Cognitive dissonance and how the type of swimwear that we wear influences how comfortable we feel both in and out of the water

June 19, 2022

I recently read  that the term 'cognitive dissonance' describes a psychological phenomenon where an action that doesn't align with our personal beliefs or values leads to a conflict that causes a mental uneasiness. To reduce the mental discomfort, we either change the action so that it aligns with our beliefs again or we convince ourselves that the action is actually what we want to do. 

Immediately I thought of the articles that abound as soon as the summer swimming season begins about how uncomfortable women find the process of trying on swimwear and finding something they feel they can wear.

Traditional swimwear for most of us has always been a topic that triggers cognitive dissonance. In our everyday world, we would never dream of walking around with wearing only a camisole, teddy or a bra and briefs. But as soon as swimming season arrives, similar styles become the acceptable swimwear clothes options. Many women felt that they could not feel comfortable in these styles. Others tried to find one or two piece swimsuits that afforded a bit more coverage but yet did not feel at ease with the choices that they made.

Many woman chose to forgo swimwear and stay at home. Others decided to swim but chose to wear a basic t-shirt and shorts.

But finally something shifted in the swimwear community. Swimwear options that looked like T-shirts and shorts, like skirts and tops, like capris and tanks were introduced to the market and women all over the world embraced a look that they felt aligned with their personal values and made them feel free and comfortable wherever they went. Women could choose how much coverage they wanted, needed and could mix and match to their hearts content. They could swim with neighbors and friends, children and grandchildren, and with strangers without feeling exposed, underdressed, uncomfortable.

That is not to say that for a large group of women, the traditional one or two piece swim suit is still their option of choice. It just means that for those of us who wanted something different, those options are now here!


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