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Modesty Does Not Mean Wearing a Burka

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I am always fashionably attired!

I’ve been thinking a lot about modesty lately, specifically, modest dress.  As a Mormon, I follow fairly strict standards of modesty: shorts and skirts come to the knee (or pretty close), tops must have at least cap sleeves, no cleavage, and no bare midriff.  (I do still wear a bathing suit, but nothing too skimpy.)  I grew up with those standards, so they don’t seem weird to me.

I also still want to dress attractively.

Needless to say, shopping for modest and attractive clothing can be lengthy and aggravating.  Many times I have tried something on and thought it was really cute, but didn’t buy it because it didn’t fit my standards of modesty.  Long tank tops are a staple of my wardrobe to make up for tops that are too short or too low cut, or pants that are too low-rise.

Fashion does not have to focus on baring as much skin as possible, but that is the direction a lot of it is going.  Clothes are either skimpy or frumpy.  Society associates modesty with frumpiness and the oppression of women.

My religion does not force me to dress modestly.  I choose to follow these standards because I believe they are right.

I also recognize the rights of others to dress the way they want to.  For the most part, I don’t really care about what other people are wearing.

However, whenever I comment about modesty on an online forum, I get sarcastic responses that claim I think all women should be forced to wear burkas.  On the contrary, there is in fact middle ground between looking like a streetwalker and being completely covered head to toe.

Before I go any further, I want to say my piece on so-called “slut shaming.”  If a woman is dressed like a hooker, I see no issue with calling it like it is.  That is not the same thing as saying she “deserves it” if she is sexually harassed and/or assaulted.  A woman’s dress, however scanty, never excuses such behavior.  However, wearing such clothing makes unwanted sexual attention more likely.  To ignore this is irresponsible.  If you insist on exposing yourself, take measures to protect yourself.

If you expose it, men will look at it.  If your boobs are hanging out, men will look at them.  In saying this, I’m not saying men are naturally lecherous or misogynist or anything else like that.  It’s biological.  It’s the same reason traffic gets super slow when there’s an accident on the other side of the median and there is no actual necessity to slow down.  People look.  People will always look.  If you don’t want that kind of attention, cover up.

The purpose of modesty is not limited to guarding against the impure thoughts of men.  In fact, that’s not even the important part.

If you care about the impression you make on others, you will show that in the way you dress.  We do this in the professional world: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

Wearing your pajamas when out running errands is just as odious as wearing skimpy clothes.  If you want others to show you respect, how about you show them respect by dressing as if you actually care about something besides your own comfort?

How you dress reflects your self-respect.

I want others to look at me and see someone they can respect.  I don’t want the negative attention from wearing skimpy clothes.  I want to be judged for who I am inside and not just on the way I dress.

I don’t dress modestly because my body is “bad” or that sexuality is “bad.”  The human body is beautiful, made in God’s image.  That said, just because something is beautiful doesn’t mean it should be available for everyone to see.  Our bodies are also sacred.  Christ referred to His body as a temple.  Is it really much of a stretch to say that our bodies are temples, too?

I value my body more highly than women who put theirs on display.  My body is not for public consumption.  I know who I am and don’t need the world’s approval.

Awesome video:

The Evolution of the Swimsuit by Jessica Rey

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1 Comment

  1. HOW TRUE. FOR A YOUNG WOMAN YOU ARE EXCEEDINGLY WISE.

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