Thursday, June 20, 2013
Modesty, it's an Attitude
Here I go. Another post riddled with my silly opinions. However, guess what? You don't have to agree or even read.
So it seems that the discussion of wearing a bikini and modesty in particular is a hot subject right now (at least in the Mormon world). A few weeks ago, I saw this floating around Facebook and decided to read it. I found that I was very irritated with what I read.
Sure, the author made a few good points. However, the main point I just could not get on board with. This is what first irked me:
you ask? Why? Because I am making a sacrifice for the guys around me.
Her reasoning for avoiding a bikini was to make a sacrifice for men. It does not bother me that she chooses not to wear bikinis. That's fine. I, personally, do not feel comfortable in a bikini unless I'm just laying out to read a book, and even then, I'm really picky about what kind of bikini I will tan in. So that doesn't bug me. What bugs me is how modesty often becomes something that is all about dress, all about women dressing modestly, and all about women dressing modestly to help the men keep their pants on.
Modesty is personal. It should be about much more than dressing a certain way to get the stamp of approval from others. I choose to dress modestly for myself, and my personal choices of modesty are just that: personal. It makes me feel more confident in my actions and behaviors. For me, dressing modestly helps me focus more on my soul and my mind. Not only that, but I feel that it directly strengthens my relationship with my Heavenly Father (this post might get kind of LDS specific, so sorry if my references confuse anyone).
I found the following on my church's website:
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).
This also brings up the point that modesty comes down to much more than just dress. Modesty is humility; being humble in dress, grooming, language, and behavior. Therefore, if you choose to dress a certain way yet ridicule and judge another for the way they dress, I don't think you are showing very modest behavior (just my personal opinion). Dressing modestly and then turning around to say, "Look how so-and-so dresses. What a skank," is NOT a good example of modesty. You are not glorifying God when you do this, you are glorifying yourself by tearing another down and putting yourself above them. Judging others is not a good path to modesty. It's something I am much too guilty of and I am working on it. After all, it does me much more harm than the people I waste time judging. Also, how someone else chooses to dress has zero affect on my own modesty. It's really none of my business.
Another point in the post that bothered me, was the comparison of women to cake:
This is how I imagine it is for guys. Girls are walking around all the time with barely any clothes on at the beach or pool! Guys can never get a break from it, even if they’re trying to see past all the bodies to find the smiles and personalities within the girls.
First off, who says we stay away from carbs or sweets? Pass the chocolate cake, please. But in all seriousness, this metaphor made the feminist in me want to gag. I do not want to be compared to ooey gooey chocolate cake. I am a human being with feelings, ideas, dreams, and desires. I do not want to be compared to something that will be drooled over and devoured unless I hide my body. I hope and pray for women and girls out there that your reasoning for modesty is not because you think your body is shameful or tempting. Sadly, I think this idea often gets tied to modesty. However, it is quite the opposite. In my own life, when I have chosen to cover up, it helps me feel more beautiful and I have gone to new heights in respecting myself and my body. It makes me feel like a person and not a sex object. However, if you are covering up in order to "protect the guys" or so "people won't look at you a certain way", you are still turning yourself into a sex object. Just in a different way. You are thinking, I must cover up because my body is a bad thing that should not be desired, rather than, I choose to cover up because I want my mind and personality to be desired along with my body. So I guess my main hope with modesty, is that we choose to live it because it makes us feel like better and happier people, not because we feel shamed into doing it, thinking our bodies are bad things. Taken from For The Strength of Youth pamphlet, regarding modesty:
Your body is sacred. Respect it and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show that you know how precious your body is.
After reading the article that I saw being reposted by many of my friends, I thought to myself that maybe I was being silly. Perhaps I was getting worked up about something that was really no big deal at all. So that night, I had Brian read the article, without telling him my thoughts on it. When I asked what he thought, he answered,
"I'm kind of mad. This makes it sound like men have no control. We can be accountable."
Then I suddenly had this new perspective. Not only can these certain ideas about modesty be degrading to women, but men too. Let's give the guys some credit. Besides, I have a feeling any guy who has dirty thoughts about the girl wearing the bikini will have the same dirty thoughts about the girl wearing the one piece.
Like I already mentioned, this is just my own opinion and maybe I am bat shiz crazy. I would love to hear opinions and thoughts on the subject. I really do find modesty a fascinating subject.
Other articles regarding this same subject I've seen floating around:
The Evolution of the Swimsuit
Men, Sex, and Modesty
I really enjoyed both these articles. While I don't agree with everything said in them, I thought they were both very well done. So, what say ye? What does modesty mean to you?