I’ve been thinking about the issue of modesty that Christian girls face for quite some time now, particularly as it relates to swimwear and the all-powerful bikini.
So before I start, some context. Read this amazing article from Relevant Magazine about how modest may not necessarily be hottest. This is truly an eye-opening piece about the legalism that so easily sets in when we start to take modesty to its extreme. The author says bluntly, “…let’s face it: our Christian ‘modesty rules’ are sexist, putting far more responsibility on females than males.” I completely agree, and it’s quite interesting how he plays out this argument in the article, so please read what he wrote first.
Now, keeping in mind the aforementioned article, I want to go ahead and open up an issue that I have been struggling with for years. And I can promise you, all of your brothers in Christ are struggling with this as well.
A friend of mine gave me the opportunity to post about this when she posted the following article on Facebook: Four Reasons to Keep Bikini Pictures Off Facebook. Thank God someone else is talking about this! I want to particularly zero in on the second point that the author makes in her post which is: “2) Because the good guys (i.e. – the guys you want to date) will choose to “hide” those pictures from their newsfeeds anyway.”
I confess that I am one of those guys who hides the bikini pictures on my Facebook news feed. So what do I think about this? Let me say that I have a lot of sisters in Christ who have been perfectly content to wear bikinis their entire lives and they are still dear friends and sisters and none of what I say here changes that. This is the part where men need to take responsibility about what goes on in their heads. Guys, ultimately, whatever goes on in your head is your responsibility and that girl on the beach is not making you sin. But…girls…we need help…
Us men have no idea what it’s like to be a woman and to go through the struggles you go through. You do incredible things and we’re kind of left standing around like a bunch of half-witted louts wondering how exactly you girls do what you do. But on the same level of intellectual honesty, you have no idea what it’s like to be a man. And for Christian guys, the struggle of taking dominion over our masculinity is that much harder. Our identity in Christ forms us into men who want to put the Lord first in our lives. But our culture is all about objectifying women and turning them into vehicles for lust. There is tremendous cultural pressure for us to go along with that, and it is a daily battle, nay, a daily war that we fight to keep it at bay. It is the grace of God and nothing else that keeps us pure and waiting on Him.
But sisters, we need help. When we hang out with our Christian sisters, it is a place of safety for us. Or at least it should be. We need to be able to trust that you are going to place your trust in God and do what you can to protect us from our own sinful selves, just as we fight to protect you. And it is so hard to fight that battle when our Christian sisters are dressing in the same swimsuits that the world finds fashionable. We are fighting to respect you and trust me when I say that those bikinis do not help.
Now, granted, I am one of the more conservative guys out there. Many Christian dudes just roll with the times and act completely chill that their sisters wear bikinis. For some it may not be as big of a deal. But I promise you, that even those guys struggle with it on some level. My group of bros and I don’t even go to the local water park anymore because there’s just too much to handle. And while this may seem like an impossibly high standard for some, I’ve always hoped and prayed that I will marry a girl who won’t wear a bikini in front of her male friends.
My hope in saying all this is not to throw yet another legalistic rule at my sister’s in Christ. That’s why I tried to set the mood with that article from Relevant Magazine about this kind of legalism. But it would be a lie on my part to say that this isn’t something that affects every single one of your brothers in Christ, whether or not they admit it. Christ created us to build one another up. Help us.
This is one guy’s honest opinion on a touchy subject. But there’s not as much feedback on what things guys do that affect girls in this kind of way.
So girls, what can us guys do better to serve you as your brothers in Christ?
I pray that this post is accepted gracefully. It is not my intent to attack any of my sisters in Christ, or anyone for that matter. It’s a cry for help and sensibility.
Soli Deo Gloria.