Modesty is a topic everyone will talk about at some point in their lives, whether it will concern them personally or they see it impact someone else – but what sort of message is modesty really sending today’s youth?
No one blinks at a woman modeling a bra but a woman nursing her child is something to be ashamed or even afraid of.
Little girls are told they aren’t allowed to wear anything that bares “excessive” skin, such as tank tops, spaghetti straps (even at an extremely young age), short shorts, or revealing dresses.
Meanwhile, little boys are told not to wear saggy pants.
There are no rules against sleeveless jerseys, revealing basketball shorts or tank tops for boys – so why the double standard?
The following five lies modesty culture has been teaching people, as pointed out by Crosswalk, reveal the true definition of modesty as well as the ugly side of today’s methods of encouraging it:
Modesty is something only women need to practice
Modesty is often a forgotten virtue relevant to both sexes.
As shared by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan: “Modesty is one of the Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as ‘the first fruits of eternal glory:’ charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.
“To dress modestly is to avoid deliberately causing sexual excitement in oneself or one’s neighbor. One who dresses modestly shuns clothes that are known or reasonably expected to effect sexual arousal in oneself or others. Modesty is dress pertains to both genders.”
Modesty is not, nor should it be, seen as a “woman’s issue” but as a human issue.
Men can practice dressing modestly by abstaining from skin-tight pants, removing their shirts, etc. while women can practice modesty by refraining from skin-tight clothing and low-cut tops.
Purity is a woman’s responsibility
Women have long been warned against wearing revealing clothing, else men would lust after them, or worse – attack them.
This has led women to fear accidentally leading men to “lose control.”
A woman is not responsible for anyone’s purity but her own – but that does not mean she should purposely be tempting either; nor should a man purposely tempt women.
No one can control the thoughts of another person. Dressing modestly is to be encouraged but not in a way that tells men, “If women dress immodestly, I will lust after them.”
The next time you speak to your children about modesty, make sure to explain their purity is theirresponsibility, whether that means hanging out with different friends, watching different television shows, or, perhaps most importantly, learning how to refrain from sexualizing other people.
Every man thinks about sex in the same light
Men offer several excuses for thinking about sex. “It’s just the way men are” and “It’s how we’re hardwired” are often used by men to give themselves a free pass.
These nonchalant comments, when said often enough, teach women and young men that it’s normal for a man to constantly have sex on their minds.
The truth is not all men or all women are like-minded. Some are more visual than others while still others have a greater sense of control.
The topic of modesty and where someone’s mind goes is not a measure of their masculinity, femininity or anything else; it represents what they choose to think about – so stop making excuses and practice self-control.
Women dress for men
Women choose what to wear based on several different circumstances: Will there be an important event to dress for today? Is this stylish? Is it comfortable? Will it be cold out? Is this outfit realistic for today’s events?
Most women dress for themselves – because they want to be comfortable, they want to stand out, they want to blend in, etc. Rarely do women of God ask themselves, “Will men notice how hot I am in this outfit?”
It’s time for men to stop assuming a good-looking woman with revealing, tight or otherwise immodest clothing is dressing specifically for them – nine times out of ten, they’re not.
You get to decide what is “modest”
Everyone has their own version of what modesty looks like.
Some are offended by bare shoulders or sagging pants.
Several countries view public breastfeeding as a natural part of life and are entirely unaffected by it while in the United States, many have fought to make it illegal.
The point being modesty standards are dependent on culture.
It is unrealistic to be offended by someone who dresses in a way that we personally believe they shouldn’t be. Our temptations are not standards for anyone else’s clothing decisions.
Modesty varies and, though it may be something you don’t agree with, it is not our place to judge how others dress. Our rights end at the cross, where Christ takes on the job of judgement while we focus on Him.
We have been called to love and to look within before judging others – so practice what God has told us: ” I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you.” – John 13:34
By Kenya Sinclair