Tag Archives: women

4 Reasons to Keep Bikini Pictures Off Facebook

Bikini_pin

Even though the weather in my neck of the woods as of late would seem to indicate otherwise, the calendar is telling me that summer is just around the corner.  You know what that means: Beach Season!

If you recall, last summer was My First Summer Without a Bikini, and honestly, I haven’t looked back (and am even a little surprised that it has only been a year since I stopped wearing bikinis).  Even still, I remember and understand the desire girls have to show off that new beach body and especially that new summertime swimsuit.  And in the age of Facebook, what better way to show off than by uploading a picture?  It seems harmless, and everyone else does it anyway…

But before you upload those pictures this summer, you may want to check out these 4 reasons to reconsider the bikini pictures:

1)   Because EVERYONE that you are friends with (and more, depending on privacy settings) can see these pictures.

Let’s stop and think about this for just a minute.  Think carefully of all 812 of your friends.  I’m sure you will come across at least one person that you wouldn’t want staring at you in a bikini.

To put it another way: imagine putting on your bikini and knocking on the front door of random Facebook friend—we’ll call him “Bob”—‘s house, and then just saying, “Feel free to stare at me.  I’m just going to stand here smiling.”

Are you sufficiently creeped out?  Unfortunately, that’s really not much different than what you’re doing by posting that “super cute” bikini picture of yourself on Facebook.

(If you’re having trouble thinking of who looks at your Facebook, here are some ideas to start you off: Uncle Jim, that kid you went to highschool with, the random guy you added because he kind of looked familiar but you’re not really sure you know in real life, potential employers, your lab partner, etc.)

2) Because the good guys (i.e. – the guys you want to date) will choose to “hide” those pictures from their newsfeeds anyway

[edit: No one believed me on this one. So I compiled some proof….]

That picture we took at the beach with our friends last Saturday?  We may see it as a great shot of us with our friends just having a good time, looking cute in our new bathing suit, and are thankful those crunches have paid off because our abs look darn good.  We even often post these pictures with the hopes of catching the attention of that cute guy from school.

This is so misguided though.  Assuming the guy you’re interested in is a good guy trying to do the right thing, he will not want to objectify you by reducing you to a mere collection of body parts.  But asking a guy not to reduce you to a collection of body parts and then presenting him with an image of basically nothing but body parts is sending some seriously conflicting signals.  (That picture is not inviting him to admire your beautiful smile…)

In other words, if the guy that you want to see this picture is a good guy with some discipline, he is going to hide the picture from his newsfeed because it’s an occasion of sin that he is wise enough to eliminate (and I have this on the authority of some pretty spectacular dudes).  If he’s not, well then he’s just going to objectify you without a second thought.  It’s a lose-lose situation.  Either way, you’re definitely not getting the kind of attention you want.

3)   Because you’d never post a picture of yourself in your bra and underwear on Facebook

Right?  Of course right.  Let’s stop pretending that a pictures of us wearing material covering the exact same amount of skin looks any different.

4)   Because your beauty is more than your body

Like I said, you will definitely attract attention from guys by posting pictures of yourself in your bikini, but they’re not going to be focused on your beautiful smile or your magnetic personality.  Don’t believe me?  Just check out the comments on anyone of you or your friends’ current bikini pictures.  I’ll bet they all read something along the lines of, “Dayyyum, girl!” and use words primarily like, “hot,” or “sexy.” You’ll be hard-pressed to find a “beautiful” or a “lovely,” but isn’t this the kind of attention we want far more than being referred to as, “hot”?

It’s a cheap way to get attention, and let’s face it: it’s beneath you.  You’re beautiful, and you don’t have to post a half-naked picture of yourself on Facebook to prove it.

 

Naked Old Ladies = +1 for Woman’s Rights?

First, there was the Calendar Girls movie.  Then, Dove told us to campaign for Real Beauty by baring it all.  Recently, people are asked to wear bracelets with “Boobies” written across them to raise awareness for breast cancer (and who knew that 12-year-old boys cared so much about the plight of women against cancer?).  And yesterday, I logged onto Facebook and was met with a picture of a plus-sized model posed discretely nude to help improve body image.

Yes, there is a certain level of marketing genius behind it all (or at least, there was at first).  But it begs the question: Size 24 or size 0—why is it that we as women still think we have to take our clothes off to get a point across?

There is a small victory being won here, and that is that women are finally beginning to realize the great power our femininity possesses.  There is a line from the movie Eat Pray Love that I have never been able to get out of my head because it speaks so clearly to this:

Julia Roberts’ character is eating lunch with her friend, who expresses dissatisfaction with her body.  Roberts, with her newfound wisdom, asks her friend, “have you ever been naked in front of man and he’s asked you to leave?” Her friend of course replies, “no”.  Making her point, Roberts says, “Exactly.  Because when a man sees a woman naked, all he can think about is how he won the lottery because he has a naked woman in front of him!”

Roberts’ character, and every woman who loves this line so much, has just discovered what we all ought to have engrained in our minds from the time we are little girls.  Our beauty is not dependent on what size we are.  We have a certain loveliness and grace within us, simply by virtue that we are women, that no amount of pounds or wrinkles can take away (and all of that other, “I am woman.  Hear me roar,” stuff).

The problem with all of this is that, even though we have made great strides in realizing the power we possess as women, campaigns that have women of any size pose nude for the whole world to see just show that we have not yet fully realized the gift of our femininity.  We’re stuck giggling about it when we ought to be safeguarding it.  We undervalue it so much that we treat it as some silly little ploy to gain attention.  But it’s more than that.  And until we realize that, we are taking one step forward and five steps backwards.

So, women of the world of all shapes sizes, standing up for any and all causes: please, put your clothes back on.

My First Summer Without A Bikini

To be clear, modesty has never been a subject I have taken super seriously.  I mean, I don’t wear clothes that are too revealing; and I don’t wear anything I would be ashamed of my mother seeing (but that’s partially because half of the time my mom has a better eye for what works in a outfit than I do…but that’s another post :) ).  But when it comes to things like a bikini—come on.  I live in Southern California.  Everyone wears bikinis.  And it’s just not that big of a deal…right?

Again I will say it: the Catholic university I go to pretty much rocks.  I’ve had an awesome experience here, and for the most part I have embraced the rules and regulations that are in place and have really thrived from them.

The dress code was a different story.

Oh, I complied with it.  But I definitely had a section of my closet at home that was referred to as “School Appropriate Clothing” (and it wasn’t exactly the largest part of my closet).  Still, that was mostly because I needed to look more “professional” in order to attend class (as opposed to looking like a high schooler in shorts and a t-shirt), which I appreciated.  My main issue was the part of the dress code that banned bikinis in the pool at the student apartments and at school-sponsored functions at the beach.  I can still remember my thoughts, echoed by I’m sure a handful of other girls at my school:

We go to college in Southern California and they expect us to not wear bikinis?  …Seriously? 

So, for the longest time, I simply gritted my teeth, found a “modest” (which, in my mind translated to: not-nearly-as-cute-as-a-bikini) swimsuit, and dealt with the rule—but only when I had to.  When I went to the beach with just my friends, I wore my bikini and got my tan on.

I don’t know that I can point to a moment when things changed.  All I know is that last summer I was in a bikini, and this summer I’m not.  Several months ago, I hardly thought twice about what the effect of what I am wearing will be on the men I meet out in public, and now I never leave the mirror in the morning without thinking about it.

I have come to realize that we live in a world in which guys are virtually expected to objectify women’s bodies.  Of course, there is a difference between “appreciating” and “objectifying”—one is natural, the other is sinful.  But that line is really thin for a guy, and it’s pretty hard to control—especially when he’s walking down the beach on any given Thursday in August.

This doesn’t mean that every guy who sees you in a bikini is objectifying you—it just means that it’s probably really hard for him not to be, at least on some level.  From a Princeton University Study

Another study performed on undergraduate students at Princeton found that when men are shown images of women in bikinis, they associate the women with first-person verbs, such as I “push,” “handle,” and “grab.” When shown images of modestly dressed women, the men associated the images with the third-person forms of the verbs, such as she “pushes,” “handles,” and “grabs.” In other words, the fully-clothed women were seen as being in control of their own actions, whereas the immodest ones were to be acted upon.

But I can’t leave this post without coming back at my most-used argument for why wearing a bikini was ok.  It went something like this:

Guys are going to see girls in bikinis anyway, so they should just get used to it.

First of all, this is just not a very nice thing to do to guys we say we care about.  It’s essentially saying, “yeah, I know you struggle with this; and even though I can, I’m not going to make this any easier on you”.  Talk about selfish.

But more to the point, this argument is right in some respects.  There are still going to be women in bikinis out there.  For most guys, it’s a struggle to control their glances when they are surrounded by girls in bikinis (and can you blame them?  Everything is out on display!).  However, if I choose to cover up, then I am inviting the men I am with to be more present with me—not simply my body.  Wouldn’t you rather have a guy paying attention to the conversation he is having with you than struggling to control his glances?

(Don’t feel like you have to buy an ugly swimsuit to be modest.  Here is a link to a company that designs modest swimwear—and there are a ton of other options, too.)

An Open Letter to Women…

A common complaint among women my age is an apparent double standard when it comes to dating.  Christina Aguilera sums it up bluntly in her 2003 “girl-power” hit, Can’t Hold Us Down:

“The guy gets all the glory the more he can score, while the girl can do the same and yet you call her a whore”

On the one hand, it is good for women to point out this double standard.  Men should not be able to get away with behaving this way if women can’t.  But the solution that Aguilera (and so many other women today) come up with to solve this problem is to “turn the tables” on the men of our society.  Women ought to feel justified in casually sleeping around with as many guys as possible and then bragging to all of our friends about it.  If men can do it, so can we, right?

So, to recap, this is the plan we currently have in place to show men how great we are:

Step 1.) Complain about the way men behave.
Step 2.) Behave in the exact same way.

…hm.  Does anyone else find this a little odd?  Yet this is the basic thought process of much of modern feminism today.  As Alice von Hildebrand writes in one of my favorite books, “Unwittingly, the feminists acknowledge the superiority of the male sex by wishing to become like men.”

I think guys are great and everything, but I don’t really want to become one.  Personally, I think us women have a lot going for us without trying to trade in our feminine characteristics for masculine ones.  One of the greatest tragedies of feminism is not that it is trying to make women too powerful or great.  Modern feminism, in reality, doesn’t truly understand just how powerful a woman can be.  The results of this are disastrous.

“With age…most girls become conscious of the power they can exercise over men.  Those whose hearts are noble…will never use their charm to play with the strong sex, or worse to ‘seduce’ it to gain their own subjective ends” (Von Hildebrand, p. 50-51)

I think the woman that abuses her charm over a man in this way does not yet truly understand just how much power she has been given in her femininity.  If she did, she would recognize what a tremendous gift she had been given in her femininity and would not dream of abusing it in such a way.  To any woman reading this, we need to work together to redefine what it means to be a feminist.  To misunderstand this gift is to do yourself an injustice.