Eve, Modesty and Baby Bikinis ~ Jen

I found a pair of shoes at Nordstrom’s Rack that struck me, so I took a picture of them and uploaded to Instagram:

IMG_20130325_125334-001

My 20 year old niece responded that they were “SO CUTE!!!! Where are you? Do they have my size???”

She thought they were grown up shoes.

They aren’t. I found them in the toddler section. Size 12.

This Spring, as the catalogs arrived with new summer clothes and suits, I noticed that everything seems more and more like mini-versions of adult clothing. And not in a good way. Like this:

This one is available for three year olds
This one is available for three year olds

And this:

This was initially available starting at 6-12months
This was initially available starting at 6-12months

And maybe most disturbingly, this:

String bikini available in size 0-6 months
String bikini available in size 0-6 months

It’s probably not new. But this is the first year I am shopping for Kate in the Big Girl sizes, and the lack of material available is a problem.

The anxiety sister in me looks at those bathing suits and thinks immediately of the creepy guy on the beach with his phone, taking pictures of little girls dressed like mini Hawaiian Tropics models and posting them on some sick website.

But it’s not just that. Part of my job as a Christian mom is to teach my children to be modest in their dress and their behavior. The Bible tells us “Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16,17). As a Christian Feminist, I am not getting on board with the folks who see women as the source of temptation and use Eve as proof. I have never understood the concept of modesty in only women and because men are some kind of animal who cannot be trusted to control their emotions or actions. Thankfully, my church teaches that the Adam and Eve story is allegorical, so for us, Eve is a cautionary tale of sinful disobedience, and not the founding example of the Whore archetype.

(Plus, think what we are saying if woman is the source of sinful lust and temptation AND a temple of God? Yikes)

More to my point is that if God is in there, we better be careful about the message that we send through our clothes, words and actions. My kids are little, so I am in charge of that message right now. What am I telling the world if I dress my little girl up in a swimsuit that makes her look like she has a waist and some boobs? Or let her teeter around on shoes with a two inch heel. To make her look…what? Taller? Older? Sexier?

Blech.

I can’t live vicariously through my daughter’s figure, or revisit glory days. I shouldn’t look at her five year old self and imagine the bombshell she might be at twenty. Just the thought gives me the heebie-jeebies.

If God is in there, then Self-respect equals God-respect. That is one of my major goals as a mom, to teach my kids that how they dress, act and speak is a reflection of who they are. Who they are is a temple of God, a sacred space, proof of love. I want them to understand that they are precious and deserving of respect and honor. I hope it will help them make good choices in action and people as they grow older.

Our secular society teaches that it is the light coming off a person that makes them valuable. The more we glitter, the “better” we are. But people of all faiths should know that is not true. It is the light coming out of a person that makes them Love in this world.

Because God is in there. So dress Him appropriately.

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