I have debated on this post for a little while now. I was skeptical to write it because it would be easy to misunderstand what I am trying to say. It also can get complicated for a male to talk about this kind of a topic of dressing modestly. Considering the nature of the topic I am required to give a disclaimer. Modesty is an important issue to me. I will raise any of my daughters to understand the importance of dressing modestly. I also realize that I am a guy taking this topic from a guy’s perspective. I do not understand what it means to be a girl. I do not live in the difficulties of that world. I admit that.
I think there are many people who look at the modesty issue incorrectly. Perhaps it is because Christianity one day woke up to a world where looks became a bigger focus, and “sexy” became the goal of clothes. Perhaps it is out of some sense of changing course direction to an extreme. No matter the reason, I think the following statement needs to be made. For any girls out there who have been bullied, embarrassed, and treated cruelly for dressing immodestly, I apologize.
Someone down the line we put the focus of dressing modestly on looks. It is ironic really. We get so offended about immodest dress because of how it is intended to draw attention to a girl that we require for them to dress modestly in order that they will look the right way.
The latest incident that reminded me of the need to write this post was ramblings I saw and Facebook. Men complaining about women dressing immodestly. The general gist to the ramblings revolved around how the men were going to withhold showing any respect to these girls until they had a little more respect for themselves by dressing in a more appropriate way.
So we withhold respect and care for girls until they dress a certain way? We have suddenly put the emphasis on how they look. We fail to ask about the deeper heart issues. We fail to consider that they dress the way they do because they hunger for love and affection, and feel the closest thing they can get to that is attention by the wrong kind of crowd. We fail to actually consider the heart issue.
So our solution is to withhold compassion and genuine love for as long as they attempt to seek the cheap knockoff? This goes beyond just guys though. How about you girls who know better? Are you telling your fellow women to dress modestly because that is how they are supposed to look, or are you getting to the root issue? Maybe we need to stop trying to teach girls to earn our respect by the way they dress, and starts teaching them that what they are seeking can be found in Christ first. Dressing modestly is not about simply looking the part. It is about having compassion and love for men who have been built by the same creator who made you. Dressing modestly is actually a way to show incredible love to others. How can we expect girls to consider that love when we withhold it until they dress a certain way?
I mentioned in the beginning that I consider modesty to be an important issue. I will teach any of my daughters of the importance of dressing modestly, but it will be doing with already showing them love and respect, something that they will already have so they know they do not need to earn it by looking a certain way. Hopefully the modesty will develop out of that love and respect. Hopefully they will find a way to have a little respect for themselves, because they have already experienced it from someone else.
I’m not assuming this will suddenly solve all of our cultures issues with over sexualizing women. There are plenty of parts that go into that problem. However, this method of withholding love or respect is making the problem worse. It does nothing to resolve the issue. It is still giving the same message that the secular culture is, “You need to look a certain way to be loved”.
Here is the thing guys. We should seek a godly woman to marry. We should find a girls who can respect herself enough to know that she does not need to dress provocatively. However, we also are called to show love to everyone. Since when were we given the responsibility of deciding who to withhold love and respect for based off of the way they dress? Dressing modestly is a big deal. Teaching girls they need to dress modestly because how they are treated is based off of how they look is also a big deal.
Girls, you don’t need to dress immodestly to get a cheap version of love. You are already loved by your creator, and he wants what is best for you and the rest of His children. You can be a part of what is best for his children by helping out the men with how you dress, but more importantly you can be a part of what is best for you by seeking a guy who wants a meaningful relationship that encompasses your mind, body and spirit rather than just your body.