Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why I Don't Agree With the Modesty Argument

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All summer long, my FaceBook news feed has been full of modesty articles. They are usually well-written pieces advocating for women to think about how they dress and strongly encouraging them to cover up more. I've seen so many come through my news feed, shared over and over and over again by my friends. I kept reading them, hoping that someone was finally going to provide a different take on the issue.

Sadly, I didn't find that to be the case.

So although it's the end of the summer and swimsuits will soon be tucked away, I want to provide my perspective on it, because I feel like half of the issue has been completely disregarded. If you are wondering what my take is on it, it's this:


I don't agree with the modesty argument.

Now, before you get your panties in a wad (because we all know that bunching is visible from the outside of your pants and that is way too suggestive), please let me explain.

I have two little girls and two little boys. I'm a mom who loves her children fiercely and would do anything to protect them. Indeed, I already have. Because my kids are quadruplets, our doctors told us to abort at least two of them. Instead, I chose a painful pregnancy, hospitalized bed rest, and a month-long labor over taking the easy way out. And I would do it again to protect them. If someone intends to hurt one of my children, I will take them out. And I don't mean to dinner.

I also read the news. Everything from stories about kidnapping victims, to underage sex trafficking, to the rape camps in different parts of the world. I'm not oblivious to what happens out there. But I still take issue with the idea of modesty that is being circulated by Christian conservatives. And I am one. Go figure.

Here is why: The modesty issue is a double standard, with women being the victim.

Like many young girls growing up in a Christian home, I used the fingertip rule when buying shorts, I "pinched an inch" on either side of my bust when trying on shirts, and I even voluntarily wore only skirts for awhile when I was a teenager. Why? Because I was told that modesty was an issue that women needed to take seriously. After all, guys like looking at women, so we needed to make that as difficult as possible. Hide those sexy knees!

But as I've become an adult woman, I've realize that the argument used to make women cover up is flawed. The common verse associated with women dressing modestly is from 1 Timothy 2:9-10. It says, "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God."

The modesty argument goes like this, "God tells women they need to be modest. Why? Because guys are turned on visually, and if women aren't careful, they will cause them to stumble." And often on the heels of that is offered the statement that if a woman is raped, kidnapped, sold into the sex slave trade, or cheated on by her boyfriend/husband, it was her fault (or in the case of being cheated on) another woman's fault. She failed in being modest and that is what caused her to be targeted. The word "victim" isn't used. "Victim" is a word for people in the wrong place at the wrong time. Clearly, if a woman is sexually assaulted or physically beaten, it comes down to what she was wearing and the sexual attitude that most certainly went with it.

And that makes me angry. As both a woman and as a mother of girls.

Why aren't the men being called to account on the modesty issue? Telling a woman that the responsibility lies solely on her shoulders is both untrue and unbiblical. The Bible flat out states that men should guard their eyes in Matthew 5: 28, "but I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Even the wayward woman in Proverbs 7 is said to entice a man into her house. She didn't go out there and drag him in after her! Verse 22 says, "He followed her." That means he walked into her house by his own choice. And yet, if this same scenario played out today, under current modesty standards, the man wouldn't be held responsible because the woman suggested the liaison.

Huh, what?!

Are guys turned on visually? Absolutely. It's often said that women are supposed to be careful of causing men to stumble because of that. Yet the passage they are referring to in 1 Corinthians 8 actually has nothing to do with modesty. It's about food. And it is directed to both men and women regarding eating meat sacrificed to idols. While I think it can apply to many different scenarios, saying it's about modesty and directing it at women is taking the verse out of context.

Are women turned on visually? Absolutely. The idea that they aren't is ridiculous. Show me a teenage girl who hasn't said, "Whoa, he's hot!" God created us to be sexual beings. To love and be loved. To enjoy each others bodies, and actually have fun while doing it! (see the entire book of Song of Solomon if you don't believe me!) Think about it: If only guys were "turned on", we wouldn't have any babies. (Okay, there might be a few, but I know that *I* didn't enjoy being pregnant!)

If modesty is only a woman's responsibility, then rape doesn't exist. It can't. How can a woman prove rape if she was "asking for it by how she dressed?" And what about just plain old lusting after a woman? The same Bible that has 1 Timothy 2:9-10 also says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." Guys, I think your excuses just hopped the first train out of town. Or how about this one from 1 Corinthians 6:18, "Flee from sexual immorality." There are no caveats to that command. No excuses for either sex based on what the other person is wearing.

Do you see where current modesty standards make no sense? There is no mutual personal responsibility!

So it's not that I have an issue with the modesty argument. It's that I have an issue with where the modesty argument stops in Christian culture today. I love my girls, and I want to protect them from sexual predators, teach them to look forward to their one-day-husbands, and show them how to dress stylishly while still leaving a bit of mystery. But I also love my boys. For them, I want them to know that the modesty issue isn't one sided and that they have just as much responsibility to protect themselves and the women around them by guarding their thought life.

Here is what I think the modesty argument SHOULD look like:

Women: Leave a little mystery. It's more fun for everyone that way! And be aware that images of men can turn you on too.

Men: Take responsibility for protecting your own eyes and hearts. And be aware that women are turned on by what they see as well.

Christians: Learn to love and respect each other regardless of the actions of the opposite sex. You ultimately get to have a conversation with God over the choices you make here on earth. Pointing at the other gender isn't going to get you off of the hook. (Hey, it didn't work for Adam and Eve, and they tried it right at the beginning.)

I am disappointed by the way the topic of modesty is handled, and hope that someday, the very people who profess to love everyone will realize that a one-sided modesty argument makes for a population of victimized and silenced women.

What do you think? Is too much responsibility for modesty left at the feet of women? Or do you think the standards are fair?
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31 comments:

  1. I agree with a lot of what you have written in this article. I actually blog about modesty quite a bit at The Modest Mom blog (www.themodestmomblog.com). But I don't blog to men, I blog to women. That's why I don't write more about modesty for men. I suppose I should start writing more about raising our sons to be modest....you have given me food for thought. I don't think we should throw out the whole modesty argument just because the men don't receive as much attention. Let's face it, the reason women get lectured all the time about modesty is because it's their cleavage hanging out, their sexy legs being revealed, and while men are attractive it just doesn't seem quite the same thing when a man reveals some chest hair in a shirt not buttoned up all the way, as it does when a woman has cleavage hanging out.
    I never, never, never endorse the thought that a woman "deserves" or is just asking to be raped because she might be dressed immodestly. That is a sick and disgusting thought. Plenty of women have been raped that are dressed in normal attire. It's a sick, sad, devastating thing that happens.

    Thank you for your thoughts!

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  2. A thousand times yes on this! As a teenager I was told by more than one adult at my (former) church that when I wore a skirt that didn't cover my knees I was causing the boys to stumble. I was a good girl and yet I was being told that I was doing something immoral simply because I liked to wear a skirt that didn't go all the way to the floor. I never understood why the boys weren't being lectured for staring...

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  3. I'm not sure what posts are going around on your facebook feed, but the ones that I have read about modesty say just what you have said. I haven't read a single one this summer that puts it all on the girls' or womens' shoulders. I imagine there have probably been hundreds of posts written and then shared... but I assure you that they are not all one sided.

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    1. Yeah, I agree with Sarah Mae, most posts are written for the women...so they speak to the women. I had not read any that blame the women, but instead just speak to our part of the issue. I had not even heard the argument that we are to blame for their side of it.
      I have two girls and two boys and can attest to both sides. My 11 year old IS affected with how girls and women dress...and my girls are working on what fits and works with their body types and what looks cute.
      I think the issue comes down to our hearts being the issue. Why are we wearing what we are wearing? Is it to show off our bodies and attract men to us? OR Is it because we look cute and feel good about it? Ultimately, ARE we HONORING God with our choices? As with ANY choice we make, our bodies ARE His temple and we are to love our brothers and sisters enough to pay attention to our self control AND our modesty. His Spirit should guide us.

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  4. Interesting...I do not recall reading a single article or seeing a single post on Facebook about modesty...ever! I was somewhat intrigued by your post because I didn't know what the so-called "modesty argument" was. I guess I'm still confused. I think it makes sense that virtually all talk about dressing modestly is aimed at women. Men dressing immodestly is pretty much a non-issue as far as I can see. Guys' clothing is pretty standard and though I'm sure women could be turned on by certain styes of clothing, lust in women is usually fueled in a totally different way.

    I agree that men and women both need to purpose to guard their hearts, minds, and eyes regardless of how people around them dress. But I do think that dressing provocatively is inappropriate, insensitive, and shows a lack of love and respect for ourselves and those around us. We are all responsible for our own reactions to others, but we are also responsible to behave (and dress) in ways that are respectful and loving.

    It's not just about the way we dress though. I find that inappropriate desires in women are much more likely to be stirred up by emotional intimacy than by what a man is wearing. A man who is warm, kind, affectionate, a good listener, etc., would be a much more likely stumbling block to me than one who is wearing skimpy clothing. Does that mean that men should not be warm, kind, affectionate, good listeners? (Well, maybe to some extent when they are interacting one-on-one with married women!) But I am still responsible for my reactions and in an ideal world, men would be mindful of the kinds of feelings they can arouse or awaken in women by their words and actions.

    All that to say that we should all do our utmost to love each other well. We cannot try to manage or control everyone's reactions to us, but there are some things that are just obvious and I think the clothing thing is one of them. It is just not loving for me to purposely dress in such a way as to create in the opposite sex desires that cannot be fulfilled righteously.

    Sorry, I know that was rambling and I'm not sure I answered your questions at all, just giving my two cents.

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  5. I honestly dont think younger girls/teens know exactly what they do to men by how they dress... and we should continue to caution them and guide them in modesty. But I also know my husband turns his head the moment any scantily clothed woman appears on the tv. He does it out of instinct... and i pray i can raise my 5 boys to be just like him!!!! Women have the choice to be modest and men have the choice to turn their heads.

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  6. I kinda really love this. I spent a nice chunk of time recently explaining this view to someone and finished feeling like I was betraying the scores of Christian sisters who support modesty in the manner that you lead with. Thank you, also, for providing scripture to support this view. Yes, it is two-sided but I have seen what you have- a lot of pieces that only speak to females. But as Ambassadors of Christ on the internet we have to realize that who we write for is not always the people who read what we produce. And that demographic may be more important in the big picture. (Preaching to the choir and all.)

    I hope this post goes as viral as the one with the boys in swimwear whose mom tossed her young girl "friends" from her family's island. Very well written and easy to read for both Christians and non, which is something that is needed on this Web Island.

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  7. Great read!
    It's very sad that most Christians don't understand modesty....you're totally right, men should be modest also...which is why my husband and my boys are always modest. We teach our boys that women have eyes and are visually stimulated just like men are.

    We went to a water park for vacation this Summer and my boys and husband wore loose swim trunks and a loose (non-hugable) swim top. Why? Because they understand the importance of modesty and how it doesn't apply to women only.

    I applaud you. Most people are afraid to speak on this topic because it steps on the toes of devout Christians that "have it all together".

    I believe that the biblical standards are fair, but the worldly standards aren't (which makes perfect sense). We have to ask ourselves, where do our standards come from? Are we of this world or just in it? Honestly, I don't care what the world thinks. I prefer to look to what Christ thinks. With that said, I don't think that women have too much responsibility when it comes to modesty either, because either way it goes, it should be practiced if men are doing it or not........but they should be.
    Blessings

    P.S. Totally sharing this :)

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  8. Great points, Rebecca! Man hasn't changed much since the first Adam, has he? "It's the woman's fault. You know... the one you gave me." I'm really tired of women getting blamed for everything. Won't heaven be grand?!

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  9. Both men and women should be modest. Both are responsible.
    However, as a sub teacher and having been in high schools were they do not have a dress code, vs the ones that do have a dress code, I can tell you that without boundaries in place modesty is lost.

    I have taught in schools where girls shorts are so short their buttocks show, where they wear tank tops with speghitti straps and no bra, where they wear short shorts and thong underwear under them. And, they wear it in purpose to get the boys attention. Then, other girls dress even more bare to outdo the first girl.

    A woman should cover. Some of these young men (if not many or most) were never taught to avert their eyes.

    Society teaches to show it off--don't believe me?? Look at some of the magazine covers of how women are dressed, and also how men are often dressed.

    As a dorm mom at church camp I have had 16 year old CHRISTIAN girls come to camp with a skimpy 2 piece suit or even one with a thong bottom and tell me their parents let them wear it at home. They then get mad they can't go to the pool, even though the camp rule for the last 50 years has been a modest one piece suit. A call to the parents often confirms that yes, they do let their daughter wear that skimpy thing at their local pool.

    Yes, the boys should avoid the temptation, but why are the girls even tempting them to begin with?? Why play with matches near gasoline then act surprised when it catches fire?

    I have worked in a crisis center. We worked with girls who had been raped or assaulted. It was in a college town, and more often than not they had been scantly dressed (usually also drinking at the bars). Several times we also got to interview the male involved, if he had been caught. Over and over were were told "I thought she wanted it based on how she was dressed." Why show off your breast if it isn't available.

    If as men and women we are to respect our future spouses, then why are we showing it all off now. What man takes pride in knowing that hundreds of other men have already seen his wife barely clothed? Something that is for his eyes only?

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  10. well said. thanks for sharing a different view!
    Victoria @ Lost in Boston

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  11. Rebecca, I thought your post was very well written. I agree that the issue of modesty is important for both men and women. And I am glad that you will teach your sons about being modest as much as you teach your daughters.

    I will, however, point out that even at the age of your quads, you must have noticed that girls and boys are different. In the way they approach things, the details they notice and even how their brains work. As your children get older the difference will become even more pronounced. Girls are emotional, they think with their hearts and their feelings. Their play becomes intricate and filled with thought, even at 4 and 5. By the time they are 10, 11, 12, etc. they are already playing around the edges of womanhood. Copying what they see us as moms do, makeup, hair, clothing.

    Boys are driven by adrenalin. They play hard, break things apart to see what is inside, drop things from high up to see what happens. They are all about cause and effect. Most do not even take the time to brush their hair if Mom doesn't remind them until 13, 14, or even 15.

    I am not saying all girls and boys are like this, just pointing out that it really does start with the girls. If you can help your daughters to understand the power of their femininity, and the gift of their purity by the time they are about 10 years old. You will help both sides to keep "that door closed."

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  12. Very well thought out post with really good ideas. I was at a women's conference recently and the main speaker brought up modesty, but what she said that got my attention was the idea that women sometimes see power or feel powerful in being to make a man look at them. I am certain I did that when I was young and it is a destructive way to live. It is a superficial power, not from within, and it does not boost your self esteem as I once imagined. I didn't dress for style, for fun, but for attention. Blech. I have no interest in that now. Maybe the issue for a woman isn't exactly what is worn, but the reason behind it. And yes, I 100% agree that men should be in control of their own spiritual stuff. That is not mine nor any other woman's responsibility. Like I tell my son, no matter what anyone else does, YOU are in control of your own thoughts and behavior. No one can get inside your brain and make you do something, say something or think something.

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  13. I agree with both sides of the issue. I think the mom's point of view in the facebook post that went viral the other day was lost. In a back handed way she was trying to get these young girls to realize they how they can effect the young men in their lives.

    What I want to know is where is are these girls parents who let them pose provocatively in skimpy pj's and bathing suits like they were the next Victoria Secret model and post it all over the net.

    I applaud the mother for taking charge in your childrens life, discussing why it's inappropriate and blocking. Those are the type of young men who will know to respect and avert their eyes when barely clad females walk by. In that she was and continues to do the right thing.

    What I don't applaud is how she appears to be one sided in her 'letter'. You absolutely correct that boys/men should be aware of their appearance and how it can effect women. Females are just as prone to lust as men.

    All in all it's like you said both sides need to be taught modesty and respect not only for others but for themselves as well.

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  14. I agree wholeheartedly! Thanks for standing up and speaking out! I'm a very conservative Christian woman, but I wear shorts and tank tops and (gasp) own a two piece swimsuit. In Florida, shorts & tanks are a must unless you want to be even more uncomfortable in the oppressive heat & humidity. I do not, however, dress like a tramp or in a revealing nature. There's a difference. I was interested in joining a homeschool group several years ago, but after reading their rules, realized I wouldn't be able to do so- because tank tops were forbidden...for women & girls, of course. I refuse to be told how to dress, especially since I don't dress promiscuously. So we've homeschooled without being part of a group because of legalistic exclusions that don't solve any issues of the heart.

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  15. Overall I understand your points, Rebecca. It seems to me that you are responding to legalism and double-standards in the church. I think you would enjoy "Modest: Men and Women Clothed in the Gospel" by Tim Challes. http://www.challies.com/resources/modest-men-and-women-clothed-in-the-gospel

    This book addresses modesty to both men and women, and in a spiritual way, examining our heart motives. I think you would really like it. When you quoted the verse from 1 Timothy, it struck me that he did not say "dress modestly so that your brothers won't sin." No, he said to dress modestly, particularly reproving any dressing in an elaborate manner that would display status. He was addressing heart attitudes of women wanting to show off, whether to other men or other women. He wanted them to dress more simply and also treat others of all classes with love. This has interesting application to today's "modesty wars!"

    Some more thoughts of mine - while I agree with what you say, I definitely think there is a place for "modesty discussions." Conversations with my husband have really helped me understand what it is like to be a man in today's skimpily-dressed world. Most of the men I've heard discuss this topic always give the disclaimer that men have responsibility to choose to look away etc. But I really do feel that women, without feeling shame for their body or responsibility to "keep others from sinning," should understand the power we have and use it wisely. As you say, it's better to keep a little mystery!

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  16. Great post, Rebecca. We need to be careful that our attention spent getting girls to be modest does not in some way "body-shame" them. As a health care provider of women across the lifespan, I can tell you that many words that are spoken to young women about their bodies can have long-lasting repercussions for their mental/emotional/physical health.

    Regarding the viral post from facebook that I saw yesterday: Is it okay to block girls in "sexy" poses, while publicly posting pictures of boys bare-chested and posing with muscles? Is it okay to body-shame young women, while revering the athletic/fun bodies of young men? Are women and young ladies responsible for the thoughts of young men? I LOVE the idea of young women taking a moment to consider what they are posting online or wearing in public. I also LOVE the idea of parents having conversations with their daughters and sons about what is on their "wall" and their "news feed" and what image they are portraying publicly. I'm not sure I love the other messages included in most statements about modesty. That is why I agree with everything you've written here.

    It's a fine line we walk between "allowing" children to experiment with their sexuality (which is age-appropriate) and shaming them for said behaviors.

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    1. I have to agree with both Cara and Rebecca here. Rebecca, you are only the second person I have heard mention the guy's responsibility to also maintain modesty. I recently read part of a blog post where a guy stated that if a man is reliant on a woman's modesty alone to maintain his purity, it diminishes him to some kind of animal or sexual "being" with no self-control. It's also a lazy excuse for him not to make an effort to respect or protect the women he sees. The body-shame thing is a good point too, Cara. I'm glad you brought that up. I believe in women respecting their own bodies and leaving a little "mystery" as you said, Rebecca. But, I really like that you challenged us to teach our sons the importance of modesty, not just our daughters. You rock!

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  17. I like your post. I agree that I want my girls to dress properly. I refuse to buy them a bikini because I think that it is inappropriate. I am now expecting a boy and I agree that we also need to teach them to responsible. But it is a challenge in a society nowadays, when both women and men don't value each other as much as they used to.

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  18. Great post, I completely agree with your take on this topic. I grew up in a very conservative christian church and family and as I grew older i realized that some of these "rules/guidelines" hindered rather than embracing who we are both men and women and how we need to mutually respect and honor each other.

    Kendra @ openspaces

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  19. Rebecca, you are absolutely right that modesty is not just for girls/women. Our boys should be taught the same standards that we teach our girls. If we do that, then those boys are more likely to 'look away' and not be enticed when presented with an onslaught of scantily clad females. I think the reverse of that applies to our girls. If we teach them the standards that we teach our boys, they will be less likely to want to draw inappropriate attention to themselves, as well as to not be enticed by young men who are scantily clad. It really is a matter of teaching our children respect for themselves and others.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

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  20. I totally agree that it should be both guys and girls that should be modest! Totally! In fact, in our house we have our own standard (everyone needs to study and decide what God would have them to do personally)--and it's the same for our boy and husband as me and the 4 girls. If I expect my girls not to be showing off their tops--neither will my boy! And that's why this last viral post of modesty didn't sit well with me. Why berate all the girls and then put pictures of boys with no tops on in the post? Not that the swimsuits were evil, but don't tell girls how to dress or pose and then put pictures like that on the same post. Anyway--just venting a little :)

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  21. I think you sum it up well in what the modesty argument should look like. Leave a little mystery, guard your heart and respect yourself each other.

    True modesty comes from the inside out. We need to teach our children - and that comes down somewhat to pinching inches and using two fingers below the collarbone and pointing out how much can be seen through material that's too thin and etc... but really it comes in developing a love of God and a respect for yourself and those around you. That's what will guide you to true modesty - because "Being Modest" is so much more than what you are wearing. I've seen girls and guys who are "dressed modestly" but whose seductive behavior was anything but modest. Their heart wasn't committed so it didn't matter what they were wearing they made it suggestive by their behavior. Dressing in skimpy clothes is judged as an invitation for sensual attention, but that isn't the only way to invite that kind of attention. And in my opinion, developing inner modesty and respect for oneself in our children is far more important than enforcing the rules of outward modesty.

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  22. I absolutely detested the letter by the mom to teen girls! That really got me riled up! I can't tell you how similar that letter was in tone to many religious fundamentalists in those conservative countries that are still in the dark ages! Thanks for posting this!

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  23. I think guys need to work on being more modest. It's not uncommon to see boys/men with no shirts in the summer. Often, they wear their pants low enough to see boxers or worse pubic hair. This does not turn me on, it disgusts me. I have no desire to see that much of anyone, no matter how attractive.

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  24. The dissconnect that I see with the usual modesty argument, is where the verbage is directed at women and young ladies leaving out what the doings of young men or adult men should be doing, is this.
    1- Just what you have stated. It negates personal responsibility. Imagine if you walked into a jewelry store, and for the people who didn't have enough money at the moment yet to buy, they were coddled by the store owner, whereby he covers up all his wears as not to tempt you. This is what the 'keep women modest' argument asks of our bodies. We are asked not to dress how we would like to, based not on our feelings, but to regard others' temptation of us.
    If we choose to cover it all up for men, it is as if we are implying a multitude of things about mens' character.
    And I would prefer, as a woman, to know men who are kind and strong, respectful with principles and not lustful of all women, Whilst with his character he shows this and not with dress standards seemingly being over preached to women.
    Also, I would just like to say, this. I have not seen one blog asking of a man to wear a robe like garment (dress) as what would be attire appropriate in a biblical sense. Why keep wearing only long skirts? Isn't it hard to do physical sports like running if you never allow yourself to wear some pants so your stride can be long? I just think somewhere along the lines, we got it wrong, and started believing that we should do things that aren't practical.
    In my opinion, I can wear a dress that covers me from shoulders to knees and feel like I am wearing modest clothing. Surely I have worn immodest attire too such as my short tight pink skirt I like, whether it was a personal mistake or not (mistake because of the way it limits my stride or makes me think of my appearance every 2 seconds which then makes me uncomfortable), I have never thought I'm contributing to a males' desire to rape me/do bad things to me. That is nonsense because of a very simple fact. Good people do not rape other people. They just Don't. There are no excuses for a rapist other than they like to rape and cause pain. My clothes don't make them accountable for their crime. Their bad character makes them accountable. I honestly believe that if I was naked on the street, good people both men and women would call the cops and help because most people are good hearted.
    Rape aside, and getting back to modesty. I don't see anything wrong with men and women dressing the societal norm. There are always going to be times where we internally wish we could have closed our eyes so we didn't have to see that guy in his very tight spandex, or that young girl with her butt cheeks showing through her shorts. But I think it's better to influence character rather than clothing limitations and let ppl do with their clothing freedom what they will even if it potentially disturbs others.

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  25. I agree with you about modesty and not making women or girls responsible for male actions.

    But I do believe in dress codes for schools. Both for boys and girls. At my age 62, I can usually guilt the boys to pulling up their pants by turning away from them, and saying a dramatic ahhhhh.

    If I don't turn away, they say don't look. Turning away, I usually get a sorry and a quick yank of the pants to where they should be.

    The girls are harder and I remind them, I'm not your mother, I'm your teacher, please follow the school code.

    When I was young I used to roll up my skirt and then when told to kneel on the floor (public school, not private) I would quickly roll the skirt down.

    Yes, women should follow societal norms, but what one wears shouldn't lead to judgments.

    I know a woman who hasn't been hired and I didn't know her good enough to tell her that it was her clothes. Not that she was immodest, she is very poor and her clothes are not of a professional quality. I did mention it to the counselor hoping she could delicately fix up the lady with some better clothes that I was willing to provide. No luck so far. Perhaps her pride wouldn't allow her to accept help.

    Judgments about how we're dressed come in all forms. Maybe some day we will move beyond that.

    Just Saying.

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  26. Great post! I agree with you. The double standard is very frustrating to me, both as a women and as a mother to two girls. I found your post via SITS Sharefest - so glad I did!

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  27. I think more than anything, modesty is a matter of the heart. Rather than putting blame on the man or the woman, I think I should always check my heart and my motives. Why do women dress immodestly? I can be honest with myself and say for me, it was to show off my body, to get attention, to be desired, wanted, lusted after, deemed beautiful to the world, to be validated... It was sometimes my pride or simple vanity.. Other times I did it to be praised, or even out of fear and insecurity as we are compared to other women so often. More than anything, I desire to check my heart. I don't think there is a pure reason for me to reveal my body. (And this is coming from an ex-swimsuit/lingerie model/Miss USA contestant)

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  28. Thank you for this post....for years I heard ( and still hear) that I have to dress super modestly or it's my fault for leading boys astray. As a big busted girl (from a very young age) I had trouble finding clothes that fit in all the right places......I had so many issues with always being told this that I eventually gave up trying and rebelled against everything my parents and church lectured me about. I spent years trying to find my worth through my body, all the while trying to figure out who I was in this body.....I thankfully came to grips with my body and came back to the Lord. But I still have issues with my body after hearing for years that my body was, bad and I was causing boys to sin. Girls need to hear that they are beautiful and created by God, but yes they need to be modest. And boys need to be held accountable for their own thoughts, and need to stop have excuses made for them...boys don't "have to be boys" they can to trained to be young gentlemen.

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  29. Thanks for this post. At first I wondered if it was going to simply be a rant against modesty, but I believe you hit the nail on the head with what you have said. You have not condemned modesty, but instead exposed the flawed one-sided mentality behind it. I am a teenage guy. I appreciate modesty very much in the girls I am around. But as a guy I feel that men should be modest as well, and guard our own eyes and hearts as you pointed out. Sexual sins are generally a two-party offense, and guys can be just as immodest as some women in many ways without realizing it because our american society tends to gloss over men's modesty and makes no bones about having half nude men all over commercials, billboards, and other places. Men should take modesty seriously for themselves, and it shouldn't be that hard for us all things considered. a provocatively dressed man can be the cause behind straying for women just as easily as a provocatively dressed woman can be for a man.
    The responsibility should be shared, and I appreciate the way you chose to point that out.

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