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Just Swim

The modesty police have found a new champion. Here's her video being passed around.

First of all, I'd like to acknowledge the reality of many people treating the wearing of a bikini like some triumph to aspire to, as if swim suits are a hierarchy, and if you're in a bikini you've reached the top. I think that's rubbish, and we should knock it off. But on the flip side of that, feeling morally superior to your bikini clad sisters because you wear something "modest" is just another form of vanity, and you should knock that off too.

Her speech starts off benign enough. The evolution of swim apparel has gone from ridiculous to....well, ridiculous according to Ms. Jessica Rey. At about 4:20ish we find out why. A study proving that men are more likely to objectify you in a bikini. So naturally it follows that wearing a bikini actually lessens your claim to power and equality because men won't see you as a full human being. The modesty police feel smug and vindicated. High fives all around.

I find this video ridiculous, as I'm sure you can tell by my snark (prepare yourself for more.) She paints swim suit shopping as this sad wasteland where you must choose between bikinis and grandma suits, and that you are being man handled by society into wearing something itsy bitsy against your will. But in her swim suits you are an individual making a statement, artfully deflecting sexual objectification by men with your retro style! Because when some sexist jerk looks at your Audrey Hepburn inspired one piece he will say, "Dang, I was gonna objectify her and go all caveman, but then the elegant design of her swim suit reminded me that she is a person, worthy of my respect."

Whew! Aren't you relieved! Because if he would've objectified you, your dignity would've been swept away, much like a bikini bottom after a dive. That's just how special and powerful men's thoughts are, after all.

And about the study she cites; the men were shown pictures of scantily clad women in comparison to *fully clothed women*. This does not prove that a "modest" swim suit would illicit no such objectification. In fact, until Ms. Jessica Rey puts her own swim suits through similar rigorous study (scratch that, this study was less than rigorous), we simply can't be sure her suits are objectification proof. Further, the men who responded the worst (parts of their brain shut off) were already labeled as "hostile sexists." Pro tip: sexist men are sexist no matter what swim suit you wear.

And where is the concern for how men's swim suits have also evolved into less modest options? (Read more about that here.) I expect her line of male unitards is up next for men who want to reveal their sense of dignity.

Bottom line: her message rests entirely on the toxic idea that how men react to us is the barometer by which we should set our "modesty" standards, and if we don't, we lack dignity. How about let's be less concerned with what's on the body, or the mind of men, and more concerned with how great it feels to swim.

Ladies, you reveal your dignity by much more important things than what you wear while swimming. Anyone telling you otherwise is selling something. In this case, that is literally true.

Last modified: 2019-04-21 09:56:59


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Name: Kay (304 weeks, 4 days ago)
If the media or a Princeton study shows men or women as objects, then it stands to reason they are going to be objectified. The study is flawed from the beginning.
Name: Shalie (304 weeks, 4 days ago)
Fantastic post Hillary! Thanks for giving another perspective on modesty :)
Name: David B. (304 weeks, 3 days ago)
Jessica Rey is wearing a sleeveless shirt, and I can see her knees and ankles. By many standards, THAT would be immodest, which isn't to support modesty, rather than her entire argument is completely flawed just on relativity. Any bathing suit is more revealing than most things people typically wear. At any rate, we all know the world is going to hell in a handbasket because binikis are being worn.
Name: Trapper (304 weeks ago) atbigelow.com
I liked how they had a paper that showed some men objectifying women, and that then "proves men will objectify a woman in a bikini." The jump in logic there was pretty fascinating to me. I was also confused in what she said the mens responses were. I've never used the term "I grab" that I can remember.
End of comments.

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