Most of you know by now that I am against the moralization of one-piece swimsuits. I am writing this response because a) a few people have asked me to, and b) because there are many, many things I disagree with this woman about.
First of all, Jessica Rey is the designer of a line of "modest" swimsuits available online, and this talk she gave was a promotion of that. In this review/response I will attempt to look at what she says in her speech and what her website shows about her belief on modesty.
1. The Itsy-Bitsy-Teeny-Weeny-Yellow-Polka-Dot-Bikini
In this video, Rey discusses this song by Bobby Darin as part of her defense as to why women should be modest. Here are the lyrics:
Honestly. THAT was "modest" in a different time-period and culture in America. If we're not satisfied with what is acceptable in our culture now, then why not go all the way back to the 1700's and 1800's? That's the slippery slope you get into with that kind of thinking. It's illogical and unsound.
Fashion and what is acceptable is completely culture. As I have stated in previous posts, there are different cultures all over the world where different kinds of dress are culturally acceptable and unacceptable. Women cover up much more down in Haiti than on the beaches in Europe, and there are tribes in Africa where the women don't even wear tops. So what is culturally acceptable in the United States?
Now, before we go to that place of listing out what is and isn't acceptable, remember this: There was never supposed to be a complete separation between Christianity and secular culture. The Pharisees separated themselves from the "sinners" by their legalism, and look where that landed them. Yes, we're supposed to be "in this world but not of it," but we are also called to be culturally relevant. How can we even remotely reach out to those who don't know Christ if we're constantly worried about how much fabric we or they are wearing?
4. "It's about revealing our dignity."
Honestly, most of my responses to this video are... "What?" Jessica Rey's full quote is, "Modesty isn't about covering up our bodies because they're bad. Modesty isn't about hiding ourselves. It's about revealing our dignity."
I'm not going to give this quote much time, but...
Okay. To give Rey some credit, I'm glad that she said what modesty shouldn't be about (even though it really is), but here's my question. Where's my dignity hiding that it only comes out when I've got the right amount of fabric on my body? Does my dignity run away until I plaster 6 inches of fabric over my torso and then all of a sudden it shouts, "HEY I'M HERE." No. I am a human being. And as such, I have dignity - no matter what I'm wearing. Case Closed.
5. Have you SEEN the website? Who are these swimsuits made for, anyway?
Okay. I'm confused. I went onto the Rey Swimwear website and looked around, and not only did I find that these are not one-pieces but tankinis, they also seem to be made for rich, thin, young women. Granted, there are some swimsuits on sale for $29, but the average is $49 (plus shipping) and it goes upwards to $90 for the swimsuits that Rey talks about being inspired by Audrey Hepburn (which I'm assuming she promoted her so women would want to buy those styles - which is honestly just being a smart saleswoman).
First off, as Dianna Anderson (a fellow Christian Feminist, and here is her website) pointed out via Twitter, tankinis are DANG hard to swim in - the tops are impossible to keep down when you're in the water, and that makes things just incredibly complicated and frustrating.
Secondly, the sizes for these swimsuits only go to 16. There are no plus-size options. So what happens then to the women who desire to be modest but only fit into plus-sizes? They aren't good enough to buy those swimsuits.
The point here is this: for all the talk that Jessica Rey does about how important modesty is for all women, she has a pretty narrow view of what women's body types are like and doesn't adjust accordingly so that all women who want to be modest can be. It's easy for her to think about being modest because she's tiny. However, many other women are not. Abi Bechtel responds to this kind of attitude toward plus-sized women in her blog post, "Fat, Modesty, and Eating Twinkies Naked."
***This post is part of a Synchro-blog/Link-Up on From Two to One. Make sure you check out the other amazing posts on there!***