{modesty}: a discourse

I just spent too long of a lunch being lectured about modesty.  I consider myself and my sister (who was there) fairly modest people, and so the lecture-which wasn't even necessarily pointed toward us-was quite annoying.  I'm tired of it.  Not because I don't agree with being modest, but because I keep hearing the same stupid things over and over again that don't make a lot of sense and I'm tired of all of it!!
  1. (My personal favorite) "Well, people think badly (judge) when they see girls dressed immodestly because they automatically know what kind of girl they are."  What??!  I'm sorry, but this is some lame excuse everyone has come up with to feel better about judging people.  I'm not buying it.
  2. "You just don't understand how men think."  I have only heard this phrase from other women.  Lots of them were single women.  Women that haven't spent a lot of time with men.  I have had several close male friends, and now a husband that have given me lots of insight into the minds of males...and yes, they certainly can be filthy.  And yes, scantily clad women running around doesn't necessarily help BUT I fail to see how their brain, their agency, their ability to control their thoughts or actions is MY PROBLEM?  These men are going to be around women for the rest of their lives, and when it comes down to it are capable of sexualizing ANYTHING...seriously, I know...I have a lot of male friends...  Can we help out by wearing some clothes, absolutely.  Ultimately, is this MY problem? no.
  3. "2 piece swimsuits are terribly immodest."  They are.  So are 1 piece swimsuits.  All swimwear is tight, cut, and revealing.  ALL SWIMWEAR.  We recently went to a pageant (which brought a lot of this up) and several girls wore 2 piece swimsuits.  Was I shocked because they were 2 pieces?  Not so much...more shocked at the lack of self-awareness and inability to realize how unflattering the suits were on themselves.  If you are going to parade yourself around in any type of swimsuit, I don't know that it matters much if it's 2 pieces or one.  We get to see all of your goods one way or another.  Will Paisley have to wear modest swimsuits growing up?  You betcha-currently I'm loving tankinis but we'll see what we're dealing with when we get there.
  4. This isn't a specific phrase, but more of a frame of mind.  I am SO TIRED of seeing all of the sweet girls embarrassed of their bodies because their parents taught them to be (so they would cover up).  It makes me sick.  I had a good friend who had been taught to be embarrassed of her boobs all growing up so that her parents didn't have to worry about her showing them off.  Now, I'm not an advocate for showing them off, but I don't think it should be embarrassment that drives girls to modesty.
  5. "All naked bodies are pornographic."  Yeah, it's because of you people that I had to hide under a tent just to feed my child while I was nursing!!!!  ALL NAKED BODIES ARE NOT PORNOGRAPHY!!!!  If you believe that, YOU HAVE THE PROBLEM.  Please, PLEASE don't tell me that every time you see a naked little kid that you instantly sexualize the situation because that is YOUR problem.
  6. "All naked bodies are disgusting."  How sad for you.  How sad for your children.  How sad that you look at your spouse and yourself in disgust.  I don't understand it.  I see so much beauty in people and their bodies and it's sad to me that anyone would honestly believe this!
I choose to be modest for many reasons.  Mostly out of respect for myself.  I don't do it because I'm worrying what everyone is thinking about me (particularly all those FILTHY men), I don't do it because I'm embarrassed of my body, and I don't do it because of anyone else but myself.  I also am a member of a Church that advocates modesty.  I love how they advocate it too:

     "Your body is God’s sacred creation. Respect it as a gift from God, and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show the Lord that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Prophets of God have always counseled His children to dress modestly. The way you dress is a reflection of what you are on the inside."                               from "For the Strength of Youth"

And that's how Paisley is going to learn.  She should never be doing anything because of what people might say or think about her and how she dresses is at the top of that list!  Modesty isn't even how you dress so much as how you wear it.  It's a frame of mind.  And for me it's how I keep my undies covered ;)


  1. The only thing I have to say because I mostly agree (especially with teaching our girls that it's about respecting themselves, not a million other reasons), but as the mother of a little boy that will one day be a teenager, I hope the girls he hangs out with are modest. I agree that he needs to control his own thoughts, that it is his own problem, etc. BUT I just hope those he spends a lot of time with will want to not only uplift themselves but those around them as well. It may not be our, as women, problem, but it never hurt any of us to be mindful of others.

    It should never be the main reason to be modest, but I also don't think we should minimalize our impact on one another through the things we say, what we do, and they way we portray our bodies.

    Ok, I'm done now :-)

  2. Very well said..this is like what we were talking about the other night. I have my own personal views on modesty for myself mainly b/c of our religious views, but even as a growing teen it was important for me ...for reason I dont even know why. My parents never cared. I don't know if parents are teaching girls to cover up and hate their bodies...it's more of a cover up b/c they are protecting their daughters from what they believe is teen boys with perv minds, but for me the main reason i want to teach modesty to my girls/boys is they will one day grow up and wear "the special underwear" and it wont be such a crazy transition.
    Also I totally agree that not all nude is pornographic amen!

  3. I love this! I love that you brought up SO many valid points people make when talking about modesty-when the number one reason to be modest is because of your understanding and love of your divine nature. That is possible because you have developed a relationship with your heavenly father and jesus christ. If we see people who are dressing immodestly, we shouldn't automatically shun them or judge them for being a certain way... in fact that may be an opportunity for us to serve by helping them see the love that heavenly father has for them...and that doesn't mean shaming them into wearing a cardigan...it means showing genuine heartfelt love. I also believe with that said that too many times we act like our sons, husbands, brothers etc. don't have a CHOICE in the matter of the sort of girls he hangs out with. It would be so refreshing to hear a young man say, that the reason he chose not too date a certain young lady, or hang out with them, is because they didn't respect themselves enough with the way they dressed. To do that in a non-labeling way is perfectly fine. You SHOULD BE very choosy about who you date.
    Anyways LOVED this all and don't even get me started on our Westernized Cultures obsession with sex and the sexualizing of EVERYTHING....it really is unfortunate...and well rather evil...and confusing to people about what their bodies actually really mean...ok I'm done now :)

  4. i know i'm not the best person to comment on this because i myself have a hard time with being modest. i love this though. the other day i was in wal-mart by the costumes and a teenage girl asked her mom or older friend why all the halloween costumes there were slutty. the older one said "its because we are in utah". i don't know if this is necessarily true, but my first thought was yeah right, i bet other states are sluttier. but then i thought about it. why would utah be thought of as having the sluttiest costumes? what makes us different? oh yeah, the "mormons". i think a lot of people here in this culture give young girls , like you said, the wrong idea about modesty. like you are a sinner and a slut if you show your body. and to teach that everything naked is "pornographic" and "disgusting". so, i think girls here like to dress up "slutty" for halloween cause its the only time they can actually get away with it. who knows. i have a friend who when we were growing up, she couldn't wear shorts or tanktops without being called a "slut" by her mom! so i was the super slutty friend! its just so dumb, because all she did when she moved out is EVERYTHING she wasn't allowed to do when she lived at home. bodies are beautiful and we shouldn't be ashamed to show them (to a point) who knows how i'll feel about it though if i get a daughter of my own! yikes! i hate how this culture looks down or feels bad for people that dress differently. its sad. we should not be judged on that, but sadly we are.


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