Modesty

Modesty is all the rage among people of faith these days. Staged as an alternative to the in-your-face fashion of the Lady Gagas of the world, the movement focuses on stylish but tasteful alternatives to the breast-bearing, leg-showcasing clothing that is popular among many today.

Christians girls’ conferences are dotted with pre-teens wearing “modest is hottest” t-shirts. Websites such as Modestly Yours, PureFashion.com, and Secret Keeper Girl are calling females from young to old to opt for more conservative attire that conceals rather than reveals. Department stores are even getting in on the action with Nordstrom’s “Modern and Modest” line and “Shade,” a clothing line created by Mormon women that can be purchased at Macy’s.

On the surface, the movement seems virtuous and even Biblical. One can’t help but think of passages like 1 Timothy 2:9, which says, “women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.” Setting aside for a moment that even modern modesty advocates fail to meet the literal definition of modesty given in this verse, one can’t help thinking that the movement calls women to align more closely with Christian values.

But many Christians are less positive about the modesty movement, and some have even asserted that the movement isn’t theologically mature and may even be harmful to women. Modern modesty advocates, they claim, end up doing the very thing they want to prevent: objectifying women and their bodies.

“The Christian rhetoric of modesty, rather than offering believers an alternative to the sexual objectification of women, often continues the objectification, just in a different form,” says Christian writer Sharon Hodde Miller. “It treats women’s bodies not as glorious reflections of the image of God, but as sources of temptation that must be hidden.”

Elrena Evans echoes Miller’s concerns at Christianity Today’s Her.menutics blog: “But the underlying assumption … is that the female body, if not bad, is at least overwhelmingly tempting and tantalizing: something that must be covered, hidden, and locked away.”

Though theologically malformed, such an approach to modesty is effective, according to Miller, because it is rooted in shame. “Shame is great at behavior modification, even when the shaming is not overt,” she says. “But shame-based language is not the rhetoric of Jesus. It is the rhetoric of his Enemy.”

Feminist theologians have long decried the mind-body dualism that aligns men with the mind and women with the body, and I think their critiques are worth considering in this case. This dualistic perspective seems more informed by a predominantly male culture and less by the Christian scriptures themselves. Even worse is that such thinking often leads to blaming women who dress a particular way for being sexually harassed or even raped. (“Well, she was asking for it with the skirts she wears.”) Listening to such people leads one to think that it is apparently a woman’s responsibility to keep men from thinking impure thoughts or acting inappropriately.

So what’s the answer? Should we do away with modesty talk altogether? Miller says “no.” Instead she suggests that the church needs to rethink its theology of the female body. She writes,

Women continue to be associated with their bodies in ways that men are not. And, as a result of this unique association, women’s identities are also uniquely tied to their bodies in a manner that men’s identities are not.

In addition to a better developed theology, Miller argues, Christians need to shift the way we speak about such things:

…language about modesty should focus not on hiding the female body but on understanding the body’s created role. Immodesty is not the improper exposure of the body per se, but the improper orientation of the body… When we make ourselves central instead of God, we display the height of immodesty.

On one hand, I am grateful for those championing modesty in a culture that doesn’t always value it. Yes, we need to promote modesty among those who follow Jesus! Christians should resist our culture’s rampant hypersexualization of women, and particularly teenage girls. We should nurture and engage in a healthy dialogue about what it means to be a faithful Christian person, man or woman.

At the same time, Christians also need to avoid the pitfalls of a shallow campaigns that commit the same errors we hope to avoid. We need a vibrant dialogue about modesty that avoids the objectification of women, that refuses to place all the blame and responsibility for sexual attraction on women, and that clings to the foundational Christian belief that what God creates is “good” even though it must be properly stewarded. Anything less would be, well, improper.

48 Comments

  1. I don’t think all modesty supporters are anti women. And I am not a fan of guilt by association. But when I read about modesty, I can’t help but notice how often it is male pastors that complain about women’s clothing.

    And I can’t help but remember a section in an otherwise very good book that had a long rant about how for many women the most immodest thing they will ever wear is their wedding dress.

    The problem is that so much good advice with the best of intentions gets mixed up with rubbish like telling women that most wedding dresses are some of the most immodest things they will wear. (Note: if that passage had once connected the original sense of not overly displaying wealth with modestly as the I Timothy passage does I could understand. But the section in the book was only thinking about modesty as the display of a woman’s body.)

  2. Oh man. Definitely agree that the teaching about “modesty” is harmful to women. I am a Christian woman and I really did want to help out “my brothers in Christ”, and what it led to was thinking I’m not allowed to be beautiful/cute/feminine. Because a cute shirt (which isn’t revealing) is probably “modest”, but wouldn’t it be even BETTER to wear some huge baggy t-shirt that hides everything? Wouldn’t that result in less lust for the guys and therefore be the MORE GODLY thing for me to do? (Because that’s the purpose of modesty- to make the guys not lust/”stumble”. Right… Yeah I don’t think any of the bible passages on modesty are talking about that at all…)

    And basically the logical conclusion of all this is that femininity is dangerous and the female body is evil. And it is absolutely not acceptable that this is taught by people who claim to believe that men and women are “made in the image of God.”

    So yeah. Modesty (as I was learned it) is all about dressing for men. It’s all about the male gaze. I mean, yeah it’s presented as “women shouldn’t dress for men by being all sexualized” but then it becomes me dressing for men by policing my clothing choices and rejecting anything I think might “make” a guy think sexual things. (As if I can control that.) And I’ve even heard guys who promote modesty saying things like “why would she wear that- it’s just to get attention, she doesn’t want to cover up”- everything women do is interpreted through that lens of “she must be doing it for guys.” Right. Doesn’t anyone ever think that a woman might wear something because of the weather, or maybe SHE likes the way she looks? No, “modesty” says that the way a guy sees it is the only perspective that matters.

    (I wrote more about modesty on my blog: The Story of Me and Modesty)

    • perfectnumber628: Your words are so on-the-mark. I especially like your point that the push for modesty is about the “male gaze”, and generally about what men think. Thank you.

  3. Really well said. Thanks for being brave enough to speak in womens’ defense. I’m laughing at the Nordstrom angle, though! I had no idea they had such a specific line of clothes. They have more than enough great stuff in their regular departments, which I bought regularly when I was in the corporate world (and was complimented regularly for being “elegant” which I took as somewhat euphemistic for “attractive without being inordinately revealing”. The fact that there’s a Mormon line of clothing is very telling, given their enslavement to an extrabiblical Americanish law. I agree with you one hundred percent that we need to develop a proper theology of not just womens’ bodies, but bodies in general. They are for something unique and remarkable (the glory of God). That purpose was blown apart at the Fall, but has been restored through the gospel. Any modesty movement which doesn’t have the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Jesus (in full human form) at its heart will be incomplete.

    • The “Mormon” line of clothing you mention is owned by members of the Church of Jesus Christ, not the church. As members of our church, we believe that our bodies are incredible gifts from our Heavenly Father and, as such, should be respected and enjoyed consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. For us, Modesty is an attitude of propriety and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior. If we are modest, we do not draw undue attention to ourselves. Instead, we seek to “glorify God in [our] body, and in [our] spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:20; see also 1 Corinthians 6:19).

      Modesty is something that applies to both men and women and is much more than covering our bodies. However, since the topic of this article focus specifically on clothing I would add that our clothing expresses who we are. It sends messages about us, and it influences the way we and others act. When we are well groomed and modestly dressed, we can invite the companionship of the Spirit and exercise a good influence on those around us.

  4. Modest is hottest? Is that what Christian girls are trying to be, hot? Are they to broadcast with their t-shirt that they are hot so guys will know, since the guys can’t figure it out otherwise considering that the girls are covered? How is proclaiming yourself to be hot any better than showing yourself to be hot? I don’t get it.

    • I SO agree with you, Tina! I wouldn’t want my young daughter “advertising” her “hotness” on a T-shirt that “covers her properly”… REALLY!?

      As for the rest of the comments: the scriptural admonition for Christian women to be “modest in dress” is not so much to dissuade men from “looking” but because we are supposed to be reflections of God’s glory and we are carrying his name and message to others. We should dress in a manner that does not detract from that message. I’m not a Mormon but I appreciate their efforts to have a more “modest” clothing line available. It’s VERY hard sometimes to find acceptable clothing in our “over-sexed” society. I know plenty of Christian women who dress “cute” and still are modest! We like to be “pretty” and don’t need to dress like we are in the 19th century but just “cover up” ya know? I don’t want to be “hanging out” of my garments. We need “well arranged dress” not tight or skimpy.

  5. I’ve never liked those “modest is hottest” t-shirts either!

    As a Mormon woman, the standard of modesty I grew up with was based on self-respect and God-respect. Having modern-day temples, the idea that the *body* is a temple — a beautiful, sacred structure where God’s spirits (lower-case “s” for human souls) may dwell and where the mortal and Divine meet — is both inspirational and aspirational. Any discomfort I had with my appearance came from the external world, not from my faith or personal standards.

    For me, it is much easier to work, interact, and go about my day when I am comfortable with my clothing and appearance. Coco Chanel said “The badly [or, I might suggest, provocatively] dressed woman, people remember the clothes. With a well-dressed woman, they remember the woman.”

    I agree that men should not objectify women. And women should not objectify themselves, either. We are better than that — we are daughters of God.

  6. Jesus was radical regarding his views towards women. He says nothing about women’s apparel. Paul, on the other hand, leans towards the cultural view of women. This difference has created division and confusion in the church.

    The reality is that there is no record that Paul ever encountered Jesus in the flesh. Had he done that, perhaps there would have been less contention about women and their role in the church, much less how they dress. When I did a comparative study, I found that many of Paul’s teachings diverge from what Jesus either taught or go in areas that Jesus remained silent about.

    When I see such a striking difference, my tendency is to think that Jesus trumps Paul. I tend to dress modestly, but it has more to do with aesthetics than with the need to look godly.

    As a side note, I was in Egypt a few years back and women covered to protect themselves from the leering and jeering of men. It is incredibly uncomfortable to be around men who are unchecked in their behavior. Islam is all about controlling the environment in order to keep the people pure, which is exactly what Christianity did for centuries – at the expense of spiritual growth and maturity.

    • Amy:

      I have noticed the same contrast between Christ and Paul. Some I think is because of the cultural context, especially with Paul and who he spoke to on a given occasion. Yet, he does seem to go overboard in a way that doesn’t get followed today (for ex, how many churches have women cove their heads to cover the “glory” of their hair?).

      I need to keep studying this contast. And meditating.

  7. I’ve wondered for a long time if many of the Christian men I know are admonished about purity as much as women are. It really is an honest question.

    I have a number of Christian guy friends who seem to make sexual references or jokes on a regular basis, sometimes almost making a point that they are doing it even though they know they shouldn’t. I’ve had several close guy friends who have thought nothing of hitting on women because of how they looked and dressed, often on those who everyone else knew were not good matches or shared the same faith and values. Other Christian men have egged these behaviors on, cheering it and joining in.

    I’m not usually cited for my clothing, but I’ve heard women in the church be awfully harsh on other women for the way they dress. Some are straightforward about it, pointing out when they think someone is not dressed appropriately, but much of it is subtle, and I would guess most guys wouldn’t pick up on it.

    What happens on the other side? I rarely hear about purity from a man’s standpoint. There could just be things that happen behinds the scenes, that I, as a female, don’t hear. I don’t see articles on it, while I see articles about modesty and purity for women, which may account for much of the imbalance and misunderstanding of this issue. Some issues are always going to have their range of opinions, often without addressing the true root of the problem as others have mentioned. But do guys really address these topics?

    • The very first teaching that I resonated with when I was investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that there is a single standard of morality for men and women. This addressed forthrightly the dissonance I had felt while growing up in a Protestant church.

      In the booklet “For The Strength of Youth” ( https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth?lang=eng )which is directed towards the youth in the church, both young men and young women are counseled to be ” neat and clean and avoid beibg extreme or inappropriately casual in clothing, hairstyle, and behavior”.

    • Michael Jahnke

      Yes there is much talk about purity among men. It is a HUGE issue! Our church now has an accountabily ministry starting up but it has been.difficult. Men are usual unwilling to talk or listen about purity, and there aren’t many conferences that will focus too much on it. Rest assured there are ministries devoted solely to purity amongst men, and the teaching there puts the blame of sin on the person who lusts, not the person being lusted after.

  8. My biggest take on this is that it is NOT the woman’s responsibility to dress modest to keep men from thinking impure thoughts or acting inappropriately. A women should dress modest out of dignity for herself and God and she should have the freedom to feel…as I like to put it…”respectfully sexy.” If a women is dressing inappropriate then there is another issue at hand. Possibly attention seeking, etc. and this needs to be resolved at the heart just like a man should deal with his “impure” issues at the core. Between himself and God. On the other side of things women were created as more emotional creatures and we have to work diligently to keep our emotions in check and guard our hearts. Not all men guard their words to protect our emotions and not all women dress conservative to guard the mans desires. Maybe it all comes down to a heart issue and drawing closer to God. Not sure if those issues are even relateable but those were my thoughts.

  9. I certainly see the point you’re trying to make here, and I certainly agree that some groups and individuals take modesty too far. I also agree that often times it becomes a bit of a blame game, making it women’s fault that men lust, which certainly is not fair to women (we can always choose, however difficult, to look away). So let’s be clear here, it is not the fault of women that men lust, that is a sin condition of most men (even Christians, we still have flesh).

    That said, I think the particular line of reasoning being used by the oposition is also a little off what the Bible instructs.

    Let’s start with this: I hope we can agree that there is a line of nakedness that goes too far. I would think no one would agree that it’s appropriate to go naked, to dress in lingerie, or something similar out in public. So there’s seems to be a line of too revealing… we don’t simply go birthday suit ourselves and head out the door. And in fact, that sense of needing to cover nakedness started at the fall, when Adam and Eve sewed some fig leaves together to cover themselves up… and they were a couple (Genesis 3:7)!

    So, if there IS a line of appropriateness, the question falls to what is it? I guess at that point, it only makes sense to see if the Bible has anything to say on it. Unfortunately, God never gave us a clear cut dress code… however, there are plenty of biblical examples for the ways we can think about this kind of issue.

    Let’s start with this one: Paul is talking to Corinth about the concept of eating meat (topic jump, I know, but I think we can take some sound principles out of it, try to stick with me). It was causing a lot of stress and fright among some of the believers. Now, Paul could have simply left it at “Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better of if we do.” I mean, that really settles the matter (in addition to all his other comments along similar lines, see the passage: 1 Corinthians 8). But Paul knew that many of the brothers were weak, and struggled in this area. So instead, Paul continues by saying “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” (1 Corinthians 8:13).
    Let’s be clear in context again: he was not sinning, or doing a single thing wrong in the eating of that meat by itself. However, he said “And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers, and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.”

    If you jump a chapter further you see Paul say “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say–but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’–but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” – 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

    Following along the very same concept, let’s go to Jesus (since I know many of you believe Paul had his own agenda). Jesus said “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35.
    Another example:
    “‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'” – Matthew 22:36-40

    So Jesus says that loving one another is absolutely critical, being both the second greatest commandment and a way in which we will be recognized as believers.

    Or even, as Paul put it: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!” – Philippians 2:4-8

    We as believers are to put others ahead of ourselves, looking out for their interests. What’s really interesting about this passage is that he describes Christ as “taking the very nature of a servant” and “being made in human likeness” and further “being found in appearance as a man.” Interesting terms to use. He took Himself out of the glory and majesty he possessed in heaven and reduced himself to the likeness of a servant, out of love for those who are His.

    Now, coming back around to the topic at hand. Here we see multiple commands and examples of Jesus’ and Paul’s heart toward serving others and putting them ahead of yourself.

    If we are to put others ahead of ourselves, that means looking out for each other’s weaknesses. The question then becomes, how do we best love our brothers and sisters (and let’s not forget that this goes both ways). I think if we take a moment of ponder it, it doesn’t take long for us to see that there are ways in which we can dress that can help, or harm, our brothers and sisters, especially those who struggle with lust. Does this mean we all need to wear robes and hoods? Of course not. However, I believe women are aware of how exposed breasts or bottoms that little to the imagination will affect men. Is it a sin in of itself to wear stuff like that? Of course not! Is it “beneficial,” especially to your brothers who are trying to get away from lust? No.

    The real question then becomes, why is it such a burden for you to wear just a bit more to serve those who share your love for Christ? For what real purpose is it necessary to be exposed in that manner? I realize all things are permitted, but not all things are beneficial. I’d suggest that if the mentality is “I don’t care if men stumble over what I’m wearing,” there is level of selfishness existant there; a statement such as that really lacks the servant attitude Christ keeps driving into his followers (not that that is the statement that every woman who dresses in that manner is thinking, but I do know some feel that way).

    I think I should clarify, men have their own roles as well. I watch what I wear carefully, to be attractive without being sexual about it (hopefully that description makes sense). I’m careful to not wear certain jeans. I wear compression shorts while swimming. I don’t go shirtless during the summers unless I’m swimming or tanning. I realize it’s not the same, my point is that men absolutely should give consideration in the other direction, and serve their sisters even if few of them are bothered with lust in the same way as men. And just the same, if a sister of mine (or one of her friends to protect her) told her something I was doing was causing her to stumble, I’d be on it as quick as possible to end that behavior. Not because I’m some great guy, but Christ lives in me.

    I realize this whole issue can be a hot button for a lot of believers on both sides of the fence. I know it’s a hard stance to swallow, but I think out of love we should error to the side of caution. There are ways in which I respect my sisters besides what I wear for the sole purpose of loving them and trying to help prevent them from getting caught up in their respective sin. This is how we are to be as a body… and sometimes, it’s inconvenient. But Christ was beyond inconvenienced in what He did: our model is to serve, not be served. And, I want to be clear, I’m not saying that my sisters who wear revealing clothes are doing it intentionally in spite of how I might struggle, I’m saying that once they are aware I’d hope that they would love me enough to help me with MY disgusting sin, even though they shouldn’t HAVE to. Because that’s what we do, we bare each other’s burdens, even the really disgusting and really inconvenient ones.

    Romans 15:1-3 “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.'”

    With love and respect to both sides of the fence,
    James

  10. The comments of the Mormon friends here only serves to prove my earlier point that wasn’t made so well. I’m going to try to make it more clearly, at the risk of offending those same Mormons, and of derailing this thread into an off-topic discussion of whether Mormonism is a genuinely Christian faith or not.

    CDAvis’ comment, as written, defines a motivation for modesty (in clothing, which we all agree is a subset of what the virtue of modesty is about) and results of modesty, that are vastly different from what the motivations for modesty are, and, ESPECIALLY, what they say or accomplish vis a vis our fellowship with God or standing before Him.

    That we might be unified in our valuing of this issue, maybe to the point of appreciating the same standards or same approach, actually argues for its necessity as a secondary, or even tertiary issue. When we spend more time exhorting men and women about modesty than what it really, truly means to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit (clothed with Christ’s righteousness, spotless and pure ALWAYS before Him, indwelt by the Holy Spirit because of Christ, battling with the remnants of our flesh until Jesus comes back) – we do more harm than good.

    • Ammending this sentence – “CDAvis’ comment, as written, defines a motivation for modesty (in clothing, which we all agree is a subset of what the virtue of modesty is about) and results of modesty, that are vastly different from what the motivations for modesty are, and, ESPECIALLY, what they say or accomplish vis a vis our fellowship with God or standing before Him.”

      To read like this – sorry to leave out a critical piece –

      CDAvis’ comment, as written, defines a motivation for modesty (in clothing, which we all agree is a subset of what the virtue of modesty is about) and results of modesty, that is vastly different from what the motivations for modesty are, and, ESPECIALLY, what they say or accomplish vis a vis our fellowship with God or standing before Him, according to orthodox New Testament Christianity.

      • If it makes following a rule (legalism) a definite sign of righteousness, that’s idolatry. It draws someone away from God and makes following God about outward appearance. Essentially, one’s appearance becomes the idol.

  11. The idea that ‘women’s identities are connected to their bodies in ways that men are not’ is also a false theological position for women to take. Our identities find themselves rooted in Christ not our bodies. While I agree that strict modesty doesn’t remedy men’s objectification of women as a culture I do believe our lives should stand out in visible, practical and counter cultural ways as followers of Christ. Women who find themselves choosing what they wear in competition with women for the attention of men need an identity check.

  12. This was definitely enlightening. I will be bookmarking this one. I appreciate the different perspective & you make some very good points!
    – A Teenage Girl

  13. Hi Jonathan,

    I really appreciate you writing an article about this issue. It’s great to see you pointing out some of the people who are exploring the harmful wake of the Modesty Movement. My concern however, lies in your conclusion.

    You say “Christians should resist our culture’s rampant hypersexualization of women, and particularly teenage girls.” and I absolutely agree. However, is “championing modesty in a culture that doesn’t always value it” the best way to do this? As a product of this very movement and someone in tune with the stories and research on this issue, I have to say no. Controlling and covering up the women who are already at risk of exploitation and objectification does not combat the cultural force behind this evil. It merely places more blame on those who already experience this harm.

    We have tried covering up women. It is now time to engage the culture makers, to examine our own consumption of media, to speak up against patterns of abuse, to tell stories and invite change, to look clearly at even “good Christian circles” for evidence of this sexism.

    Again, I appreciate you covering this topic, but I think you undercut the good by plopping the Modesty Movement right back on the shoulders of women and girls at the end.

  14. Phillip C. Smith

    Can we find the proper balance between the acceptance of women’s bodies as a good and valued part of their nature, with a modesty that encourages focusing on the total person and not just on looks? Should we not recognize that dress or the lack of same does cause many men to see women as sexual objects and often act accordingly, something that moral people would hope to discourage? As a Mormon with seven daughters I have tried to understand this balance and am open to wise perspectives of others in this regard.

  15. Of course it’s a woman’s responsibility to dress herself in a way to not cause a man to sin. And it’s true the other way around, men shouldn’t dress in a way that could lead a woman to sin. No one gender is being penalized, modesty applies to all.

    You must look at the act and decide if it is grave matter. Doing something, wearing something, saying something that could cause yourself or another to sin isn’t what our Lord wanted. One might say that you can never know so i’ll throw my hands up and do nothing out of fear of sin. But it isn’t that way, some things are grave matter and some aren’t.

    Going to a restaurant where you might overindulge in pancakes isn’t the same as dressing scantily in church. One’s ability to tempt others with our body must never be underestimated. The enemy works through men and women this way. Our bodies are beautiful, but they arouse one another. It’s the way we were created. Do you think our Creator missed this detail?

    What do you think sins of the flesh are if not immodest dress?

    Furthermore, does anyone in this combox even believe in sin?

  16. I didn’t thoroughly read all the comments, but I disagree that at least the heart-felt side of the modesty movement is causing harm. I agree with Heather that we are responsible on our end for being a stumbling block and attracting attention. I also realize that some women just don’t think about what they wear and how it affects others.
    I have been on both ends of the spectrum, when I was younger, my entire purpose in choosing my clothing WAS to attract attention, and before I was saved, it didn’t matter to me if the men who were looking were married or not. As I’ve gotten older, and now have a son a few years off from puberty, I realize that my choices have a big impact. And I hurt knowing that he will be tempted as he grows older, by girls/women who dress in ways that are inappropriate. We are teaching him and his brother and any more sons we have that a woman’s body is beautiful, but that it is their duty to be careful the way they view women and to look away when appropriate. We have three daughters also, and I’ve already been teaching my oldest (6) that her body is special and that it is made for her and her future husband, so she should guard it and not share it with others. I don’t think there is any shame in that. I feel the same way about my own body, that certain parts are meant only for my husband’s eyes, and those are the parts I keep covered. If it matters for an example, I prefer mid-calf+ length skirts and short sleeve shirts that aren’t low cut. I think there is a balance between being modest and presenting as someone that my husband finds attractive. My daughters both love to play in pants though, so they wear capris often times and short sleeve shirts.

  17. Women hold a special place in society as they are the first teachers of virtue in the household. Modesty applies to all but I think in America women face unique problems as they have been sexualized a bit too much (no offense, I just come from a different perspective). For some reason displaying your body and wrapping yourself up like a sausage or piece of meat for public consumption has come to be thought of as attractive in America.

    There are churches now with dress codes, which reveal dress was a problem in the first place. I’ve been to churches where women wear skintight dresses strapless. Such dress is a distraction to all who come to worship.
    Being mindful of modesty by itself isn’t harmful especially when it’s really needed

    • Jonathan Merritt

      Frank-

      Who called that the “standard text?” I said I couldn’t help thinking of “texts like.” Sometimes I am not sure if you just aren’t reading what I’m saying or just too busy devising your response that you’re not processing it.

  18. Too often men are “blamed” for being the ones who are sexual in their thinking, so women should be able to expose their bodies all they want, and not regard men as they need to learn to control their thinking. As a woman, I disagree with this perspective as women are also sexual in their thinking and feeling. What is the motive for “immodest” clothing if not to attract the attention of the opposite sex, in the case of heterosexual individuals? I believe Christian women need to be honest with themselves, and sincerely question their motives, and honor themselves and others by dressing attractively but without undue exposure that invites sexual attraction. Too many styles mimic the clothing that is worn by “ladies of the night” (or any time of day) on the street corner.

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