Should Christian Women Wear Bikinis?

Summer’s in session and you’re ready for the beach, but before you pull out that itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-polka-dot bikini, listen to how this guy addresses modesty in an auditorium full of teen girls. One Youtube commenter said it was the most convincing Christian argument [for modesty] he’d ever heard…and he was an atheist. Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?

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  • Just confirms scientifically what I knew in my heart. Men and people in general will respond to you the way you behave and dress. If you act and dress like a lady then the majority of people will treat you as such. There is always the exception of course but most people will treat you the way you act.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this, Dannah. It is always good to hear the male perspective so that we truly know what we are dealing with. It’s something the world will never tell us the truth about.

  • I’m not saying I disagree with what this guy is saying..but it does pose the question, should men wear shirts at the beach and cover themselves as well?

    • Men and women were created differently; physically and emotionally. Men desire women and women’s bodies. Women desire love and security. Our hormones are different.

    • ABSOLUTELY! Men are turned on by women’s breasts and women are turned on by men’s chests. Why do men who work out to develope a muscular chest but to impress the ladies? There are no reasonable arguments that women should cover up, but men don’t have to. Yes, men are much more visual than women, but that does not mean women are not visual at all. My mind was changed regarding this issue after reading Christian Modesty and the Undressing of America by Jeff Pollard which I highly recommend.

  • Ouch…I knew that would hurt even before I hit the link! The last thing I want to do is titalate the minds of my girlfriend’s man! In defense of of women, I will say however, that men our visual and that is not our fault! We may as well all walk around in diving suits!

  • Women aren’t as visual as men but we do look and then want to fanticize about a relationship with the guy. So I would say yes.

  • No female should wear bikinis they are no different than a bra and undies. Only different matreials.No one walks around in public with Under wear on. So shouldnt either with Bikinis. Shocking i think.

  • Why don’t we teach the boys what women are worth and how they should be viewed and treated instead of teaching women to always cover themselves? The fact that he says in the video that the mens brains react to women in bikinis the same way they view “drug addicts and homeless people” shows me that this is a problem with people’s humanity more than a problem with the way women dress. I am all for not dressing like a skank, but it is not fair to place the burden of modesty on women alone – especially when women are also highly visually stimulated when it comes to sexuality. The fact that one in three visitors to porn sights are women proves this (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jul/11/more-women-lured-to-pornography-addiction/). I am tired of always hearing that women are the stumbling block when women struggle with the same issues as men.

    • Men are created differently. It’s not a CHOICE that their brain automatically does that. And if, and I do mean IF the statistics at the site you linked are anywhere near accurate, this is very new. Even about 20 years ago it was *rare* that women watched porn, and I would venture to say that even now, for the majority of girls/women, it is because it is so accessible and they are curious – not because they have sexual drives and just gotta look. Yes, girls can be tempted, but let’s get real, it is NOT the norm, and not because of a strong sexual urge.

      And besides, this still doesn’t take away the facts in this video or the biblical call to ‘consider others’. Since when are Christians supposed to go around complaining about having to consider others. That’s a spiritual issue there.

  • Melissa,
    Yes, I do think so. Some for modesty and some for “beauty.” Those who are flashing their pecs are after the same type of attention (consciously or unconsciously) as the women in bikinis.

  • This is the same study we did on men addicted to pornography and what the brain does while looking at it. The frontal lobe shuts down an the lymbic system kicks in.(it is what causes excitement and more) we wouldn’t walk out in our bra and panties so why is a bikini any different. As I’ve counseled many couples who’s spouse has struggled why would we even want to tempt a man. Men are visual but what are we as women of the times helping for our men not to lust? That’s the ? We have to ask as we pick our bathing suit out. Will it cause a person to stumble or not? My husband has had 2 affairs, looked at porn and we have healed our marriage and more. When you go study the bible and see what sexual sin is, it’s anything done outside of the bonds of marriage. I agree that men should respect women but women should also respect men by not giving them anything to cause them to lust. We will all be held accountable for that.

    • But also , if a woman’s butt amd cleavage is not showing, what is the problem? It is all a heart issue. If you know in your heart and believe you have done your best to dress appropriately, if a man looks at you it is THEIR issue. We are not causing them to lust because we can’t force them. If they look, they look. That makes it their issue.

      • The Bible specifically addresses the issue of modesty four times. Two of these are addressed specifically to women. So, I teach purity and modesty to women not just because I am a woman but because the Bible addresses these topics directly to women. (Not that men are off the hook. They aren’t. Another blog. Another day.) But the bottom line is that you are right. A man is responsible for his thought life. A woman should be able to dress anyway she wants and a godly man will think in such a way that he is trained to protect her not take from her. But that doesn’t mean we should not be worthy of respect and take care in the way that we dress.

  • Coming from an Islamic background, I’ll tell you that for centuries Muslim women have been given the burden of modesty and not men. The muslim world hasn’t gone through any sort of major “feminist movement” or “sexual revolution” yet but a lot of muslim women are starting to now say that it isn’t fair that they are the ones who are constantly being told what to wear and how to act and men are barely told anything. Additionally, women are always told how to be better wives and given workshops about domestic violence and who to call if they are in that situation, but men are never given workshops about how to be better husbands and to control their anger (which is the heart of the problem). In the muslim world, I can see why women would get angry and say that they are being unfairly treated. In America, I think Christian women need to stop whining about how it’s not fair that they can’t wear bikins. In this country we have the opposite problem. Men are blamed for everything and women think that they have a right to wear whatever they want. However the Lord does call us to dress with decency and propriety. Yes, women are not the only ones who should carry the burden of responsibility- but grow up, nobody is telling you to wear a burkah. We are just saying that everything that we do must be for the glory of God and not for the sake of attracting the wrong kind of attention from the opposite sex. FOr example, when you put an outfit on in the morning, do you ask the question: Is this glorifying to God? or Will that cute guy down the street notice me if I wear this?

  • I’d be curious to know what he’s wearing to swim. Men’s trunks are (after all) just like boxers, AKA underwear.

  • Great video! I do have to say that there is another speaker that teaches men are called to look away when a woman is dressed immodestly, which we should be teaching too. Definitely going to share this.

  • There are several sides to this discussion. We are exhorted to be aware of the weaker brother and be cautious of contributing to their stumbling.We are our brothers keepers. Women need to consider these exhortations prior to donning a bikini.

    With that said, we also are exhorted to remove our eye if it makes us stumble. even thinking lustful thoughts makes us guilty of adultery. Men don’t have to look at the women in the bikini, if they are looking lustfully. “Flee from temptation.” Men need to ask themselves why are they going to places that cause them to lust.

    My biggest concern is that some folks may attempt to turn this into a universal treatise, that somehow a women wearing a bikini is sinful. The sin in this situation is the heart and the heart, as Calvin said , is an idol factory. So the real question here is what is the idol ( the woman wearing the bikini in a less than God glorying manner or the man not willing to keep his eyes and lustful thoughts off the woman ?

    The best news is that in Christ our sins are forgiven !

  • There are several sides to this discussion. We are exhorted to be aware of the weaker brother and be cautious of contributing to their stumbling.We are our brothers keepers. Women need to consider these exhortations prior to donning a bikini.

    With that said, we also are exhorted to remove our eye if it makes us stumble. even thinking lustful thoughts makes us guilty of adultery. Men don’t have to look at the women in the bikini, if they are looking lustfully. “Flee from temptation.” Men need to ask themselves why are they going to places that cause them to lust.

    My biggest concern is that some folks may attempt to turn this into a universal treatise, that somehow a women wearing a bikini is sinful. The sin in this situation is the heart and the heart, as Calvin said , is an idol factory. So the real question here is what is the idol ( the woman wearing the bikini in a less than God glorying manner or the man not willing to keep his eyes and lustful thoughts off the woman ?

    The best news is that in Christ our sins are forgiven !

  • I think it’s a woman’s right to wear whatever she wants in good taste. I’ve seen women flauntimg their breasts in a low cut top all the time. Men need to learn to control their thoughts no different than any other person needs to control their thoughts about a lot of things. Grow up!

    • I would like to remind the people that post here that there is a consideration of the teen boys that will say anything to get into bed with your daughters because they have been taught by women who overexpose themselves how to lust after you and by you. So when these boys talk your daughters into bed and look at them like a homeless man. Do you think they are going to marry them and take care of children that they produce with them. Please put this into consideration and God bless

  • A woman should be able to do, say, act and dress how she wants.
    Why hinder a woman’s freedom of expression? This is the 21st century. I could care less what a man thinks. I think my body is beautiful and my confidence in this is what matters. I don’t need to hide that from anyone

    • Because when my husband is staring at your boobs (I probably am too if you’re “flaunting”) it’s not right. Show respect. I’m beautiful, and love working out. Trust me, if I walk by your husband With it all hanging out, he’ll notice!!!! And he’ll have happy thoughts…about ME!!!!! 🙂 THAT’S why you should keep between a man and woman, what is meant to be between a wife and husband! God created men like this to love their wives and make babies. He didn’t intend every female to be practically naked while in Walmart. So females you a responsibility. And you best make sure your fulfill that.

      • you hit it right on the nail. Iv been researching why not to wear a bikini. I have alot growing up. Im 20 and married now and my husbamd opened my eyes to how wrong that is and i try to use the underwear example to his family as to why im wanting to cover up and even his family is kinda like “we get your point but no big deal. ” my mother in law is the sweetest woman in the world and had me try on some of her bathing suits and even if they were tankinis my chest was just totally exposed. In the last two years I’ve really been dressIng very very modestly but still pretty, and I know what the bathing suit my role should be if I wouldn’t wear it in regular clothes why would I wear in a bathing suit form? But its so hard to find Bottoms. But for anyone looking for good tops Kohl’s has some really good ones, there is a brand called zeroXposure that has really cute tanktop style bathing suit tops. 90% of tankinis i find are really only designed for women who are supporters about their stomach and still make your boobs pop out.. I love my body and I’m proud of it but I’m not comfortable showing it off to everyone its mine and my husbands. I want a good tankini top and shorts because in my eyes that or covering up more is the o.ly way to represrnt christianity. I can’t wear one piece is because they’re always pulling up or down the wrong way on me and id have to wear shorts anyway. And lets face it; going to the ladies room w a one peice under your clothes is a pain in the butt. Ask my husbAnd. I would expect him to wear a tee shirt While sswimming in public places, my husband is very fit and would be seen a very attractive in the eyes of any woman. But he’s mine. Mine and Gods. Just like me. And even if he wAs 400lbs I would still expect the sAme And I know he would. But we often swim at his parents house Because they have a pool, and the only woman there are his own mother and sister so no I wouldn’t be bothered by that at all

  • I agree with the findings. I find the most interesting part of the conclusion being that the reaction in the brain was unable to be controlled. The sensors read the brain’s reaction after 2 tenths of a second. Therefore to say that it is the man’s fault for thinking a certain way would be unreasonable because it was an automatic response to a stimulus which happened more quickly than a conscious thought could have taken place. Now, once this reaction has taken place, the man then realizes it, and it would then be his Christian duty to protect his mind and heart by escaping the temptation. It is a natural reaction that can not be controlled. The decision one makes after that natural reaction is what can be controlled.

  • In the 1600’s Richard Baxter made the following statement, “Though it be the man’s sin and vanity that is the cause (of lust) it is nevertheless your sin to be the unnecessary occasion. For you must consider that you live among diseased souls and you must not lay a stumblingblock in their way, nor blow up the fire of their lusts, nor make your ornaments their snares, but you must walk among sinful persons as you would do with a cnadle among straw or gunpowder, or else you may see the flame which you would not foresee when it is too late to quench it.”

    There are no levels of modesty. Modest has been, and always will be, modest. Either you are modest or you are not.

    The most important issue in female modesty is the issue of a pure heart. If we as women desire to please our Savior and honor our brothers in Christ, there is seldom an issue with the clothing we wear.

    Women today wearing a one-piece bathing suit would have been arrested for indecent exposure in the 1920’s.

    In the 1930’s in America it was illegal for men to bare their chest in a public place.

    It’s not our problem to worry about changing the men. Our problem is to change ourselves. We are not here, especially as Christians to do as we please. We are here to please our Savior, and Him alone. His is the only “opinion” that matters.

  • Why should we feel ashamed of what we are or worry so much about our flesh. Honestly the only thing we should be ashamed of is that we judge others more than we just accept them and love them for who they are. Why are we so worried about trivial things, such as if it is OK to wear a bikini.

  • We are called to modesty. Getting as naked as legal is in no way close to modest. Not to mention through side effects of being seen as a sexual object instead of as a.woman.

  • Amen! really interesting facts in there…cleared up some of my confusion as to dressing modestly. Really good video!

  • Did anyone stop to consider that training some young women to be modest is also training them to be ashamed of their bodies, and by training some young men to avert their eyes from any expression of the female form, we’re teaching them they’re perverted for having natural reactions.

    Placing such a high value on modesty seems to me to sexualize women more, because we’re telling her she’s such a sex object she HAS TO COVER UP, or men will turn into drooling cavemen around her. Muslim women in Saudi arabia must be the sexiest on earth, since we have to hide everything but their eyes to keep them from being pounced on! Wowza!

    Men don’t need to grow up and get over it, because that’s simply not on option – we aren’t built that way. Maybe if we learn to accept how male bodies and hormones are designed, they’ll be able to see BOTH the body AND the person.

    Yeah, it’s not the traditional take on this subject. But I wonder: has pornography and sexual addiction become such a huge problem in the church because we’re such pitiful sinners, or could it be that our traditional christian view is a little skewed and produces bad side effects? Like how forced abstinence is working so wonderfully for catholic priests and the children they hang out with.

    • Chad,

      The intention behind teaching young women (or at any age for that matter) modesty is not for women to be ashamed of our bodies. The purpose is not to be ashamed of ourselves, but for us not be stumbling block to others.

      Also, by training young men (or at any age) to avert their eyes is not teaching them that they are perverted. Having natural reactions is human, but we shouldn’t be dominated by them. We were created to do good things and to do all things in glory for God.

      Placing a value of modesty on women is not to sexualize women. It is the opposite; we are placing value on women as a human being, as a person, as an individual.

      The notion that men do not need to “grow up and get over it” because it is futile, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. In another words, if you say that you cannot do something, more than likely you cannot accomplish that action you wish to do.

      Pornography and sexual addiction is prevalent in the secular world as well as in the church. However, this is not because this sexual prevalence is a result from a “skewed” view that produces such “bad side effects.” Mainstream culture highly praise sexual promiscuity and lack of accountability. Besides, a lot of so-called Christians who claim to be Christians do not follow what Scriptures dictate. In fact, the Bible itself has many passages throughout history when professed followers of the faith acted as hypocrites. However, the Bible also tell of people who consistently followed after God’s commandments and obeyed Biblical teachings because they knew it was to their benefit as well.

      As for your mentioning of the “catholic priests”, the Scriptures of the Christian faith never mandated abstinence on their believers. Though Paul preferred abstinence as a way to be more fully devoted to God, a follower of the faith should not feel pressured to stay in that route. (See 1 Corinthians 7:6-9). In fact, it wasn’t until Pope Gregory VII in the 11th century AD did he establish forced abstinence for all clergy.

      I would like to finish this comment by adding that we should be free from being imprisoned by our own deceitful desires. We need to be living for God…not for our own self-interest. Our body is a temple. We should regard ourselves as holy and be seen with respect. Not just women should have modesty. Men too should also be careful in the way they dress as well.

    • Chad, I do not like the catholic priest reference you put in your comment. That is very rude, and you need to think through your thoughts before you express them.

      • 197 out of 200 Catholic priests were faithful to their vows in-so-far as NOT being guilty in the homosexuality/pedophilia scandal. This ratio is the same in other denominations and much less than in the general population.

        • Hello anonymous. I’m not familiar with that study or those stats. Could you share your source? It would actually be contrary to some research I’ve seen recently on television in terms of sexual sin being more prevalent in the Catholic church than in other denominations.

  • Wow, that was a weird finding in brain activity. But since I’m male, I already instinctively knew why my gender shamefully drops their own seeds (masturbates) or watches women’s bodies at an almost uncomfortable amount. Now how to teach this to other teenage guys to make their minds go where God wishes…

  • I will continue to wear my bikini .. If I work my tail off to get my bod to look good I’m going to show it off! Not to mention I appreciate a solid tan!

    • If you are interested in showing off anything that is Pride and when that thing that you want to show off causes another christian to stumble it becomes selfishness and arrogance. You end up being the opposite of Christ.

  • I’m always so amazed at the pride and rebellion brought out in arguments about this subject. We are not talking about men’s rules here, we are not talking about being ashamed of our bodies, but following God’s desires and respecting our brothers. A woman who says “who cares what the Bible or anyone says, I will do what I want!” should examine her heart and her motives.

  • They removed the heads from the photographs of bodies in bikinis and they’re surprised that the viewers weren’t seeing the people in the photographs as fully human…. Hmmmm…. I think what this research shows isn’t that girls shouldn’t wear bikinis (I think a simplistic conclusion.), but that males aren’t being taught a healthy sexuality. What about men wearing speedos, or swimming trunks without shirts on. Geez, cover up men, ’cause women are just as visual as men (Studies can find out things about women and their response to men’s bodies, too.), and you bad men out there are causing these women’s pre-frontal cortexes to not function in a way that they would if the women saw those mostly naked men as fully human. Or maybe, could it be that women can see mostly naked men and not go to the extreme that the men do because women have a more healthy sexuality?? Sorry, but the logic in this video is very one-sided with a double standard – and flawed. What about the affect a guy in a speedo has on a gay man who finds him attractive and fantasizes about him? Does lust only count if it’s heterosexual? Isn’t modesty (according to the logic in the video) about preventing lust – casting the responsibility on the person being lusted after, instead of the person lusting?? According to this logic in the video, the man wearing the speedo is at fault for the other man’ lust. If the other person’s response is a guage for the responsibility of the wearer, then men and women need to all be completely covered in burquas. Wait, though, studies have found that even with a burqua on, Muslims women still get ogled by men who simply just use a little more imagination but are still mentally undressing a woman after a glimpse of the shape of her arm, back, or legs…. What to do…what to do….

  • Honestly, the problem with this video is that it is trying to set a rule based on what we meager humans think we understand.
    Human laws are not perfect. Banning bikinis or declaring them sinful under Christian standards restrains freedom of expression from one sex but not another. Human laws, therefore, are fraudulent; the only reliable standards we have are those set in the Bible. And nowhere does it say: “thou shalt not wear a bikini.”
    I know that the Bible has been around well before the invention of the bikini. But God is the Bible’s true author, having used a human medium through which to write the Scriptures. God knew that this time, the time that we live in, would come. He knew perfectly well of the moral obscurities that we would face. Therefore, the Bible, although written in respect to the culture of the time it was made, addresses not only the issues that were known in the past, but the issues of today as well.
    So what can we conclude? To us, the sophisticated nature of this issue has smeared the fine line between right and wrong.
    Fortunately, Jesus knows right where the fine line actually is. Proverbs 3:5 says: Trust in The LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (NASB) Therefore, let us not allow imperfect speakers like the man in this video deter us from who really knows all things. Rather, let us listen to God, pray for wisdom on this issue, and ask that his Spirit would lead us down the right path.

  • not sue about this!! i was raised a lutheran and my mother took us to church every single sunday. and never once did my mother tell me not to wear a bikini. i am so confused and scared about ths….

  • Unfortunately those of us Christ like people, don’t seem to be educated on who and what we are. I hear a lot of things of modesty and women complaining how unfair it is. Women don’t even know what they are. They are the jewel kept secret until found by the one they should be with. The Bible talks about women as one of the most precious among us. Being able to talk sweet to us to woo us men, their breasts are like honey to a man, and their beauty is way beyond our comprehension, which makes them really special. Dressing to show off as I put it, is like having their goods put into a bag of with holes, they let it fall out rather then keep it in so when its time for the use has come, they may not have much to offer. I praise my wife for keeping her modesty so I can enjoy the goods for our private times. My belief is that women should be taught to get ready to please the one man, not 99% of the men.

  • This is so tired and so stereotyped. Many men can appreciate a fit woman without lusting after her. There is sexual attraction which was created by God, but any godly man can easily make the distinction between admiring a pretty woman who presents herself in a wonderful manner and being loyal to one person he is in covenant with. If a woman has a brazen appearance and come-hither countenance, she could be dressed following the strictest religious rules and cause a man to stumble. Most women know that you could be very conservatively dressed and walk by a construciton site and get wolf whistles. Sin is present and women must not be blamed for this. I am not talking about those who are extreme, as that answer takers care of itself. However, a girl with a pure spirit and an innocent face can make a day brighter for many in a mini, crop top, or bikini that gives glory to the creator and helps her feel good about herself and the manner in which she maintains her temple. Man-made rules have NO VALUE against fleshly indulgence. People would do well to read the Bible where writers INSPIRED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT described female beauty in ways where they could not have beent graduates of so-called modesty schools.

  • I don’t think it is proper for a girl (or a boy) to dress in a way that is very sexy or provocative (attracting attention of others on self for the wrong reasons). But I do understand now, that it is possible for a man, being fully satisfied in Christ, to have complete control over his thoughts and desires. I never thought, before 2009, it could be possible to be free from sexual temptations. But when Jesus met me in 2009, at the heart level, he healed me from my deepest emotional wounds. And WOW!! I have found this new freedom from sin and lust all together.

    Struggle in my soul is present now only when my heart is not emotionally and spiritually connected to Jesus as it should be. Glory and praise to Jesus that has not happened very often. He is the only real solution to all of our dilemmas and struggles.

  • This question is always posed as what women should not do. Have you ever seen this question posed “Should men look at women in bikinis?”

    Notions of modesty in this context are entirely based on social norms; perhaps in N. America it *is immodest* to wear a bikini on the beach. It is *immodest* in Saudi Arabia for a woman to show anything but her eyes and the top of her feet. In Germany it is perfectly modest to be completely nude in a mixed gender spa. Bare breasts were and even until the 1960s still perfectly modest in parts of Polynesia. Yet many of the authors on this subject treat N. American notions of modesty as if objective moral absolutes. How many cm² of cloth is modest? Howard Hughes allegedly hired an “expert” to measure with calipers the cleavage exposed by certain films stars to “prove” to the film censors that Jane Russell was not exposing objectively any more cleavage.

    How does one account for pre-colonial Polynesian society, where clothing consisted of little more than a “grass skirt?” Were men of that culture so overcome by lust that the society could not function? That is an absurd conclusion.

    The science of the Princeton study is so shoddy as to make the study no more valid than pure opinion.

    • Societal norms do influence what we deem to be modest or immodest. That fact does not negate the presence of modesty. It only influences it. Your line of reasoning seems to presume that we should do away with modesty because it has influencers. That is not reasonable.

      Nick, the Princeton name is widely respected. In order to have research studied and published in that name, it has to have some level of credibility. I’m not sure why you would think your opinion to be weightier.

      • Dannah,

        I did not suggest we do away with modesty. What is modest must be taken in context. If you were a woman, would you insist on showing your legs in Saudi Arabia, even when local standards are different than in N. America? Do you condemn the Polynesian or the German for wearing less than what would be acceptable in N. America in similar situations? I am suggesting the cultural norms, context, and motivation must define modesty. Jane Russell may have been displaying objectively less cleavage than Claudette Colbert, I suspect we would both agree that Hughes display and intention were to present Ms. Russell in a much more sexualized and provocative manner.

        As to the Princeton study, there has been criticism the sample size was small and narrow.

        • Those who criticize the Princeton study are using straw man arguments to distract people from good thinking.

          As for cultural norms, I can only tell you how I respond to them and that is that I respect them. When I travel to Zambia to work to fight HIV/AIDS, I generally wear long, loose skirts though I am rarely seen in those in the US. This is the preferred expression of modesty there and I am respectful of it. While this is a respectful expression, I’m also unlikely to be seen topless there because I do not find that modest even though it’s rather common to see a young mother nearly or totally topless when I am there. (Usually only breast feeding moms and it’s rare.) I think we have to use common sense to measure our standard against God’s and not cultures, but we can still be respectful.

  • Dannah

    Do you believe the women you mention in Zambia are, *by definition* immodest? I would say not so, as I would say for other examples I have suggested before. I have encountered individuals who would nonetheless insist those women are immodest.

    You respect the local definition of modesty by your dress while equally maintaining your own concept as well.

    The bikini by itself, is not by definition immodest. Two women, wearing the exact same bikini, one could be modest and the other immodest, context and attitude are important considerations. In another context, I recall a day at the beach with a church group several decades ago. One girl of 17 was wearing a swimsuit which consisted of a very long yellow pleated skirt, and a long sleeve shirt. Under the circumstances, this swimsuit was immodest for the amount of attention it drew, as the pharisee praying loudly. Immodesty is not limited to less clothing, but the attention deliberately sought by appearance. If the bikini is culturally acceptable in N. America (which location I am assuming this debate concerns) then it is not immodest. We may debate whether or not it is culturally acceptable, although cultural norms do change. I would argue that it has become so. Men once wore swimsuits which were similar in appearance to long underwear.

    I would agree a great deal of criticism of the Princeton study is opinionated reaction and not supported by actual science. I would also suggest that much of the conclusions drawn by others is equally so.

    • There are some women in Zambia who are modest. There are some who are immodest. I’ve spent many hours, days, and months there. They’ve adopted a largely Western style of dressing, especially the younger ones. The same challenges are present there that are in our American culture.

      I can agree that a piece of fabric (bikini) is not in and of itself modest. It’s the overall attitude of the person in the fabric that makes something modest or immodest. However, most bikinis leave nothing much to the imagination. I think they probably veer towards the immodest side of things.

      I have to say, I’m exasperated by the society we live in sometimes. It seems that a person who has a blog or computer to leave a comment on a blog thinks he or she has as much credibility as experts out there. The PRINCETON study is backed by the name of PRINCETON! Not just a person with an opinion but someone who conducted research that was valid enough to get backed by an Ivey League school. It’s a huge logical fallacy to just say you don’t agree with something. Where is YOUR science?

  • Ok, so I think the real issue here is heart motivation. Girls know when guys are being lustful. No offense, but it’s pretty easy to tell(the drool’s a dead giveaway)…I myself grew up in a very legalistic home, where we weren’t allowed to wear any type of bikini bottom with our bathing suits. It was shorts, and very, VERY modest tops. And that’s the way its always been. But recently I moved to Europe, and have come to realize the abnormality of the american thought process. Everything in the U.S. is sexualized. Here, women walk around completely naked, and no one gives them a second glance. Its all relative. I agree that as Christian women, we should not cause our brothers in Christ to stumble. However, modesty in the church is not only now a good thing to do, it’s required and causes judgmental attitudes. And that, is the saddest thing of all. Women should not be judged by the clothes they wear, they should be judged by their heart. Honestly, this is such a tired, over-discussed debate. ITS A BATHING SUIT, for crying out loud! You think when girls get to heaven, they are going to be turned away for wearing a bikini? Its the culture that has turned this into such a big issue. My neighbor’s two little girls (10 and 12) have worn bikinis since they were toddlers. And they see nothing wrong with it. They were utterly aghast when they learned how looked down upon it was in the U.S. for christian girls. Women, girls, please. Do not stress over this subject. Its all in the heart. If you have to stop and think about why you are wearing a bikini, then you should probably refrain, because your heart is in the wrong place. That’s my two cents on the issue. I had to put something because I could FEEL the judgmental and legalistic attitude oozing out from my computer screen.

    • So sad you were subjected to legalism. I just despise it!

      It seems that when we have a childhood experience like that it often flavors our ability to process information on related topics in healthy manners. For example, I know a woman who was sexually abused by her HUSBAND (it happens) and as a result had a lie deep within her that all men are bad. With a lot of work and counseling, we ripped up the lie.

      You are correct: the American culture hyper-sexualizes almost EVERYTHING. So sad. This makes our job of teaching self-respect so challenging.

      As for naked people being less sexual…There’s a visual design theory called Gestalt. It basically teaches that the human brain completes and incomplete picture. (You know how we see bunny rabbits or clowns in the clouds. That’s Gestalt.) Anyway, I think that a fully naked person is less sexual than a purposefully, sexually dressed person. I find some art sculptures, photos of the Sports Illustrated body issue, and other pieces of art BEAUTIFUL. In full nudity, the body can be lovely and not sexual. But the Gestalt Theory states that a sensually posed woman in clothing can be…well, just distasteful. So…I think we could find a lot to agree upon!

  • Dannah,

    I just wanted to respond again although I feel it is time for me to stop posting, and view other posting, but I want to remain cordial. I am not sure we are too much in disagreement. I do have a very broad depth of first hand cultural experience from which I feel qualified to draw conclusions relevant to a discussion such as this. I have taken interest in this subject since the event with the young woman I illustrated above, despite many years since. I have made study of works about body image and self esteem. I would note, in my opinion, the oversexualization of the body in American society, images of women in bikinis or similar images for men, as well as the type of standards required of that young woman, all work against a healthy sense of body image. In my opinion again, the requirement for her to wear what she did was also objectifying and sexualizing her body.

    I appreciate your comment on Gestalt theory above. One of my main points is one can be in a setting where complete nudity is accepted, in fact required, but can and still in fact should maintain a sense of modesty.

    Thank you also for taking the time to respond thoughtfully to the many comments

    • Isn’t it a funny thing that total nakedness can be less sexual than partial nudity? We could probably write a book on that. Thanks for your kindness.

  • 1 Cor 8:13
    1 Cor 10:23
    Mat 18:7
    Mat 17:22-27
    1 Tim 2:9
    Rom 12:1

    CLEAR … !
    SWIMSUIT…u can wear appropriate clothes except bikini..well done..problem solve

  • I don’t think it’s good for women to look at men wearing bikinis..it could possibally cause one to stumble..

  • I don’t think the lord would actually desire for any Christian woman to expose any part of her body in public as in breasts,cleavage,etc..but I also don’t believe it’s a behavior that condemns the soul to Hell..God doesn’t expect a non believer or non Christian to act in a Christlike manner..God isn’t foolish..On the other hand,God knows the heart of every man and woman and this where we’re judged..not by our performance or by our works,but by our faith in Him.This doesn’t mean or equate to “perfect performance” as in fully clothed or not fully clothed..God knows my heart if I look at a woman wearing a bikini and he also takes me as an individual into consideration..this is where most ministers disagree and instead preach with what’s called “single mindedness”(as in we’re ALL the same,we’re all called to the same level of commitment..THAT’S HOG WASH..we’re individuals,having been raised differently,and been exposed to different situations,beliefs and circumstances.. we each have different hearts..and reasons for doing and thinking certain things and this is how we’re judged..as individuals..)..I’m sure Jesus would prefer women not flaunt themselves in public,but also,it’s not a single circumstance that’s sending the soul to Hell ..

    • Whoa…Dennis….where did we get to sending people to hell over bikinis? Not on this blog, that’s for sure. 🙂 God’s gift of heaven is a free gift. No cost involved. No behavior required. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; for it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8. One day, long ago, I realized I had faith. Believed Jesus died for all the dumb stuff I’ve ever done. Took my punishment. Paid my price. That day. Right then and there, I just asked for the gift. And got it. Heaven bound. AND I HAVE WORN A BIKINI SINCE THEN. HECK, ONCE I EVER WORE MY BRA AND UNDERWEAR INTO A HOT TUB AT A COMPANY PARTY. Now, I don’t think that was good. (Either of those choices.) But I’m still heaven bound. Sure of it. Here’s the thing: my heart is slowly and ever-so-more softening to the fact that I want to honor the death of Christ. Kind of like honoring my family name. I don’t want my parents represented by a bra-clad girl in a hot tub any more than I want Jesus represented that way. The Bible gives us some directions on what is good and what is harmful for us and our family name. Modesty is one thing that’s represented in the Word. So…thus the bikini post. But…no tickets to hell issued here, friend!

  • If women are not allowed to wear biknis, then why don’t we ask those men to cover up their chests? Answer me that question?

  • A a Christian reading and studying God’s Word I’m learning about being a separated people. The bible say’s let this mind of Christ be in us(Christians) Philip. 2:5.With this in mind the question should really be ” What Would Jesus Do”. Would Jesus walk around scandously dressed.(I address this question to Christian men and women), Let us remember the very nature and character of Christ .

  • I am a teen girl and what I have learned and been taught is that we shouldn’t tempt guys. Whether they think about our bodies or not is up to them. But we shouldn’t remind them of it.
    For me, I don’t want to wear a bikini, because I have seen men look at girls with a lustful expressions. It’s completely disgusting! I don’t want to looked at like that!

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