Bikinis, Bombs, and Being Modest Hero Image
Bikinis, Bombs, and Being Modest Hero Image
Jun 17, 2022 / 5 min

Bikinis, Bombs, and Being Modest

David Marvin and Ramsey Pittman

Almost 80 summers ago, the bikini was born. The inventor, Louis Réard, was on a mission to create the world’s smallest swimsuit. He named his design after the island Bikini Atoll, which was famous for atomic bomb testing. You can probably guess why he named the bikini this…

Bikinis were created to be the “atomic bomb” of clothing.

It established a new standard of modesty for society and created an explosion in the fashion world. At the time, the only model willing to expose so much of her body was a young female stripper in France. It was the belly button that shocked the world.

Fashion commentators condemned the bikini, and most cities banned it altogether. Réard described the bikini as a “two-piece bathing suit which reveals everything about a girl except for her mother's maiden name.” Magazines in the 1950s even stated, “It is inconceivable that any girl with tact or decency would ever wear such a thing.” Soon after, the sexual revolution in the 1960s and 70s completely changed the public attitude toward sexuality and modesty, dramatically shifting the way people dressed.

Fast forward to 2022, where bikinis are now the norm. Decades have gone by, while hemlines have snuck up and necklines have slid down. As sex has been commercialized, we’ve become desensitized. Today, body positivity is celebrated and “hot girl (or boy) summer” is all the rage. Anything that goes against this cultural standard is criticized as “body shaming.”

When you hear “modest is hottest,” what comes to mind?

Here’s our hot take: modest isn’t hottest. C’mon, let’s keep it real… it’s not tankinis and frumpy turtlenecks that attract the opposite gender’s gaze.

Maybe some of you think that modesty is outdated, prudish, or borderline offensive. And if you’re a guy, you may think that modesty is just a woman’s problem. (Newsflash: that swimsuit that shows off your V-cut, thirst trap selfie, or post-gym IG story are a part of the problem too, bro!)

But modesty goes beyond clothing (or lack thereof).

According to 1 Timothy 12:9-10, modesty starts with the heart: “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God."

Paul’s instructions have less to do about how you style your hair and clothes, and more about the command to focus on good works instead of good looks. Don’t take this the wrong way—it doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish! But we are called to dress appropriately and modestly as God’s daughters and sons.

Modesty means dressing in a way that reveals godliness and humility of the heart.

You’re not alone if you’re thinking that this idea goes completely against the grain. Today, our culture holds the mantras of “you do you” and “my body, my choice,” encouraging us to use our bodies as bait to attract attention. Take one look at TikTok, and you’ll see!

Give us a thirst trap!
Show off those curves!
Time to get ready for hot girl summer!

Dressing modestly is not about being a prude or hiding your body but about revealing your dignity. Modest may not be hottest, but it’s better.

Don’t believe us? Here’s a few reasons why modesty is better:

Modesty attracts the right people. (1 Samuel 16:7)

If you’re looking for a godly partner, remember that godly people are looking for the qualities God cares about—Christlike character and humility of heart. That’s what makes someone truly attractive.

Modesty reveals your dignity. (1 Peter 3:3-5)

Choosing to be modest is refusing to be seen as a sexual object by the opposite sex. It shows that you don’t find your worth, confidence, approval, or beauty in what you look like. Followers of Christ have an “imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

Modesty serves others. (1 Corinthians 8:8-9)

Our actions impact others, and we’re called to seek the interest of others above our own as believers. Modesty serves others by not feeding into comparison or jealousy, and by being cautious of becoming a stumbling block to those around us.

Modesty honors God. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Choosing modesty is choosing holiness and humility, which honors our creator. In rejecting worship and praise for showing off your body, you can redirect people to worship the only one worthy of praise—Jesus.

Cultural views on modesty are a moving target, but God’s Word is unchanging.

We have a challenge for you: Before you add the “cheeky” bikini bottoms, crop top, or short shorts to your cart, pause and ask yourself: “Why do I want to wear this?” And before posting that swimsuit or shirtless pic on Insta, ask yourself: “Why am I posting this?” Remember that as God’s children, we are identified by how we act, speak, and even what we wear. If you’re a daughter or son of the King, then pray and ask God what it would look like for you to serve God and others by embodying modesty.

For more on modesty, check out past messages here and here.