The Public Undressing of America

“…and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.”—2 Samuel 11:2

Swimwear in American culture does not possess a dark and mysterious origin buried somewhere in the annals offashion antiquity. A trip to the public library and several hours of research will unfold a provocative and revealing story. The rise and progress of swimwear in our culture reveals not only a great deal of flesh, but also a great deal about our society. Kidwell and Steele observe that “the history of swimwear is connected to our changing perceptions of modesty and immodesty. Throughout its history, the swimsuit has typically been the most revealing form of sportswear and it has forced an uneasy alliance between modesty and sexual display.”

Several works of fashion history specifically chronicle this “uneasy alliance.” I have quoted them freely so that I will not be accused of “inventing” this story to make my point. These books are not written from a Christian perspective. Hardly. They did not seep out of the fevered brain of some mean-spirited, fundamentalist preacher. And this is what makes them valuable: they don’t  tell the story from the viewpoint of Christian modesty. My desire is to let them speak in their own words, for it is their  testimony that the swimsuit was the primary player in the undressing of America. In fact, the histories of swimwear and fashion generally present the story of how America undressed as a good  one, a liberating one. I find it a sad one. Bathing costumes can be traced to around 350 B.C. in Greece and later to Rome where bathing and swimming reached the peak of their popularity. A mural found in Sicily’s Piazza Armerina pictures young maidens wearing scanty garments that are dead ringers for modern bikinis. However, water sports went out of style after the fall of the Empire and did not reappear until the early 1700s in French and English spas. The attire was a toga-like garment for both men and women. Later in the early 1800s, going to the beach for recreation began to catch on in America; but all the water activities were strictly segregated with each sex either on its own secluded stretch of beach or alternating in springs or pools at different hours. When fashionable sea resorts became popular, so did swimming and sunbathing. However, aside from these toga-like garments, no real prototypes for bathing attire seem to have existed throughout history. Hence, the rise in popularity of swimming and sunbathing presented a new challenge to the world of fashion. And what was this new challenge? First was the new situation of men and women frolicking together in mixed water sports. Prior to this men and women swam nude or with little on in segregated groups. Though there have been some exceptions to this, segregation was the general practice. Into this new atmosphere of men and women together in the water, a great need for a new garment arose. This garment would have to be functional in a way that streetwear could not be. Street clothes became heavy when saturated with water and even dangerous. However, because the new garment had to be less bulky to allow greater freedom of movement, it became more and more abbreviated for both sexes. This truly was something new: more and more men and women together with less and less on their bodies. Here lay the heart of the challenge: with men and women freely swimming and playing together in the water, there had to be a garment that would liberate the body for movement. Yet woven into the fabric of our society were the vestiges of a Biblically-influenced modesty. The Christian perspective emanated from the Scriptural account that God gave garments to cover the body, but the demand for greater body movement required this new garment to uncover the body. Fashion designers understood that this seaworthy apparel would have to conceal, yet they well knew that to give its wearers liberty of movement, it would by its very nature reveal. “This amphibious costume would have to be something of a sartorial paradox, a form of undress that functioned as a symbol of dress.” Once men and women were no longer segregated in their seaside activities, an inevitable aquatic striptease began. The remaining attempts to retain some trace of modesty and yet liberate the arms and

 Claudia Brush Kidwell and Valerie Steele, Men and Women: Dressing the Part , (Washington: Smithsonian Institute Press, 1989), 118.Lena Lencek and Gideon Bosker, Making Waves: Swimsuits and the Undressing of America (San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books, 1989), 11.

legs explains why early swimwear had the awkward and bulky appearance that our culture presently finds so amusing. Nevertheless, we must not miss this point: these early, funny looking swimsuits were, at least for a time, an attempt to continue the time honored, Christian ideal of covering the body. Swimwear designers wrestled with a perplexing problem: swimwear had to function in the waves and on the beach, from the dressing room to the water’s edge. The standards of modesty at that time clearly demanded concealmen, yet functionality in the water demanded abbreviation . And given the fact that the fashion industry was not generally guided by God’s Word, nothing but the old-fashioned view of modesty stood in the way of exposing more and more of the body. What the evidence reveals and what we must bear in mind is that the streamlining and deletions in swimwear were clearly by design Here we must pause and reflect on this fact: what was taking place on the beach was the beginning in modern times of the violent clash between the Holy God as the designer of clothes and sinful men as the designer of clothes. Fashion designers did not view swimwear as simply functional garments with a specific use like overalls. They envisioned their creations as highly fashionable garments, and therefore designed them both to reveal  and arouse . What they clearly understood is that this new aquatic garment was merely a symbol of dress. This is why swimwear ultimately evolved into a form of nakedness thinly disguised as dress. Moreover, they were aware that they were undressing the American public and constantly challenged the legal limits of public nakedness. I challenge you, dear reader: read the books penned by the fashion industry; read their histories of the trade; you will discover that fashion’s guiding perspective is often sexual attraction, not the Word of God. And this is an underlying theme in this article: instead of being guided by God’s Word, the voice from heaven, American culture is driven by Fashion, the voice of fallen men. Here it will be instructive to examine the influence of Europe on our society, especially that of France. Although the American colonies were founded upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they gradually drifted away from God’s word and then from the holiness and modesty which the Gospel promotes. How did this happen? The 1800s proved to be a most turbulent time in our once Christian nation (I’m not implying that everyone was a Christian, for this certainly wasn’t the case. Nevertheless, the American colonies had inherited and were growing up in a world and life view that was generally Christian. This was clearly reflected in many of America’s laws.). During that period the cracks in the dam of our waning morality began to give way to the pressure of European style, philosophy, political thought, and theology. This phenomenon was not new: the great preachers John Owen and Thomas Brooks both chronicled a similar decline in England at an earlier period and roundlycondemned the corrupting influence of European fashion!

Hereunto of late have been added vanity in apparel, with foolish, light, lascivious modes and dressings therein, and an immodest boldness in behavior52  among men and women. These corruptions, which, being borrowed from the neighbour nation…have brought forth the fruit of vanity and pride in abundance. And it is the most manifest evidence of a degenerate people, when they are prone to naturalize the vices  of other nation among them… But you will say, What sins were there among the professing people in London…?

Ans. I answer, That there were these seven sins, among others, to be found amongst many of them…[1.]

First, There was among many professors of the gospel in London too great a conformity to the fashions of the world.

How many professing men in that great city were dressed up like fantastical buffoons,54  and womenlike Bartholomew-babies, to the dishonour of God, the shame of religion, the hardening of the wicked, the grieving of the weak, and the provoking of divine justice!…[Zephaniah 1:8] is a stinging and flaming check against all fashion-mongers, against all such as seem to have consulted with French, Italian, Persian, and all outlandish monsters, to advise them of all their several modes and fashions of vice, and that are so dexterous at following of them, that they are more complete in them than their pattern. Certainly, if ever such wantons be saved, it will be by fire. Strange apparel is part of the old man, that must be put off, if ever men or women intend to go to heaven…Cyrian and Augustine draw up this conclusion: that superfluous apparel is worse Owen’s original word is conversation John Owen, The Nature and Causes of Apostasy, in The Works of John Owen,  W. H. Goold ed. Vol. VII (Johnstone & Hunter 1850-53; reprint ed., Edinburgh, Scotland: The Banner of Truth Trust), 207.

Brooks’ original word was antics , which means buffoon or one that practices odd gesticulations. These were dolls sold at Bartholomew Fair

. They were flashy, bespangled dolls offered at the fair, which celebrated at the Feast of St. Bartholomew. A national and international event, it was a spectacular display of musicians, acrobats, freaks, wild animals, side-shows, and the like. than whoredom, because whoredom only corrupts chastity, but this corrupts nature…O sirs! What was morecommon among many professors in London than to be clothed in strange apparel, a la mode de France? Though the Word of God commands, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewingof your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God,”  the American fashion industry began to ape European fashion. Swimwear manufacturers knew exactly  the course they planned to follow, and it wasn’t the Word of God: “…in part thanks to the influence of the more daringly cut French swimsuits, the American bathing costume underwent a revolution. Until that time, bathing attire had been modeled on streetwear…by the 1890s, however, underwear began a relentless if slow migration outward that would come to a full, triumphal exposure in the bikini of the 1960s”It should be no surprise then for us to learn that “what the conceivers of the suit strove to suppress was the natural association between underwear and swimwear, a cogent and undeniable comparison. It was also true that the women’s swimwear industry in its early stages was closely affiliated with the bra and girdle industry, just as men’s wear for swimming was intimately, as it were, connected with the underwear business.” The reasons for this “suppression” should be obvious: under garments have a blatantly erotic appeal. And American culture, with its “decency” theory of clothing, was not prepared in those days for such a flagrant display of sensuality. Clearly the purpose underlying swimwear design was exposing human anatomy in a more sensual package. This could not be successfully achieved on the streets of the city. But in the name of recreation and especially sports, an amazing dichotomy of thought  began to permeate our society. At the turn of the century, what was naked and lewd in the city was suddenly perfectly justifiable and permissible at the beach. This should make the child of God think. This shift from streetwear to underwear as a model certainly can’t be defended as a move toward modesty. Moreover, in the name of sports, recreation, and following suit with European fashion, Americans began legitimizing public nakedness. As one account aptly puts it: “The history of the American swimsuit is the square-inch-by-square-inch story of how skin went public in modern times.” It’s the drama of how flesh, fabric, technology, and media have engaged the Christian view of modesty in a relentless tug of war down by the seaside. This struggle between concealment and display, fabric and skin, modesty and nakedness is a continuing story of how American society— including many Christians—has shed its clothes in public. Two questions, then, must be answered: first, why was skin not  public in America until modern times? The answer here is simple. Our culture in general sprang from a Biblical worldview that included covering  the body. The second question is what change in our society put skin on display? The evidence seems to be that Christian morality and its attending modesty, which had previously served as resistance to public nudity, simply caved in to growing public pressure.

The voice of God’s Word was slowly but surely drowned out by the voice of an increasingly secular media, the fashion industry, and public opinion. Consequently, our culture’s basis for modesty eroded, almost to the vanishing point. Let me put it another way: no one held a gun to America’s head and said, “Strip or die!” The fashion industry simply said, “This is what the fashionable wear”—and our culture eagerly disrobed. Furthermore, once swimming attire rid itself of the model and coverage of streetwear, a radical transformation took place. Human anatomy was cast in a bold, provocative new light: because the swimsuit became increasingly brief and tight, it became increasingly erotic. This controversy ignited the fires of discord and debate that raged throughout the early decades of the twentieth century. As the swimsuit shrank, the clamor and disputes increased. While every shifting inch of fabric set off another volley of contention, increasing exposure of more flesh successfully stripped away the resistance to public nudity. It is easy to grasp the reason for the intense heat of this pitched battle: the stakes were extremely  high. This single garment made it possible to expose and eroticize parts of human anatomy which had previously been concealed. The human body was on display in public in a way previously unthinkable in American culture.

Thomas Brooks, London’s Lamentations, in The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, A. B. Grosart ed. Vol. VI, (Edinburgh, Scotland: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1980), 51, 52. Romans 12:2.  Lencek and Bosker, Making Waves , 33.n  Richard Martin and Harold Koda, Splash! A History of Swimwear,  (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc, 1990), 58. Lencek and Bosker, Making Waves , 91.

The conflict erupting over swimwear was not simply a matter of taste: the metamorphosis of the bathing suit forced our society to reassess its views of modesty. This was a culture war, a war of worldviews. As a people we shifted from the Biblical view of covering the body to an exhibitionist view of showing off the body. The sad outcome is that our society—including its churches—doffed its robe of Christian modesty and stood proud and naked on the beach. To illustrate this point, let’s chronicle the evolution of America’s public undressing during the 1900s: Women’s arms were exposed in the first decade. Though this may seem laughable to some in our day, this was a major shift in thought. Women’s arms and shoulders were usually covered in public. This change, however, was just the beginning.

The controversy of body concealment versus body display raged on into the 1920s as legs and backs were progressively bared. Cleavage appeared in the 1930s. In their headlong pursuit for more freedom and maximum exposure, swimwear designers jettisoned the overskirt which had been standard fare for most feminine swimming attire. Both men and women wanted to showcase their tan bodies, so the legal prohibitions which were designed to protect public modesty were regularly challenged and all but discarded. Public resistance barely whimpered, slid its clothes off, and joined the crowd.

A technological tour-de-force took place in the 1930s and 1940s, and a major shift in swimwear design followed. New fiber and fabrics allowed the body beneath to come out. These fabrics made it possible to expose more of the body’s curves. The body hidden underneath the bulky old suits of the past was now literally emerging

into the light of day. A two-piece suit first appeared in 1935 on the pages of fashion magazines. This bared a few inches of flesh between its two parts. Though some wore this daring item, it would not really become fashionable until the 1940s. During the 1940s and 1950s two-piece suits bared the midriff. Also popular was the maillot, which was designedwith holes and openings to reveal midriff and sides. The maillot focused on the hips and became tighter.

Once again, new fabrics made this possible. Elasticated knits accentuated the curves of the body in a way that was previously impossible. Now the body underneath could be amply exposed, emphasized, and exploited in breathtakingly skintight costumes, while its designers could declare that it was “covered.” The maillot inched ever lower on the bosom and crept higher on the leg. Most of the newest suits went strapless. Bared shoulders and skin-tight waistlines and bosoms filled the shoreline like high tide. During this period when swimming attire focused on the body’s curves, men with cameras focused on them too. Models smiled and bared themselves for the media, their bodies adorning virtually every kind of advertisement.

Young sirens in bathing suits became a standard item for American merchandising which marketed everything from automobiles to political campaigns. The navel was exposed in the 1960s and 1970s. Then in the 1970s high cuts revealed hips. Designers bared women’s thighs sometimes to the waist, which bedazzled the America public with yet another erogenous zone. This made the so-called “conservative” one-piece suit more erotic than ever. And with each new fashion season, the creators of swimwear shifted and manipulated the new fabrics to unveil yet another part of the body. Their garments virtually shouted at onlookers, “Look here! Now look there!” And in the 1980s and 1990s even more radical expressions like thongs revealed breasts and buttocks. The designer’s intentions quite obviously were to disrobe and showcase parts of the human anatomy which had never before been “up for grabs” in public. Their constant eroticizing and de-eroticizing portions of the body and their perpetual search for the next erogenous zone to expose screams design . A brief look at three of the swimsuit’s most famous designers should make this abundantly clear. Uninterested in his family’s business which specialized in making drop-seat underwear, Fred Cole went to Hollywood to become an actor. When this didn’t work out, he later joined the family business. Cole’s heart was apparently set on crafting swimwear, not long johns. His creative energies were animated by the conviction that a swimsuit was “not so much a garment to swim in but something to look beautiful in.” He “dreamed of spectacular women with the velvety eyes and shapely limbs of silent screen actresses. He envisioned them in dramatically cut bathing suits that transformed the body into a living theater of the Id…” Driven by this, he. designed his first suit with a “deeply scooped front and armholes, low-slung waist, and diminutive skirt aboveshort trunks.” The result? “A dizzying vision of sexuality.” Margit Fellegi, the”crazy Hungarian” from Chicago, regularly challenged the textile industry to create fabrics that would hug the body’s curves the way she visualized them. “Her particular genius lay in finding that unexpected approach to the body that made it at once disturbing and seductive…Whatever the device, there was always an element of shock in her suits.”Carol Schnurer, a plump and benign woman with graying hair and steel-rimmed glasses, “dedicated her life to persuading other women to take off as many clothes in public a possible.” In 1931, she designed, “the forerunnerof the two-piece suit. Her own showroom models were so horrified by the unprecedented exposure of bare midriff that they refused to put it on.” Surpassing all others in the fashion industry, swimwear designers have stunningly triumphed in changing public opinion regarding modesty. It is crystal clear that their creations are designed to expose as much human flesh to the public as possible. And yet, there remains in our society a few lingering twinges of bashfulness. As one historian notes, “Even today, when the body has become a marketable package, making a public appearancein a bathing suit can be a disquieting experience.” I must raise two questions here: l) Given that modern swimsuits were designed to promote public nakedness and remain the most revealing form of clothing, why do so many Christians wear them in mixed company andencourage their young people to do so? 2) Why do Christian ministers and leaders expose God’s young men and women to the disquieting experience of “greater body exposure” in the name of evangelizing them? As the above authors admit, there is a forced and uneasy alliance between modesty and sexual display. The Bible speaks of covering the body; the world promotes uncovering  the body. Should preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ be involved in promoting sexual display for which our young people would have been arrested sixty years ago? The reason that swimsuits can be “disquieting” is because they expose the bodies of those who wear them. Let’s face the truth—a bathing suit tells a more honest story about you than any other form of dress. Young women know that other young women and especially young men will really see whether they are full-busted or flat, what their legs and derrieres are shaped like, whether they have chunky or lean thighs, pretty skin, roundness, boxiness— it’s all out in the public in swimsuits. Swimwear by design is the classic case of trying to have your cake and eat it too. It was devised to offer nudity and  covering at the same time. If one wants to see a women with as few clothes on as legally possible, he need look no further than swimwear advertisements. Given the connection between the two, we shouldn’t be surprised that these are virtually indistinguishable from underwear advertisements. So if clothing can’t be dispensed with altogether, swimwear at least gives the appearance of nudity. That’s what it’s designed to be. When the new “Molded-fit” swimsuits were introduced in 1933, they were actually touted as the answer to “nude bathing.” An advertisement from then raved, “No other human device can even approximate that utter freedom, that perfection of fit, at rest or in motion, that airy but strictly legal sense of wearing nothing at all.” This was not written in the 60s nor did it appear in Playboy or Penthouse—it was Harper’s Bazaar in 1933!  What I hope the reader will see is that swimwear was intentionally a prime player in America’s not-so-subtle slide intopublic debauchery. For over 100 years, this single garment has served as the most important vehicle for the public undressing of America. Swimwear manufacturers have been primary players in “drawing the line in the sand” in the culture war between Christian modesty and nakedness. They have set the standards for what is exposed and what is concealed, while neither their standards nor their ethics are drawn from the Word of God. History clearly demonstrates that their vision has often collided violently with the laws of the land; but more importantly, it has also collided violently with the holiness of God. Sixty years ago, dressing this way was called “indecent exposure.” Today some pastors, Sunday School teachers, and Bible conference leaders call it “Christian liberty” and “a thing indifferent.” To believe that a garment designed to eroticize various parts of the body is a thing indifferent manifests the dichotomy of thought men-.tioned earlier. Here’s what the dichotomy produces: men and women who would never dream of walking out the front door in their undergarments will parade their nearly naked bodies publicly in swimwear. How many of you ladies would stand in your front yard in only your half-slip and bra? Have you considered that they probably cover more than what you wear to the beach? The dichotomy also produces people who sit in church on Sunday decrying public immorality, while remaining unaware that the garment they will wear to the next retreat would have landed them in jail for public nakedness a few decades ago! A woman wearing a so-called “modest” onepiece swim suit today would have been arrested  in 1922, as newspaper archives reveal. How did this happen to men and women whose bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit? Though there is today a resurgence of the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace and a renewed cry for holiness, somehow the swimsuit has managed to survive within the professing Christian (and even the Reformed) community. Not only has it survived, but it thrives  and is actually defended and dignified as a “liberty” for God’s people. This is perplexing. However, I shall offer a few suggestions in the chapters to come as to how this came about. Prior to that, however, we will consider the stage on which American Christians have performed their sanctified striptease. As we shall see next, it has truly emerged as a theater of the erotic.

 

VI. The Theater of Carnality

“I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”—Job 31:1

God created beaches. They are a beautiful part of His creation. The splendor of the sand, waves, and sun reflect the glory of their Maker. Lovely as they are, however, they have become the sad theater in which a fierce battle for modesty was lost. During the latter years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th, going to the beach nearly evolved into a religion for Americans. Between the media hype that constantly touted “healthy recreation” and the fashion industry’s brilliant and strategic success in presenting swimwear as “fashionable,” a mental dichotomy developed in the American mind that has not left us: nakedness which was unacceptable oncity streets quite literally became high fashion on the beach. The atmosphere of the beach not only justified nakedness, but became a new theater of eroticism whose lure was too intoxicating and seductive for most human beings to ignore. A few pulpits decried the obvious moral outrage of the new mentality; but they were soon silenced, rarely to be heard from again. The rush to the beach opened the door for justifying public nakedness. This “retreat to the beach” is so deeply entrenched in the American psyche, that many of us are probably unaware that men and women frolicking together in the surf was virtually unknown in human history until the mid-1800s. As the cry for more “functional” swimwear arose, the public’s morality slipped right off with its outer garments and was laid aside like an old, empty dress. The beach became the stage on which the main character of a new morality play was purposely, progressively, and provocatively disrobed: the female body.“For women, the preservation of modesty became a crucial concern during the last three decades of the nineteenth century, when they made the uneasy transition from bathing to swimming…by mid-century men, women, and children were escaping to this seasonal world (the beac)h by the thousands as a retreat from the pressures of urbanization and industrialization, and out of this pleasure culture the “summer girl” was born. She took obvious delight in tantalizing male vacationers with her daring antics and costume…As the summer girl and her more conservative followers became the common sight on public and private beaches, bathing developed into a highly social form of coed recreation. Functional bathing clothing was no longer adequate, and women adopted styles that showed off their charms…contrary to popular etiquette codes, young men not only refused to avert their eyes but some of the more brazen “Kodak fiends” often gathered at the water’s edge to watch these living pictures of ‘Venus rising from the Sea.’ ”It is obvious that for our culture has become extraordinarily clever at concocting beach “pastimes.” Every kind of organization can find some reason for gathering at the beach—from vacations and watersport events to seminars and church retreats. Love for the beach and the “Undressed Life” is so deeply embedded in modern American culture that to question its propriety is thought to be the height of legalistic Pharisaism, a return to Puritanical kill-joyism. Nevertheless, even modern fashion historians rightly observe that “swimming is a social

Male nudity is dealt with in this article as well; however, the main emphasis will be the female because in our culture the fashion industry understands what the pornography industry does: female nakedness makes more money than its male counterpart. provocation, an edge that may allow for slightly naughty, covertly sensuous behavior. In fact, those who in the nineteenth century saw the beach as a place of indulgence and arid iniquity were not entirely wrong.” They also point out the painfully obvious: “The fun-in-the-sun mentality encouraged a heightened sense of body awareness, and women’s swimsuits became increasingly more revealing.” Body awareness—as if men were not body “aware” enough already! The beach as the “progressive strip show” has veritably streamed towards the real goal of its erotic race: total nudity. In the 1970s, “hair and skin had to be in peak condition, muscles in tone, for exposure in swimwear. The body was in fashion, particularly on the beach, and there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the swimsuit, however delicious, was merely a frame for it…all swimwear gradually lost coverage, gained shock appeal, feel appeal, as new soft and shiny fabrics were used…but the daring were no longer wearing teeny weeny bikinis: they were removing them at least the top half, on all the leading beaches of the world.” This burlesque, of course, could not be acted out in the work place; but the beach provided the ultimate frontier for pioneers willing to brazenly challenge the old morality. Swimwear not only legitimized nakedness but its Siamese twin, voyeuris . The female form was no longer merely a fantasy hidden under layers of cloth and petticoats: it was now a stark, sensual reality for all those who wanted to look. Though righteous Job said, “I made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1), American men established gazing and fantasizing on the “maids” as a red-blooded tradition. “Spectatorship is…inherent to swimming…what we fail to see in the streets…is palpable at the beach…swimwear and spectatorship are indivisible in concept.” If Christians are unaware that the world views the beach this way, they need to wake up. The lost man generall sees the beach as the theater of the body. Do you doubt this? Then consider the following: “If swimwear would ultimately provide the modern imagination with the eroticism of alternatively concealing and revealing the body, the undeniable, first situation of bathing was nakedness…People-watching, the great bourgeois voyeurism, is even more interesting when bathing involves an intimate dialogue between clothing and body seldom if ever glimpsed as candidly elsewhere in the spectacle of modern life.” In other words, at the beach you can see more of what you cannot legitimately see anywhere else: live, naked flesh. Not only that, it’s actually packaged to make it more erotic than most total nudity would be. Let’s face it: packaging is generally far more erotic than raw nudity. Alison Lurie, author of The Language of Clothes , observes that “some modern writers believe that the deliberate concealment of certain parts of the body originated not as a way of discouraging sexual interest, but as a clever device for arousing it. According to this view, clothes are the physical equivalent of remarks like “I’ve got a secret”; they are a tease, a come-on. It is certainly true that parts of the human form considered sexually arousing are often covered in such a way as to exaggerate and draw attention to them.” Kidwell and Steele add that “clothes are especially sexy when they call attention to the naked body underneath.” Every human being that is even slightly aware of his or her sexuality knows this. The same thing applies to short skirts, tight pants, skimpy tops, shorts, and a variety of clothing that conceals and reveals the body underneath. The fashion industry does not believe that the principle purpose of clothing is to cover the body; it believes that the principle purpose of clothing is sexual attraction. This is the very opposite of Christian modesty. It’s sad but true: the great dichotomy is alive and well today, and it resides in the minds of a staggering number of pastors and youth leaders. They believe that this arena of legitimized nudity is the ideal place to teach impressionable young men and women the “faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness” (Ti 1:1). How can this be? There are many possible explanations for this confusing phenomenon. Time and space will only allow for a few. Some who claim to be men of God are simply unregenerate and will therefore relentlessly fight to clothe fleshly pleasures in the robes of religion. Some professing men of God do not lead—they instead are led by the desires of their people (and particularly by the women and the “youth group”). Others, who are sincere men of

Martin and Koda, Splash!, 58. Kidwell and Steele, Men and Women, 118-120. Probert, Swimwear in Vogue Since 1910 , (New York: Abbeville Press, 1981), 80.Martin and Koda, Splash!, 43, 19, 21.
.Lurie, The Language of Clothes, 212-214. Kidwell and Steele, Men and Women, 56.

God, have so many furious battles in various areas that they simply have not reflected on nor studied the issue. And there are some who have studied the issue over the years and have concluded that this is a thing indifferent, a matter of Christian liberty. Let’s take a look at one possibility that might explain why this dichotomy exists in some men of God.

If you want to read more please go to.. http://www.chapellibrary.org/files/archive/pdf-english/cmod.pdf

sorry for all the different font sizes. It wouldn’t paste any other way.. but a very good and important read.

Debylin

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About Debylin

The Lord is gracious and is just and I am thankful that He has before the foundations of the World chosen a remnant to call His own.
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One Response to The Public Undressing of America

  1. Debylin says:

    Hi Joanie, here is my email address. grace101ds@hotmail.com. Thanks.

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