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July 25, 2006

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Annika

I have to admit, the suits are absolutely hideous, but I appreciate the fact that someone is trying to introduce modest swimwear. I find that a rashguard (the swim shirts that surfers wear) and boardshorts makes a comfortable, modest bathing suit that looks as if I'm trying to start a new trend, or like I'm a surfer. I would disagree with the article's author that bikinis show confidence. Nowdays, bikinis show peer pressure, and modesty shows more confidence.

Kindli

I've come across that site before, those are the last bathing suits I would buy (they look like they'd be cumbersome and hot when wet), I'm quite happy with my modestly cut tankini & a sarong cover up.

I agree w/ Annika, it takes quite a lot of confidence (and a lot of time and effort) to find a decently cut (*gasp* modest) bathing suit and not opt to cave in and get a bikini (which are EVERYWHERE), however, I would opt for LandsEnd before I went to Wholesome Wear.

Annie

I agree, the bathing suits are ugly, but someone might want one, not because she is fearful of her body, but perhaps she is a bit heavy or because she refuses to follow a tend of stuffing herself into a skimpy bikini. She can chose that too can't she? I call THAT liberation!

Lucie

I also found the suits a little over the top when I visited the website a while back, and frankly couldn't help thinking that there was sometimes a fine line between being modest and looking rather ridiculous, but in the original spirit of feminism, if nothing else, women should be supportive of other women's decision to wear such garments as they see fit.

Melissa

If you are just going to hang out at the beach they seem OK, but if you do any aquatic sports they seem like death traps. Sporting women have to accept some skintight clothing as necessary for various utilitarian reasons- from tight riding chaps to bike shorts. However, I also view bikinis as being for sedentary women...ever tried diving in one of those things?

wendy

There are a lot of good points here, and I agree that it does take more confidence to be modest on the beach these days--esp. since reporters like these tend to smirk at such women. And interesting point, Melissa, about bikinis being for sedentary women as well. I never thought about that either but you are right--it makes more sense to compare like to like.

Here are some other options:

*stylish vintage (circa 1940) suits


*nice modern one-pieces

And, for some reason I couldn't hyperlink to this one, but here's some custom made swimwear circa 1901, for people who REALLY want to draw attention to themselves on the beach!

:-)

http://www.modestapparelchristianclothinglydiaofpurple
dressescustomsewing.com/modest_swimwear.htm

(I had to chop the link to make it show up b/c it's long.)

It sounds like Wholesome Wear fills a niche for girls but that not all adult women who believe in modesty are rushing out to buy the suits. I don't mean this as a criticism of the company but rather, clearly there are many more modest swimwear options that the reporter chose not to consider-- why? As Nene suggests, possibly due to her own preconceived notions.

It is easy to make a parody of swimwear you do not personally care for--much harder to address the underlying issues.

Helena

It is true that modest women often face criticism for their clothing style, and they should be allowed like everyone else to make up their own minds. However, the above posts from the critics of the bikini-clad women reminded me of the very words of their opponents. I do not mean to say that criticism of any kind is unfair and that own's clothing has no impact on society, but we should also respect THEIR choice to wear a bikini, right? Just as modest women deserve respect for their choice, I think that the dialogue should be tempered with respect for their choice to wear more revealing clothing. I myself will wear a bikini and do not think that I look immodest. Maybe I'm wrong. I just don't think that wearing a bikini (depending on the cut, ha) necessarily has to be a bad thing that indicates a lack of confidence or liberation. Again, I do not really agree with the ever-present notion in society of 'freedom of choice,' or that everything under the sun should be tolerated, and I think it's fine to express opinions. I think we should try to do so without hostility and broad generalizations (i.e. every woman wearing a bikini is immodest, enslaved by society, etc.).

christine

But a lot of women and girls DO wear bikinis just to fit in, so Nene is saying, no one wears a modest suit "to fit in" so why assume that modest women have no confidence?

lizriz

I'm with you, NeneKalu. Clearly, the company is finding a market for their product, so why not just respect that some women want these suits and let people wear what they feel comfortable in?

Personally, I think any woman wearing one of these suits is *totally* working the self-expression!!!

Mary

This is a particularly amusing line:

” And there is something especially compelling about an older woman wearing a two-piece swimsuit, not necessarily to display her curves but to underscore her strength.”

Silly me for thinking older women displayed their strength by being good people, serving others, surviving cancer or raising good kids. Obviously, all they need to do is wear a two piece! Liberation!

I don't think the issue here is the suits per say, but the tone of the article- could she possibly be any more biased? In no way does the site tell women they must 'cover up' or be 'only a bobbing head,' 'afraid' of the rest of their bodies. It’s just a site selling suits; you don’t have to buy one.

She's assuming her own cultural standards are the same for everyone. She talks about how looking good in a bathing suit is a 'cultural expectation' to let go of, but then her 'solution' is just as culturally based: "The answer is not to hide the body but to cheer for its ability to swim laps or just sedately float -- in a bit of form-fitting, aerodynamic nylon and Lycra." That might be YOUR answer, but why should it be mine?

If anything, these suits are freeing women who normally would be shocked to wear a traditional bathing suit in public. Or what about people with burns they must keep covered? Surgery scars? There are many reasons why a women might need one of these suits, or would not be able to swim at all without one.

Also, this article is also way out of date. Internet humor sites have been tormenting Wholesome Wear for years now.

If anything I hope WW gets more sales. My own suit is the ‘swim mini’ and high necked faille top from land’s End, but I only wear it when swimming and quickly put a summery skirt on when I get out.

R.B.

Givhan appears to be a fashion writer with more deadlines than ideas. I think randomly-directed cattiness is a typical solution to that predicament.

Elin

IMHO, the suits are hideous and cumbersome, so I would personally find other alternatives (which, as several people have pointed out, ARE available).

I can understand why Givhan, as a fashion writer, would pillory these suits: they are NOT beautiful. But her article goes further, demonstrating the fashion world's assumption that less modest wear is somehow "liberating" and that those who have concerns about modesty are somehow "afraid of their bodies". It's these assumptions which, though ingrained, we should be working to change - not the charge that, unfortunately, some modest apparel (such as the Wholesome Wear suits) is unattractive. I think we win more people to modesty when we can show that it can go along with self-confidence, joie de vivre, and yes - attractive, but modest clothing. As one of my Jewish friends likes to say, "frum" doesn't have to mean "frumpy"!

knit_tgz

I believe several reasons could, and can, drive a woman to want a swimming piece like those. Still, just my 2-cents:

I am a believer, and I wear a swimming one-piece to swim at the pool, but to the beach I take a bikini. (I am a bad swimmer and never, ever swim at the sea. Maybe when I'm more experienced). Why the bikini at the beach? Because the one-piece I use to swim at the pool is very, very elastic, which is great when you are underwater (my body becomes more hidrodynamic), but not so nice when you are at the sun (when dry, the one-piece contracts a bit and becomes quite tight and not very comfortable, squeezing my breasts over my chest and not allowing deep breathing. When I'm underwater this does not happen). Well, I could always buy a non-sports one-piece. But the shape of my body (my top and bottom halves are different sizes, in fact more than 2 sizes difference) makes it very difficult to find a one-piece (other than the sports ones, which, again, are very elastic) that fits me. I have bought one (just one) bikini (the most modest I could find) which was sold in separate pieces a couple of years ago. As I rarely go to beach, it's all I need. So, please don't think all women who wear bikinis are immodest. Some of them are like me.

One last thing: I have not been to the beach in the last 2 years. Ever since, I found another solution to my bathing suit quandary: I can use my older swimsuits (which are starting to lose the elastic) at the beach. But I did not have that solution back when I bought the bikini.

spudmomof6

How timely this post was, since I'm still smarting from sunburned shoulders after a day at a cousin's mountain cabin/lake. I spend a lot of time in the water at an aerobics class, and at my age and after six kids, the last thing I want to show off is my belly! I can, however, appreciate a slim young thing in a flattering bikini, for example Miss Indonesia, who now faces possible death threats from militant Islamic men who find her choice to be seen in public in eveningwear and swimsuit an insult to Islam.
A few years ago, my daughter went to visit cousins in France, and her one-piece suit with matching board shorts were not considered 'swimming attire' at the local pool. That's because there, most females go topless (yes, even the old ladies!) and bikinis are considered modest.
Personally, a swimsuit is modest to me if parts I want to keep covered don't accidentally fall or slip out when I move around. Being stared at because a suit is extreme (either direction) kind of defeats the purpose. Next time I plan to spend the day in the sun, though, I should consider one of those wetsuit-styled ones to protect my lily-white (now red) shoulders!

Nene

While I would agree that women have the choice to wear a bikini, there's still something about the bikini, per se, that bothers me. It looks like underwear to me and I can't understand why any woman would want to come out in public in something that looks like underwear! Wearing a bikini seems to be less about the fashion of the bikini and more about showing off the fitness of the woman's body. Clothes, no matter what you're wearing them for, are supposed to be designed for 2 purposes- covering up a naked body and for fashion (creative expression). And the 2 requirements together should be met. As I've said before, it seems that bikinis are worn mostly to display a woman's body and so it seems to defeat the purpose of what clothing actually is, at least, in my mind. And frankly, I find more modest swimwear to provide more of an opportunity to be creative. There's more material to work with (ha!) and no set form like there is with the bikini.

Pamela

I wear a one-piece with a pair
of men's swim trunks. Its comfortable,
looks as if I'm dressed in a tank top
and shorts, and is easy to buy anywhere.

Sarah

I ran across this post and read the article yesterday, minutes before I was set to don my own WholesomeWear swimsuit and swim in the lake with my family. Let me first say that WholesomeWear swimsuits have been truly liberating (ha! I'll steal the feminist's term, but use it truthfully!) for my family. My parents have never been comfortable with my sisters and I wearing swimsuits. (I'm 19, and am choosing to stay at home, under the covering of my parents until I marry). We have high standards and convictions of modesty.

We've tried many other things over the years - wearing shorter skirts, 2-layered shirts, capris, etc. But everything was bulky and uncomfortable. Until WholesomeWear. Their suits are very light-weight, comfortable, and don't cling out of the water. I always feel confident wearing my WholesomeWear suit, not having to worry if what I am wearing is sucking to my skin, or showing more than I want it to. Isn't that the whole point of modesty? As a Christian who has asked Jesus into her heart and life, I believe modesty means covering our bodies in a God-honoring way, showing respect for ourselves, and for others, so as not to tempt them to sin. At the first sin of Adam and Eve, they tried to make themselves coverings of fig leaves. (Possibly not covering more than a bikini would?) But this was not enough, in God's eyes, to cover their sin. He made them garments of animal skin. Our bodies are not are own. They belong to God, and God alone, and are to only be shared with our husbands, or future husbands.

Obviously, you cannot cover every inch and contour of your body. But I believe you should cover enough so as not to tempt a man to a "second look" and possibly cause him to sin in his heart. Our bodies are our temple for the Lord. They are not to be defiled by constant display by every passer-by.

Let me challenge you this - why is it appropriate to dress in something to go swimming in, that would not be appropriate to wear anywhere else? If you find the suits "hideously ugly", what, in your mind, is attractive? Could your views possibly be swayed by modern culture and values, instead of conviction? Not every style of clothing is attractive to every person. But that doesn't mean that we are free to choose to wear (or not wear!) any amount of clothing. There are many ways, within modesty, to express our personal taste.

What is our goal, in dressing modestly? To "blend in" with the world, not be noticed, "go with the flow" people, or stand apart from the world, shining a light of higher standards and joy from within? God judges the hearts of man only, but man first sees the outside. Like it or not, that is how we make our first impressions of people, is by what they wear.

If we dress exactly like the world, and popular American culture, what kind of message are you sending? God doesn't say "Blend In", He says "Stand Apart". I realize, in this day and age, this is not a popular position, even with the majority of Christians.

As this blog is titled "Modestly Yours", I know you ladies are interested in modesty. :) Let me urge you to read a very encouraging and lovely article -

http://www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com/artman/publish/article_132.shtml

It may be a longer article, but it is very well-written and definitely worth reading every word! If you can't afford the time to read the entire thing, at least skip towards the bottom and read the paragraph entitled "Drawing the Line" - it draws a beautiful metaphorical picture of the differences of styles and tastes in dress, but within the common ground of modesty.

May the Lord richly Bless you, and thank you all for the chance to present another side of this issue. :)

~ Sarah

fred

Women wake up-
http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/sex_relationships/facts/malesexualresponse.htm
As the article says:
The slightest thing can set a man off -
there's only one thing on a man's mind when he's looking at a woman in a bikini

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