Different Types of Immodesty
When you think of being immodest you probably think of wearing skimpy clothing. But there are actually many different types immodesty. It's not all about the way you dress-- it's also about the way you act, 'cause to be modest kinda means to be humble. And it's not just something that girls have trouble with-- guys display these types of immodesty all the time. Here are a few common types of immodesty I've noticed, because I have struggled with all of these myself at one time or another:
Look, I'm Rich! - Our culture tends to respect and envy people who have a lot of money. So when someone dresses or acts like they're rich, it's a way of showing off to try to get people to respect them more. For example, think of hip-hop artists or other celebrities who wear all the bling. People like this also like to talk about how much money and stuff they have. Some girls just have to have a PRADA purse or some other highly expensive brand. Yeah, the purses look nice, but how much of the money spent is for the style of the purse and how much of it is so that people will respect or envy them because of the brand? Some people spend every penny to show off in over-priced brands of clothes and shoes, when their money could better be used on something else. Some people get into a lot of debt so they can have an expensive brand new car. On a smaller level, some people have to show up on prom night in a limo and the most expensive dress, jewelry or tux whether they can afford it or not.
You might think "Well maybe they really are rich! What's wrong with having nice stuff?" There's nothing wrong with having nice things when you can afford it. But I've noticed that most good people who truly are wealthy and who have a high self-esteem aren't flashy about their money. They don't like to let on that they have a lot of money for many reasons. For one, they don't want to attract people who like them only for their money. They want to make true friendships based on who they are, not what they have. Also, they don't want to attract people who would try to use them or rob them. They want to be treated like an average person when they go out. For instance, they would ride in an averagely nice car to a restaurant so as not to draw attention to themselves. They wouldn't ride in a limo and come out all flashy like they're showing up to the Oscars. In other words, they are modest about their money.
On the other hand, if a person isn't rich but they're spending every penny to try to look rich, well, that's not very smart. They're really just making other people rich when you think about it.
Whether or not a person really is wealthy, showing off about it makes it seem that they might not have a very high self esteem because they're trying so hard to get people to notice and respect them.
Look, I'm Scary! - Some people try to look or act intimidating. They want to seem dangerous or threatening. Their attitude displays this immodesty, not just their looks. This is usually a defense mechanism because they feel scared or threatened themselves. They might also be trying to create a barrier between themselves and others because they've been hurt by people. Some people dress to express how dark, sad, frustrated or mad they feel. They want others to see they've had a hard life. I think Look, I'm Scary! can apply to the gangster style and people who are in gangs. Sometimes it can apply to goth, emo, or other alternative styles, and people with a lot of tattoos, piercings, etc.
Look, I'm Scary! can be immodest because it draws attention with extreme styles, and trying to draw attention to yourself is not modest. But mainly, it's not modest or Christ-like to want to be threatening, dark or intimidating. When a person comes to feel safe, loved and accepted, they usually lose the desire to dress or act in an intimidating way.
Look, I'm Sexy! - This is the obvious one. The unenlightened people who create most of the music on the radio, shows and music videos on TV, and movies in the theaters have succeeded in brainwashing us females. They've gotten girls and women to think that the only way to get a guy to like them is to tempt them sexually. Most good Christian and LDS girls have the righteous goal of getting married to a nice man and having a family. Obviously that starts with getting a guy to notice you and ask for your number.
But here's where we've gone wrong-- we think that we have to be sexier than the other girls to stand out in the crowd and catch a guy's eye. That's what the media has taught us. But by trying to look and act overly sexy, girls actually end up attracting men who are just interested in sex. And they are probably, at the same time, turning off the type of guy they're really looking for-- one who while being attractive and fun, is faithful in their religion and dedicated to God. A guy who has your same values is attracted by looks, but what keeps his interest is seeing that you have self-respect, are intelligent, and are faithful to your religion while also being fun and attractive.
Besides this, I think being overly sexy can actually scare off guys who might want to ask you out. If they're inexperienced in dating, not completely confident or afraid of rejection, they might pass on asking out who they deem to be the most sexy, attractive or popular girl. They might feel more comfortable asking out someone they think is more "in their league". The guy you have your eye on might seem confident to you, but he might actually be intimidated by you. I know this because my now husband seemed popular and confident when I met him, but he even later told me that he was afraid to ask me out because he thought I was somehow out of his league or that he wouldn't be my type. I don't think I was trying to be "overly sexy" at the time, but for whatever reason, he didn't think I would like him. It was only because I showed an active interest in him that we are together. If I had played "hard to get" he probably wouldn't have tried. So you never know what a guy is thinking!
By being overly sexy you won't scare off the "player" type who is very experienced in dating and who has an agenda. So again, trying to be sexy can alienate the type of guy you might be looking for while attracting the type who won't be good boyfriend or marriage material.
Look, I'm Awesome/Popular/Fashionable/Talented/Cool, etc! - As a child of God, you are probably at least one of the things listed here: awesome, popular, fashionable, talented, cool-- or maybe you are all of these. That's great, and really, it is to be expected! It's just immodest to show off about it.
All the types of immodesty listed here are ways people try to boost their self esteem and get attention. They are all in some way about showing off, and showing off is the opposite of being modest. Don't get me wrong-- we all want to feel good about ourselves. We all want attention, and we all want to feel loved and praised. It's a basic human need that starts when we're little children wanting to be praised by our parents, and it never really goes away. There is nothing wrong with it. It is one of the things that motivates us to do well.
I'm not the most modest person-- far from it. Sometimes people think because I started this website I must be an expert on modesty. In reality, I started this website because I struggle with modesty. I want to turn heads, and I want to be noticed for something. But there are times when I've realized how worldly that really is. For instance, if I walk into sacrament meeting at church dressed in a way that will turn heads and attract attention, aren't I distracting people from worshiping the Lord, which is the reason they are there? Trying to steal the attention from God and Jesus and place it on myself could be considered a serious offense. Here's another thought-- perhaps by trying to show off and be better than each other in different ways, we are continually raising the bar a little higher, causing all of us to feel bad about ourselves because we can never realistically attain our goal.
So we can try to boost our self esteem by looking for attention in different ways, but the secret is that it will always leave us lacking and wanting more. There will always be someone more attractive, more talented, more popular, or who has more money. The way we can overcome low self esteem is by having a our self esteem based in the one thing that is rock solid and will never change: we are all children of God with individual purpose. Jesus Christ is our savior and best friend and loves us. When we base our self esteem on these beliefs, we don't have to prove anything to others to feel good about ourselves. "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;" (D&C 18:10)