Here we are again! Someone has spouted off on the Internet about their glorified opinion. But just as they are entitled to share their views on the wonderful Internet, so am I. Welcome to Part 2 of Ladies, Wear Whatever You Want, an unfortunately ongoing series about what women can and cannot wear. I was hoping I didn’t need a second installment, but I consider myself one of the many many champions of the body-posi movement. So for the girls who are too afraid to speak out, for the women who lack the platform that you and I have, Kayla Ratajczak, I am here to (maybe not so politely) disagree with your opinion on bikini bottoms. Let me show you where I find fault in your sweet clickbait piece.
As spring is starting to finally show its face after a long harsh winter, many women are becoming excited about all of the new spring fashion lines that are being released full of bright colors and fun pieces. However, upon the release of the new swimsuit line, I believe many women, including myself, are less than thrilled.
Are you kidding me? Have you seen Target’s new swimsuit campaign? No photo-shopping? Cute styles that fit body types of all kinds? I am literally thrilled about the new swimsuit lines that are coming out. With each season that the body-posi movement grows, corporations and fashion designers are taking the desires of the consumer to heart. That means I am seeing women who look like me plastered across the Target ad, having a grand old time at the beach with supported tatas and freed cheeks. It’s an amazing change compared to the past ten years of swimsuit campaigns.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check it out. Just type “Bathing Suit Trends for 2017” into your Google search bar and “Cheeky” bikini bottoms will more than likely be at the top of your list. Coming from a female who cares about her body and self-image, this not only makes me angry but disappointed in the lack of value that women still have today.
I would like to make something clear here. I actually did google search the phrase “bathing suit trends for 2017” and I was surprised. I put a screen grab above this of what I found. Did you Google search this phrase? Because, correct me if I’m wrong here, I’m not seeing many beautiful booties at all. In fact, I had to scroll down for a few minutes before I found one picture of a model’s behind. How do you know these women are wearing cheeky bottoms? Do you have X-ray vision? Were you perhaps at the countless fashion shows these models walked at, and can verify that their bottoms are in fact, cheeky?
And I’m so glad to hear you care about your body and self-image. However, I’m sad to hear that a woman wearing a revealing swimsuit immediately means she is of any less value than you and I are. This is something I was not aware of. I’m glad you’ve discovered that the caliber of person a woman is is dictated solely by what is covering her ass cheeks, not what she has done to benefit the world, what she has risen above, or what she fights to preserve. Now that I have this easy way of calculating women’s worth, I will be sure to utilize that in the future should I be looking for very valuable women friends on the beach.
First off, why should it be socially acceptable to wear basically a thong around in public in the summer months? Have bathing suit companies forgotten that often times, women are around young children and family members when sporting a bathing suit? More importantly, what does it teach the younger generation who see women wearing these types of bathing suits? It surely doesn’t teach them about having self-respect or dignity in themselves.
Cheeky bottoms are not thong bottoms. Thong bottoms are thong bottoms. I thought I might clear that up for you. Both are acceptable, ladies.
I love that you are so concerned for young eyes here. But I’d have to argue that little kids don’t really care about what the women of today are wearing to the beach. Something that is far more detrimental, however, is an adult or guardian’s perception towards what a girl is wearing. A child playing in the sand isn’t going to pay attention to the cut of a woman’s swimsuit. But if Mother Dearest or Big Sissy directs slut-shaming comments towards the girl wearing the suit, that is going to leave a much bigger impact on the child than a flash of cheek ever would. Which is primarily what I’m worried about here. Self-respect or dignity isn’t printed on the tag of my swimsuit bottoms. That’s something in my very core, that isn’t visible to the naked eye. It bleeds out after time, sure, but to make a split second judgement on a woman just because she wants a nice tan line is completely irresponsible. I imagine that you’ve experienced quite a few missed connections due to your pre-conceived notions of what dictates a woman’s self-respect. And you do not get to determine that on a moment’s glance.
I’m all for the self-confidence, you should feel amazing and proud of what you wear; however, a line needs to be drawn firmly in the sand in regards to what is appropriate and what is not and “cheeky” bathing suit bottoms are not appropriate. I mean think of yourself as a parent, would you want to see your daughter flaunting “her stuff” in a bathing suit that barely covers anything while boys flock to her every side? I think not.
Line in the sand. That’s funny. I like that. Because beaches and swimsuits go together. I lol’ed.
As to your question, rather than thinking of myself as a parent, I decided to ask my own parents what they thought. Here is what they said:
Dad: As a parent, no, that doesn’t make me comfortable. I think a skimpy bathing suit will always sexualize the person wearing it, especially to the knuckle-dragging idiots that think that actually defines a person. It’s actually worse now than it was a decade ago because society continues to get more sexualized. Television, movies, social media. It’s all going off the deep end. There’s so much more going on right now than girls with their asses hanging out. If you don’t want to see that, don’t go to the beach. If you’re so hung up on that, do your best to remove yourself from that situation.
Mom: I want my daughters to be self-confident in who they are and what they wear. And what they wear has no implication on who they are as a person. I don’t have a problem with you (a 20 year old young woman who is secure in who she is and how she presents herself) wearing a suit like that, and you do wear suits like that, but I would have a problem with your younger sister (a 13 year old diamond) wearing something like that. It’s age-appropriate. You can handle when boys look at you. You ignore them. I don’t want them looking at my 13 year old. There’s a difference.
Thanks, Mom and Dad. Consensus between my parents is that there is definitely some kind of an implication that comes with wearing a “cheeky” suit. But that implication isn’t derived from the wearer, oh no. It’s derived from the intrusive male gaze and Odyssey writers who feel that their golden opinion is the law when it comes to what a woman should wear.
Although I know many women this summer will not be listening to my advice, however, for those of you who do, thank you for showing respect to your bodies as well as yourselves. Our world needs more women like you to prove that we are characters of substance and value, not just itemized beauty to gawk at. As for me, you’ll find me this summer laying on a beach with a bathing suit that fully covers my behind.
Showing respect to your body isn’t something that you can find in a clothing aisle or a dressing room. Showing respect to your body is like drinking Pedialyte for a bad hangover, or satisfying chocolate cravings on your period. Your body doesn’t really care what you wear, so long as you’re wearing sunscreen. Show respect to your bodies by wearing sunscreen. Sun poisoning is not fun.
As for “characters of substance and value,” I am worried about you, Kayla. I am worried that because of your pre-conceived notions of beauty and fixation on the human form, you can’t see “characters of substance and value.” All you see is a cheeky bottom. You need to learn to look past the cheeky bottom, to the cheeky woman it is on. Clothing does not dictate class. Clothing does not dictate self-worth. Other people do not dictate self-worth. Let me say it louder for the people in the back. OTHER PEOPLE DO NOT DICTATE SELF-WORTH. That is something that everyone must find for themselves, down in the deepest parts of us. There is so much more there than some colorful butt-coverings. There is an entire human, an entire personality that feels comfortable in that swimsuit. That’s amazing. Who are you to tell her she is not wonderful, she is not capable of fantastic things, she is not a splendid addition to the world, just because of what’s on her ass? (Also, did you mean “objectified” instead of “itemized?” Just an editor’s note.)
Since I do not know you, Kayla, since I do not know anything about you other than what you have chosen to share with the Internet, I will not judge you for wearing the bathing suit of your choice. I won’t even judge you for this article. I just hope that you hear what I am pleading to you. What I am pleading to unfortunately many women and men. Your clothing choice will never define your worth. Only you can do that. You can find me here the next time someone comes after women. Unfortunately, it will most likely happen again. Until then, ladies, wear whatever the hell you want.
*Pictures provided by members of the HerCampus Alabama staff