What constitues modesty? What does society ask of us? What do our friends think? More importantly, what does God call us as women to be like? How can we balance this level of modesty with being "fashionable" but not dressing like a nun?
***Long post disclaimer*** ***Lot's of links involved***
First Link: http://www.qideas.org/video/the-evolution-of-the-swimsuit.aspx
"Analysts at National Geographic concluded that bikinis really do inspire men to see women as objects, as something to be used rather than someone to connect with."
"[The woman in the song] was afraid to come out of the water because she has a natural sense of modesty that has been stripped away by today’s culture."
"We need to teach our girls that modesty isn’t about covering up our bodies because they’re bad. Modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves. It’s about revealing our dignity. We were made beautiful, in His image and likeness. So the question is, how will you use your beauty?"
(Jessica Rey suits pictured above: http://www.reyswimwear.com/collections/gaby)
What defines modesty? I believe it is defined differently for each person. I think that each person’s environment is what sets the standard but I also think that people can choose to ignore what the environment has set out for them. I was not allowed to wear makeup until well after most girls were and my mother had to approve the length of my shorts until I left for college. There are mothers on the other end of the spectrum who appear to still shop in the junior’s section and model their daughters after themselves.
I think many girls try to match fashionable with modesty but clothing companies don’t often give us that choice. As a female that has wide hips but a thin waist, I’ve often had to pick one over the other and sometimes I gave into what was “fashionable” which was tighter and “less” clothing.
Clothing Companies like A&F who influence us like this:
What do you say to a girl who has only heard kind words from the boys she sleeps with? Who didn’t have the right role models and relied on the media who constantly tell females exactly what that article states, “less is more.” A close friend of mine was a Director for a non-profit in Greenville, SC who on the weekends went into strip clubs to just love on the girls there because too often they hear Christians condemn them rather than love on them as we are called to do. The stories she shared from the girls when they broke down and described their self-worth or lack there of, is eye-opening to say the least.
It’s hard to tell your friends let alone yourself, that while dressing in less modest clothing usually gets you more attention (not typically the kind a girl truly wants) but when attention is lacking, it’s just one more temptation girls will give into, whether they are 15, or 45 years old.
Don't worry though, other companies like Victoria Secret are trying to teach girls culture values at a MUCH younger age
I find modesty and beauty different for each girl. Confidence and high self-esteem are the true beauty. When a girl understands her own value, she is more likely to dress in clothes that are modest to her but yet show a physical beauty without being a nun.
"I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.
-1 Timothy 2:8-11
Here are some GREAT thoughts Kerri provided:
· How are teenage boys to maintain holy hands if every weekend they are using those hands to feel up the boobs & butts that teenage girls are putting on display?
· Think of it in another way, statistically if you are dating someone in high school, you are most likely not going to spend the rest of your life with them. Less than 2% of high school sweethearts end up getting married. So you are dating someone else’s future husband. Now if you care about that young man you are dating, you will view him in this light. You will want him to be able to lift “holy hands” in praise on the day he marries his wife.
· Think of the flip-side. Some other teenage girl is dating your husband right now. What kind of girl do you hope she is? How do you hope she is dressing for him? Is she building him up to be a Godly man, or is she tempting him to lust every time he lays eyes on her? How much more are you going to fall in love with him if he can lift holy hands to God, thanking Him for the gift of you on the day you marry him?
· Date and dress now with your future husband in mind. Encourage your friends, hold each other accountable…they may be dating your husband now.
· Believe me – you will have the discussion with your husband about your past, what kind of discussion will it be? Will it be full of shame and tears for the mistakes you wish you hadn’t made? Or will it be one of accomplishment, love and pride that you can tell him you dressed and lived in anticipation of him?
Maybe if girls spent as much time building each other up rather than tearing each other down through gossip and snide comments as we are great at doing, then we would stop listening to the media and find our own individual definitions of modesty. I guess through this rambling what I’m trying to say is that a bikini can be modest to some girls and others feel more comfortable in a beautiful one piece like the ones the Jessica Rey designed. Each girl through both her actions and her clothing choice can set the tone for what she expects from others.
Kind of leading into the quote: "Analysts at National Geographic concluded that bikinis really do inspire men to see women as objects, as something to be used rather than someone to connect with.
This makes me think of how some people think that girls that are scantily dressed and then raped “asked for it.” Perhaps those girls should have considered other clothing options but never once, is a woman asking to be raped nor to be seen as objects. A lot of it falls to teaching guys and girls how to treat and view one another.