Just in time to kick off the summer months, I share with you the following from Salvo issue 29. The “she” who is being referred to here is Jessica Rey, founder of Rey Swimwear, and this article tells a bit of her story—and the story of the bikini as well.
. . . In June 2013, she gave a genteel, ten-minute talk called “The Evolution of the Swimsuit” that set off a verbal firestorm in the blogosphere.
She started off with a little history. The first bikini was designed in 1946 by Louis Réard, who worked in his mother’s lingerie shop. He named it after Bikini Atoll, the site of post-World War II nuclear bomb testing, because he expected an explosive reaction from the public. He had to hire a stripper because no French model would debut it for him. Later, in the wake of the 1960s’ sexual revolution, “liberated” feminists began casting the bikini as symbolic of “the power of women.” The reframing stuck, and in 2003, a New York Times reporter called it “the millennial equivalent of the power suit.”
Jessica then related the results of a 2009 neural imaging study conducted on male students at Princeton University that had turned up some interesting results relevant to women’s choices in fashion. “Brain scans revealed that when men are shown pictures of scantily clad women, the region of the brain associated with tools, such as screwdrivers and hammers, lit up.” Furthermore, she said, some men showed “zero brain activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that lights up when one ponders another person’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions.”
This was not what the researchers had expected. One professor said, “It’s as if they’re reacting to these women as if they are not fully human,” as if they were “objects, not people.” This study, together with a related one on men’s language choices after seeing the images, led analysts at National Geographic to conclude that bikinis “really do inspire men to see [women] as objects”—as things to be used, rather than persons to connect with.
This turns the notion of the bikini as a “power suit” entirely on its head. If these findings are to be believed, the bikini is a profound tool of disempowerment. Jessica’s point, therefore, was this: If a woman wants to be taken seriously—as a valuable, fully human person rather than an object—she would do better to dress more modestly. . . .
Fascinating stuff. I recommend the entire article to you. Decent Exposure: And a Refreshing Resilience in Women’s Fashion by Terrell Clemmons. As a man, I can fully attest that these scientific findings on the male brain are accurate. Don’t shame me, feminists. I was born this way.
***Subscribe to Salvo today!*** One year for only $19.99 plus get the special Science & Faith issue FREE.