Bikinis… should I or shouldn’t I?
Excerpt from my book: Purely Beautiful pg. 137
For most of my life, I wore a bikini: from the time I was a baby and into my early 20′s. I seriously never thought anything of it. Everyone in our culture wears one, and it’s what they sell in all of the stores. Personally, I never wore one with the attitude of “Hey boys! Look at my body!” It was always because I wanted a good tan. I personally didn’t feel comfortable in g-strings, and I made sure that I didn’t have an abundance of cleavage, but I did love my great tan. Once again, I had no clue that men were as visual as they are.
Jessica Rey, Founder of Rey Swimwear, said this in her YouTube viral video:
“Brain scans revealed that when men are shown pictures of scantily clad women, the region of the brain associated with tools, such as screwdrivers and hammers, lit up. Some men showed zero brain activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that lights up when one ponders another person’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions. Researchers found this shocking, because they almost never see this part of the brain shut down in this way. And a Princeton professor said, ‘It’s as if they are reacting to these women as if they are not fully human. It is consistent with the idea that they are responding to these photographs as if they were responding to objects, not people.’”
In February 2010, I was listening to Pandora Internet Radio, and ad’s always pop on the side of the player while listening. I was listening to some worship music and praying/studying. When a song changed, an ad came on for Aerie, American Eagle’s underwear line. It was a girl in her bra and undies. I started getting really upset; I said, “How come I am just here listening to worship music and this ad comes on with this girl barely dressed?” I was so mad at their marketing and that this could just pop up for everyone to see. Then, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart with so much clarity. He said, “Alyssa, what are you doing when you go to the pool in the summer wearing a bikini?” It was like a loving dagger right to my heart. I thought, “Wow, thank you Holy Spirit. You are so right.” There is truly no difference in the amount of skin shown. At first I thought, “Man, now my stomach isn’t going to be tan.” Then, I told my husband about what the Lord talked to me about. It pleased him so much that I wanted to wear a swimsuit that covered me. My body is not for everyone else to see; it’s for his eyes only. That should be your focus as well ladies; married or not, your body is for your husband. He could care less if my stomach is tan or not. It was just a silliness to worry about my stomach being tan, especially since no one else sees it besides him.
At The Pink Lid, I use this slide with two pictures on it; one is a picture of a girl in a bikini, and the other is a picture of a girl in bra and underwear. Then I ask, “What’s the difference between the two pictures?” All the girls just sit there, and I can see that their brains are working overtime on this. They all come to the conclusion that the only difference is the name of the clothing and maybe material. As far as coverage goes, there is no difference. I would never take my clothes off in front of a crowd of people and just be in my bra and underwear, so why do we think it is okay to wear a bikini in front of a crowd? The reality is, it’s a culture thing.
When I got convicted, the next day, I drove straight to Target with the goal of finding a modest but fashionable swimsuit. I found a really cute modest swimsuit that covered my body from my boobs down to my butt. You may be reading this, rolling your eyes, and thinking that I am totally out of touch. But remember, for the first 22 years of my life, all I wore were bikinis. So, if you think I’m crazy, take it to prayer, and ask God if a bikini is something you should be wearing or not. Whether the purpose of the bikini is to look sexy or get a good tan, neither excuse is justified when compared to our calling to help keep our brothers in Christ from stumbling.
Thankfully, there are some super cute modest swimsuits. The first stop you should make is to Target. I have found many stylish swimsuits from Target at a very cheap price. If you don’t have the money right now to buy a new swimsuit, you can simply wear a tank top and athletic shorts over your swimsuit. If you have some money to spend, see the resources page in the back of this book for website links. A good thing to remember when shopping for swimsuits is that a swimsuit may look modest on one person but immodest on another depending on the body type. Know what type of fit you need. For me, I can’t have any v-necked swimsuits because I have a larger chest. One of my best friends, who has a smaller chest, can wear swimsuits with a v-front modestly. Know your body type and have fun shopping!
Social Media Posting
I wanted to say this with the preface of my testimony so that you know my heart behind this. I keep seeing profile pictures with girls in bikinis or albums with pictures of them in bikinis. Would you have a profile picture of you in your bra and undies? Probably not: so why do we post pictures flaunting our bodies on social media?
I am so glad there was no social media when I was teenager. My next door neighbor and I used to put on our bikinis and take pictures of each other so that we could show them off. There was no Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. I would have posted those pictures everywhere because I wanted to be desirable. We live in a completely different world now with social media being the center of it. I am constantly seeing cleavage and bikinis in profile pictures. I am going to say something that may shock you. I fully believe that this is soft porn. Yes porn. Pornography by definition is writings, pictures, or videos designed to stimulate sexual excitement. Pictures of women showing cleavage, in bikinis, and in other sexual positions are a form of soft porn because your body is in a position that can stimulate men sexually, and you’re posting it with the intent to look desirable.
I write this with such passion because I want to protect you and your future husband. I want you to strive to respect yourself and your body. One way to do this is by not posting inappropriate pictures of yourself online. You want a guy who will love you for you and not the sexual image you are showing. I want you to read this excerpt from a blog by Sammy Adebiyi about this very subject.
“Please. Please. Please. Stop posting half naked pictures of yourself on Facebook. Please.
I’m not sure what the reasoning is…Maybe you’re innocently just trying to share your vacation with us.
Maybe you’ve lost 40 pounds and you’re trying to inspire others by showing off your new fit body.
Or maybe it just didn’t cross your mind.
Either way, I’m betting you have no idea how much damage that picture could cause. No idea.
Let me enlighten you for a second.
I’ve been sharing life with a guy who is trying to beat his porn addiction. Two weeks ago, we set a goal to go 2 weeks with no porn [with fasting and lots of prayer]. Win a small battle. 14 days.
He made it 1 week and 6 days.
He fell 1 day away. ONE FREAKING DAY!
You know why?
Cause you posted a stupid immodest picture of yourself on facebook.
Can’t you see how the enemy is using you to ensnare us? Can’t you hear our cry for help?
We need your help. Please.
Think of others ahead of yourself. Consider others as more important than you.
Dress modesty. Don’t let your boobs hang out. Don’t post half naked pictures of yourself on facebook.
And just so you know, when you do things that makes a guy look at you or a picture of you on the internet, he’s not looking at you. He’s not attracted to your personality, value, character or heart.
In fact he could care less in that moment what your name or story is. For all he cares there could be another head on that body.
So if your goal is to get him to notice YOU, you already failed because in that moment, you’re not anymore valuable in his eyes than a piece of meat. That’s it.
That should disgust you regardless of whether you love Jesus or not.
I’ve never met a woman who does not desire to be valued and treasured.
I’ve also never met a man who truly values and treasures a woman [long term] because she looks hot.”
I challenge you right now to go to your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and remove all the pictures of yourself that are provocative. Live for purity, and protect the eyes of your brothers in Christ. You want a man who loves you, not one who lusts after you. When you dress in a revealing way, you are saying to guys that you want them to see what you have to offer. This reality happens whether you mean to or not. You will usually just attract guys who want your body and won’t care about you personally. You want a man who will respect you and your body. The man you truly want will honor your body and won’t want you to show it off to everyone. It really comes down to marketing. How are you marketing yourself? You are worth more than diamonds. You should not sell yourself for less than what you are worth.
Bought with a Price
Our bodies are not our own, they were bought at a price. It says in 1 Corinthians 6:20, “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (NIV). This body isn’t something that we can just do whatever we want with. We need to be honoring God with everything we do, and that includes the way we dress. A lot of times, for us girls, we like to wear cute things, and we don’t think about how we could cause a guy to sin. We must respect guys and present ourselves how we want to be treated. You are not an object; you are a masterpiece created by God. God wants you to honor Him with your body!
Be yourself. Don’t try to be anyone else. You are a beautiful, radiant woman of God. You don’t have to try to enhance anything. Just smile, and be yourself. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). You are beautiful! The bottom line is this; look at yourself in the mirror before you walk out the door, and ask yourself, “Am I honoring God with this outfit?” I do this every day. If I ever have a doubt about the outfit, I go ahead and change. I don’t do this because someone told me to but because I truly want to honor God with how I dress.
- Which fashion mistakes have you made?
- What will you do starting today to start dressing modestly?
- Now knowing that men are visual, how does that change your perspective on how you dress?
- Have you ever thought about bikinis from a guy’s standpoint? How does that change the way you see bikinis?
- How have you been marketing yourself? What changes do you want to make?
- Write down ways you can honor God with your body.
Thank you for showing me the truth about modesty. It is a great desire of mine to honor you with what I wear. I don’t ever want to be a stumbling block for others. Holy Spirit, show me what I should and shouldn’t wear. I know you care about every aspect of my life, even how I dress. Thank you for your overflowing love for me! Help me be a shining light for you everywhere I go!
In Jesus’ Name,