Understanding Modesty

by Jen on December 21, 2004

Modest ClothingHi, it’s Jen!

When I was a teen I didn’t understand modesty. When I asked my Mom why modesty was important she’d say “If you dress immodestly guys will get the wrong idea. They’ll view you as an object. They’ll think bad things. People will judge you.” And I thought “Well that’s their problem! I respect myself, and I shouldn’t have to change the way I dress just because of what other people think!”

So as a young teen I didn’t pay much attention to modesty and just dressed how I wanted. I was changing from a girl to a woman and I wanted to look attractive and sexy so guys would like me. My idea of the way a young woman should dress was set by what I saw in magazines and in MTV music videos.

Unfortunately, I ended up being a victim of date rape at an early age. At first I didn’t want to think of myself as a victim, so I convinced myself it was something I chose– and I mostly blamed myself. But eventually I came to realize that it wasn’t as much my fault. I also thought a lot about what lead up to the incident, and although I never talked about sex or mentioned being interested in sex, I felt that it was definitely the way I dressed; the overly-sexy way I presented myself that had sent the wrong message to this particular person, making him think I was out there interested in sex in the first place. He was at fault, but it probably wouldn’t have happened if I had been a girl that dressed modestly, because he would never have pursued me. He was a guy just interested in sex, and he was looking for the same type of girl. That kind of guy is looking for signals; for the girl who shows the most skin, the girl who tries to look sexy and acts flirtatious.

Here is an analogy I came up with to describe this kind of situation:

Imagine that you just got your first car. It’s exactly what you’ve always wanted. You take it out to drive around with some friends. You go downtown and decide to go to a restaurant. You park the car, throw the keys on the front seat, leave the doors unlocked and wide open, and think to yourself “I hope nobody steals this car! That would be awful. That would be totally bad and wrong of them.” You go in the restaurant to have a fun time with your friends.

You come out afterwards and the car is gone!

Now it’s true that the person who stole it did something very wrong. It’s not your fault that they stole it, but it’s also true that you could have done something to prevent it from being stolen and you didn’t. You actually enticed the person to steal the car. It probably wouldn’t have been stolen if you had locked and closed the doors and took the keys with you. So how do you feel knowing you could have prevented it?

Who would actually be so careless with their car?

Are you being that careless with your body? Do you dress in a way that encourages people to “steal your car”? Do you think that you are somehow invincible to the evils of this world? Do you do whatever is in your power to keep yourself safe and protected or do you “leave your keys on the seat”? Your body should be much more valuable to you than a car. It’s a temple. A gift from god.

I also realize now that to purposely dress in a way that encourages a young man to have immoral thoughts about you is to encourage that young man to sin. And to encourage someone to sin is to commit a sin yourself. So you’re not innocent in dressing immodestly if you have any other possible clothing choice. There are much better ways to get a guy’s attention anyway.

Over the years, I started to understand modesty more and more. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I really felt I understood the importance of modesty and the reasons behind it. There are many more reasons for modesty than what I’ve mentioned here, but I think this is important for young girls to know: modesty is for your own protection.

-Jen

PHOTO DETAILS: Shirt: Tom Bao Fashion. Skirt: Marithé + François Girbaud. Photographer: Jill Frost. Model: Jen.

A special thanks to Jill Frost for donating these pictures!     😉

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous September 11, 2005 at 11:03 am

we really agree with your point of view with a lot of the subjects you have written about! thanks.

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justme October 6, 2005 at 12:11 pm

that is a great article on our reasoning as lds girls (and other girls) for staying modest. thanks for the support and the site.

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Anonymous February 26, 2006 at 12:17 pm

Everyone is not the same in style of clothes. We need to have heart and understanding.. Being Catholic we do watch our shirt styles at mass. But we can wear other styles of clothes.. Its not like Catholic ladys wear the mico mini’s .. Way too short…. I think that what we wear is apart of who we are as people ..It does not matter what others think its what you feel from your heart that makes your style..

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