As tired as I am of hearing the old “times have changed” adage, it couldn’t be more accurate, especially when it comes to women’s swimwear.In a world that once stifled women’s fashion with a great big pillow of modesty, times certainly changed…is it truly for the better?Many argue that contemporary swimsuits of the Western world have been “pushing the envelope” since their conception.
Note: The men were shown photographs of bodies in bikinis – faces were omitted.
Researchers concluded that when men looked at photos of the bikini-clad bodies, the brain region associated with tools, or “things you manipulate with your hands,” were most active.
Rey concludes that, “wearing a bikini does give women power — the power to shut down men’s ability to see her as a person, but rather as an object” (via).
While this sample study did not reveal any information that was particularly surprising to me, I fully support the honorable intention behind her line (not to mention, I love seeing people start their own companies).
This past month, an actress/designer by the name of Jessica Rey gave a speech for Q about her line of women’s swimwear.
Her company, Rey Swimwear (whose slogan is: “Who says it has to be itsy bitsy? While she credits Audrey Hepburn as her muse for the line, it seems as though her inspiration reaches beyond old Hollywood glamour.During her speech, she cites a sample study done by Princeton University in which 21 men had their brains observed through MRI scans.At this time, they were shown photographs of women in bikinis.While Rey did garner up a great deal of supporters, she also drew in a hefty load of thought provoking criticism. Why should a woman have to change the way she dresses to be treated properly by a man?Shouldn’t we then be focusing on male modesty if a man is tempted to disrespect a woman based on what she wears?What if the men in the study had been shown photos of women with faces? Why are we treating men as if they are devoid of all rationality?