I don’t normally write response posts, but this is a response to this post (which I recommend only looking at if you are female), which details a plus-size woman’s social experiment to see what the reactions would be if she went down the beach in a low-rise bikini.
I felt the need to write a response because I have noticed that this is not an isolated idea. This is a growing trend which I find alarming.
It is alarming because it tells you that if you want to feel accepted, normal, beautiful, or sexy in the body that you have then you need to show your body off. The test of bravery and self-love is to be able to wear a bikini in public. Then, if people make fun of you or disapprove of what you do, you write on your blog about it and post it on Facebook, so that everyone can share your story with the world, say how beautiful and brave you are, and tell you how awful all the other people are who ever said differently.
Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why are we feeding the system? Why do we feel like every one needs to approve of how we look? Why do we consider wearing less as a mark of a high sense of self-worth?
It is because the world around us is feeding us lies.
While it is true that God made your body, but He didn’t make it for everyone, and not everybody will (or should, for that matter) find your body attractive–because He didn’t make it for you to show off to everyone.
Not everybody is supposed to see everyone’s body. Only your spouse is supposed to see your body (Genesis 2:25), and they are taught by God how to love only your body for the rest of their lives (Proverbs 5:15-20).
Think about it, if only your spouse saw only your body, and you cared about pleasing only your spouse, then you free yourself from being subject to society’s stupid ideals. If your spouse is also living by God’s standard, which teaches them to only look at you, then the picture is beautifully complete. When you decide to not show off your body and open yourself up to criticism, you can live with the peace and freedom of not openly inviting yourself to be either the object of sexual attention or criticism.
This is freedom.
When we attach our worth to what others think of us, we help the cycle of shame and slavery to the world’s ideals continue to go around and around. A girl sees pictures of another beautiful girl. She feels bad about herself. She posts pictures of herself on Facebook. She gets likes. Another girls sees this other girl’s picture and starts to hate her own body. She posts pictures of herself. She gets likes. A heap of guys see these pictures and start looking at their partners differently and make negative comments. Their girls feel bad about themselves. They post pictures of themselves. And it goes on.
What if there was another way?
…all women stopped feeling the need to show off their bodies to feel good about themselves…
…there was no pornography entangling and ensnaring our young men’s minds…
…there were no magazines with scantily-clad women telling us (or our men) how we ought to look…
…men and women alike refused to regard or be subjected to this world’s twisted ideals…
…men would only have their own wives to look at, and they would find it easier to be satisfied with and only take pleasure in their wives’ bodies, like they should be (Proverbs 5:15-20)…
…women would feel less need to compete with each other…
…and there would be less insecurities.
Of course, people shouldn’t attack people who do not have the “ideal body,” but when one’s desire to feel beautiful turns into the need to feel sexy, wear a bikini around, and meet with everyone’s approval – something has gone horribly wrong. This is not the way to deal with a lack of self-esteem.
Society has made self-worth equal the ability to walk around in a bikini unashamed. This needs to stop.
You and I need to realize that our beauty is not defined by anyone else. When we decide to dress modestly, we are telling the world that we don’t need them to look at and approve of our bodies.
When I start to define my beauty by the amount of likes on a picture – whether or not people stare at me, how much flesh I can show without being ashamed, or how many people voice their approval – then I am always going to need that for my security. When I have learnt that what others think about my body doesn’t matter, that’s when I will find freedom and peace.
To help change this world and stop fat-shaming, we don’t need to wear less, or compliment and uphold those who do. We need to change our attitudes and the way we look at ourselves and others.
We need to work and teach our girls to be women that don’t need attention to feel loved and secure, and seek to be defined by who we are, rather than what we look like. We need to rid ourselves of the need to show off whatever it is we have, and the need for everyone’s approval. We need to start looking at people’s souls rather than their bodies, starting with ourselves.
We need to seek to make this world a better, kinder place; filled with less insecurities and more of Christ.
Christ cared less about Himself and what He could gain, thinking instead upon what could best benefit others (cf. Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Corinthians 10:33).
Parading your beautiful body on the beach may help you to feel good short term, but it is not a way to make other women feel good about themselves. It is not showing kindness to other women who are trying to hold the attention of their husbands and boyfriends; nor is it showing kindness to men who are trying to keep their eyes only for their partners. Be honest with yourself, do you feel better/more secure about yourself after you look at an attractive naked person? Honestly? I don’t think so.
What we choose to do needs to be less about how much attention/ approval we can gain, and more about living a God-glorifying life. When we live to the glory of God, we care more about others than ourselves.
I could wear a bikini and post it on Facebook for all to see so that I could feel better about myself, but I’m not going to. That wouldn’t prove anything, apart from the fact that this world values flesh rather than virtue. I am only for my husband and I want glory to go to God for how I behave, not my body.
Freedom and security are not found in putting on less, but in putting on Christ (cf. Galatians 3:26-28)
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