Archives of Our Lives

{a narrow and broad look into the lives of people I love}

Monday, October 27, 2008

Not That I'm Judging, or Anything...

I was raised with the understanding that I was to dress modestly. In our family, "modest" was very specific: cover my shoulders, cover my bosom, cover my midriff, cover my buttocks. (In other words, boobs, belly, butt. [Only we're not crude here at Archives of Our Lives. We're very ladylike, and we use words like "midriff."])

My parents were firm in laying down this family law, and I never thought to question it--it was not negotiable, so I didn't even bother trying. {Later on in life, I realised my physique was not conducive to showing all that skin anyway, and skanky clothing never appealed to me; I knew it would only showcase my chubby imperfections, and I wanted no part of it.}

But for some reason, a lot of girls in my acquaintance--who were raised the same way as I--have taken a liking to wearing bikinis.

Bikinis! I'm floored. Me, I'm a fatty, so I have never been tempted to wear one (except for maybe when I was a young little thing--seven or eight--and thought a bikini would make me beautiful. But I got over that.)

I've been asking around a lot lately--people in my family, people I knew growing up, people who knew me growing up. The question of my poll was this: "Was it ever a gray area? Bikinis, I mean. Was there something I missed, wherein our standards mentioned dressing modestly except at Cabo? What the...? Did YOU ever think it was okay to wear bikinis?"

And it wasn't just me. I didn't miss something. It has never been a gray area. The answer is so simple: if one believes in dressing modestly in every other situation of one's life {and notice I said "if," because this doesn't apply to anyone who was never raised this way, neither does it apply to anyone who simply doesn't embrace these values {to you: go for it. I'm not judging. It's not hypocritical if you never said one thing and acted differently. Please. Wear all the bikinis you want. You don't even need my permission--nor my approval.} there is no reason to wear a bikini on vacation. Or at the pool. Or to the prom. Or at the mall. Or snorkeling. Or anywhere.

If a person (specifically a female, but hey--I'm not judging) considers themselves a follower of the modest movement, then said person might also look into finding a swimsuit which will cover their stomachs. It can be done.

Image from Modbe Clothing. Other ideas include Shade, DownEast Basics, and that one about an apple.

The question is not "Should people wear a bikini?" or "Should Camille wear a bikini?" or "Does Camille hate bikinis?" or "Would Camille make a good movie star?" or "Are bikini wearers bad people?" No. The question is none of these. Quite simply, what I want to know is....

"Has a bikini ever been considered a modest choice in swimwear?"

And if we can all agree that indeed, bikinis are not a modest choice in swimwear, then why do so many women--who otherwise consider themselves modest to a T, and would never so much as think about wearing a tank top to the grocery store--wear them?

I suppose it sounds like I am standing on a self-righteous soapbox and think extremely highly of myself...

Think what you will of me. And wear bikinis if you want. Just don't think bikinis are modest.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree with you; bikinis, as far as I'm concerned, have never been a gray area!

October 27, 2008 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger Jami said...

Good post. I agree that bikinis aren't modest...BUT, I will say that I don't really consider myself I "modest movement" gal. If I had a smok'in hot body I would wear a bikini everywhere I went!
BUT, seeing as how I don't have a smoking hot body, I wear very modest clothing, and do not wear bikinis.
I wish that I would have worn them in high school back when I had a smokin hot body, just so I could enjoy my smokin hot body. I should have showed off my body before I got strech marks, and fat, and SAG!
ahaha, how vain does that sound?

October 27, 2008 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger HeatherPride said...

Hmmmm, I'm not sure what I think on that one. To me swimsuits are not modest at all, unless they come with a big old granny skirt wrapped around. I am less offended by seeing the midriff than I am being bombarded with crotch shots. And every swimsuit has the crotch shot. Unless you are dressing like one of those women in the 1900s who wore a full-on knee length dress into the ocean. So then we lost the long skirts and went with the short skirts. And then we went from short skirts to no skirts at all (unless you're in the granny skirt). And then the bikini showed up and suddenly that's not modest? I dunno. I think maybe you stumped me on this one.

But, as far as I can tell from your photos you are one good lookin' lady, and not fat at all!

October 27, 2008 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger theycallmeaft said...

i'm with you on this one. (and kinda with jami as well) first off, i am surprised to find out when some of my friends wear bikinis when they are for the most part modest in every other way. not that i think differently of them it just throws me off because like you i never assumed bikinis to be in the gray area. i myself never wear them because heaven help us nobody needs to be seeing that! so if you do look amazing in a bikini i definitely see the appeal of wearing it.

October 27, 2008 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger angela hardison said...

ditto. and it kinda seems like blogs are an excuse to show 'vacation' photos in bikinis. to be honest, i think it's kinda laughable.

October 27, 2008 at 11:30 AM  
Blogger cheerleader said...

Loved this post. Have been feeling this way for ages. When did bikinis become ok to just lay out in or go on vaction in?! Personally, (and I'm gonna get in trouble for saying this) but I think the Mt. View girls started this dumb trend. Case in point: My brother (a Warrior) married a Toro (great girl!) but she thinks bikinis are ok and said all her friends in h.s wore them. My WW friends and I never owned one, never even tried one on! Which has me thinking even more...would I want to send my kids to Mt View? Ok, now I've gone too far on my soap box! I applaud your post Camille!

October 27, 2008 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger kayleen said...

wow. i thought for sure people would be politely telling you to eff off.

i'm less bothered by people assuming bikinis are modest attire than i am by the assumption that they're appropriate for toddlers. (have you seen the string bikinis at baby gap? ridiculous.)

and i'm with angela...loving the vacation posts with 20-plus pics of their bikini-clad selves. so funny.

October 27, 2008 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger RPH said...

I cant even wear a swim suit without a tank top and shorts (knee length) over the top! I was laughing at Heathers comment. I always tell Andy I wish those granny suits were in style. I love the beach and the sun. But hate exposing myself there.

Its never been a grey area for me.

I liked this post. Have you ever read Return to Modesty? It is a good book.

By the way woman, I have a modest little 70s skirt waiting to enter Canada. Are you gonna send me your address or what?

October 27, 2008 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

I think I've posted about this one before. Nope, not modest. I have just now allowed myself to wear only my one piece swimsuit without my board shorts in my own pool in my own backyard when no one is around. It drives me a little crazy that people think its okay to wear bikinis in public. Maybe I'm just a little prideful in my modesty, but I really do hate to see blogs full of mothers that sport the bikini with nary a mark. It makes me a little self conscious for having a belly that reminds me everyday of the miracle of having twins, but oh well, I've got the cuter kids :)

October 27, 2008 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Camille said...

Anonymous my sister--I know I can always count on your for support! Thanks!

Jami--That's ridiculous. I would have been so confused by you had you worn bikinis back then.

HeatherPride--I can totally see your point. I knew there would be some people who would read this post and wonder what the heck I am talking about. In my religion (LDS i.e. Mormon), we are advised to keep our shoulders and stomachs covered, not wear too low-cut shirts, or too short of shorts/skirts. Mostly when I was talking about "people raised the same way I was," I was including members of my religion. For anyone who wasn't raised the same way I was, I would sound like a crazy person. I'm not offended by bikinis...I'm annoyed with people who wear them despite the fact that their beliefs suggest they shouldn't.

Also...what's a crotch shot? Or do I not even want to know?

October 27, 2008 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger Camille said...

Theycallmeaft---I can see what you mean, also. I always thought that perhaps things would be a little different if I felt confident enough in my midsection. But that never happened, and I am at the point now where even if I didn't have stretch marks, I'm so annoyed by the whole "trend," I would never do it. People can call me an effing beetch if they want {and maybe they're right?}, but I will not be known as an hypocrite if I can help it.

October 27, 2008 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger Camille said...

Angela Hardison--it is laughable. It's been coming on so gradually, I have kind of feel bad for the people who do this. Kind of embarrassed for them.

Cheerleader--Now, now...some of the people I specifically have had on mind in regards to this topic are Westwood alumni. Not to say that Mt. View doesn't have their problems...but it's a widespread issue. Let's give credit where credit is diue. Even in Canada I've noticed it. Worldwide. Taking the nation. : )

Kayleen--I FORGOT TO MENTION THAT AS ONE OF MY POINTS! I think I was feeling a bit too preachy, and it slipped my mind. But since you brought it up...I totally agree. I don't know why a little girl--just because she's a little girl--should wear a skimpy little number either. With all the weirdness in this world, I would want to take my kids to the pool dressed in scuba gear or parkas. Not thongs.

RPH--I'm sorry! I thought I'd already sent you my address from back in the wedding days (I talk like it was so long ago!). Yes, of course I will send you my address, if a free skirt is involved! I can't wait!

October 27, 2008 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger Camille said...

Kathryn--Oh, good. I'm so glad so many of you have agreed with me on this point. I was worried (like Kayleen) that I'd be politely invited to jump in a lake. I'm relieved to know that there are people backing me up on this. Thanks!

October 27, 2008 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger HeatherPride said...

Aha! Glad I checked back to see what the commenters were saying! No, when I refer to the crotch shots I'm referring to the cut of women's suits. Even the one piece suits. You know, I would rather wear some cute shorts or something than having the fabric hug my nether regions (ahem!) or see it hugging someone else's. Does that clarify? Without being obscene? I hope I didn't just offend a bunch of people with my immodest comment on modesty. *blush*

October 27, 2008 at 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i totally agree- not ever a grey area. i don't even think any swimsuit is modest without boardshorts- not at all. raw meat only attracts the dogs!

October 27, 2008 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Geneva said...

I fully concur with you Camille. What bugs me is that lots of them do it after the temple when they should be even MORE conservative. If you want to be silly in high school ok (still not ok) but the stakes are raised later.

Because I'm in beehives and had one handy. The Strength of Youth says,"Never lower your dress standards for any occasion. Doing so sends the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval and that modesty
is important only when it is convenient." Which is what the bikini girls are telling us.

I fully realize different situations require different attire, but you should always try for the more modest alternative.

Ok, off soap box. And this rant written by a girl who can rock a bikini and occasionally wishes she could wear one.

October 27, 2008 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger Mikelle said...

Even when I was in really good shape I still couldn't bring myself to wear a bikini...I just don't want people to see that much of me! I always thought everyone knew it was immodest, but I guess that's just how I was taught! Oh, and my sister-in-law has that green swimsuit, and it is super cute on her.

October 27, 2008 at 6:36 PM  
Blogger Jonathan and Sarah said...

Well I guess you hate me. I purchased my first real bikini just this past summer. I decided to wear it on our cruise for Jonathan. It was kind of like an anniversary gift. I debated wether or not to do it because I normally would consider bikinis to be not the modestest... but I agree with whoever it was that said no swimsuits are modest to begin with. My bikini is now used for playtime and I still have one pieces that I wear.

October 27, 2008 at 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bikinis are not appropriate for people who have been taught to be modest. PERIOD. ENd of sentence. They just aren't. There is no gray area and it is clear what the leaders have said about it. Women who wear bikinis and know the shouldn't are HYPOCRITES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(That especially includes those who might be blessed with the body to sport one.)

October 27, 2008 at 8:06 PM  
Blogger The Lowry's said...

I completely and totally agree. You said it exactly.

October 27, 2008 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Camille said...

Anonymous--I myself feel HORRIDLY uncomfortable without boardshorts over my swimsuit, but I just figured it was my own insecurity. I don't feel as strongly about that aspect, but now that you mention it, I suppose you've got a good point.

Geneva--glad to have some backup here! I'm also glad you could rock a bikini. I can't forsee a time when I will ever be able to say that phrase in regards to my own body. But I'm happy for you!

Mikelle--That makes me respect you all the more, because your gymnast background was such that I'm SURE it would have been nothing at all for you to wear one. And I just randomly googled modest swimsuits and remembered Modbe when their website popped up. That green one was the first I noticed, and I liked it instantly. I might need to purchase it...

October 27, 2008 at 9:31 PM  
Blogger Camille said...

Jonathan and Sarah--of COURSE I don't hate you, and if I did, I wouldn't be a good friend. I say, "to each her own," and if this post sounded super judgemental (which I was totally worried about), I didn't mean for it to at all. Jonathan probably loved it. Poor Kyle would probably love it if I wore one, but there's just no way I could ever do it. I guess he's out of luck. Poor Kyle.

Anonymous my Mom--I knew you would support this post, because (obviously) it was you who taught and raised me this way. Thanks for the vote of agreement.

The Lowry's--Thanks for backing me up! I'd noticed it happening in Canada, too, and I wasn't sure if I missed a memo somewhere, or what... So thanks!

October 27, 2008 at 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think bikinis are much less modest than a one piece. It's just like having different colored skin around your midsection. Everything is still "visible". Technically wouldn't panties and a t-shirt be more modest? as long as its not sheer why should the fabric matter?

October 27, 2008 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger kate lines; said...

so, i'm a stalker. i'll admit it. i think your funny....
on the subject. i agree with angela, i love the slide shows of every angle possible. (maybe it's because i'm jealous, ok maybe not) but i agree, no gray area here.


October 27, 2008 at 11:00 PM  
Blogger Cristin said...

Amen. Thank you for posting this. I actually know this girl from our last ward who would have people over to discuss primary or some other church business while she was lounging around in her bikini. So strange. I also went to some "mommy activities" with other ladies in the ward and half have bikinis on. I don't get it.

October 27, 2008 at 11:29 PM  
Blogger Molly Shumway Rawlins said...

wow, already 25 comments, you are so popular.

no, bikini's arent modest

no, i don't think they are offensive or sinful, as long as they are not being worn by fat people

no, you are not a fat person, nor are a few of the other people who have already commented, in my opinion.

I think the reason why people who are normally "modest to a T" wear bikinis (at least in the Mormon culture) is the whole exercise clause in the garment policy. Since you do not have to wear the garment while swimming or exercising, then the same rules do not apply to your swimwear, or exercise wear (thus people wearing sports bras and skimpy things to the gym as well).

Once upon a time at around 16 I lost a bunch of weight and bought a bikini, and wore it to Sunsplash to flash my then pierced belly button.

No, i didn't claim to be modest when I wore it. No, my parents didn't know i was wearing it, but I always kind of sought out attention from men, to compensate for emotional issues I had (which I don't know is ever the case for other people, i would guess it sometimes is).

"if you've got it, flaunt it", is a pretty well known phrase in the world, and at the pool is one of the most accepted places to do so, for many.

I'm not much for bikini wearing babies, especially because they don't have boobies to hold them up, and it seems just completely unethical to let a baby's little nipples be exposed due to poor wardrobe choice.

October 28, 2008 at 2:14 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Ahhh, the bikini faux pas. Girl, I too have been really confused about this. A lot of my friends have worn a bikini and I always wondered why. I mean, I work out. I like how I look. But I would NEVER wear a bikini. The leaders of the church have said to never lower your standards for an occasion. You rock my world camille.

October 28, 2008 at 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

another immodest swimwear, (and public embarassment);
guys in speedos!
WAY too much information dude.

October 28, 2008 at 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you shop at a mall it is impossible to find a one piece. If you ask about one people look at you like you're insane. So I can understand how many people just give in and wear it. There are no other options sometimes. The one pieces usually are not cute and look like old lady swimwear. So thanks for the websites where they can be bought, only problem is you can't try them on, which is important.

October 28, 2008 at 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW I think some people have the wrong idea that the picture is actually of Camille. It isn't.

October 28, 2008 at 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, bikinis are not modest. True, true. I don't wear bikinis in public... But I always wear bikinis in the "privacy" of my vacation with my husband. I figure he sees me naked, I am being modest. :) I never really considered it that wrong until I read this blog and everyones comments. Maybe I am a, now I have to go do some soul searching.
-Anonymous for a reason

October 28, 2008 at 3:32 PM  
Anonymous 2previousanon said...

wear that bikini, privacy with hubby girl, i enjoy i'm not viewing the island of one mind.
we love YOU TOO. one of the best things about this blog is participants are different here, but still, mostly, get along. nobody banned here, as far as we've heard.

October 28, 2008 at 3:56 PM  
Anonymous anon10 said...

I totally agree! Bikinis are just not modest. I too am LDS and even if i wasnt, i still wouldn't wear one. I just don't want people to see that much of me. THis was a good post.

October 28, 2008 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger Zach and Whitney said...

OKay, I will admit it. I wore my first ever bikini on my honeymoon. I felt very uncomfortable at first but by the end of the week I got used to it alittle. And the only time I ever where them now is if Im tanning in my own backyard. No they arent modest. BUt there is nothing more unsexy is a one piece on your honeymoon(atleast I think). I just wanted Zach to drool over me the whole time.

October 29, 2008 at 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless you're wearing it in your hotel room every other guy is also drooling over you. How gross is that. Unless you enjoy the attention.

October 29, 2008 at 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Camille. Bikinis are not called for in the public. However, I do wear them with my hubby when we are out on the boat.... he likes it and so do I. The reason that so many girlies who were raised with standards wear them now is because they are trying so dang hard {and too hard in my opinion} to get a guy. And if they have a guy, it's so that they feel sexier than the other girls around. It's sad that they lower their standards to be seen as sexy. I love your blog ~ just found it the other day while blog hopping. You ROCK, girl!!!! Keep it up.

October 29, 2008 at 2:32 PM  

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