A couple days ago, an article dripping with internalized misogyny popped up in my Facebook feed called To the Girls Wearing “Cheeky” Bathing Suit Bottoms Please Stop.
To the author, I must ask—why does a swimsuit bottom style affect you? Women choose to wear a “cheeky” bottom for many different reasons, and it is their choice. They should not be shamed for wearing what you deem inappropriate or what you think is 'slutty.' Our value should not be placed on how we appear to men and to other women. Just because you choose to wear a full coverage bathing suit bottom does not make you morally superior to women that wear “cheeky” bottoms. Our bodies and our flesh are not inherently sexual and do not exist for your objectification.
I have a problem with the ‘modest is hottest’ argument as a justification for certain clothing choices because it implies that women are objects that cause men to think lustful thoughts, and that their bodies must be controlled. Some men will think lustful thoughts about women no matter what they wear, and it is not my obligation to keep their urges at bay—it is theirs.
Secondly, revealing skin is not wrong or sinful.
Western religion has conditioned us to believe that showing flesh is always sexual and therefore always sinful because nakedness has been associated with paganism and savagery. Whereas clothing has been associated with civilization. A woman’s body and flesh is not an indication of her value, her morals, or her attractiveness to men. Children are not going become corrupted if they see a woman’s body. They become corrupted when you associate a woman’s body with her worth to men. Internalized misogyny towards our clothing choices is a large part of women’s devaluation because women pressure each other to be something that pleases a man, but does not make him lustful. Women can have morals regardless of our clothing because clothing exists for us to wear and for us to express ourselves—not to dictate our life choices.
I do not disrespect my body because I like wearing a particular style of clothing. I could be wearing a particular style of clothing because I like it and I think it flatters my body. If you have a problem with what I am wearing, you do not have to wear it and you need to get your priorities straight. We should be more concerned with things that jeopardize our rights such as strict abortion laws. If a “cheeky” bikini bottom bothers you that much then you have failed as a feminist because you are making assumptions about a woman’s character based on what she wears and not her accomplishments.
Feminism is all about moving away from our gender and our looks as the biggest factor of our value in society. Assuming that I have no respect for my body based on my bathing suit choice only serves the interests of our misogynistic society. It keeps us living in the dichotomy of the slut and the prude. We should be emphasizing that women can wear what they want because it's their body and their choice, and it does not dictate their character.