Modesty: What is it Good for?
Amidst the "Culture of Death" a problem has arisen for both men and women alike. This is a problem concerning authentic beauty, sexuality, and self-worth. Pummeled by the values of a post-modern society, these young men and women have lost a Christ-centered perspective of what it means to live as a truly beautiful child of God. The solution: Modesty Education.
The Problem: Adolescence is a time of finding one's identity. Unfortunately in today's world, many young men and women find their identity in sex, drugs, money, fame, fashion, or gangs, instead of in Christ. They fail to realize that they are inherently beautiful and worthy of dignity and respect, and they fail to realize how to treat others justly as well. Of course this isn't a universal problem--there are many young men and women who learn this and live it out. But the vast majority are never taught how to be young men and women of God, and thus fail to realize the intrinsic value they possess. The following is what young men and women need to know.
Types of Modesty
Womanly Modesty: Young women need to be told, especially by the men in their lives, that beauty does not depend on how much cleavage they show, or how short their skirt is. The beauty of a woman subsists in her princess-like quality attributed to God. Beautiful women reflect God, who is the essence of beauty. This quality can be respected and amplified especially through proper dress and manner, and even though not all men may realize it, a truly modest woman is infinitely more attractive than an immodest one. Too much of a "good" thing really is too much. If you eat too much ice cream, you get sick. If men look at too many women as objects, eventually all they will see are objects there for pleasure. Women, if they want to be respected need to cover up. Cover the shoulders (most women don't realize men find shoulders extremely sensual), don't let the cleavage go too low, and make sure your shorts or skirt goes down to at least the knees. This will ensure that guys like you not just for your looks, but for your inner beauty. You are worthy of pure love and respect, so why would you settle for anything less?
Manly Modesty: Men also need to be careful about how they dress, but because women are not so visually oriented as men, it should not be their primary concern. To play it safe, cover the shoulders and biceps, and don't wear tight shirts. Again, shorts should go to at least the knees. The more important rule for men is to help guard the hearts of women. For a man, to be modest is to be honest about your intentions with a woman and do not lead her on. When a man "flirts" with a woman it can be very easy for her to give her heart to that man. So Men, don't be players, don't lead women on for your own pleasure, and don't flirt if you don't intend the relationship to go anywhere. The true essence of manhood is not how well we "get" women, but how well we care for all women. Be a Prince, not a Pig.
Where to Go: Parents, Church leaders, teachers, and teenagers all need to realize that the future of our children depend on how well we educate them about where their self-worth comes from. If we want the Culture of Life to flourish, we must help our youth. It is not enough to try to shelter them from society--they are too enmeshed in it--rather, we need to combat what society tells us with the message of Christ, "You are my beautiful Child".
Should women be held accountable for how they dress?
Addendum: 6 Years Later
It's been over six years since I wrote this hub, and my understanding of what modesty is has become both more substantial and more convoluted. I've realized that, like most things in life, its not a clear cut issue who's rules are the same for every situation.
Marriage has taught me a lot about modesty, and my wife in particular has enlightened me. I have come to think that maybe modesty is primarily concerned with not drawing undue attentions to one's self.
This means that modesty is slightly different for each person and each situation, and would not only include how we dress, but how we act. Are we humble, and do we draw attention to ourselves only when needed? Or do we seek attention at all times and get anxious when we are not in the limelight? Do some actions that we think are for a greater purpose actually draw attention to us or cause scandal? These are all things to consider, and are reasons why modesty requires prudence.
© 2009 R D Langr