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.