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Modesty and Two Kinds of Men

17 Jul

Warning: Mature theme. If you are under 13, please let your parents read this first and then discuss it with them at their discretion. If you are over 13, I’m not going to go into graphic detail. You know what I’m talking about.

Ah yes, another Christian-worldview article on modesty. I may just be repeating what a blahzillion other writers have written, but apparently it hasn’t been said enough. Know how I know? I went to the mall today. Ugh.

Proviso #1: Let me start by addressing those of you who saw the topic and immediately started making juice out of your Fruit of the Looms. Unclench for a moment. I know you want to make this a modern day women’s rights issue; let me assure you I’m not attacking your right to wear what you want. I’m suggesting that you loosen your grip on that right in consideration of the people around you.  To put it bluntly, when you assert yourself and flaunt your rights to the point that you are trampling on the rights of others, that’s selfishness and narcissism.  I’m not attacking your rights, your looks, your fashion sense, your morality, or your upbringing. In fact, my take on modesty is that it isn’t really about you at all. It’s about the effect that immodesty has on the men and boys around you.

Proviso #2: I am not trying to turn everyone into Laura Ingalls or Fraulein Maria. Just asking you to tone down the Daisy Duke look, okay? There is an attractive middle ground! You can find cute clothes that cover your boobs, your belly, and your bum (and that keep them covered even if you were playing Wheel of Fortune).

Now let’s get to it. There are two kinds of men: those who fight it and those who go with it. “It”, in this case, is the sexual response to visual stimulation.

Men are visually stimulated by design. God meant it for good, so that despite our aging, sagging, post-childbirth blah-ness, our husbands would still look at us and say, “Wow! You’re all mine! Come on over here.”  That is good. And that should’ve been it. Husband, wife – the end. But now we have nearly-naked women running around everywhere and men can’t help but see them. Seeing them triggers desire, which is quickly followed by a physical response. And here’s where the men are divided into the two categories.

There are plenty of men out there who fight that response. They honestly and earnestly desire to keep their mind and their marriage (at present or at some point in the future) pure, so they work hard to divert their attention elsewhere. They avert their eyes and they focus their mind on something else. These men do exist – and they’re sexually healthy, virile, manly men! They’re the kind of guys that you want your sister, your daughter, yourself to end up with. So why not cut them some slack. Make it a bit easier for them to stick to their convictions.

Then we have the other category: the guys who go with it. I don’t have statistical information here, but I think it’s safe to say that these guys are the majority, and there’s a wide spectrum within this category. At the “safer” end of the spectrum are the guys who simply appreciate the view and are happy to take a second look. Unfortunately, the longer they look, the deeper that image gets burned in their minds and the more readily it’s available for recall later on. And that’s just the average guy! Consider the more extreme end of the spectrum. There are men who fly to Thailand or Cambodia to have sex with pre-teen girls and then they fly back home to Canada. In between trips, they don’t need to dig up illicit movies to get their fix; they can look at scantily clad little girls at the park, or the beach, or the mall. Or church.

None of these guys wear badges to let you know what category they’re in or how your (or your daughter’s) mode of dress may be affecting them. But does it matter? I don’t want to be a lure for the upright guys any more than I want to be a fix for the users!

There’s one more category worth mentioning: the young men who have not yet decided what type of man they are going to become. These impressionable fellows are all over the mall, the beach, and church youth group activities. Please, please don’t let your daughters dress in such a way as to encourage these guys to “go with it”.

Proviso #3. I do not claim that it is always easy. As we’ve discussed before, we women are crazy and we all struggle with confidence/beauty/self-esteem. I will be the first to admit that there are days when I just feel so defeated by ugliness that I only wish I could turn a stranger’s head my way. I want to feel like I look attractive, and Satan is quick to whisper in my ear, “It doesn’t matter what you wear. Nobody’s going to pay any attention to a bulgy, 36-year-old mother of four.” But it does matter. God says so, and He rather outranks Satan.

I’ll end with one of my favourite proverbs (11:22), which says, “A beautiful woman lacking discretion and modesty is like a fine, gold ring in the snout of a pig.” The filth cancels out the beauty and it is wasted.

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124 Comments

Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Beauty, parenting, Personal Growth

 

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124 responses to “Modesty and Two Kinds of Men

  1. Carrie

    July 17, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    Well said – as a mom of sons, it is hard to see how the girls dress and to teach my sons to have pure thoughts. I really wish girls would think alot more of themselves, so that they think twice about what they wear. So much more could be said.

     
    • Chris Kelley

      August 22, 2012 at 3:35 PM

      In response to your comment about wishing girls thought more of themselves so they would dress better, I would submit the following:

      I suspect that they need to think a little less of themselves. I know some girls who dress the way this article describes, and I know that every one of them has an overinflated sense of how ‘sexy’ they are. They Just know they are ‘all that’, and they want the world to know it.

      For myself, I have a daughter who is a little overweight, She wants to dress like that because everyone around her is dressing like that. I am constantly fighting that battle – I can’t tell you how many times I have made her change her clothes before we leave the house.

      My experience with my daughter leads me to believe that there are two kinds of girls who dress inappropriately. First is the narcissistic little beast who is so impressed with herself that she simply must share herself with everyone around her. Second is the poor little girl who struggles with peer pressure and is only trying to keep up with those around her. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks about the way she is dressed as long as she fits in with everyone around her.

      It’s sad, really, but I will continue to fight the good fight with regard to my daughter, teaching her to be a lady rather than a little tramp. I will not give in, not even a little bit. Hopefully it will bring her some benefit as an adult!

       
      • Anita Neuman

        August 22, 2012 at 3:41 PM

        Way to go! Don’t give in. Some day, that sweet sweet girl will understand and thank you for it. I’ve talked a bit about self esteem in some of my other posts – not specifically pertaining to modesty, but sheesh! it’s a huge issue. Satan just loves to take all these struggles that we have and fill our minds with lies and twist our perceptions and pit us against each other. But you can combat that. Go tell your daughter she’s beautiful. And blessings on you as you continue to fight the good fight as a loving parent.

         
      • SThorpe

        August 23, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        Chris, Great response. I can totally relate with my own experience as an overweight teen and having a daughter who is also heavy. I want people to focus on how beautiful my daughter is AND how intelligent she is. Beauty is not about her clothes but her essence, however, I explain to her that her choices in clothing and how she carries herself can take away from that, if not managed properly.

        Glad to know that Mom’s and Dad’s alike are paying attention to what children are wearing. I always allow extra time when going somewhere, time for me to turn her right back around and have her “redress” and time for her to get over herselpf if she gets irked that I made her redress.

         
      • Anita Neuman

        August 23, 2012 at 7:47 PM

        Thanks for taking time to read and join the conversation. I appreciate your comments!

         
      • dayna miller

        August 23, 2012 at 12:23 PM

        as a girl raised by a dad like you i would like to insert one thing here. there are ways to help your daughter beyond just ‘fighting the good fight’. i am so so thankful for a daddy who always believed in me and never had a qualm about assuring me that i was beautiful! he also raised me in a setting where i was surrounded by friends whose parents taught them to dress and act modestly as well. today i am a 24 yr old, living on my own, fully happy and fulfilled. your daughter WILL one day thank you for your input in her life IF you can back your rules with a heart of great love and interest in her 🙂

         
      • Anita Neuman

        August 23, 2012 at 7:48 PM

        Absolutely! Great addition to the comments. Thanks!

         
  2. Jessica White

    July 18, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    Hi Anita. As far as I’m concerned we need LOTS of good writing and perspective on modesty in our world today. Thanks for this post which I will share in our family discussions about modesty and God’s thoughts about discretion. Right on (and write on)!

     
  3. Sue Balfour

    July 18, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Amen and amen!
    I used to be one of “those girls” years ago. I had no real concept (back then) of this truth Anita and this really needs to be shared in more than just a blog. I know that I have changed in this area but if I ever do offend anyone with the way I am dressed I hope that someone will graciously and mercifully tell me.

     
  4. hypocraea

    July 18, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    I think that’s about right. My professor told a story about a ‘liberated woman’ blasting him for not placing his hands on her breasts (long story), because if he truly respected her as a person rather than an object, then he would be able to do so without being stimulated. Problem is, seems the last man capable of such a feat was Adam, and then only for a relatively short period. Same goes for looking. The ideal world does not exist, so the next best thing is to help us imperfect folks work with what we’ve got.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      July 18, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      Glad to have a man weighing in on this issue. Thanks!

       
  5. Kathleen Wells

    July 18, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    VERY well said, Anita!!! Is there a way I can “share” this on my teenage grandchildren’s ‘walls’??? I agree that this needs to be shared further (& not just online) , Looks even more like a book or pamphlet should be published , Anita! Thank you!!

     
    • Anita Neuman

      July 18, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      Kathleen, if you look at the bottom of the article, there’s a “share” button. When you move your mouse over that, a Facebook icon will appear and you can click on that. When the Facebook window opens, click on where it says “On your own wall” (if you want to share with a specific Facebook friend instead of just posting it on your on wall). Choose “on a friend’s wall” and then enter the name of the friend you want to share it with.

       
  6. Shelby

    July 19, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    YES! And AMEN!

     
  7. MARGARET

    July 20, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Hi Anita. I agree with you. My thoughts have been through hard times about this subject, but I am more at peace with it, cause I know Jesus will come soon, and then all that sin will be cleaned up once and for all!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    JESUS COME QUICKLY !

     
  8. Kim G.

    July 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Amazing!! Well said!

     
  9. Sandra

    July 20, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Right On! Hard to get girls to act on this. If they only knew they advertise what they want to sell. Even as a Mom I get embarrassed at the way some girls dress or don’t dress. Keep it coming!!!

     
    • Anita Neuman

      July 21, 2012 at 5:44 PM

      Thanks, Sandra! I have 2 boys and 2 girls, so I’m on both sides of this issue in the parenting department. It ain’t easy!

       
  10. OneWeekToCrazy

    July 25, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Haha, I love this…women’s modesty has gone completely down the drain! If onyl young girls realized that looking sexy is more about leaving things to the imagination rather than showing it! Cheers to you 🙂

     
    • Anita Neuman

      July 25, 2012 at 9:59 PM

      Amen to that! And thanks for the visit!

       
  11. Scooping it up

    August 21, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    1) I agree modesty is vitally important to protecting young men and women. 2) I think the even bigger picture is worse. If we get every girl at the mall and church to dress modestly, the pornography on the billboard, on the store ad, on their phone and computer are still there being burned into their minds. 3) Rape and pedophilia is very rarely a result of how a woman dresses. It is never OK to suggest immoral and violent acts like molestation and rape and pornography addiction are the fault of the victim, ever. So please be careful when going down that road. A prostitute selling herself for money can STILL be raped. It is never a woman’s fault no matter how she is dressed and how many times she has had sex before that.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 21, 2012 at 6:44 PM

      I am very glad you raised those points and I COMPLETELY agree. There are so many layers to this issue, and I am an expert in none of them. But as a parent, I want to raise my children to understand that modesty isn’t just a religious/prudish notion. That’s the angle I was writing from. But your comments are a great addition to the discussion. Thanks!

       
  12. mogcik

    August 21, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    I remember going to a beach, having not been in a VERY long time. I was looking forward to a day of sun, sand, and swimming with my wife & kids. Instead, I discovered thongs. I fight it, I promise, but I was so out of practice with that sort of thing that I couldn’t stand it. My head was jerking around every couple minutes. It literally ruined my day, I was ashamed, embarrassed, and at one point I’m sure someone noticed me gawking at a thong clad women moving provocatively as she smothered “her man” with sunscreen. It was terrible, and if I had it to do over I would have to say I’d prefer to skip it altogether.

    My wife is a wise woman too, and gets it. Thank God for that. You’re right, there really are no winners here. A woman that hopes to instigate a sexual response from anyone other than her husband is on the fast-track to a pretty messed up life.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 21, 2012 at 6:48 PM

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am so grateful for a man’s input here, as I don’t personally have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to be a man. Blessings on you and your wise wife. 🙂

       
  13. dawna

    August 21, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    This was so well-written. I had no idea you were so well-versed!! 😀 I completely agree with you. Your first point is the best one yet. I will definitely share.

     
  14. PerryC.

    August 21, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    I’m a father of 8 daughters, married for 20 years to my sweetheart. I think you hit the nail right on the head.

    Thanks.
    Perry

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 7:50 AM

      Thanks, Perry. It’s great to get a man’s input here.

       
  15. barnabasfarm

    August 22, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    Mom to 7 daughters here ~ I thank you most on behalf of my 2 sons and husband!

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 7:51 AM

      You are very welcome! And thanks for stopping by for the read.

       
  16. Douglas Johnson

    August 22, 2012 at 7:31 AM

    I am a “fight it” guy and have been all my life. It is harder all the time, even at church. I can’t understand how otherwise good Christian girls dress this way and seemingly don’t care what it evokes in men like me who only have their best interest at heart. If I dare bring it up, I have a “dirty mind”. We have a couple of known (previous) sexual convicts in our church. What does this do to them and their desire to put their “old man” behind? I don’t know where this will end but, if history is any indication, things will get much worse and then there will be a backlash.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 7:53 AM

      Blessings on you as you continue the fight. I wish more girls/women would “get it” – that when they dress immodestly, they’re the ones taking something natural and turning it into something “dirty”.

       
  17. Janee Campbell

    August 22, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Good article. The only problem I have with this subject is that many people have different ideas of what modesty really is. Most will agree that short shorts and tank tops are out. Some will even agree that tight clothes that show off your assets are not modest as well. However, I know people who believe you must be covered from head to toe and in baggy clothes and no pants or shorts allowed to be modest. It seems there is a grey area here that makes it a bit difficult for people to not judge each other because there definitions are different. How short is too short? My girls get upset when I tell them their pants have become too tight in the behind and they need to pass them down or put them in the donation bin. They can still bend comfortably. They think I’m overly sensitive in that area. How tight is too tight? I would love to see a consensus on this so that those who want to be modest have some idea of what that means.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      You’ve raised a very good question and I agree that it’s a foggy, grey area. It will probably always be an area of contention between parents and daughters. But I think our daughters need to be aware of how they are affecting the men around them and that might help them understand the reasons behind our restrictions. And perhaps if there’s a trusted man whose opinion could be given in a non-icky way, girls might start to agree when their outfits are too sexual.

       
    • Amber

      August 24, 2012 at 9:15 AM

      A friend told me once: Tight enough to show you’re a woman, but loose enough to show you’re a lady. 🙂

       
      • Anita Neuman

        August 24, 2012 at 4:38 PM

        Ha ha – I LOVE that! Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

         
  18. mykidsmom

    August 22, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    I really enjoyed this article, and totally agree! But there is a third kind of man. He is the “upstanding Christian man” who acts all disturbed by the skin women show in public, making obvious gestures to look away or cover his eyes, who spends most of his sleeping hours watching porn at home. Ask me how I know… Women need to be educated about this, especially with the prevalence that porn now has in society. I was soooooo naive…

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      Ah yes, another layer. A disturbing layer. I don’t have any response that would give answers or be helpful, but I would be happy for others to weigh in on this. There is so much to talk through and we as parents HAVE to talk it through with our kids. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

       
  19. HeatherHH

    August 22, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    This is great! I wish so many women/girls weren’t so focused on their “rights.” And also that more would realize that the desire to catch a guy’s eye and have him think you’re hot is a wrong desire if it’s not displayed only for your husband.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      Amen! Thanks for reading and contributing to the conversation!

       
  20. imay

    August 22, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Uugh, I am in a sort of strange boat. I have boys who are 5 and 7, and I am only recently figuring out that I need to become a more modest woman. Not only for my sake, but for the sake of my 2yo daughter, also, who will see me as an example. I have a hard time with the whole situation, b/c I am just somebody who is just immodest, maybe as a slightly narcissistic thing, as I want the attention. In all honesyt, I wish that I had never picked up a fashion magazine, never became one of those young girls focused on beauty, thinness, and “getting looks” from guys. I believe this will make my twilight years harder, since I am 40 and gradually loosing any youthful beauty that I once had, and which was nicely attractive. However, I hope that I can fight the temptation to flaunt the little that I do have left. It is hard for me to give this up, and I am a work in progress. Also, I wish that there was a realistic outline for modesty. Is a t-shirt modest and a tank top not? Are shorts above mid-thigh immodest? It is freaking hot here in the summer and I do a lot outside and am athletic, so I am all about less is more when it is 100F and 90% humidity. Am I a serious mess, or what? hahaha

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      I don’t think you’re a mess at all! You’re just being honest and realistic! Like I said, it’s not easy. We want to feel attractive, but we also have a responsibility to be an example to our kids and not to be a temptation to men around us. What a difficult balance! I think if more people speak up about this topic and put their buying-power into more modest clothes, we can put pressure on the fashion industry to provide attractive attire that isn’t so sexual – especially for little girls! Modest doesn’t have to equal ugly.

       
    • Steve Wilson

      August 23, 2012 at 8:03 AM

      Wearing loose, light colored clothes in the heat actually makes your body cooler than very little clothes. The light colors deflect the sun’s rays, and the loose clothes allows the air to circulate. The garments worn by those in the Middle East are not just because of their religeon, it’s very practical!

       
      • Anita Neuman

        August 23, 2012 at 8:21 AM

        Very good point. Thanks for reading and contributing to the conversation.

         
  21. Overwhelmed By Joy

    August 22, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    This really can’t be said enough times. Indiscretion with dressing our children is bad enough. It is even worse to go to the store and have virtually no modest choices for clothing.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      Don’t I know it! I had to buy a new bathing suit for my 12-year-old daughter this week and she’s tall enough that she needs women’s sizes. It was SO hard to find something that was flattering and pretty and protected her young innocence!

       
  22. Melissa

    August 22, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    As a woman that had no problem wearing as little as possible before I was saved I would like to say that concerning myself with what men thought or did not think was very little motivation for me to change my attire. If my husband (lost at the time) did not mind what I wore then I really did not care what others thought. It was not until the love of Christ truly captured my heart that I began to think on how I was representing myself through my clothing. When I started dressing for Him and not my husband, myself, or some imaginary competitor things changed. As I thought over how the Lord would have me to dress it was natural that my thoughts went to those around me. He is concerned about me and those around me so He would want my dress (and my attitude) to be subtle and not call attention to myself…to my body…It really made all the difference to me to think on Christ and not on other people…I know the Lord uses different things to motivate us while conforming us into His image and this is just the way He motivated me. I hope this will be an encouragement to anyone else that may be thinking the way I did. The ones that think it is not their problem if men look and lust or the ones thinking that they have to dress like the world around them because that is what their husbands or boyfriends find attractive. The reason some christian girls are not being changed in this area could be because their being told to do it for a lot of reasons but not so much that they should do it because the Lord loves them and loves those around them. This is a wonderful article and I would just add for those girls that are like I was that all that we do we do should be for and because of the Lord and that includes thinking of how our dress affects those around us. He really does care about how we affect others. He really does care what we look like and how we act as far as modesty goes.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      That was so beautifully and lovingly expressed. Thank you for taking the time to add your thoughts and experience on the matter. Blessings on you as you continue to be conformed and grow in the love and grace of Jesus!

       
  23. Dan Plemmons (@danplemmons)

    August 22, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Good points, and well stated.

    The only thing I would add is that it is possible to be as covered as an Amish lady and not be modest. I have a friend who was attending a certain church with her son, and after a few services he came to his mother and said, “Mom, these girls wear such form fitting clothes that I can’t even concentrate on the service.”

    Who would’ve guessed that we’d have to fight off sexual temptation at church?

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 12:37 PM

      Yes, that’s a sad commentary on the world in which we live. And you’re exactly right – the amount of exposed skin and the amount of exposed shape both need to be considered! Thanks for your input, Dan.

       
  24. Ruth Drescher Glick

    August 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    This is a wonderful and much needed article! You worded it just right, and it is soooo true! God bless you for this truth, and spread it everywhere you can!

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement! Blessings on you as well.

       
  25. Joyful Heart

    August 22, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    I think your comment about the underware was crude, I think your comments about the what women wear is right, but I sure wish this subject would be address to me. I almost feel like no matter what women wear if a man/boy thinks impure thoughts it is our fault and that I do not agree with. I and my girls dress modesly, you have no idea the comments and the looks my beautiful blond hair blue eye daughter gets she does NOT show her womenly parts at all. So that is my two cents worth. Please watch the words and your tone when you are posting this kind of stuff.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      Thank you for reading and sharing your opinion. I am glad that you are instilling the virtue of modesty in your beautiful girls. You are correct that others can have impure thoughts and it isn’t necessarily our fault at all. But we still have a responsibility to not provoke impure thoughts by flaunting our bodies.
      I’m sorry that my humour was offensive to you. I won’t hold it against you if you’d rather not read my other posts.
      Blessings to you and your dear family!

       
  26. Joyful Heart

    August 22, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Actually I’m very much looking forward to learn more of what our God has to say. I’m looking forward to your other post

     
  27. brandonrice1

    August 22, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    This article made me sick for many reasons…

    First off, I believe that all people (men and women) should not dress in a way to glorify God, and not attract others. That having been said, I think most appreciate it when people dress attractively, and fashionably. I know I do, as does my wife.

    Having said that, the entire premise of this article is false. Your “two guys” are incorrect, because I know of many men, who appreciate beauty, but do not lust after people. God created the human form, both man and woman to be beautiful. Sin has of course affected that, but there is still so much beauty in the human body!

    When it comes to the “modesty issue” I am sick and tired of everyone pinning this on women… Seriously, if “most men” are in those two categories you described, then the male gender has some SERIOUS issues to deal with! A lot more serious than a woman covering up some cleavage… Why is that point so utterly missed? Women should be able to dress fashionably and attractively without being concerned about this issue… it’s on the guys, not the ladies. Grant it, there are some women who’s sole purpose is to incite lust, but of the Christian ladies I know that dress fashionably and attractively, not one of their intents is that.

    I know this comment may be a little disjointed and rambly… but I am just sick and tired of these articles and blog posts condeming women or telling them to “help the guys” by dressing a certain way.

    Ladies, dress to glorify God and display the beauty of Him in you! Don’t hide your beauty in an effort to “help guys”. Let us men work on our own hearts, and stop fretting over it.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      I appreciate your comments. It’s good to have some balanced input from both sides. I respectfully stand by my opinion, but I agree with several of your points as well: we need to glorify God in all that we do, including how we dress; and I also appreciate when people can find ways to dress attractively and fashionably and in a way that honours God. Kudos to you on not having a problem with lust. I personally know a lot of guys who do struggle in that area and I’d rather find ways to look beautiful while not inciting their desires. Thanks for your contribution to the conversation!

       
  28. Cherish

    August 22, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    I’d say other people’s impure thoughts are not only not “necessarily” our fault, but they are not our fault at all. Those people have their agency and I have mine. I find the way of thinking in your post offensive, but not in the crude way you might think. I think modesty is important, but I think telling women and young girls that the choice to dress modestly has anything to do with what they might “make” men think of them is twisted, wrong, and only perpetuates self-esteem issues. It plays on the idea that a woman’s value is found in a man’s opinion of her. How sad. Additionally, this whole line of thinking that a girl is at all responsible for the thoughts and actions of others in this is dangerous. It unintentionally gives validity to the claim that victims of sexual crimes who were not dressed modestly were “asking for it.” Sickening. Dressing modestly is very important, but it is about how I feel about myself and how I feel about my relationship with my Father in Heaven. It shows respect for me and respect for Him. I have no control over how a man chooses to think. It is God’s plan that men be responsible for their own thoughts and actions. I also think that this line of thinking is insulting to men and only perpetuates the idea that they “just can’t help themselves.” God gave them agency, too AND the power to control themselves. The modesty choice has NOTHING to do with them and EVERYTHING to do with me and my relationship with myself and my God.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      I’m sorry that you’re so offended, but I am glad you took the time to add your input here. I believe there is plenty of biblical basis for the concept that our actions can be a stumbling block for other people in their faith and we will be held accountable for that. That said, I firmly and vehemently agree with you that victims of sexual crimes don’t “ask for it” in how they dress. The blame for that lies solely with the criminal – and I have personal history to prove the flip side of that coin, that long loose jeans and a baggy sweatshirt won’t keep you safe from sexual assault either. Blessings on you as you continue to honour God in your own walk with Him.

       
    • Jeff

      August 25, 2012 at 1:14 AM

      Cherish, I think you need to get your head out of the clouds and down to earth. While I agree with most of what you said, you need to get real. There is a grave responsibility on both sides here…the instigation and the resulting action. Laws are based upon outward actions and simply cannot deal with the inner causes, only the actions (e.g. rape). Sadly, they think they’re attempting to do this with “hate crimes” but that is another subject. There definitely is a burden of responsibility on public nudity and suggestive actions of the one side (the instigation) and there is the responsibility of controlling one’s actions on the other side (usually the man). A scantily-clad woman IS “asking for it.” There are two sides to this coin. We saw this played out first hand in our church some years ago, and it didn’t even have to do with immodest dress per se. A teen girl in our youth group DEFINITELY was “trouble walking” and got “her man” (our then youth pastor who was married with two precious children)! Ended up (due to immodesty in action, coupled with indiscretion of other church and school leaders and the stupidity of the yp) he was fired and our church went through a lengthy investigation and court case as the equally-undiscerning parents of the teen girl brought suit against our church! The TRUTH is that the burden of responsibility is multi-fold…with varying degrees of culpability down the line as indiscretions are allowed to continue. NO ONE WINS WITH IMMODESTY.

       
  29. brandonrice1

    August 22, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    In the above comment I had a mistype in my first sentence. It should read… “First off, I believe that all people (men and women) should dress in a way to glorify God, and not attract others.”

    Thank you.

     
  30. Jeanne

    August 22, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Wow, Anita…I enjoy the candor in your writing as much as the message itself. Thanks for putting into words what so many of us only shake our heads at.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      Thanks, Jeanne! I appreciate your encouraging words!

       
  31. chamathman

    August 22, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    From someone who’s calling (as a Christian School Middle/High School Bible teacher) is to help good boys become truly good men, thank you, thank you, thank you!

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 9:18 PM

      You’re welcome, you’re welcome, you’re welcome. And thank you as well. 🙂

       
  32. Kara Plank

    August 22, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Love your candid thoughts. Respecting our bodies and others’ eyes/minds is so vital to glorifying God with our modesty. I love that you addressed the men who can’t help but see, but have no desire to dishonor God or ladies with taking that image further. Spot on!

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 9:18 PM

      Oh, thank you so much for your very kind words!

       
  33. BerenEstel

    August 22, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Thank you for writing this. Some of us men are out there, waiting, trying to be pure, and trying to find someone to be pure with. It’s helpful to know we have the cooperation of womankind!

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 22, 2012 at 9:35 PM

      Keep up the good fight! It is so worth the wait!!!

       
      • BerenEstel

        August 22, 2012 at 10:50 PM

        Thanks Anita…and thank you for writing this.

        You might find my own writings of interest if you click through on my name.

         
  34. Suzie Hammon

    August 22, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Thank you!!! I love what you wrote and the discussion that has followed. I’ll be sharing this with each of my daughters as they get older!

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 23, 2012 at 6:33 AM

      Thank you, and blessings on you and your dear daughters!

       
  35. Earl L.Bakert

    August 23, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    Modesty:” It covers and does not draw atterntion.”

     
  36. Faith H.

    August 23, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Thanks for the post, Anita–a nice, brief encouragement for women and girls to be thinking of others rather than themselves in an area where usually everyone is encouraged to just do ‘what feels right’. to the readers who would like a set-in-stone idea of what modesty looks like–I think if there was one, it would be called legalism by most–but what has been very helpful for me is the survey that Alex & Brett Harris conducted among thousands of Christian young men, asking them questions about what they find immodest. They published their results online and so if I have questions about something, I can look it up and see if the majority of Christian men find it to be a problem or if they don’t–they go simply by percentages with personal notes from some of the survey-takers. May things have surprised me about the results while other things are kind of no-brainers–you’ll never find someone who agrees 100% with your standards of what is modest–but this helps to be respectful of what guys struggle with generally as a whole, while not taking any responsibility off of them for their actions. thanks for posting!
    http://www.therebelution.com/modestysurvey/browse

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 23, 2012 at 7:44 PM

      Thanks for posting that link. What a great resource!

       
  37. Sharon Bennett

    August 23, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    We quit going to Campgrounds or areas where there is swimming. I have 3 boys & my husband & years a go i was so embarrassed by being near these places I thought I can’t do this to my men. To this day, even though my boys are all married, my husband & I never go to these areas. Yes, we’ve been to the ocean but not where they swim. It is much worse now than it was when my boys were growing up. The bad thing now is to even go shopping it is so horrible. I am SICK of it. I dress modestly and I am NOT ashamed of it. Different or not, I am not showing my body to other men. I love covered wagons & covered bridges AND covered women. I choose to stay covered. thanks for your insight and wonderful article !!!!!

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 23, 2012 at 7:45 PM

      “I love covered wagons & covered bridges AND covered women.” – Love it!

       
  38. Denise Linhoss

    August 23, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    THANK YOU! I’m a college pastor’s wife, VERY involved in the ministry. I appreciate your boldness to stand; and I agree with all you say. I’m praying that Christian young women will be the catalyst; and others will follow.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 23, 2012 at 7:47 PM

      Thanks for the encouragement! Let’s keep praying!!!

       
  39. Dennis Ogden

    August 23, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    God Bless both sides of the differances. Humility is the touchstone of who we should follow. Anything undiscussed in the family is wide open for the world to leave it’s mark on males and females of our society! Christians, not pew warmers or those who just date Jesus, but earnestly love Jesus, will give firm and solid answers that will explain temptation and it’s impact on each of us. Vanity or lust, it is there and the battle field is not what we see, but How we interpert what we see. We need to build strength of conviction in both males and females of our churchs and those who use public schools, make sure the school has dress codes and they are strongly inforced. Talk with your children about how people dress and what is proper from your perspective as parents Biblically influanced and projecting those values on their children. Renew your minds daily with the word of God and there will little doubt in your respect of each other male or female. The roots must be deep and well watered in the word to keep us all humble and living in humility before God.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 23, 2012 at 7:49 PM

      Beautifully said. Thank you so much for adding your thoughts to the conversation!

       
  40. Gertrude Miller Slabach

    August 23, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Thank you, thank you. I am appalled at the apparel of brides and bridesmaids at weddings: cleavage, bare shoulders, etc. People — the brides and bridesmaids and their parents — seem to think it is the thing to do for a wedding. Think of the scene: all of those girls standing up front before a minister. I would not want my husband to be standing up there performing a ceremony with the way they are dressed. Women coming to church showing that much would not be appreciated — but for a wedding it’s applauded and okay — and expected. And the fathers of these girls pay the bills. Why are the men not speaking up? Why do fathers consent to pay the bill for those dresses? It baffles me.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 23, 2012 at 7:50 PM

      I am completely baffled as well. Thanks for bringing up that aspect of it!

       
  41. Lois Overholt.

    August 23, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Right on!

     
  42. Free By Grace

    August 23, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    I want to say thanks for writing this article. Being 21 and having recovered from being one of those who “go with it”, I truly wish every Mother and Father and Young Lady would read this. Thanks for being truly and bluntly honest. Not as an excuse for what I’ve done, but it sure would make getting out a whole lot easier if even every church goer read this. Especially the part about not having to look at illicit movies because they can go to the parks and even to church and see almost the same thing. I can say from experience, that is true. And by God’s grace he can set us truly free. Thanks.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 23, 2012 at 10:23 PM

      That just brought tears to my eyes! God’s grace is an incredible, beautiful thing. Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your story with me. May God pour out His blessing on you as you continue to stand firm in your convictions!

       
  43. Mary

    August 23, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    http://www.therebelution.com/modestysurvey/

    As a young girl, I find this link helpful sometimes. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 23, 2012 at 10:47 PM

      Ooooh, someone else just sent me that link, too. Thanks so much!!!

       
  44. Mark A. Kreml

    August 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    I think that treating the body with modesty and saving it to be revealed to one person after marriage can be compared to keeping a christmas present concealed until Christmas day! Would it not spoil your Christmas if your gift was put under the tree unwrapped in July? If you could not see, touch, rattle, etc. your gift at all before Christmas day wouldn’t it make your Christmas exciting to know that you got everying you wanted when you got to tear open that package! If a woman treats her body that way– you can’t see much, touch much, explore much– what intrigue and beauty awaits your marriage day when the packaging is removed and the present is yours alone to enjoy! So many girls are robbing THEMSELVES of SO MUCH! When something becomes common, it loses it sacredness, and that cannot be fully recovered! Please ladies do yourself and your future husband a favor by letting him be the first to drink in all of your delights with his eyes only! The more you save what you show to whom, the more he can trust in you and the better your marriage (Christmas) will be! I have been married to the same woman for 21 years and God has blessed us with 3 sons and 3 daughters!
    Thank you GOD!

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 24, 2012 at 8:25 AM

      Thank you so much for your encouraging comments!

       
  45. letyourbutterfly

    August 24, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    I was wondering what everyone else would describe (modesty) as? I know some people that are attracted to feet or long hair, etc. So where you you draw the line?

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 24, 2012 at 4:39 PM

      A couple of people have mentioned a website that includes a survey done of a whole lot of men and what their thoughts on that subject were. Scan through the comments here for that link. It might be helpful.

       
  46. Betsy

    August 24, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    I would wholeheartedly agree that Christian women are called to dress modestly and Christian men are called to control their thoughts and desires. I think what is being missed is that we live in a fallen world.
    As Christians we can not expect unbelieving women to dress they way that believing women are called to dress and we can not expect unbelieving men to control their thoughts the way that believing men are called to control their thoughts.
    It is not the responsibility of us as believers to try to push our convictions and what God has called us to on to the unbelieving world.
    It IS our responsibility to win that lost world to Christ and let Him give them those convictions.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 24, 2012 at 4:40 PM

      Very true. Thanks so much for adding your thoughts.

       
  47. Jaelea Phoenix

    August 24, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Thank you so much for this! I thoroughly enjoyed it and I agree 100%!! I will DEFINITELY be sharing this on Facebook. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 24, 2012 at 4:40 PM

      Well, you’re very welcome, and thank YOU!

       
  48. James Turnbull

    August 24, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Hi Anita,
    I’m posting a link here because I saw another commentor (is that a word?) say she wasn’t quite sure what to wear. This is the For the Strength of Youth booklet from the LDS Church, of which I am a member, and I am sensitive that anything “Mormon” might not be readily embraced by some reading your exceptional post. But I wanted to tell you it seemed as though you had a recording device in a man’s brain, for this is EXACTLY how it is. This is from someone who is much better at “fighting the response” now than he used to be. As I have focused more on taking upon myself the name of my Savior as I re-covenant every week when I take the Sacrament to renew baptismal covenants, I have increasingly realized that I must do everything in my power to be aware of when and where I will be likely to see women provocatively dressed. I’m getting a lot better at it, but when I turn a corner in a hallway at work and see a lady from another department dressed in high heels, form-fitting (low-cut) top and (mini-) skirt, it does certainly stay with me for at least a couple of minutes, and this is despite my best efforts. So, yes, it is unquestionably my responsibility to do everything in my power to fight the response, but, I would like to appeal to decent women everywhere to dress in a way that won’t *unnecessarily* attract a man’s attention, and to teach their daughters to do the same–as my wife and I are doing with ours!

    https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/english/pdf/ForTheStrengthOfYouth-eng.pdf?lang=eng

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 24, 2012 at 6:36 PM

      Thank you SO much for taking the time to comment! I certainly don’t mind having some Mormon input here! There may be some differences in our faith, but I’m happy to meet where our beliefs overlap. So, welcome and thank you for reading and contributing so eloquently to the conversation.

       
  49. Samuel Kinsey

    August 24, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    There’s a third category; if you don’t believe that female bodies are intrinsically lust-producing, but instead beautiful and good creations of God, and you’re used to what they look like, you can appreciate them respectfully and move on whatever they are or aren’t wearing.

     
  50. Jeff

    August 25, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Put VERY accurately, and a subject in GREAT need to be addressed particularly in churches. It is increasingly difficult to divert one’s attention as the immodesty is everywhere! This is a SAD indictment on our culture and MUST be attributed to the teaching of evolution that makes humans out to be nothing more than higher-evolved animals. What do animals NOT do? Wear clothing! What did God do when Adam and Eve made themselves aprons out of fig leaves? He CLOTHED them with “coats” which entails both loose-fitting and covering. We’re seeing more and more “leafs” out there (tight, less cover) when there needs to be “coats.” When people bellyache about sexual crimes and porn addition among men, why aren’t MORE women “connecting the dots” to how they dress and how moms should teach their daughters to dress???

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 25, 2012 at 8:10 AM

      Thanks for taking the time to read and contribute to the conversation here, Jeff!

       
  51. Samuel Kinsey

    August 25, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    I can say from experience that what you believe about immodesty affects how it affects you. I’m glad to not have conservative beliefs about it anymore, since I’m much more free from temptation now.
    In deciding how to dress, it is important to think of what your style will make people think of you. You don’t want people thinking you’re ‘asking for it’ so dress in a way that the people around you feel is modest. That’ll vary by group and culture.

     
    • Tina

      October 16, 2012 at 8:36 PM

      It’s good that you are more free from temptation as long as you are aware that there is a lion that goes to and fro in the earth seeking whom he may devour and he never stops. Also women should dress in a way so that no man can distinguish her body parts. If he can see her figure or any specific part he only need to allow his thoughts to stray a little and then he’s in trouble, especially if he continues to dwell on it. So in my thinking it’s better to stay away from anything that outlines a womans body. Not to say it’s easy it’s extremely hard when convenience is usually the path many want to take.Anyways don’t take anything personally these are my personal thoughts.

       
      • Anita Neuman

        October 16, 2012 at 8:41 PM

        Thank you so much for your very thoughtful comments! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your wise thoughts. Blessings on you and yours!

         
  52. Marylu

    August 25, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Thanks for speaking truth!

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 25, 2012 at 8:54 PM

      You’re welcome! And thanks for reading!

       
  53. Gwen Newton

    August 28, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Thanks, Anita! This was a blessing and encouragement!

     
  54. Gwen Newton

    August 28, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    There is a book and a cd by Jeff Pollard called “The Public Undressing of America” which are very good resources. The cd would certainly be easier to listen to while driving or doing things around the house, if you don’t have time for reading. He is kind and addresses the issue very appropriately.

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 28, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      Thanks, Gwen! That sounds like a great resource!

       
  55. laura

    August 29, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    So men should dress modest too? or girls dont have eyes? please never come to europe beaches or your american animal-like mens will go crazy with all the woman doing topless haha

     
    • Anita Neuman

      August 29, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      Yes, I do think there’s room for improvement in how men dress, too. As for the topless beaches in Europe, well, I don’t really like the idea of that, but I also recognize there are some vast cultural differences.

       
  56. Tina

    October 16, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    I think this was well put! Good job with clarifying the different types of men out there I believe this is something all women need to be aware of. One thing I was recent enlightenment that was shown me by a young man is that any clothing that shows the shape of a woman is not modest. That is all a man needs. If he can make out the shape of your body, butt, breast then he doesn’t even need to see skin because he can imagine it. There are many girls that believe even though they cover up they are modest when in actuality if their clothes are too tight and outlining their figure breasts and butt it doesn’t even matter. For me this was a shock and very difficult for me to hear. When I thought I was being the most modest I only found that I was still enticing men. Modesty is supposed to be a way for you to stay away from any unwanted attention and wanted attention from men. Too many girls have adopted the skirts with the slits up to their thighs, myself included, not understanding the unnoticed attention we are drawing. To have a slit up to your thigh even though the skirt goes to your supposed knee (which has become slightly above the knee nowadays) makes it as though you might as well be wearing a mini skirt. I think woman have forgotten that we are accountable for every man we make lust after us whether we are conscious of it or not. Either way thank you for your post.

     
    • brandonrice1

      October 17, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      This is ludicrous and disgusting! Women are NOT accountable for men who lust after them! Where do you see that in Scripture? And if the guy you talked to really has issues with an outline of someone’s body, they have serious issues and needs to seek help immediately! That is not normal. Wow.

       
  57. Sue Balfour

    October 17, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    I agree with Brandon. We women are NOT accountable for the actions or thoughts of men. We ALL will stand before the Lord and give an account for ourselves ONLY, so we must guard our own hearts and minds In Christ!

     
  58. Anita Neuman

    October 17, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    I am not suggesting that women bear the guilt and men don’t. Far from it! Each man will stand before the Lord and give an account for his lustful thoughts and actions. However, I am saying that women can and should be gracious to the men around them by not dressing in such a way that easily leads to lust. I would apply the same logic to drinking: I am responsible before God in how much alcohol I personally consume and I am not accountable for other people; however, I wouldn’t serve alcohol at a dinner where I know there are recovering alcoholics. It’s just as easy for me to abstain and my abstinence, while morally neither right nor wrong, would be beneficial to my guests. The Bible tells us that not everything that is permissible is helpful. I want to be helpful to the men around me – who were created by God to be visually stimulated – by dressing in a way that makes it easier for them to keep their thoughts pure.
    As for Tina’s comments above, her definition of modesty is more conservative than what I would personally advocate for, but I deeply appreciate her willingness to define that for herself and stick to her standard. If her convictions are such that she feels the need to dress more conservatively, then she should go for it! It is very wise to err on that side of the spectrum!

     
  59. Kelly

    February 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Stumbled upon this gem of a post while searching for resources to share with groups of high school girls that I mentor (not all of which are Christian girls). Thank you for your insight and vulnerability on such a touchy subject.

    A man once explained to me “women are so concerned that once time goes by, and their beauty fades, that a man will no longer love her. The only thing that doesn’t change about your physical appearance over time are your eyes. Make him fall in love with your eyes. But realize, that in order to do that, you have to stop distracting him with whats beneath them.”

     
    • Anita Neuman

      February 20, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      Oh, I love that explanation! Thanks so much for sharing it, and thanks for stopping by!

       

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