This whole issue surrounding the bikini has been really interesting, and it’s almost as if there isn't one right answer, or one right model to fit all situations. Everyone has different standards on what's right and wrong and the degree to which a bikini makes a guy stumble, or presents itself as temptation seems to be different for each guy.
I think the key to this whole debate is to have a balanced approach, where both girls and guys are consciously making efforts to be respectful towards the opposite sex. Yes, girls need to dress in a way that is appropriate and respectful, but guys also need to teach themselves not to look when presented with an opportunity.
Girls, if we want to have meaningful conversations and develop friendships with guys then maybe we should dress in a way that isn't distracting towards guys. Think of it this way, If you know you shouldn’t look at something or someone it makes it that much harder not to look, so if a guy knows he shouldn’t be staring at your boobs, he’s probably going to be consciously making sure he doesn’t look. This means a friendship might not be able to fully develop because he’s not totally present in the conversation.
Guys, yes, girls should dress more appropriately, but not all the fault lies on our shoulders (or chest for that matter). Boys need to have some sense of control over themselves so that they don’t hard out look at hot girls in lustful ways, or fantasise about them wearing not much etc. If you were at the beach and saw a girl in a bikini and double looked her would you do the same if she walked past you in clothes? Sure, it’s probably hard to gain some sort of control over your eyes or emotions, but it is possible. Maybe more guys just need to train themselves not to look.
Guys, you also need to be more aware of how you are treating girls, how you are seeing girls, and how you are acting around girls. We notice when you are checking out our friends, or that chick wearing a bikini two sizes too small. We see right through your comments on how that girl has ‘massive hooters’, and it doesn’t make you look cool. A guy who is far more explicit in his comments and the way he acts is not going to be considered as attractive to us girls as a guy who is respectful in his comments and feelings towards girls.
Now I’ve got some more bonus questions that I thought I’d end this series on. There’s nothing quite like an insight into the mind of the male, and the world of the female species.
1. How does it make you feel when a guy/girl you’re friends with openly expresses their ‘appreciation/objectification’ of a person of the opposite sex?
Damian: I don’t really care, it is what it is... but it depends on the extent of it at the same time…if they're becoming obsessive then it gets kind of weird.
Glen Coco: Well that would depend if it was either appreciation, or objectification. My thoughts are that there is nothing wrong with appreciating the way someone looks, but there is a fine line between the two that you have to be cautious not to cross. If that line is crossed into objectification, then I feel uncomfortable being involved in the conversation. It feels disrespectful to the person involved, even though they wouldn’t likely know about it.
Aaron Samuels: Depends if you know they are trying to flirt or not. If they are openly expressing appreciation of someone's boyfriend/girlfriend and doing it a lot, that would be kind of weird and I probably wouldn't condone it. But if they were appreciating someone that they were actually interested in, I would probably accept that…and then I’d probably get more info out of them about the person they like.
Mr Duvall: To admire someone for being handsome or beautiful is completely fine, it’s when the objectification goes too far that it isn’t good. I think there are a lot of stereotypes and social norms surrounding this appreciation/objectification of the opposite sex, i.e. that guys will always look and appreciate/objectify a good-looking girl, because guys are just guys. Also, it’s interesting that it seems almost weird when a girl does the same thing when there is a good looking/well-built guy. There are definitely a lot of double standards surrounding this topic.
Cady Heron: When I see them notice a person's body I think its gross. There is something about ogling the body that I find disconcerting. If they think someone is pretty I don't care. I think it’s the association between their 'appreciation' of the body and selfish pleasure. It’s not about the person; they are just a sex object.
Gretchen Wieners: I feel inadequate and I begin subconsciously and unintentionally comparing myself to the person they were talking about. I would feel a bit of jealousy, especially if it was someone I liked that was appreciating/objectifying someone else.
Janis Ian: I’d feel a bit uncomfortable to be honest. To me, it usually feels more like objectification. I sometimes feel uncomfortable for the person it’s directed towards and often a bit sad that the comment was about physical qualities rather than the things that really matter. But it depends how they say it too; tone of voice and facial expression can say a lot. It also depends on who it comes from, if it’s someone I already know quite well then I know it’s coming from their heart and then that changes things. If it’s someone I don’t know, I don’t really like it.
Regina George: It would make me compare myself to the girl, and think what does she have that I need to have for a guy to notice me. Depending on the situation or the guy, it would make me think less of the guy, especially if the girl was dressed sluzza styles (haha).
2. Do you think that bikinis are appropriate at all?
Damien: They're good but it depends on how you're presenting yourself. If you’re going with the intention to draw attention to feel appreciated/loved then it's sad you doesn’t realise who you are... but if you’re wearing it because it's comfortable then all good.
Glen Coco: I don’t have a problem with bikinis; however, I know that’s not the case for everyone. As much as it’s not up to the wearer of the bikini to control how other people react or respond to it, the wearer can be respectful/sympathetic of the scenario that they will be in and the type of people that they will be around, and make a choice based on that.
Aaron Samuels: I think bikinis are appropriate because it's a fashion choice chosen by woman to wear. If they are comfortable wearing it then they have every right to. If someone is uncomfortable with bikinis they can remove themselves from the situation but they shouldn't make a women cover up. We don’t live in the 1920's anymore.
Mr Duvall: Like anything, bikinis are fine until a certain point is reached. I think that people should feel free to wear whatever they want, but at the same time there are boundaries that should be observed so not to look ‘cheap’ or ‘un-classy’. If they’re turning heads for all the wrong reasons then that’s when bikinis become inappropriate.
Cady Heron: No, they don't aid swimming, there is no logical reason for them. I don't really understand why people like them.
Gretchen Weiners: Yes…it’s like, if they're worn in the right place and the right crowd, then yes. Because it’s swimwear… we should be able to wear what we want without worrying about other people.
Janis Ian: Sure, if the person who has chosen to wear it feels comfortable in it. At the end of the day, other peoples’ opinions about whether it’s appropriate or not don’t matter, although not worrying about it is easier said than done sometimes. It’s really up to the individual. It’s their body so what they choose to wear is up to them. If a girl feels comfortable in a bikini then good on her!
Regina George: Yeah I love wearing a bikini when I can. It just sucks that you have to be appropriate in life… yeah… I think a girl should be able to wear what she wants.
3. (BOYS) How does it make you feel when you see a girl in revealing clothing? (E.g. short shorts, low cut top, short dress)
Damien: Again, it depends if they're deliberately trying to draw attention to 'flaunt what they got'. Low cut tops are more 'in your face' compared to shorts so it depends. But again, if they're doing it to get attention or love then they may feel like they're not getting the value that they deserve from others. The issue of girls wearing clothes that lead my head into ‘impure’ thoughts isn’t the girls’ problem, it's actually my problem, and so I don’t see why I would ever need to put the blame on them. But if they were doing it because they're feeling undervalued, then I would try and get to the deeper issue.
Glen Coco: Well, so long as all the important parts are covered up, then it’s fine. If they’ve gone over the top, then I tend to question their taste in clothing, or start analysing why they would want to show that much. People are always going to wear whatever they want, and I can’t control that. What I can control is how I respond to it. (E.g. where or what I look at).
Aaron Samuels: Depending on the level of how short or how revealing the top, most probably I would feel sorry for the girl who is dressing like that as it comes across trashy or dare I say slutty. Let's just say I wouldn't go for a girl wearing those sorts of clothes. I like a girl who wears something that shows off more her personality rather than her butt, like a nice summer dress, or high waisted jeans. Dressing sophisticated and elegant goes a long way. Also for the record I don’t believe bikinis are trashy or slutty (provided they fit the girl appropriately).
Mr Duvall: I feel bad for the person, as I know that they will be judged by others based solely on what they are wearing. There is a boundary between looking classy and sexy vs. looking un-classy. Psychologically, people make snap decisions about a person based purely on first impressions. These impressions are made before we’ve even spoken to them. The fact that people make judgements about people based purely on what someone is wearing is a sad but true reality.
4. (GIRLS) Do you notice when a guy isn't paying attention to you and is looking at your ‘assets’? (Boobs/legs/butt etc)
Cady Heron: It is extremely obvious. I feel sorry for the guys who have to divert their attention because a chick has most of her tits out.
Gretchen Weiner: One time there was this guy at camp, and I was just wearing a normal t shirt, and he looked at my top and said “cool top”, without even looking at my face. I was like what the hell are you looking at! This was at church camp too! Lake Taupo! It was so not subtle at all! Guys always look at my legs when I have them out too, like it’s so noticeable. Guys are not subtle. The real seedy ones have their reflective glasses on, so you can't see if they're looking sometimes. I get so confused when they look, like at camp I was just wearing a t-shirt, and I have like the smallest boobs on the planet, so I was like why are you even looking?
Janis Ian: Yup, definitely. It’s obvious straight away.
Regina George: No. I don’t. I can’t tell. I don’t go round looking to see if guys are looking at me. I don’t notice things that other people pick up on. I've never noticed a guy checking me out…I don’t think they would anyway, because I have small boobs and a small butt. In saying that, I am self-conscious when I'm wearing revealing or huggy stuff. I feel like I would definitely get looks if I wore tight or revealing stuff, so that's probably why I don't wear that type of clothing.
5. How does it make you feel when a person of the opposite sex (just a friend) gives you a compliment?
Damien: I like it haha. If it's something encouraging then I don’t see why they should hold it back... in the same way I wouldn’t really hold back a compliment if I really thought it! There’s always room for encouragement…but that’s possibly because I’m a words person.
Glen Coco: Well I’ll let you know when I know. How I take it or feel about it is dependent on who gave it. If it’s a good friend who’s opinion that I value and respect, then it would be received and appreciated with the sincerity that it was given. If it was a random that I didn’t really know, I’d thank them, and then move on. I wouldn’t let what they thought or said about me affect me, because it could just as easily be negative. If you take to heart what people say/think all the time, then you really make life hard for yourself and you start basing your self-worth on what other people say.
Aaron Samuels: I guess as a guy any compliment from a girl is cool and you appreciate the kind words. It is hard to tell if they are being flirty or giving a genuine compliment though. But if they’re your friend then it most likely would be genuine (especially if you have a girlfriend/married). It's nice to be reminded you're doing something right.
Mr Duvall: I think I speak for everyone when I say that a compliment from anyone can dramatically brighten your day. We as humans want to be liked by people and appreciated, so when someone compliments us it makes us feel good about ourselves, it makes us feel special or appreciated. This boosts our self-esteem, which is a good thing!
Cady Heron: Depends on what it is. Not all compliments are created equal.
Gretchen Weiner: Flattered. And you remember it when people compliment you. Not really if girls say it, but if a guy compliments me I always remember it, even if I didn’t like them. I like it better when it’s about my overall appearance. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what a guy’s intentions are though. It’s also easier to accept a compliment when you're by yourself and not in a group; it’s better when other people aren’t around.
Janis Ian: Depends on the nature of the compliment for me I think. If it was about something physical, “you’re hot, “nice boobs” that would make me uncomfortable. But if it’s something about my inner qualities like my personality then I really appreciate it because I feel like they value me for the things I want to be valued for. It’s sometimes hard to know how to respond though! But again, it also depends on who the compliment comes from. If it’s someone I already know quite well, then I’m more comfortable with compliments than I am if it’s someone I hardly know.
Regina George: Really flattered. I would remember it more if I liked the person, you probably over analyse it in your head more too. But I really value it, especially when it’s about my hair, or the way I looked. It’s especially nice when you don’t expect it. It can be misleading if a guy always compliments you though. I find with girls complimenting girls it’s different, like with girls it’s a conversation thing, but I appreciate it when girls compliment me too.
So thank you! xx