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             09 June, 2023

Category:  Articles » Fashion


Shopping For Men's Swimwear - A Lesson in Social Acceptance

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2009-11-17 05:26:32     
Article by Robert Peters

Take a moment to consider; how often are the choices in our lives influenced by what others may, or may not think? Truly, each of us has made decisions in life based upon the strongest need to belong. In fact, our need to belong is so strong that it often over shadows our strongest emotions and desires in life. Indeed, wanting to "fit in" is not an experience we only face during adolescence, but something we will encounter our entire lives. Most people are familiar with the expression "keeping up with the Jones' " but neglect its true meaning of wanting to fit in. As adults, we tend to conform to the social standards set forth by our peers while adapting our ideas and beliefs around what others might think. So, why begin a topic about men's swimwear with an analysis on human behavior?

The need for a sense of belonging can often challenge our choices in clothing or how we will exhibit our individual styles. In fact, when we are being shunned or mocked, our sense of belonging is threatened leaving us feeling vulnerable or inadequate. As a result, the human psyche actually protects itself from the fear of exclusion by embracing the latest trends and styles. It is not uncommon for individuals to go for broke trying to keep up on the latest brand names in fashion. Yet, isn't it interesting that the latest trends and styles typically blossom from something that stands out to be so different?

So, feeling properly educated with the psychological background of why one conforms to societal expectations, it's now time to start challenging societies expectations and barriers by analyzing modern choices in men's swimwear. Do men in our generation really have a genuine choice in swimwear? Does society continue to control and dictate what a man should wear at the pool or at the beach?

How far have we come?

Typically, lessons in history can be boring and uneventful. However, after reviewing many articles in fashion literature, as well as websites dedicated to the history of men's swimwear, it is truly remarkable how quickly (in some ways) our society has regressed back to the dark ages in regards to men's swimwear. Approximately a century ago, men typically wore complete body covers when frequenting the beach or poolside. In the early 1900's, proper etiquette dictated a more formal type of swimwear when taking quick excursions to the beach. Luckily, trends began to change through the 20's & 30's with the introduction of new "nude" like fabrics.

Crediting the influential power of women's fashion throughout history, designs in women's swimwear had a profound impact on the evolutionary process of men's swimwear. Indeed, as decades past men's swimwear became more tailored to be less covering and to show more skin. Eventually, men's swimwear began to shorten and shrink to the style we most famously know as the "Speedo". Thankfully, men's swimwear eventually evolved and crossed into a generation where the male expression was open to the display of the male physique. Remarkably, by the early 70's guys were ready and daring enough to show themselves in a whole new and special way. So, what has happened to men's swimwear in the last decade or two?

Bikini's versus Board Shorts

Truly, it is interesting to see the progression of changes in men's swimwear from the 70's to present day. In the last decade or two, it seems that society has undergone a reevaluation process determining the appropriateness (or lack of a better term) the inappropriateness of men's swimwear. It is this type of determination process that continues to be an instrumental factor when guys are selecting their style of swimwear. Sadly, today's men must evaluate their swimwear choice based on a determination of masculinity. As a result, many wonderful and attractive swimwear styles for men have been determined to be less than masculine.

Understandably, this type of topic is very sensitive for some men (particularly in the United States), but it is time for a new generation of men to become educated and desensitized to make a movement towards more appropriate apparel for the beach. Watching a nation divided; there are many types of selections in fashion. For men's swimwear, however, there are mainly two types of swimwear to be noted at beaches or at the public poolside; board shorts versus bikini brief swimwear. Disagree?

Take note during the next special outing at the beach. Men can be summed into these two swimwear categories. For those accustomed to wearing the "Board Short" type bathing suit and being extremely physically fit, it is inconceivable that these men feel more comfortable wearing long pants into the water (a.k.a. board shorts) than any other smaller and sexier type of swimwear. In some countries, board shorts have been banned due to concerns with hygiene and the like. Secretly, it is believed that most men would prefer something a little simpler, functional and, let's face it, more revealing!

The bikini swimsuit (a.k.a: Speedo) is a sexier type of men swimwear that truly accentuates the male physique. Popular in the early 80's, this type of swimwear has been ostracized in recent years in lieu of Board Shorts based on social pressures. A slightly more acceptable form of the bikini bathing suit, the square cut, has a more masculine fit and has survived some retribution in certain communities. Whether Married, single, straight or gay, it is time for the modern man to stand up for his right to wear any type of swimwear without the fear of reprisal from social stigmas! Join the cause for societal change. It is not to say that board shorts are not an unapproved selection of swimwear (especially for those trying to hide those unsightly blemishes), but men need to express their masculinity with a swimwear that shows off what they have! Like most styles that come and go and come back again, it time for society to embrace all swimwear choices for men!

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