Raising kids. Keeping House. Choosing joy, every day.

Are Bikinis Modest?


Yesterday I spent a day on the beach with my kiddos.

You may not know this about me, but I am a people watcher. Want to know what I noticed yesterday?

 Bikinis are not modest.

Sorry to have to use the flip flop image in a post about bikinis, but I could not find a family friendly bikini image for the life of me. Hmm...

I saw scores of pre-teen girls, 8-12 years old, who have been marketed to and “sexed” up by our culture, parading around with just small scraps of material covering their private areas. I pitied them, and got a knot in my stomach thinking of pedophiles watching them on the beach. These are just little girls, who don’t know any better. They don’t understand that there are grown men behind brands like Abercrombie, with their controversial push up bikini for girls as young as 7 years old, who are marketing this stuff.  We live in a P*rn culture, with a staggering 11,000 p*rnographic movies made each year. (Why is this trash being made? Because there is a demand for it, just like any other thriving “product” in our economy.)

But as Christian women, we are counter cultural and we know that scripture speaks of women dressing modestly, appropriately and with humility.

1 Tim. 2:8-10

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

Bikinis cover less than your bra and underwear cover. A lot less. I contend that they are NOT modest.

No one would ever answer the door in their underwear under any circumstances because it is just plain too scantily clad to be considered decent. You wouldn’t walk down the street in your “unders”, or walk around Walmart like that. (okay. unless you want to land yourself on peopleofwalmart.com or course)

I would not talk to your husband in my “unders” if he came to our house, nor should you feel comfortable talking to my husband in yours if he came to your door. That would be totally unacceptable and just plain weird–not to mention, if you DID do that, I would be forced me to break out my ninja moves and cut you. (just kidding. sorta.)

So, why do we feel that it is right to walk around in less than our underwear in front of the general population?

What was once only meant for the bedroom is not openly seen in public. Can this be right?

Does God think our clothes are no big deal?

C.J. Mahaney:

There is “not a square inch” of our lives—including our closets—with which God is not concerned. Even more, he cares about the heart behind what you wear, about whether your wardrobe reveals the presence of worldliness or godliness.

All respectable apparel is the result of a godly heart, where modesty and self-control originate. Your wardrobe is a public statement of your personal and private motivation. And if you profess godliness, you should be concerned with cultivating these twin virtues, modesty and self-control.

Modesty means propriety. It means avoiding clothes and adornment that are extravagant or sexually enticing. Modesty is humility expressed in dress. It’s a desire to serve others, particularly men, by not promoting or provoking sensuality.

Immodesty, then, is much more than wearing a short skirt or low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride, on display by what you wear.

Self-control is, in a word, restraint. Restraint for the purpose of purity; restraint for the purpose of exalting God and not ourselves. Together, these attitudes of modesty and self-control should be the hallmark of the godly woman’s dress.”

and John MacArthur:

“How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood?…. Is it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshiping God? Or is it to call attention to herself, and flaunt her…beauty?  Or worse, to attempt to allure men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshiping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance.”

Just to be clear, I am not saying that one piece bathing suits get a free ride either. They can be just as immodest. I get that. I wear a two piece tankini and feel that it is my “most modest option” short of calling attention to myself in something that looks like it came from the 1900’s. If there were no modest options, to be honest, I would just avoid wearing a swimsuit all together.

Just to be clear, you CAN be covered over in a burka and still have a heart that is proud, self seeking and not holy.

What say you? Are you struggling to teach your daughters modesty? Do you find it hard to bring your sons to the beach, because you don’t want to bring them to a place where they will have to fight their own flesh the whole time?