A week ago, my Facebook feed lit up with several people posting a video by Jessica Rey about the evolution of the swimsuit. When I say ‘lit up’ it really was just a few small sparks here and there, but the responses and ‘likes’ they generated made me curious.
Ms Rey’s presentation was okay, but I would hardly call it ‘Brilliant’ or ‘Excellent’ or any of the positive adjectives I saw in my Facebook comments. I understand she was limited to nine minutes, so it is quite likely that she was unable to say everything she wanted to about modesty in that time frame.
In particular, I found her citation of a Princeton study to be somewhat lacking. How big was the sample? Upon further research, I discovered that the study was conducted on 21 heterosexual male undergraduates. TWENTY-ONE male university students between the ages of 18 and 21! And since we’re talking about Princeton, I’m guessing these males are American (probably white) and from privileged backgrounds. Surely even someone who has never studied statistics can tell that that cannot be considered representative of the entire male population. Yet, a simple search for ‘Princeton bikini study’ into one’s search engine will show that many, many people have jumped on the bandwagon and sensationalising the study’s results with tabloid flair. As if ALL men are like those in Princeton.
Of course, Ms Rey’s ultimate aim is to talk about what modesty means. Oh, and to promote her line of modest swimwear. It is just unfortunate that she had to resort to quoting a small, inconclusive study to do it.
And why all this talk on modesty in swimwear anyway? Oh, right, it’s that time of year in the northern hemisphere.
Anyway, while I was dealing with an unsettled feeling after listening to Ms Rey’s talk, Q invited Rachel Held Evans to share some of her thoughts on the topic.
The discussion in the comments section makes for very worthwhile reading also.