Recently a FAR colleague sent us writers an article entitled, “Toward a New Understanding of Modesty,” and asked if any of us would like to comment on it. I dove at the chance, pun intended. Not only did the article address the politics of swimwear (a kind of clothing I spent nearly a third of my life wearing everyday, swimming competitively for eight years), it also discussed the swimsuit designs of Jessica Rey – a former Power Ranger, the white-suited one to be specific.
The article’s author, Katelyn Beaty, explains that Rey believes, “that the now-ubiquitous bikini hurts women” because it encourages men to see women as objects to be used. Beaty states, “Rey has a mission: to get as many women as possible in one-piece swimsuits.” This mission immediately perked my attention. As a Power Ranger, Alyssa (Rey) is all too familiar with the utility of a shining, stretchy body suit. Armored head to toe in white, pink and gold lycra and spandex, sporting a skirt over her leggings, Alyssa defeats many monsters in the Power Ranger universe.
But fantasy aside, the utilitarian nature of swimwear is often overlooked in deference to “sexiness” and fashion. Bikinis are featured in most fashion magazines as the standard for bathing beauty, as is the ‘ability’ (or supposed ‘right kind of body’) to wear a bikini, aka the elusive “bikini body.”
Continue reading “What I’m Wearing to the Pool and What it Means, by Sara Frykenberg”