You don't have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump. Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word. --Elizabeth Bibesco

Friday, March 18, 2011

Modest Swimsuits?

Finding the right swimsuit can be a disaster for any woman, not just women who are following religious modesty standards.

So I'm going to have a little fun here and talk about what many denominations think are modest swimsuits! For whatever reason, when I started researching modesty, I found a lot of swimsuit websites. Now, I've always been uncomfortable wearing my swimsuit --even after I reached the point where I very much like my body and think it's attractive. I just think there are parts of my body that not everyone gets to see and my tankini doesn't cover it for me. Now that I know other people feel the same, I think it gives me a little mental leverage for me to make my own swimming experience a whole lot more fun. I'm certainly not saying these are for everyone (and many of them are not even viable for me), but it's an interesting perspective.

For starters: A tzniut swimsuit.
For tzniut women going swimming in front of men, all of the rules still apply. Cover your collarbones, elbows and knees. Wear a skirt. Don't wear things that are skin-tight. Since wearing a knee-length shirt and a baggy shirt is very difficult to swim in, most tzniut women (or so it seems to me) choose to swim in women-only pools. Probably sensible. Imagine trying to swim in this:
It's cute. But if you were going to do any real moving in deep water, it would be difficult.
I looked at that and felt better. There were other people in the world who wanted to be more covered up when they swam! Mind you, unless it's during Lent, I would prefer wearing less than that, so I continued on.
Muslim hijab rules involve covering everthing but a woman's face and hands. Skirts are not required, but it should avoid clinging to you as much as possible. This means that their modest swimsuits end up looking more like wetsuits with caps. Now, not all Muslims find this acceptable, but it seems to be a pretty viable option. And there are tighter ones that could be easier to swim in, but more controversial. Unfortunately, everyone seems to have an opinion about this swimsuit-- either it's a drowning hazard or it's immodest. It is an advancement, though, so women can be modest by their own definition, without inhibiting the lifestyle they want.

Some Muslims and seemingly most Pentecostals believe that men and women swimming together, no matter each group is wearing, is immodest. Perhaps, though, they just haven't found the right outfit!

Seventh-Day Adventists, as far as I can tell, advocate covering the thighs and shoulders. In fact, this website quote the founder of Seventh-Day Adventism as saying that women should not wear corsets, pants or skirts (because a woman's hips are not made to hold things up-- oh yeah? where do you hold you baby, your shoulders?). Women should not wear vain things, but should be clean and neatly dressed. Dresses should be floor-length, but women should also cover their legs with leggings. Perhaps the latter are older rules?

Mormons have what I think of as a uniquely American approach to modesty. For them, modesty is relative. In general, an outfit should cover Temple Garments for them to be acceptable.
Temple Garments according to
The garments shown are for men. The ones for women are similar but they do have a lower collar and shorter sleeves. Needless to say, if these rules extended to swimming, their suits would look a lot like tzniut swimsuits. However, in "special circumstances," other things are permitted. For instance, in swimming, Mormons are allowed to wear swimsuits as Americans would recognize them, they just have to be very modest versions of your typical swimsuit. This means that typical Mormon swimsuits for women are either one-pieces or tankinis.
Mormon Miss Idaho 2011
 I don't know of any other denomination that mandates different swimwear. The rest of the ones I know that are modest aren't really in to letting their women swim...
So looking at this (and throughout this little Lenten journey of mine) I have been forced to analyze my own modesty standards. Generally, I think I keep my shoulders and my stomach covered (but I don't mind low cleavage) and my bottoms (either pants or skirts) generally covered most, if not all, of my thighs. I, however, am with the Mormons on the whole modesty-is-relative. At least a little bit-- for my shoulders.
So here's my swimsuit choice. What do you think?
Pua Brand Board shorts


Clara said...

I really like this outfit, Allie, and may steal the idea the next time I go swimsuit shopping. Fascinating about the Mormons!

Clara said...

For your reading displeasure:

Allie said...

Oh no. Oh no. Oh no no no no no no no no. That's enough to make me ill.


There is a Muslim Ladies Fashion Show in Canton this Saturday you might be interested in. Here is the facebook page!/event.php?eid=197621030267121

Alsharifa will be there too ;)

Reeceloui said...

I like to say this post.It's nice to gathering a good information for swimwear.I can get good suggestion.

swimsuits for women

padillasportau said...

Really a lovely Modest swimsuit for women. Even Muslim swimsuits looks cool ...!!!

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