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Modest Swimsuits at Last!

This is a REPOSTING of a post I made back in 2007.  It is amazing how many hits the MODEST SWIMSUITS post received (30,667 hits as of today). I guess that topic is something virtuous people regularly plug into search engines in the desperate hope of finding something for themselves and for their children to wear.

My earlier post was done somewhat tongue-in-cheek and yet the concern is a real one for people. Good Christian girls might not want to disguise their beauty to the extent of some of the Moslem styles, but neither do they want skimpy outfits that are little better than all-out nudity. I suppose more mature women want suits that stress their femininity while not exaggerating the few pounds that come with age and childbirth. Given his celibacy, I joked about priests unable to go to the beach, but have things reached such a point that the beach represents a real danger to any Christian and the family? 

One final qualification, while this posting does poke a little fun, the subject matter is serious and the good Muslim ladies are a wonderful witness to modesty, with all kidding aside.  I understand that a number of people even followed the links here and gave them some swimwear business.  While I might think there coverage is a bit much, they have earned my respect for daring to be counter-cultural and cherishing both modesty and chastity. 

wildbeachgals.jpg

Yes, I am talking about the weaknesses of the flesh and acts of passion, but also about possible abuse and assault. Spiritually, there is the matter of the soul, too. Can a man admire bikini clad young girls and simply praise God for the goodness of creation? Or is a man more likely fantasizing about them? When plenty of flesh is literally delivered to the senses on a platter, a person might not need a wild imagination or much further motivation for sinful thoughts.

Similarly, women are increasingly joking about male bulges and butts. They are not immune to sexual fantasies either, and such can constitute immodest thoughts and, as with the men, even adultery in the heart. When was the last time any of us heard someone teach about the moral imperative to maintain a “custody of the eyes”?

FOLLOWING IS THE ORIGINAL POST.  I HOPE YOU HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR.

swimm1.jpgTraditional Catholics and Homeschooling parents are always lamenting the fact that they cannot find modest swimsuits for the young women in the family. Everything is designed these days to show ballooning cleavage and legs extended past the waistline, or so it seems. It is all a very scary business, especially if there are young men and teenage boys on the beaches too. Remember, the most dangerous thing for a teenage girl is a teenage boy! Many of us have not visited beaches in years so as to preserve the custody of the eyes. Well, if you are tired of parading your young daughters to the ravenous beach wolves, there is hope in sight. It comes from a highly unlikely place, the Muslims.

Less willing to go naked as many so-called Catholics and other Christians these days, these girls also want fun in the sun, laying on the beach, and swimming in the surf. But, they do not want to forfeit their virginity or be prey to voyeurs in doing it. It is here that we can take a lesson from their book.

moslemsuit1.jpgSPLASHGEAR MODEST SWIMWEAR has been designed with loose-fitting swim shirts (yes, even that pretty neck is covered!), swim pants (legs, what legs?) and hair covers (which she can use at Mass, too!). Why these girls look almost like boys they are covered so effectively. Fathers will no longer have to worry, indeed, they can get modest swim-gear for their wives too (they come even in jumbo sizes!).

An article about these wonderful swimsuits ran in an AP (Feb 18, 2007) article by Peter Prengaman that you can read in full at the Splash Gear site:

“America is predominantly coed, and increasingly the norm is skimpy swimsuits. Enter the new-and-improved all-body suit. The suits are also increasingly stylish, with aqua to purple to hot pink colors, intricate sequin designs and miniskirts that go over long pants. ‘We want to be modest, but we also want to be fashionable,’ said Shereen Sabet, who last year founded Splashgear, an online swimwear store for Muslim women based in Huntington Beach.”

moslemsuit4.jpg

The flipside to all this is that it will help us save our young Catholic boys from corruption, too. No matter how we raise them, let us be honest, when it comes to the flesh, the male of the species is weak. Girls flirt and shamelessly show themselves off to boys, arguing that it is okay as long as they do not get the boys’ engines running. Silly silly girls, boys are born with their motors running. Sexual morality will always be what young women want it to be. If most girls set limits and said “NO!” more often, boys would accept it and be better off. These swimsuits will help…out of sight, out of mind. All the bumpy parts are covered, even down to the ankles. Strategic scarves cover necks and chins and the headgear on other outfits goes all around the chin. Some might regard the hair-guard as optional, but don’t you chance it! Who knows what a pretty neck or a rosy cheek might do to a hormonal crazy boy! The Bible talks about the allure of a woman’s hair, best to keep that under cover as well.

moslemsuit3.jpgmoslemsuit2.jpgThe Church should start its own line, and we could sell to “good” Catholics and Muslims alike. But until then, the Muslims have online and mail-order catalogues! If our kids are afraid that others might make fun of them, we can start groups that will go to pools and beaches together. Catholic homeschoolers and Muslim girls can swim together and urge authorities to force those nasty boys to go somewhere else! With strength of numbers, our families and girls can admonish the other so-called Catholic females on the beach: “Have you no shame for exposing yourselves in underwear? Protestants, I mean Prostitutes wear more clothes than you! Why don’t you save money and just wear a couple pieces of cotton thread instead of that $500 string-bikini! Your butt is fat! My newborn baby sees you and all he wants to do is nurse!” You’ll have those immodest sirens running from the beaches in tears.

swimm3.jpg

Compare this girl to the ones shown in modest-wear above! It is no comparison! This girl is nothing but temptation and sin looking for trouble. Look at her with that “come-hither” stare–disgusting!

Let us make a revolution for purity and modesty today!

On the Net:

Splashgear: http://www.splashgearusa.com/

Primo Moda http://www.primomoda.com/

Ahiida: http://www.ahiida.com/

If everyone starts wearing these new outfits, we will finally be able to take our clergy on beach vacations and not have to be embarrassed by the local sights. Take back the pools and beaches for the Lord and for us modest believers. We can make a difference! Finally we have found something worthwhile we can do with our Muslim neighbors!

CLICK HERE for Discussion About Modest Swimsuits #2

12 Responses

  1. I just read your replies and had a couple of comments:

    1. Please don’t judge all Muslim women by the pictures you have used in your reply comment to me for this is totally not true nor is it required of Muslim women to wear full overall covering.

    FATHER JOE: Actually I have encountered Moslem men from the Middle East who do indeed insist that their women cover up completely. This cannot be enforced in the U.S. and so they have left their wives and daughters back home in their native countries while they conduct business in the U.S. If this is okay with these ladies, then it is their business. I would not judge them personally because of such things, even if I think it is excessive. However, I do hope that this is truly their choice. I very much believe in both religious and personal freedom.

    I hope you can research past what the media only shows of us Muslim women. The only thing according to the Book is to cover ones hair and wear clothes which are not tight. And no man whether militia or my father or my husband ever told me to cover, only God, and that’s why I do it as well as seeing Gods wisdom behind this injunction for women.

    FATHER JOE: Not all Moslems are the same. That is why there was friction with the Taliban in Afghanistan. They would force you and all women to their strict standard.

    Look to the picture you have I’m your article of the woman in Muslim swimsuit wearing the salmon color scarf. This is more akin to the dress for Muslims, not to wear all black from head to toe.

    FATHER JOE: Actually, some of the newer Moslem styles, are quite colorful and attractive.

    2. Who is it that makes what was told in the true Bible permanent and one that Is not practiced due to fashion. That seems pretty arbitrary.

    FATHER JOE: Catholics have a Magisterium or teaching authority. It compiled the holy books of the New Testament along with the Hebrew Scriptures. An inspired authority determined the canon and members of this same Church were inspired by the Holy Spirit in its composition. We regard the Bible as our book, particularly the New Testament. Islam and Protestantism came after the dispensation given to the Jews and later to the Catholic Church. The Church’s interpretive authority over the deposit of faith is not regarded by us as arbitrary. Catholicism regards the Bible as the Word of God but we also prize Sacred Tradition. Never in the history of the world did God give such authority to men as he did to the Church. The meaning of the Incarnation of Christ even had an effect upon the Decalogue, notably keeping the sabbath and the prohibition of idols. God becomes a human being and suddenly something of the Creator can be conveyed in his creation. This changes the economy of images and the Sunday observance (celebrating the Resurrection) is given precedence over the Hebrew sabbath (where God rested after creation).

    3. As I had mentioned I really liked your article and what you stated until I read your replies to ppl who couldn’t believe you would suggest to wear modest clothes like Moslems and you repeatedly had to say (my paraphrase): I was joking, do you really think I would promote to wear like that…etc.

    FATHER JOE: I was only joking in regard to sharing an extremism toward modesty. Certainly I oppose the popular bikinis and skimpy attire on men, too. Two-pieces that cover and one-pieces that preserve a woman’s self-respect would certainly be preferable. If women want to cover still more, as in certain Moslem styles, that is certainly their prerogative. The attempt at humor was a hook to engage readers on a serious subject.

  2. If you wanted to share about being modest, don’t use the Moslem women example if in a jesting way!

    FATHER JOE: I can assure you that I am far more mocking of the secular and purportedly Christian women who wear a couple of strings for clothing. While I may feel that the Moslem sense of modesty is extremist, I commend it as a valuable sign of contradiction to a world obsessed by the flesh.

    What you have done is tried to get your modesty point across while making fun of another group of religious women who too want to be pure and adhere to the commands of God!

    FATHER JOE: If it came down to gross immodesty or coverage from head to toe, I would prefer the total coverage. However, is this how all Moslem want to dress or is it being imposed by militant men?

    Your post and comments now belittle these women!

    FATHER JOE: A little humor belittles no one, indeed Muslim companies begged to have their swimsuit outlets linked to the modesty post and discussion.

    I would have hoped you would be of a higher character than this!

    FATHER JOE: If I were of a lower class, I would have remained silent about such an important topic.

    And if you have indeed read the true bible, it does say for women to cover their hair? Does that part not hold true anymore?

    FATHER JOE: There are essentials that are immutable and there are accidentals which change with fashion. The coverage of hair is the latter, although I would welcome the restoration of the mantilla.

    We will all have accounting!

    FATHER JOE: Yes and that judgment will not be at your reckoning but at the divine tribunal. As with so many debates with the radical arm of Islam, critics are attacked and threatened.

  3. Dear Fr Joe,

    Unless it’s posted elsewhere, this desire for all to adopt a modest dress used to be most required when entering a Catholic Church as well as the beach. There was a time when women used to have to cover their arms and head, and a mantilla and shawl would reluctantly suffice if the young girl had no recourse to full body armour, and the skirts had to come very close to the ankle. And I can understand that thinking to some extent.

    I’m in my mid sixties and a single and celibate man after divorce, and all my functions and faculties are still in working order. So if nothing else it is a distraction when I raise my eyes at the elevation and see, two rows up from me naked flesh of the female form. Now I’m not talking about the hairy wrinklies or those around my own age as that in itself is a direct encouragement away from sinful thoughts, but I’m talking about the attractive ladies who, in possibly the most innocent of ways, deign to present me with the full picture of God’s wonderful creation.

    Many Orthodox Jewish women will wear not only a hat, but a wig first to hide their hair then a head covering over that, and always dress in a modest way, so perhaps their Jewish husbands become uncontrollable at the sight of a bald head, but I can understand their thinking and no doubt Mary, the Mother of God, would also have dressed modestly more akin to a practising Muslim woman that a centrefold.

    But then ‘traditional values’ have gone out of the window these days and we are entering a period where it was like in the times of Noah. If we read our Bibles we should know what that means.

    With love, Paul

  4. Hi, I loved your article in showing modesty matters as well as highlighting that Christians and Moslems share common views on this topic. However, to my surprise upon reading the comments, it seems this article was a joke and you should practice what you preach and do not make fun of the Moslem dress because similarly one can easily make fun of Christians dressed modestly while swimming yet you support that by saying its modest. Likewise, the Moslem women too should be supported for their modest swimwear and not have it called bags or potato sacks etc. very offensive indeed to hear your satirical language.

    FATHER JOE:

    Evidently you still misunderstand the posting. While you appreciate that both Christians and Moslems should appreciate modesty, the tongue-in-cheek elements and satire cut both ways. Notice the fairly tame pictures from the ancient past. I was unwilling to post what most women today actually wear (or fail to wear) at the beach. The attempt at humor was in reference to the extremes. While I would not demand the comprehensive style of coverage used by certain practicing Moslems, there was no name-calling or slander in their regard. Indeed, I posted links where people could find such swimwear. Later there were a number of Christian sites that were added in follow-up comments.

    Just as some naïve girls complained that I was too prudish, you would suggest that I am maligning the Islamic community. Instead, I think our differences and challenges to one another are interesting and I would approach them with some innocent humor and thought. I may call certain outfits “baggy,” because they sometimes seem to have that appearance. If descriptions of clothes upset you then you are way too sensitive. Such a defensive attitude says a great deal about you. Nothing was said about anyone’s character. There were no personal attacks. While style is debatable, the inspiration for the article was the valuable witness to modesty given by Moslem women.

  5. Thanks for the link, but the girls and I are doing their own swimsuits and is very similar to that worn by Muslim women. I like a loose-fitting style of shorts with the leg length going down to the knees.

  6. hey father joe just wanted to say i absolutely love this site im a young teenage boy and i personally think that most secular bathing suits are immodest and and not fit for wearing in public. I personally feel betrayed when my “christian” friends wear these immoral clothes on retreats or when just hanging out when we are supposed to have and display much higher values then our non-christian counterparts. Its been a standing debate between me and my friends one that leads to embitterment sometimes but i really appreciate that there are still people out there that do wear modest clothing and bathing suits and that yall make it available and known to us.

  7. reply to janec:

    hi, there, and the answer is, no, the straight leg pants do not hinder swimming. i wear my own “resort pants”, which are the straight leg pants (or the ‘baggier’ pants as you referr to them).

    i can attest that they don’t ride up in the water, they are very thin and light (a couple of my customers have already told me it feels like they are not wearing anything), and it does not weigh down or hamper the swimmer.

    however, i will mention that from a safety point of view, anything that covers the feet can be dangerous and hamper the swimmer. so, if the pant legs are too long, then in the water the pant legs will cover the feet and prevent efficient kicking. that’s why my company, “splashgear”, produces pants that fall at the ankle, but not below it.

    again, the straight leg pants do not hamper the swimmer as i and others can attest.

    by the way, i was quite surprised to receive an OVERWHELMING response to the AP article. i never realized just how much non-muslims wanted/needed full coverage swimwear. my sales and catalog requests to non-muslims just sky-rocketed after the AP article came out, and i received so many positive and encouraging e-mails from mainstream individuals. …wow…!…

    thank you for your time.

    –s–

    ***
    Shereen Sabet
    SPLASHGEAR
    7445 Seastar Dr.
    Suite # 8
    Huntington Beach
    CA, 92648-2271
    USA
    P: 714.293.2974
    F: 866.556.0432
    http://www.splashgearusa.com
    shereen.sabet@splashgearusa.com
    ***

  8. I suppose you’re joking, aren’t you? (As English is not my first language, I sometimes doubt my understanding of what I read).

    To tell you the truth, as a woman and a believer, modesty is a complex issue to me. Sometimes I find believers preach a style of clothing which, instead of being dignified (fit for the daughter of a King), is ugly and seems to preach that there’s something inherently sinful in being woman, as if the fact that I am a woman needs to be hidden. I believe I am responsible for not creating unreasonable occasions of temptation for my brothers. But I do not believe that anything I can do can replace their own care to flee the temptations that rise from their own heart. Clothing that is well-fitting, pretty and flattering, without being indecent or too flashy to make me the center of attentions, glorifies the Lord (every woman, of every shape, is beautiful and should dress like she believes that!). I believe looking nice (not cheap like a harlot, nor flashy like I am a billionnaire showing off, I mean nice and beautiful) would be approved by our Lord who liked eating and drinking, liked everything which is healthily fun and human. He told us to fast interiorly, not showing it. “When you fast, wash your head and perfume yourself, so that no-one knows you are fasting”. Sometimes dressing shapeless long clothing can be a matter of pride, not of modesty.

    On swimsuits, I have a personal pet-peeve with the “modesty” discussion. One-piece swimsuits only fit nicely women whose upper and lower halves have similar sizes. When those halves differ by more than two sizes, the best idea, in my humble opinion, is to try to find a more or less modest bikini/tankini where each piece is sold separately. I am sorry, but that’s the only option for some women. (I am lucky that I can wear some one-piece swimsuits, but not all women can).

    And what about men? Do people forget that women also have lustful thoughts? Why is it OK for a man to take off his shirt when doing heavy jobs (if I have a lustful thought, it’s my responsibility, he is perfectly justified in taking off his shirt because of his job) and when a women needs to breastfeed a baby everyone is outraged?

  9. Father, I agree with you and think the Muslim swimsuits are a little much. Like many young women I know, I managed to find a high-necked swimsuit and I wear shorts with it on the rare occasion when I visit a public pool or beach, but being covered to the wrists and ankles is, I think, over-the-top. Additionally, the baggier pants shown in one of those photos seem like they could be dangerous, hampering a swimmer’s leg movements underwater.

  10. Modest swim wear is difficult to find (in mainstream stores). Since few, if any women have model-perfect bodies, never mind the need for dressing modestly, there are many “of a certain age” who just skip the idea of bathing suits altogether. I am glad there are some companies who manufacture “regular” swim wear with such features as shorts/skirts and tank-top like straps. I applaud any efforts in this area.

  11. Thanks for the links, but my girls and I make our own swimwear and it is very much like what the Islamic women wear. Here are some more links, Christians and others are already beginning to cater to this untapped market:

    http://www.liliesapparel.com/
    These clothes remind me of the LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE TV show! I loved that show!

    http://www.stitchintimes.com/
    The swimwear are more than dresses!

    http://www.modest-swimwear.net/
    A Christian version of the Muslim swimwear, minus the veil!

    http://www.modestapparelchristianclothinglydiaofpurpledressescustomsewing.com/
    Unbelievable! These people reproduce clothes from 1901 or so!

    http://www.wholesomewear.com/skirted-b.html
    Almost Muslim swimwear, but I wonder if it is easy to swim in long dresses? I have tried and get fatigued pretty quickly.

    You have to fight some of the administrators at pools about modest swimwear. They argue that we wear more clothes for swimming than other females do with their day-to-day clothing! One time we had to go to court because of a rule against public dress clothes in pools. They did not believe that what we wore was for swimming. We go for the fun and exercise, not to burn ourselves or to offer cheap strip shows at the community center.

  12. As a young lady devoted to feminine modesty, I can say that it is very hard to deal with the swimsuit problems. Knowing that it is such a temptation to men – my brothers in Christ – to fantasize when I wear too short a skirt much less a swimsuit, is it right for me to swim at all in public places? Summer comes around: where the heck do I find a modest swimsuit in the first place? No girl wants to look too frumpy if they are going to swim, but finding a feminine and modest suit is difficult.

    [As an aside, for those who are searching for modest and feminine styles, http://www.landsend.com is a wonderful place to start.They have a great system, with different leg heights and everything.You can even be “in style” with their extremely modest tankinis.]

    I struggle with the first question I asked every year: is it morally right to allow myself to become a temptation to sin for my fellow man? There is a thin line here (when it comes to bathing suits) between simply wanting to swim and buying a suit in order to show oneself off on the beach and become an object of lusting eyes like “a slug on a rose”. The first is a matter of conscience while the second is, I feel, not right.

    My conscience tells me that it would be wrong for me to become an object of temptation in any form, and so I opt for only swimming around family (thankfully my grandparents have a pool) or in a public place only for exercise (usually in the most utilitarian lapsuit I can find!). I know how difficult it is to maintain a pure and chaste heart as a woman, and have no desire at all to make life more difficult for (more sexually physically-wired) men.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents.

    Now that I’ve done a bit of advertising for Land’s End, I would be remiss if I did not mention my absolute favorite book on chastity, relationships, and living out the season of singleness in light of one’s relationship with God, “The Thrill of the Chaste” by former Rolling Stones reporter Dawn Eden (http://dawneden.com/blogger.html). Check it out…the book honestly changed the way I live my life, and taught me to appreciate men for the wonderful beings they are. It seems I had inadvertently bought into some controversial modern notions on the relations between men and women.

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