Looking at photos of women in swimming costumes…?
Looking at photos of women in swimming costumes can have negative consequences on the way we regard women. The images leave a mark in our mind and it can be difficult to get rid of it.
Imagine you meet a pretty woman, and you get to be best friends. Soon after you fall in love and finally you ask her to marry you. How wonderful, she accepts!
You go off on honeymoon, and then, after this you learn she’s pregnant with your first child, a little girl. When the baby arrives, you are the first to see her. Your eyes fill with tears as you behold a miniature version of your wife.
You fall in love again – in a certain manner – because you are in admiration of this new-born, which you created with the help of your wife, and above all with the grace of God.
You bring her up with love, you teach her to ride a bike, you scoop her up into your arms if ever she falls over… She’s the princess, and you are her king, and you both know it. Years go by, and you start building a family.
Today, it’s her 17th birthday and she’s organising a pool party with her friends. She comes out of the house in a swimming costume, and your son takes a photo with his phone. As he thinks it a good photo he publishes it on the internet.
Soon, there will be hundreds of thousands of strangers all over the world lusting over your princess. They’ll be admiring her body, and making all kinds of jokes about this young woman, and what they’d like to do to her.
And you, how do you feel about it?
Would you feel reassured if they said they were “simply appreciating the beauty of the feminine body”?
Now imagine God the Father’s heart, who loves his daughters infinitely more that you or I ever could.
Magazine girls are also daughters of the “King of Heaven and Earth”, whether they’re aware of it or not. What’s sad it that us, his sons, have created a market, for selling his children.
This is why pope John-Paul II challenges us:
“Every man must look inside himself to see if those who were entrusted to him as sisters of humanity […] have not become an object of adultery in their heart.”(1)
We are called to treat women with the honour, purity and respect we expect other men to treat our daughters.
I knew about “Sports Illustrated” (sports magazine) which was going round high school, and I’d heard all the reasons in advance to justify it, pretending it wasn’t bad to admire the photos in it. Obviously, none of the arguments were very convincing, but why would I care about that? I was just appreciating the feminine body. Before I was aware of it and could stop it, my way of looking at them had been modified. My criteria of physical beauty had become one of impossible perfection. And when the eye wanders from page to page of a magazine, with lust, your eyes also start looking from one girl to the next, on campus or in the shopping centre.
In a very short time, you start assuming that behaviour like this, always being sexy, is something completely natural to teenagers. Then, when you bump into girls at school or even at church, without even realising it, you’re transforming them into objects. We start measuring the value of a woman by the excitement or desire she provokes. We become increasingly superficial. And all the while we sooth our conscience by saying that it won’t affect us that much.
Images leave a mark on the mind
Porn pictures leave behind a mark on your mind, and I don’t know how long it takes to erase them. But it’s not just these images which stay with you. Your vicious way of seeing things won’t leave you either. A way of seeing things in a certain light, where your eyes are not happy with looking at just one woman, even when you start a relationship. You’ve trained them to look at anything that could excite them. They’ve become gluttonous with lust.
Now I’m married, I still feel the effects of porn magazines and sports photos of swimming costumes that I looked at ten years ago. It causes you to have unfaithful eyes: looking at every attractive woman you see. I’m not saying you lust over each of them, but you have a tendency to want to undress any pretty woman within 100 metres of you.
But my eyes, like my heart and my body, belong only to Crystalina (my wife). If I know there’s a dreamy creature walking around the shopping centre, I have to turn my head, to stop myself stealing a glance at her. Lastly, it’s not a sin to contemplate a beautiful woman, but we have to get back to monogamy, because pornography causes us to live a “mental polygamy”.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!”
What should you do if you see a magnificent woman? I recommend you recite the words of Psalm 84 in your heart: “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!” As every person is a temple of the Holy Spirit, we can rightly thank God for the beauty of each place he inhabits!
If you don’t know what to do, to stop looking at photos of women in swimming costumes, if you’re feeling powerless in the face of this situation, don’t hesitate to talk to us about it via the chat (free and anonymous). We’re here for you!
- What does pornography do to women?
- How does porn effect society?
- Liberated from pornography by Carlo Acutis
(1) Pope Jean-Paul II, Apostolic letter, Mulieris Dignitatem 14 (On the dignity and vocation of women), (Boston: Pauline Books & Media, 1988