s hard to find modest bathing suits. Even some one pieces are very revealing. The bottom portion of many of these suits are underwear -like and aren’t modest enough. I’ve searched and found that many modest bathing suit websites have a 50’s inspired standard of modesty, which in my opinion is not modest enough. I started wearing the swimming shirts that surfer girls wear with swimming shorts. I’m not sure if that is modest enough. I came from thinking that wearing a bikini was perfectly fine and normal. Just to be clear I don’t look down on others who don’t care for modesty. It has been a very slow transition for me. My journey has been one of seeking knowledge and then finding the courage to apply what I have understood to my life. Knowing how to answer with charity to those who question why I’m changing the way I dress has been tough for me as well.

    By Yanessa | 1 month ago Reply
    • https://modli.co/swimwear.html has plenty of modest options from the 50’s style that you are referring to all the way to long sleeved and long skirts (below the knees) etc.
      My problem is that modest swimwear is so expensive ($80+) whereas I’ve found bikinis for as low as $1 each piece.

      By Linda | 1 month ago Reply
    • I completely agree with you. Not all one pieces are modest, try Rey Swimwear… they are, in my opinion, perfectly modest and really fashionable at the same time 🙂

      By Annie | 1 month ago Reply
  3. Also, try searching modest swimsuit on Pintrest and you will a wide array of options-from small shops like Rad Swim, Albion and Rey swimwear to big box like Lands End, ect. Its actually pretty easy if you know where to start looking, and always worth it!

    By Anne | 1 month ago Reply
  4. I find a few ideas in this article problematic: the idea that my worth is determined by my clothing, the implication that my skin (and the sight of more of it) is what sexualizes me, and the assertion that I am responsible for others’ disrespecting my body with impure or sinful thoughts.

    My worth is not rooted in my level of modesty. My worth is rooted in my bearing, my actions, and my accomplishments. To say that we women devalue ourselves by wearing bikinis is off base. We devalue ourselves when we act without confidence or assurance in the fact that we are a creation of God. It is not a matter of coverage but of carriage.

    My skin being visible does not make me a sexual object. I am never an object to myself. I am a woman made by God who deserves to be treated as such, whether I am wearing a bikini or a head-to-toe body suit; however, we do not live in a perfect world. Even when behaving in a professional manner and wearing an entirely modest outfit (long black pants, a loose fitting shirt, and a gray blazer), I have been sexualized and disrespected by others.

    This brings me to my third point. I am not responsible for others sexualizing and demeaning me. It has happened to me no matter what I wear. It is not about my clothing or my actions. It is about self-control. I do not ask shirtless, attractive men to cover up their bodies when I find them sexy. I exercise self-control and change my thoughts. Holding others accountable for their thoughts and attitudes is far more important than policing what women do or do not wear.

    To place so much intense scrutiny only on women’s modesty (or a perceived lack thereof) is a meaningless distraction from a far greater issue: men and women not exercising self-control in the way they view God’s fellow children.

    By Ann Brake | 1 month ago Reply
    • While I respect and in a way understand the writer’s sentiment, I too was conflicted with a few things. I’ve also been sexualized when I’m completely covered. I’m not responsible for the actions of others and my choice of clothing is not based in others opinions. However, I do believing in dressing modestly.

      By Krys | 1 month ago Reply
      • Have you ever realized that there are men who are recovering from addiction to porn who cannot even go to a pool because women who are dressed with lots of skin showing could damage their recovery? I never thought about that but heard a man talk about it on Catholic radio. Thought that was interesting.

        By Kathleen | 1 month ago Reply

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