Guest post by Lisa St. Frank
A few days ago I heard someone blasting Will Smith’s Summertime and I realized that it’s summer time indeed. I’m not looking forward to the humidity that summers on the coast bring but I am looking forward to weekends at the nearest beach or laying out by the community pool. I think we can agree that, like most other summers, a lot of girls will be wearing one pieces. As for me, I usually like to wear bikinis. Some people may think I usually don’t wear one pieces or tankinis for the wrong reasons. They may think it’s because I like the way my body looks in a bikini. Perhaps they may think it’s because I believe it’s ridiculous to expect women and girls to cover themselves up while men and boys roam shirtless around the beach with little commentary on their “modesty”. These reasons, for me, are absolutely correct.
To be clear, I’m not completely against wearing one pieces or tankinis. A lot of them are really cute and sometimes I’ll wear one just to mix things up.
That being said, I want you all to know that dressing “immodestly” is a SACRIFICE. I do so at the risk of some people getting the wrong idea about my faith and values and men thinking all sorts of lustful things about me. I’d rather be recognized for my intelligence and faith in God and wearing anything other than a one piece or tankini compromises that. Wearing bikinis completely removes a man’s ability to see past the physical as opposed to appreciating my body, my mind and my spirituality at the same time. A man who I’d never consider dating or having a relationship with in the first place if his interest (or disinterest) in me is influenced primarily on how I look.
Let’s pretend that we live in a world where men and women have control over their thoughts. There are exceptions for those who have a mental condition that renders them incapable of making rational decisions and for this post, we will focus on persons who consider themselves to be relatively stable. We go through life making decisions that can either help or harm us. Decisions like whether or not to eat the chocolate cake your roommate made last night for example. You know, the one your roommate left on the counter but didn’t give you permission to eat. The important thing here is you have a choice. You can choose to partake of this delicious treat and face the wrath of your roommate or leave it alone, because, well, it wasn’t made for you.
This is how I imagine it is for guys. These women and girls like myself walking around the beach or by the pool with hardly any clothes on and these men and boys having the option to look away or to control their thoughts. To perhaps not look at women and girls as “objects made for them” but something more profound: like actual human beings.
Whether a woman or girl chooses to wear a one piece, tankini or bikini, it really doesn’t matter. It’s no one else’s business. Selfrespect is not earned. Earning something indicates it can be taken away and a person’s self respect always exists in some form. Selfrespect is a process (albeit a sometimes difficult one) in which you find out what you like and you embrace those things. It is your commitment to yourself and to no one else. So if anything, commit to yourself this summer, wear what you feel comfortable in and help one another.
Peace, love and lots of chocolate cake, LSF
P.S. You really are enough.