Growing up, I thought the only reason to wear a one-piece bathing suit was to hide fat. I thought skinny people wore two-pieces and fat people wore one-pieces. Just the rules. However, when I was in highschool, my friend Natalie (who is thin) wore a one-piece all the time. I remember talking to her about it, and she said that wore one when she knew she would be around guys- because she thought that her body was none of their business. I remember being surprised about that because I had never given much thought to modesty in regards to bathing suits.
By their very nature, bathing suits are not modest. They are skin tight and resemble underwear. Everything is on display. But talking to Natalie made me realize that there are some decisions you can make about someone else's ability to know everything about your body.
I was reading Elizabeth Esther's blog this morning about her daughter's bathing suit choices, and it made me remember this revelation with Natalie in highschool. Her husband reminded her that it's not about the bikini- it's about the relationship. The relationship with her daughter for her to understand modesty and purity is what matters- not the bathing suit.
I go to a camp with my church every summer, and they have a rule that you have to wear one-piece bathing suits. And, I'll be honest, there is a incredible sense of innocence for that entire week on the beach. People who come to camp for the first time always complain about the rule, but after you've gone a couple of years, you kinda come to like it. However, I do think there is such a thing as TOO modest.
I have some friends that I babysit for- their daughters are 11 and 8. Naturally, when I babysit in the summer, we go to the pool. The first time we went, I was shocked to watch the little girls get their bathing suits on and put a pair of board shorts over their suits. I mean, they're little girls. There's a part of me that feels like making little girls wear shorts or those crazy swim-outfits is teaching a sense of shame of their bodies. I think there has to be a balance.
Obvs, I'm not a parent, so I don't have to make these decisions, but it does make me think.