Good news, fellas! Only women are required to be modest, apparently.

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I feel scandalized.

I was scrolling my Facebook newsfeed (there’s my first mistake) and suddenly my eyes were viciously assaulted by immodest and improper images that had been posted by someone clearly begging for attention; some shameless floozy selfishly attempting to enflame lust and covetousness in the heart of the unsuspecting viewer.

I should mention that the person in the images was a man, and he was, mercifully, fully clothed.

In fact, the focus of the photo wasn’t even a person at all. My Facebook ‘friend’ had posted a picture of his expensive new boat. I know that it was expensive, because he alluded to the steep price in the caption, saying that he has the ‘best wife in the world’ because she ‘actually let [him] buy this.’

You see what he did there (besides insinuating that the value of his spouse depends on her cooperation with his desire to purchase pricey recreational equipment)? Lest you accuse him of being uncouth, he cloaked his boast in a compliment of his ‘best wife,’ which means he actually disguised a brag by wrapping it in another brag. That’s kind of like hiding the shame of eating a Cinnabon by lathering it in a gallon of butter.

Impressive.

And immodest — intended to present a one dimensional image of success and luxury, thus, if all goes according to plan, send everyone else plunging into a salty stew of envy and resentment.

Immodest because it calls attention to him, while saying nothing of value about him as a person, a unique entity of spirit and flesh. It turns him into an object — an object of jealousy.

Immodest because it is arrogant and dishonest.

I bring this up because — and I’m not sure why this is the case, maybe it’s the warming temperatures — I’ve received several emails in the last few weeks on the subject of modesty. Most of them boil down to a request that I share my opinion on the topic.

Like this one from James:

I’ve been reading your blog now for a while and have greatly enjoyed all of it… I was wondering if you could say something about societies abolition of modesty, both in the church and in more secular environments. It seems that nearly all churches (even the Catholic Church) have neglected the topic of modesty for fear of losing touch with popular opinion and coming across as “judgmental”… Most churches and pastors don’t so much as mention the topic – even when an attractive 18 year old walks into church wearing yoga pants and a deep cut V-neck.

And this one from Beth:

Matt, can you write something about modesty? I get so tiret of these girls walking around showing everything off and then they act up SO surprised when they get treated like sh*t by men. Maybe if they had more respect for themselves… When I grew up, girls were taught to be modest and protect their purity. What’s your opinion? Modest is hottest I think.

And this from Laura:

Matt, help! I just started a huge war on my Facebook page about modesty, simply because I said that I was having trouble finding a modest bathing suit for my daughter. You wouldn’t want to chime in on this subject would you? I’ve always been taught that modest is hottest…

And this from Matt (a different Matt):

I just read your post from a while ago about porn. I agree with it but I think you’ve left something out. Women need to help men in their struggles with lust by attempting to dress modestly. Everyone is afraid to say that but it’s true. In our society it’s like we’ve completely given up on modesty…

I have to confess, though I am an opinionated blowhard in most respects, the whole idea of having an opinion about modesty seems a bit odd. Modesty is a virtue, like courage or integrity. Or rather, modesty is an integral dimension of Greek and Christian philosophy’s Cardinal Virtue of temperance, otherwise known as restraint. So what opinion can you really have of it, other than, ‘yes, I am in favor’?

OK, I’m being naïve, I realize. Nowadays, virtues have to be defended at a conceptual level. The world has always had unvirtuous men and women, but rarely has it been populated by so many people who deny the fundamental and intrinsic importance of virtue itself.

Modesty is good, and good things are always hard to do, so weaklings (like yours truly) have always struggled to do them. But now — thanks in large part to the tireless work of academia, pop culture, mass media, liberal feminists, the legions of Hell (excuse my redundancy) — the weak have taken control and flipped the universe upside down, claiming that they ought not do those good things, because the good things aren’t so good at all. There is no good, they say, or if there is a good, it’s the opposite of whatever our grandparents and every generation that’s existed anywhere on the planet before them would have identified as good.

This is all a long way of saying that, yes, maybe it’s necessary to expand on the reasons why, yes, I am in favor of modesty, and, yes, I think women should dress modestly, but, no, I don’t think the whole burden of modesty should be laid at the feet of womankind.

Modesty, I’m aware, is a hot topic in both Christian and feminist circles.

Side note: Here’s the part where I’m breathlessly told that it’s possible to be both a Christian and a feminist, and here’s the part where I insist that any Christian who thinks Christianity needs to be baptized in the waters of feminism doesn’t understand Christianity or feminism. Whatever redemptive qualities exist in some streams of feminism have already existed in perfect form in Christianity for the past two millennia, without all the arguably problematic teachings about the ethical importance of murdering babies and voting for Barbara Mikulski.

Unfortunately, when a topic is ‘hot’ we know that means lots of  points are made by lots of people, and most of the points miss the point.  Nearly everything I’ve read about modesty — for or against — concentrate solely and exclusively on a woman’s responsibility to be modest in how she dresses, or else her right to be free from the suffocating oppression of longer skirts and one-piece bathing suits.

Somehow, men are left out of the conversation, much to our delight. We speak as though modesty were a feminine virtue, when in fact, all virtues are universal. The discussion about a woman’s outfit only touches on one solitary aspect of modesty. It doesn’t define the issue. In fact, it doesn’t even help us in our quest to get to the definition, if all we do is argue about V-necks and bathing suits. If I were to attempt a definition of modesty based on the way in which we speak of it, I would have to assume that it means: “A particular dress code for women. The end.”

See, women aren’t the only ones called to be modest, for the same reason that firefighters aren’t the only ones called to be courageous. A certain sort of courage might be especially required of firefighters, and a certain sort of modesty might be especially required of women, but we’re all destined for a fire of a different kind if we think those two virtues are solely contained within those two contexts.

If you can bear it, I’m going to get all Catholic-y on you for a moment.

The Catechism has this to say about modesty:

Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden… It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements… Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.

The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.

I’m not sure how to sufficiently summarize that, but I know how it shouldn’t be summarized:

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Modest is hottest might work as a bumper sticker, because it rhymes and it’s three words long, but it makes for a woefully abysmal defense of modesty. The point of modesty isn’t to better achieve the intended results of immodesty. Modesty isn’t virtuous because it’s ‘hot,’ it’s virtuous because it’s concerned with something far greater than being hot.

Modesty protects the “dignity and solidarity” of a person, and inspires a “way of life” which allows him or her to “resist the allurement of fashion” and the pressures of “prevailing ideologies.” Modesty “respects the human person.”

So why should a woman dress modestly? Because it’ll help her maintain a shallow image of “hotness” to every stranger she passes by on the street? No, if that is her goal than she is being immodest, whether she’s dressed in a burka or her birthday suit. The ‘modest is hottest’ mantra seems to encourage not modesty, but a more modest immodesty.

We are modest for the sake of our dignity, so as to avoid making of ourselves a shell, a construction, a label, a category; a phantom of someone else’s desires. We are modest because the motivation behind immodesty will leave us vulnerable to shifting trends and popular ideologies. Every one of these modern trends and ideologies are designed to help us project a falsehood, leaving our true essence buried under the noise and commotion of it all. The immodest person, you might say, turns themselves into a marketing strategy.

Skimpy clothes are just one way to project that falsehood and market the lie; just one way to undermine our dignity; just one way to subjugate ourselves to changing trends and hollow fashions. There are many other ways. My friend with the boat demonstrated one of them. When I drove by a big house in a nice neighborhood the other day, and thought about my smaller house, and felt a ping of envy for the family in the bigger one, and chose to bask in that envy for a few moments, I conveniently demonstrated still another way to be immodest.

If I were to go to the store and purchase a shirt with a giant brand name plastered across the front of it, I would be immodest — attempting to call attention in a way that undermines my human dignity, while objectifying myself; in this case, I’d have made myself into an object like a billboard or a catalogue for the company whose name I’ve paid to advertise.

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Really, skimpy or not skimpy, most of the clothing on the rack nowadays could be considered immodest. Much of it is ridiculous and flashy, cleverly marketed to consumers who wish to conform to whatever fabricated fabric trends the fashion industry has concocted this week.

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Meanwhile, men who stare at women are guilty of immodesty, regardless of what the woman is wearing. It’s true that she really should take into account the struggles and weaknesses of those around her, and try humbly to avoid being a stumbling block. But I think this “stumbling block” rationale sometimes falls flat because it seems as though men aren’t expected to take any initiative to avoid stumbling in the first place, block or no block. We are painted as helpless victims of our own passions; pathetic little boys who can’t be expected to avert our eyes and control our thoughts.

Besides, millions of American men have cluttered their minds with so much pornography, disordering their sexual passions so profoundly, that there’s no telling what will set them off. This is not the fault of women, nor can women be expected to conform their habits to combat whatever fetish the man in their midst might spend his downtime Googling. Part of the problem (and there are many problems) with pornography, is that it drives a wedge between intimacy and sex, reducing the man to a passive consumer, a John, and the woman to a collection of body parts. The will of sex, the love, the power of it — all flushed down the drain, leaving all parties concerned with only some flat and flimsy cartoonish imitation of what was once romantic and erotic, procreative and redemptive.

I’m not sure that women can combat this phenomenon by minding their necklines, but they should nonetheless concern themselves with elevating those around them, rather than encouraging their Brothers in Christ to sin.

What I’m trying to do is present a slightly more complex vision of modesty. One that puts the onus on all people — male and female alike — and extends beyond legalistic bickering about precisely how many centimeters of skin one should leave uncovered. Modesty is much bigger than a dress code, and as far as dress codes go, it is true that it changes depending on the culture and the occasion.

The hazard of an overly legalistic view of modesty is that it’s forced to ignore context entirely. Whatever your feelings on bathing suits (I can tell you for sure that we will not be buying bikinis for our daughter), we all agree that you’ll show more skin at the beach than at the grocery store or the DMV. Nudity is appropriate in an anatomy textbook, but would be out of place and inappropriate in a math textbook. We all wear less in the summer than in the winter. There’s a difference between the nudity you might see on the National Geographic channel and the kind of nudity you might see on Cinemax at 2AM.

Context, culture, occasion, motivation. All of these things, quite reasonably, govern our clothing choices. Modesty should also govern our clothing, but we don’t know how to submit our wardrobes to the demands of modesty until we understand how to submit our entire beings to the demands of modesty.

So, do I think women should dress modestly? Yes, but if we’re assigning virtues exclusively to one gender, why don’t we give the girls honesty, prudence, and fortitude, too? There, now that women have covered all the virtues, us guys can have some fun with the vices.

Party time, fellas.

Or else, if that plan seems problematic, we can all just share the virtuous burden, and work on being better people — modest people — no matter what we’re wearing.

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338 Responses to Good news, fellas! Only women are required to be modest, apparently.

  1. Kari says:

    Thank you, again, Matt! I saw a Facebook post from a store called Modest is Hottest, advertising some sort of legwarmers. They were pictured with stiletto heels and a miniskirt. It was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen, and yet a number of my very-conservative friends were blindly reposting it (admittedly, mostly because it was how they could enter a contest to win the ankle-coverings, shoes and skirt not included). I’m so thankful for your boldness and clarity, and frankly for your popularity – you express opinions which people desperately need to hear!

  2. Mike says:

    Thanks for this post. I think it went really nicely with my post o the subject. I believe that women are, in general, the biggest “physical” culprits of this, but men and women share the burden equally of being modest and virtuous. I mention in my post that “Modesty is not about covering, it’s about concealing.”

    http://controversiallyhonest.blogspot.com/2014/03/ive-discovered-your-secret-parts-very.html

  3. Yes.
    Hallelujah.
    Amen.

    I love this one.

  4. Jessie says:

    I would say that this article is extremely relevant, considering how many of the comments already here concern themselves solely with clothing. I thought the point was that modesty is not just about your clothes? Can we stop talking about spaghetti straps and bikinis?

    • Denise says:

      LOL! It seems they read only half of the article and completely lost the point. It’s an attitude and not just appearance.

  5. Ashley says:

    Holy crap, those requests you have gotten are disturbing. It’s fine if someone wants to be modest, but not everyone is going to have the same views. If you don’t like what girls are wearing, then don’t like it. No one said you had to like it, but they don’t have to change either. Look away, ignore it, or just, I don’t know, mind your own business? Just a thought.

    • Dee Jakes says:

      Tell that to the pervert who’s ready to pounce on the scantly dressed teen who is flaunting it cause she’s got it…it’s not as simple as you see it dearie.

      • emily says:

        NEWSFLASH: that ‘pervert’ will pervertedly objectify and ‘pounce’ on any female they possibly can…just saying…perverts are perverts. sometimes layers of clothing can be even more provocative…more to undress in their twisted minds…and a beautiful woman–of any age–is often subjected to lecherous glances and ogling–regardless of how much of her body she attempts to cover. and, I could be wrong here? but I think it’s illegal for men to prey upon underage girls?! and what about gays who are into the whole NAMBLA thing? they may care less what a teenage girl wears–but they are checking out young boys all day long…not all gays, mind you, but yes–the ones into man/boy love (aka NAMBLA).

      • Ashley says:

        If a pervert is unable or unwilling to control themselves from pouncing on a scantily dressed person, then there is something seriously mentally wrong with that predator, and they need to be dealt with accordingly. A normal sane person has every ability and responsibility to not attack someone else for how they are dressed. People do not need to dress according to possible perverts running around. Besides, rapists often attack fully clothed women as well.

        It’s time we stop telling people how to dress and how much to cover up because there’s idiots out there that don’t want to control their emotional responses to a little skin.

        • Tony says:

          Do you look both ways when you walk across the street on a green light? Why would you? Oh, wait – some drivers break the law, and when they do you could be seriously hurt or killed. There are laws and there are lawbreakers. If you are permanently crippled or dead because you didn’t acknowledge that (by looking both ways) who suffered? Young girls, while they have the right to dress like a whore, might want to remember that rape or sexual abuse is present, regardless of laws against it. You can argue all you want about how men should restrain themselves, and they should, but some don’t, and who suffers because of it?

        • Ashley says:

          So your point is that while laws and consequences might not stop some men psychopathic men from committing sexual abuse, asking the girls to cover up more skin will stop them?

        • Matt(Not Walsh) says:

          If you look over at Muslim countries, you’ll find that there the women are covered head to toe, including their eyes, and females cannot leave the house without a man present. This is wrong, just as it’s wrong that women over there who get raped are sent to prison or worse because they were asking for it. They tempted the man with their eyes. Sounds ridiculous, right? Let’s look over here. Here we have women who walk around wearing practically nothing because they think that’s the only way they look sexy. Then they are surprised when they get raped. Am I saying that they way they dress is the entire reason they get raped, no. But it is a contributing factor here. Men, just like women need to exhibit self-control. Showing a little skin is one thing, the one’s who walk around in basically a bra and a mini-skirt that barely comes below their butt is another. Those women need to learn a little thing called self respect. A woman who has a decent sense of self does not need to show off everything on her body because she obviously has more than that.

        • Ashley says:

          I understand that you believe in what you are saying, but we are running into moral differences here. First, you do not get to decide which women have self respect. A scantily clad woman does not respect herself any less than the dressed head to tow woman, based simply on the fact that she’s wearing less.

          Secondly, the only authorities of dress code that we need to respect here are the law. We have rules of public indecency, for a reason. As long as a woman (or a man) isn’t dressed in a way that is going to get them arrested, then no one needs to comment on it or try to say that they way they are dressed is wrong. It’s not wrong. It’s just not what you like. There’s a difference.

          Secondly, a rapist might rape a woman in the excuse that he felt the way she was dressed was an invitation, but he’s wrong. He’s the one with the problem and he’s the one that should be placed into authorities for judgment, not the woman.

          It is not a contributing factor, unless you are willing to sit on a defendant’s side in court. You know how well that will go.

        • Tony says:

          I am a realist. So yes, not dressing like a whore will probably help young women when they encounter a psycopathic man. But by all means, just walk across the street without looking. Your family can sue the lawbreaker after your funeral.

        • Ashley says:

          It’s too bad that there is too much evidence to go against your probably statement, due to the fact of the matter that women are still being raped, sexually assaulted, and harassed while fully clothed (and sober as well).

    • William M. says:

      Ashley, you show a decidedly blind eye to the underlying issue. If you were to leave expensive jewelry on a table in the street and walk away from it for a time, would you then blame the people who stole it for lack of self control? Or if you were to lay a stack of $100 bills in your car hood while you went into the store, would you expect it to be there when you came back?
      Or were you not aware that showing off of the female body and nudity are a precursors to sex in primates? That arching the back and red lips are signs of sexual availability? Actions and dress that draw the eye to the sexual characteristic are basic in all sexual species. Such an attitude is irresponsible and unrealistic. A rational person does not advertise a product or if they wish to keep it. Nor does someone advertise a service if they do not wish to provide it. A wise person does not incite lust in others if they do not wish the sexual attention and results.
      Rather, older women should take the time to understand the effects different modes of dress have on men and teach their daughters accordingly. Unfortunately, Advertisers have found that sex sells, and Hollywood has promulgated a sexually perverse attitude which far to many your females follow without understanding just what they are saying by the way they dress and act. Couple that with the sexually promiscuous attitude fostered by the aforementioned groups and you have a recipe for dangerous sexual conduct.

      • Ashley says:

        This is a big part of the problem. You are comparing apples and oranges. You have got to understand that the way a woman is dressed is never, ever an invitation or an advertisement. Only a woman’s verbal consent is an invitation to sex. Otherwise, the way a woman looks may draw attention to the male eye, yes. However, that man has every moral and legal responsibility to control himself. He has every obligation to not act in any way unless she verbally says yes to him. That means not raping her, sexually assaulting her, or harassing her.

      • Eva says:

        @William M.
        “Or were you not aware that showing off of the female body and nudity are a precursors to sex in primates? That arching the back and red lips are signs of sexual availability?”

        Are you aware that primates are animals who do not have the cognitive thought and reason that humans do but solely rely on instinct?
        Are you also aware that in most primate species, the females choose the males? They advertise the fact that they are sexually available, but if a male who they do not deem fit to give them strong healthy young tries to mate with them they will fight them off?

        Going back to HUMANS – women are allowed to wear short skirts to a party, or a bikini to the beach, leggings in the gym, in the same way that men are allowed to wear skin-tight shirts. speedos or go without a shirt. If you or a male friend was raped by a woman and her defense was, ‘well he was wondering around in front of me with his shirt off, CLEARLY he was asking for it” would YOU accept that as an excuse? No.

  6. Oh my, thank you for this post. I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon!) and I hear “modest is hottest” a LOT from my fellow church members and I always cringe. Dressing modestly should not be because we seek to be “hot”! That kind of defeats the purpose! I wish that 3-word catch-phrase would disappear.

    I also really appreciate you opening our eyes to the deeper meaning of the word “modest”.It’s good to be reminded that modesty is about more than clothing. Thank you!

    • Ellen says:

      Totally agree! I can’t stand that phrase, and I’m a member of your church. :l

    • Rachel Peterson says:

      Same. Mormon and never liked that phrase. Glad I’m not the only one. I think it’s used a lot to get a simple message through to teenage girls though, which I get, but still.

    • Bob says:

      I’m a member also. Converted when i was 23 years old. Current Ward Mission Leader actually. Growing up outside the church always gives me a little different perspective. I have an 11 year old girl. And while we do teach her to dress modest, and i know this post was not solely about how to dress, i would like to see alot more emphasis put on the young men to teach them to guard their eyes and their minds. We are not going to change the worlds view on this. Society is going to continue to get further and further away from our standards. If young men don’t want to sin then lets teach them how to control their thoughts and their minds and most importantly their eyes. Young women need to dress modestly for themselves and their relationship with Christ….not because some young man might think their attractive and let his mind wander. No offense but that is his problem…..

    • britty2748 says:

      yes! totally wish that phrase would go away! (fellow Latter Day Saint here). and i am so touched at the modesty definition in the catechism Matt quoted. highlighting once again how similar Christians’ core beliefs are, regardless of denomination. i wish we focussed more on our shared values than our differences.

    • Bonnie Bairns says:

      Thank you for saying this. I’m not a member of your church, but I appreciate anyone trying to train children and teens in purity. I just totally do not understand that phrase, though. Modest is not hottest, and the young men will realize that soon enough. Hottest is not what I want my son’s searching for, though. As Matt is talking about, that modest virtue is a great quality to be desired. And I don’t want my daughter’s striving to be hot regardless if there’s a mantra of modesty attached.

    • William M. says:

      Would perhaps defining “Hottest” as most desirable for a future mate make a difference in your understanding of that statement?

      • Bonnie Bairns says:

        No, because the world already defined ”hottest”, and it’s basically the opposite of modesty and purity.

  7. N.K.Dover says:

    to me…it comes down to one thing. If the way I dress, or walk or talk or act screams “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!” I’ve messed up. I want the way I dress, walk, talk or act to say “look at Jesus! Look at Jesus!”.

  8. tempestadore says:

    What if your Facebook “friend” was just happy about his new boat, and wanted to share that with his friends, and pay his wife a compliment? Not everyone “shows off” to “brag.” Some people just like to share their life. Personally, the things I post on Facebook are because I want to post them, not to make my friends feel any certain way. When I post about how excited I am about something, it’s not to brag, it’s to share my happiness. When I post a complaint, it’s not to gain pity, it’s to share my sorrow. What exactly is wrong with that?

    • sarahlearichards says:

      Exactly. I share the good and the bad in my life with friends. I don’t share the good to make them feel bad.

    • William M. says:

      Ah but Tempest, there is a decided difference between “showing off” and grabbing attention and sharing! “Showing Off” is trying to grab the attention of others, and has not on thing to do with sharing excitement. One can share the excitement of boating without showing off the new boat! And no, showing off is not necessarily bragging, but it is attention grabbing, saying “Look at me Look at me!” and therefore immodest.

      • tempestadore says:

        I still don’t understand why sharing a picture of your new boat has to be so braggy. Yes, many many people post things simply to brag. But, for example, when I post that my son is finally in a toddler bed, I do not do so to say “Hey! My son is sooo much better than yours!” I do it because I want to share my life. Not to mention, my Facebook is for ME, not for my friends. I post things on MY mind. If I just got a really cool new thing, well then yeah, I’m excited and am going to share that excitement. Maybe this man did want to show off, but jumping to conclusions about that isn’t much better.

    • William M. says:

      Actually the post is about all kinds of immodesty (“the quality of being modest [humble]; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.” READ the first four paragraphs if you doubt that! Sexual immodesty is only one small part of this.

  9. Carolyn Maslin says:

    But you still only talked about women’s clothing. Men dress in tight and/or sagging pants, go without shirts, and wear shirts unbuttoned to their belly button with no regard for women. It seems men need things spelled out for them too.

    • strawberrygirl says:

      Great point! Walking around with your pants sagging down so low your underwear is visible or worse yet, wearing something like that while shirtless is tack-y.

      • Mom from MN says:

        Yes, saw the ‘worse yet’ at a Culvers restaurant once with my young daughters, who were thankfully facing away from the young man as he faced our direction. I was flabbergasted someone was out it public like this … he obviously was not wearing underwear either. GROSS!!!

    • Michael says:

      While he stuck with the women’s clothing example, I don’t see anywhere in the article where he affirmed that to be the only way of being immodest. Just because he didn’t give every other example of immodesty (although he did give other examples: friend with boat, his envy of a large house) he did effectively define modesty as more than what we, men and women, wear.

    • Matt(Not Walsh) says:

      And as a man, I agree with you. When I’m driving down the road and see some guy walking along with no shirt on, I will say “Put on a shirt.” Sagging pants is a trend I’ll never understand, don’t know why these people want to follow a trend started in prisons. And men who wear “skinny jeans” need to have their man card revoked.

  10. Lori says:

    This is a great post and I agree completely that modesty encompasses more than just dressing modestly.

    Will you pass along to your reader, Laura, whom you quoted in your post that there is a wonderful modest swim suit for girls and women? The link is http://www.swimmodest.com {I’m not connected to the family that makes and sells them, but I do wear one and try to pass along the info that there really is a modest swim suit available.}

  11. Carolyn Maslin says:

    Yes, I do realize you talked about the meaning of modesty and I agree with what you said. However the only clothing mentioned was a woman’s clothing.

    • JSantorelli says:

      Well Carolyn, men don’t really have skimpy clothing. Go to a wedding and men are clothed from neck to toe. Women on the other hand wear bath towels for dresses. Same thing at work. It’s rare to even see a man in short sleeves.

      Men’s bathing suits usually cover down to or just above the knees. Most guys wouldn’t be caught dead in a mankini. Most women however are already pushing to edges of modest clothing.

      Let me ask you this though. Is showing male flesh really a problem for most women? From what I read, even most straight women find the female body more attractive. Maybe I’m wrong, but there’s lots of “straight” women on the internet that don’t seem to think so. Perhaps you could give me a lesson in female attraction.

      • Sydney says:

        Yes men going topless is biblically immodest. The Lord GAVE the Israelites coats for a reason! Part of feminism is understanding that women have the same needs as men…

        • JSantorelli says:

          @Syndey: So you are telling me women have intense physical attractions for men? LOL! I mean if that’s true it makes me feel a heck of a lot better, because you feminists are constantly making men out to be these horrible repulsive creatures.

          Honestly though, men’s clothing is a lot more modest than women’s. The only place men usually go topless is the beach whereas women pretty much do what they want where they want. Given that most people don’t go to the beach very often its a moot point really.

          Personally I don’t care if women want to run around naked like those Femen nuts. I take immodest female nudity as a blaring danger sign to keep away because using ones body to acquire political power for oneself is as dishonorable as defecating on a grave stone. I don’t loose my cool, rather just avert like you would for a construction site.

        • Eva says:

          Yes, Santorelli. Women have intense physical attractions for men. How…how can this be news to you? Is it because women don’t have intense physical attraction to you? Okay, that was mean. Apologies.

          But seriously, “you feminists are constantly making men out to be these horrible repulsive creatures” – well…you’re doing the same thing to feminists. And women actually. You constantly make out that women are all power-hungry feminists who seek to dominate men physically, emotionally and financially, that we’re all out for revenge because of the way we’ve been treated in the past by men. Open you’re mind just a little and you’ll see how ridiculous that ideology is. Give it a try.

          “The only place men usually go topless is the beach whereas women pretty much do what they want where they want.”
          I’ve seen men topless at the gym, in the park, even in the street (though admittedly, many of these men were drunk at the time). I once saw a man in my student union wearing nothing but an open bathrobe and boxers (thank god he was at least wearing boxers…)
          The only time I have EVER seen a woman in a bikini is at the beach. The women in the park all wear shorts and a top. In the clubs, they were short skirts or tight tops, some of them wear both and that isn’t very nice to see, but everything that needs to be covered is covered. And who cares? They’re having fun, they feel good, kudos to them. The men are enjoying themselves too. No one’s hurting or harrassing anyone. All is well. What’s the problem? You don’t like seeing a girl wearing a short skirt, look at something else then.

          “The issue is that given women’s notorious self-esteem issues its not difficult to ascribe much of a woman’s choice in clothing to garnering attention for herself to feel good.”
          So a woman with low self-esteem is wearing clothes that make her feel good? What’s the problem here? Oh wait, let me guess, they’re clearly trying to show off to men to demonstrate their sexual power over them, right?

          “I’ve read many many many studies on the issues and have had a decent number of lady friends. Never have I seen any vivacious inkling of attraction to the male form. Many women I see comment online think the male body is funny looking and the last thing they want to see is the male member. Either these women are lying (doubt it), lesbians talking smack, or I’m just missing something here.”
          I’d love to see some of these studies you speak of. I, personally have yet to meet a straight woman who isn’t attracted to the male body.
          Well, here, I’ll be your first discovery; I love the male body. I love the broad shoulders and the flat, hard chest and the round ass, and, yes, surprise surprise, the penis. The penis is a wonderful thing when used correctly. It brings us straight women much much pleasure, and no I don’t mean the pleasure of using it for power, I mean the pleasure of being with a man in the most intimate way possible. But obviously you’re just going to say that I’m either lying or I’m omitting the so-called fact that actually I use the fact men have penises to dominate and demean them right?

        • JSantorelli says:

          “well…you’re doing the same thing to feminists. And women actually. You constantly make out that women are all power-hungry feminists who seek to dominate men physically, emotionally and financially, that we’re all out for revenge because of the way we’ve been treated in the past by men.”

          I’m reflecting on what feminist women think / do. Like a mirror, I’m just reporting what I see. I’m not adding anything to it. Feminists have been attacking men legally and verbally since the mid to late 70’s with bits and pieces earlier than that.

          “All is well. What’s the problem? You don’t like seeing a girl wearing a short skirt, look at something else then.”

          Honestly, I’m numb to it at this point. I’ve found that not acknowledging someones presence before mine is the best way to not feed into their ego complex. Go naked for all I care because I’m happily blind to such nonsense.

          “Oh wait, let me guess, they’re clearly trying to show off to men to demonstrate their sexual power over them, right?”

          No, actually I think they are trying to compete with other women for attention among their peers (mainly women). I’m pretty sure they could care less what guys think these days.

          “I’d love to see some of these studies you speak of.

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2051284/More-half-women-bi-curious-attracted-women.html
          http://www.queerty.com/study-60-of-college-women-want-a-lesbian-makeout-session-20111021/
          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arlene-schindler-/cuddle-parties_b_4800176.html
          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/29/arielle-scarcella-lesbians-explain-porn_n_4343930.html

          Read the comments on those articles. I’m not going to accuse you of lying, but I remain skeptical. Like I said, I just haven’t seen many women go bonkers over the male form nor do I see the same sea of poetry for the male form by women that I’ve seen by men for the female form. Even the Bible’s Song of Songs gives a shoddily small account of the man by the woman than the other way around.

        • Eva says:

          How can you reflect what feminists think? Can you read their minds? You can interpret what single feminists do in your own way but you can’t use that to define all feminists and certainly not all women.
          You’re ‘numb’ to a girl wearing clothes she believes make her look good? Well great, mission accomplished. So what’s the problem?
          And you being ‘pretty sure’ girls don’t care what guys think doesn’t make it true. Girls compete with other girls just as men compete with other men. And girls show off for men just as men show off for girls.
          This is all generally speaking of course. I’m not going to do a Santorelli and make all sorts of nonsensical claims as to the fundamental nature of all male minds based on what I’ve seen and heard of a very small minority of male minds.

          As for these studies;
          The first says nothing about what women think about the male body, nor whether or not they’re attracted to it. In fact, the woman who did the study was clearly attracted to men for a good part of her adult life given that she was married to him, had two kids with him and also says she loved him in the article.
          Also, these women were all from one university community and there were 484 of them. 484 into 3.5bn is…0.000014%. Not the most accurate study.
          The second is a summary of the first article so…fairly pointless.
          The third is about bisexuality. That’s BIsexuality i.e. being attracted to women AND men.Also, again, nothing about women not being attracted to men.
          And the final one is about porn so I refuse to watch it.

          And finally,’poetry’ about the male body in the Bible? If I recall correctly, the Bible was written by MEN. Most of the famous poets and playwrights before 1850 were MEN. Why would Shakespeare write a sonnet about how beautiful Romeo’s body was? Why would Burns,
          Because they were men who were attracted to women? Because they lived in a time where if people thought they were attracted to men they would be ostracised, imprisoned, or executed even?
          What about Jane Austen writing about Mr Darcy’s tall, handsome frame, or Willoughby’s rugged good looks? What about Jane Eyre’s fascination with Mr Rochester’s broad shoulders and fierce eyes as depicted by Charlotte Bronte?
          Or, more recently, what about E.L. James constantly going on and on about how perfect Christian Grey’s hair is? Or how smooth his chest is? What about Stephanie Meyer’s obsession with describing the cold, hard, muscled body of Edward Cullen?

        • JSantorelli says:

          @Eva: I’m reflecting on the outcomes / products of feminist activities (i.e. laws, literary work, etc). Personally I have no interest in how a woman dresses since I know its futile to change her mind anyway as you have clearly illustrated here. I, as every guy out there does, have a choice to ignore scantily clad women and its quite liberating to do so. Any guy can encourage bodily modesty in women by choosing to acknowledge modest ones over the immodest ones. It’s quite simple. In fact I think its just plain smart for guys to do so because it avoids a lot of potential problems and unnecessary debates. I highly doubt women dress the way they do to “snag a man” because that would be an immodest use of the body which according you women would *never* do.

          Now before you fly off with the bur-qua talk, I personally don’t think its immodest for people to visit a family-friendly nude beach. If you are really so proud of your body and get a self-esteem boost from sharing it in a dignified manner why cover up at all? Fine arts models are usually painted completely nude and how often does one hear about an incident there? The problem as I see it is that many people (men and women) like to use their body to initiate political confrontation. Look at the group Femen. They use nudity to protest. I think that’s an immodest and arrogant use of the human body because its used to create disorder. A man or woman at a nude beach enjoying the day is not a political statement however. Now, perhaps not all women are trying to make a statement like Femen, but the attitude I’ve seen here is “I can do what I want because I can.” Like teenagers, some people do what they do just to stick it in the face of others that they can do something. It’s a mild form of protest, but a protest nonetheless. Again, it’s an arrogant use of the body (man or woman).

          Of coarse given today’s mobile technology a nude beach might not be such a great idea unless there is some policy that polices cell phones.

        • JSantorelli says:

          @Eva: I didn’t quite buy that study either, but it is there. Also, I’ve heard repeatedly from bisexual women that they prefer women because “women know how to please women.” They don’t desire the male form with much fervor. As I said before, look at the comments on those articles by women. They pretty much agree with that. The final article does not have anything inappropriate in it. It shows that “straight women” prefer lesbian porn. Why? I think all that stuff is gross but this is a statistic that cannot be swept away. If women were so turned on by the male form this wouldn’t be the choice of viewing material. That was my point.

          I mentioned the Bible as ONE example. I guess you got me on the others. Not my choice of literature so I’ll concede on that one.

      • emily says:

        Men can ABSOLUTELY be immodestly alluring with their dress and presentation…I am not saying what people should wear in any given circumstance…but I do know this. That the muscle pics of dudes on their facebook pages with the gym shorts riding extra low and the 5 o’clock shadow–desperately trying to thrust their ‘manliness’ through the screen at whoever happens to come across their profile pic or online dating page…yeah…that’s men dressing immodestly. But it’s not even so much what they are wearing–it is the immodest motivation behind their actions. If you look at the Sermon on the Mount in Scripture. Christ continually goes from what the ‘law’ sort of states–to the motivation of the heart–and He says it is the HEART that matters…the motivation. Which is precisely what Matt is referring to in this article. Men and women can both present/express themselves in numerous, immodest ways–including their attire…but true immodesty is far more than clothing choice. And it is certainly not limited to clothing choice. Nor is it DEFINED by clothing choice. A dude can be attractive and wear swimtrunks on the beach and look awfully good in them…but the INTENT is the difference–is he trying to boost his ego by seeking out admiring glances from women–strutting around like a peacock? Or is he simply enjoying a day at the beach with friends–playing volleyball or whatever, and dressed appropriately to do so?

        • JSantorelli says:

          @emily: I agree 100% about intent. The issue is that given women’s notorious self-esteem issues its not difficult to ascribe much of a woman’s choice in clothing to garnering attention for herself to feel good. In fact I think women dress the way they do more so to out do other women than to show off for men.

          All that aside however, something is amiss for me. Pardon my ignorance. I’ve read many many many studies on the issues and have had a decent number of lady friends. Never have I seen any vivacious inkling of attraction to the male form. Many women I see comment online think the male body is funny looking and the last thing they want to see is the male member. Either these women are lying (doubt it), lesbians talking smack, or I’m just missing something here. How many songs / poems by women have you read about the male body? I haven’t heard a single one. There sure are lots written by guys about female beauty though. Perhaps you can school me a bit here because something doesn’t make sense.

      • Miriam says:

        Side story: My (pretty old) grandpa once came out to a hotel swimming pool in a rather tight speedo. I think it may have permanently scarred my younger brother, who’d never seen anything along those lines.

      • William M. says:

        Hmm, JSantorelli, have you ever seen some of the very skimpy men’s “swim suits” or pictures of men in body building competitions whose only garment is little more than a jock strap?

        • JSantorelli says:

          @William: Well, no I haven’t but then again I’m a straight guy so I suppose I wouldn’t be looking for them to begin with. I just don’t seem them in my everyday life either. But really, are women turned on by that? The countless internet posts from users I’ve seen suggest women are more turned on by other women than men. “Straight” women apparently prefer lesbian porn according to the studies I’ve seen and they also think women are more attractive. Either women aren’t being honest or somethings a miss here.

    • mamaYak says:

      Not True Carolyn. Matt Specifically Mentions TShirts With Giant Brand Name Logos On Them. He Even Posted A Picture Of A Men’s American Eagle Shirt As An Example. Did You Miss That Part?

      • Sydney says:

        @JSantorelli since I can’t reply on his: I know this is gonna sound totally carnal of me, but oh well. You’ve never heard a woman say a man is fine to her friends? You’ve never seen a picture of a male celebrity on a girl’s school-binder? Why do you think Magic Mike was such a hit? It is very rare when Hollywood releases a movie showing even a guy’s butt, but there will always be scenes showing a woman’s chest and sometimes even a little bush. You can’t ignore that fact. The people who control what gets put out there are men and I think that’s a huge reason why this trend exists. Because they don’t want to see other men’s junk! I’m not gonna lie, I was excited to see Conan The Barbarian’s butt on screen. But I know that part of the reason for this was because I’m aware of the unfairness. So if being in touch with my attraction to men and wishing that there was equal nudity and complaining about how unfair it is makes me a feminist, than so what. If it seriously pisses me off that when I try to shop for gym clothes my husband gets comfy long shorts and loose shirts and I am stuck wearing long t-shirts and yoga pants because the women’s shorts are uncomfortably short and I can’t sufficiently or comfortably cover my arms and belly wearing a tight shirt with cap-sleeves while my husband can, than I guess it makes me a feminist. The men in control of the media are to blame for all this pressure on women to be immodest on the outside and for men to be immodest on the inside. Women have been programmed to satisfy men’s sexual fantasies and men have been programmed to satisfy women’s romantic ones. So, yes women have sexual fantasies about men, they just aren’t encouraged to the way men are. That’s why the men and women who have no objective opinion on the whole mess dress and act exactly how society programs them to. You have no idea what it’s like to be a woman and you can’t unless you were in an alternate universe where men and women showed off equally.

        • JSantorelli says:

          What exactly does calling yourself a feminist get you? Guess what, I can empathize with you plight better than you think because I’m a darn human being. I can totally support you in all of your quest for “more comfortable clothing” for women, but not on feminist grounds. I think a lot more guys would come around if the female egos were put aside. It doesn’t matter what the sex of the media producers are. It matters where there cash flow comes from. Just decades ago saying the word “sh*t” in Hollwood was risque. What changed? Feminism came on board and women used their sexual influence of men to change the rules. Why do you think 3rd wave feminism is going “sex-positive?” They conveniently manipulate women into directing men as they see fit. Our politicians and media CEO’s are puppets.

  12. Dan Gill says:

    Modesty is a virtue for all. Yes, men are responsible for where they look (and even more, how long they look), but it is difficult not to at least notice when everything is on display. I work in a home improvement store, and it amazes me what some women wear to shop there.

    Interestingly, the passage in 1 Timothy about modesty deals with extravagance, not with exposing flesh.

  13. Emily B says:

    Here is a link to a refreshing view of modesty written by a young woman in college…public school no less. http://www.conversationwithwomen.org/2013/06/14/ditching-bikinis/

  14. adelat2012 says:

    Ok this might make me a little immodest but I am not trying to show off. But I am going to call this post confessions of a big breasted Christian
    One of the ladies in Church likes to tell me that I am beyond blessed in the chest department. I dont argue with her. But here is the confession it hard having big boobs. First to all the men who agree with matt on the whole modesty is for both men and women. Then turn around to say how hard it is not to look. I was 9 when my breasts came in. do you know how confusing it was to see men my dads age staring at me. These were men who were in their 30’s and 40’s and fathers to kids I went to school with. It was confusing because I had no idea what they where looking at until the sixth grade. Which was now confusing and creepy, so honest question was I being immodest? I was child.
    Second it really hard to buy conservative clothes. Button up shirts yeah they dont work for me. Sweaters they only make them bigger. V necks I can wear but even when I was a teenager I would ask my mother to hem them or she would add a pin to them. The first mini shirt I bought was in college. I bought it because it was five dollars. i had no idea how short it was. So yes I wear it with tights even in the summer. Not because I am being fashionable. Even longer skirts I wear with tights I have always had a problem with my legs.
    I guess the hardest part is how everyone seems to have a opinion on my breasts. The lady at church who says I am blessed I love her because she is one of the very few people who have not forgotten what it is like to be young. An because she straight out to me. While the others say thing like Adela dont you think you should wear a sweater? Which I then answer no it not cold and 100 degrees outside. Then they stare at my breasts and say that is not what I was talking about. So I told oh you mean my breasts. I have had them for so long I dont even notice them anymore. Which she then went to question my parents dont tell you what to wear before you leave the house and then she said while shaking her boobs in my face I have big boobs you dont see me showing them off. I looked and I said you know my father. I am 25 and even if I was 85 and married he would not let me leave the house if he didn’t not think it was modest. Oh and by the way why you gotta call out yoga pants. I like yoga pants for the fact that they stay up. for the fact that I have fibro and sometimes it hurts to wear clothing. Well since going naked anywhere would lead me to being arrested. Yoga pants it is. Ussally with a long top to cover my butt. Oh and for all the women and men who have problem with yoga pants and sports bra. What do you wear to the beach? My family coming over and telling me I was half naked because I was wearing yoga pants and a sports bra because I can’t wear regular bras anymore. And adding next time you come over I am going to walk around half naked. So I told them to do it. No I won’t because I won’t disrespect my husband. The whole time I am thinking these women wear like bikinis to the beach and outside are house for the pool. Ok I am done ranting.
    God Bless and Love
    Adela
    ps stop trying to change other because we dont even have the power to fully change ourselves. the only one who can is God and Jesus. We just got to keep trying to control ourselves and not others.

    • stacy h says:

      well said, couldn’t agree more. i have long legs. there were no ‘modest’ shorts i could wear until capris came into style. i literally wore jeans in 90+ degree weather because it had been drilled into my head to wear shorts that were too short was bad. just stupid. shouldn’t take a half hour of fretting over if my clothing meets everyone else’s standards to get ready for church, only to go and continue to be distracted by ‘is what i’m wearing acceptable, is someone looking at the length of my skirt, can they see my bra strap outline’? super awesome while navigating the ever-awkward teen stage. can’t feel good about my body at church due to stresses over modest clothing, can’t feel good about my body in ‘society’ due to marketing the perfect body.
      the conversation definitely has to change, has to move away from only clothing and focus on the rest.

    • Hoorse says:

      Oh my. Get over yourself. If you’re a Christian, live and think like one. Oye.

      • adelat2012 says:

        Ok Hoorse I am going to tell you in a nice christian way grow up. Just because you can’t see what I went through or realize that the teenage girl is trying to grow up. It is confusing in this world. I grew up in a mostly mexican catholic town. Girls where expected to be virgirnal and pure till marriage. Guyrs were expected to sleep around. Oh and girls were also thought that the most important for us to do was get married and have kids. Plus once you get a guy do whatever it takes to keep him. I am Christian. Jesus is my savior. I am imperfect and hypocrite. Do I think like all other Christians? No and my pastor says that is ok because I am an individual.

    • analyticalperspective says:

      Geez. That sucks. Obviously, you have more tact then me. I’m sorry you have to put up with that. Truly. If I had been there I would have advocated for you.

    • Matt(Not Walsh) says:

      My cousin had a similar situation. She actually had a breast reduction to alleviate back pain. I don’t know if you have similar, but it might be something to look into if you do. My parents went to a wedding of her brother and they were talking about something completely different and she stood up and shouted, “Yes I had my breasts reduced.” Embarrassing for her yes, funny for the rest of us. Just a little story to give you a laugh in this.

      • adelat2012 says:

        I know I made my dad laugh and be grateful at the same time because I told him when I finally released what they where they staring at. I wanted to flash and tell them take a picture it last longer. I was frustrating because they stared like they have never seen boobs before. I wanted to tell them they are boobs once you seen them once you seen them all. I have thought about a breast reduction but no insurance right now.
        God Bless and Love
        Adela

    • William M. says:

      Yes, Adela your body build is both a blessing and a curse! Men are strongly drawn to women whose physical characteristics indicate good child nurturing traits, and large breasts are such an indicator. At the same time, because of this you build can draw undesirable levels of attention! To a certain extent you cannot help but flaunt them even tough you would rather not.

      • adelat2012 says:

        That is so true. One of the older ladies in church told me that her granddaughters told her they didnt want to be Christians because you couldn’t be pretty or hot. She told them no you can be beautiful from the inside out. I aim for that because looks fade. But who we are on the inside dont. We also live in a world where older women and men want to recapture their youth not releasing that getting older is part of life. To me older people are just beautiful especially older couples. It gives me this hope that I will find love one day but I know what love is because of God and Jesus.
        Love and God Bless

  15. Brian Forbes says:

    You left out the most important rule of thumb. If your father and husband are trustworthy, trust their opinions about modesty.

  16. Brian Forbes says:

    For a guy who loves to take hard line Christian stands, Matt, you really let me down. Don’t just say bikinis are bad. Boy, they are really bad, and everyone knows it. Tell the ladies what they need to hear! In 20 years when it’s normal to, don’t just say that it’s immodest to be topless on the beach. Define modesty like the Bible does. Neck to knee. No see through stuff. No tight stuff. No women wearing men’s clothes or vice versa. There are scriptures to support these claims. (Isa. 47:1-3, Ez. 16, Deut. 22:5) Let’s be scriptural. Jesus was.

    It’s true that an addict is responsible for keeping his triggers in check. But that doesn’t mean you’re constantly passing an alcoholic a beer. You don’t entertain yourself provoking the angry person.

    • Sydney says:

      Well since you want to go down that road, might I remind you that men also shouldn’t go topless because God gave men coats. And what women are wearing men’s clothes? Do you mean pants? Because women wear women’s pants! They aren’t men’s pants. They are made for women. Pants weren’t even introduced until a few thousand years ago. The men wore loin-cloths or tunics. So don’t even try to say that pants are specially reserved for men.

      • Brian Forbes says:

        Of course there’s a small element of culture in the interpretation of this stuff. Who do you know that is actually offended by eating of meat sacrificed to idols? I’m not, and I don’t know anyone who is. So what is a woman’s garment? The lines are blurry now because of our forebears, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Dress womanly. You don’t have to convince me of your purity. God is your judge.

      • Eva says:

        I wear my boyfriend’s shirts? They’re much more comfy. 🙂

    • Mike says:

      I’m not trying to be that “New Testament only” guy, but there is a reason everything you just cited was in the OT. When you are dealing with something like fashion, it is based on the culture. Every culture is different. Jesus didn’t say, “Girls, neck to knee or you’re going to hell.” That might be a gross oversimplification, but please take the point. God made women beautiful. Enjoy the beauty. Control your eyes and thoughts. I don’t see how women get slapped with the, “YOU VILE SUCCUBUS! YOU’RE WEARING A SKIRT ABOVE THE KNEES! I am having impure thoughts now! Damn you!” Don’t get me wrong. I have actually had to ask the women in our congregation to talk to a single woman about her clothes because it was inappropriate. I’m just trying to say, understand that if you can’t control your thoughts unless there wearing denim dresses to the floor, maybe you should take some time to look at yourself and your problems and see what you could be doing to help yourself.

      • Brian Forbes says:

        Thanks, Mike. I do look at myself. I check my addictions. I know that the fault is split 80/20 – men more at fault. The problem was that Matt didn’t address the 20%. It would have been easy to do.

        And you’re wrong about the OT. All scripture is profitable for reproof, my friend. (2 Tim. 3:16) You could have taken your exact argument against the book of Romans, etc., faulting Paul for not using NT arguments about things like honoring your parents or paying pastors money. Jesus didn’t abolish the Law of God, and anyone who practices the smallest letter of it will be called great in the Kingdom of heaven. (Mt. 5:18-19) That rule applies until heaven and earth disappear. And if you were looking for more support, you might be interested in the end of Zech., Zeph, Isaiah, and Ezekiel, all of which point to a future kingdom where the Law of God will be practiced. It is the time of the gentiles (Luke 21:24), but this time is about to come to an end. Make sure you have your wedding clothes on. (Mt. 22:12-13) That doesn’t include a bikini, I wager. I could write a book on this topic, so I hope this tangent is satisfied with what I wrote here.

        It’s also useful to keep this in mind. If the definition of human nakedness is cultural, defined by the lust factor of the men and the comfort of the woman getting undressed, then cannibalism is also cultural.

        “I saw one native hut, around which was built a raised platform of clay a foot wide, on which were placed rows of human skulls, forming a ghastly picture, but one of which the chief was very proud, as he signified by the admiring way he drew my attention to the sight. Bunches of twenty and thirty skulls were hung about in prominent positions in the village. I asked one young chief, who was certainly not more than twenty-five years old, how many men he had eaten in his village, and he answered me thirty. He was greatly astonished at the horror I expressed at his answer.”
        http://nationalvanguard.org/…/the-roots-of-black-slavery/

    • analyticalperspective says:

      Men shouldn’t be able to bear their sexy, shirtless chests then. Do you know how many times I’ve lusted after a nice set of pecs and a six pack — and I’m not talking beer, baby. I see a man like that and I’m thinking hot fudge, ice cubes, whip cream, ice cream with a cherry on top and it’s not my fault. Tit for tat. No pun intended ; )

      • Thank you!

        Go ahead, guys – keep on ignoring the fact that men need to be modest, too. More eye candy for me.

      • JSantorelli says:

        @analyticalperspective: Am I incorrect to sense a tone of sarcasm in your response? Seriously, women think like that? Most of the time all we hear is that women are sexless angels that a far nobler than men in this respect. I don’t quite buy that, but that’s what I hear. Perhaps women should do a better job telling the truth rather than trying to claim the moral high ground in a spirit of hypocrisy.

        • analyticalperspective says:

          I promise. I’m honest. A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste ; ) I’m entirely and shamelessly politically incorrect. I guess that means I’m mental immodest…or insane depending on who you talk to : D

        • JSantorelli says:

          @analyticalperspective: Hmm…..well its nice to know at least 1 woman appreciates the male form. There’s still a lot of women however that either 1) play the moral high ground card or 2) claim to be straight but still find the female form more attractive. Your blog shows you have some psych credentials. Care to shed some light on that for me? I have my opinions but would be nice to hear it from a lady.

        • analyticalperspective says:

          I was just being obnoxious for fun because I’m not taking this topic seriously. I’m tired from a long day and back to my serious side. My advice? Wear clothes.

        • Sydney says:

          I know this is gonna sound totally carnal of me, but oh well. You’ve never heard a woman say a man is fine to her friends? You’ve never seen a picture of a male celebrity on a girl’s school-binder? Why do you think Magic Mike was such a hit? It is very rare when Hollywood releases a movie showing even a guy’s butt, but there will always be scenes showing a woman’s chest and sometimes even a little bush. You can’t ignore that fact. The people who control what gets put out there are men and I think that’s a huge reason why this trend exists. Because they don’t want to see other men’s junk! I’m not gonna lie, I was excited to see Conan The Barbarian’s butt on screen. But I know that part of the reason for this was because I’m aware of the unfairness. So if being in touch with my attraction to men and wishing that there was equal nudity and complaining about how unfair it is makes me a feminist, than so what. If it seriously pisses me off that when I try to shop for gym clothes my husband gets comfy long shorts and loose shirts and I am stuck wearing long t-shirts and yoga pants because the women’s shorts are uncomfortably short and I can’t sufficiently or comfortably cover my arms and belly wearing a tight shirt with cap-sleeves while my husband can, than I guess it makes me a feminist. The men in control of the media are to blame for all this pressure on women to be immodest on the outside and for men to be immodest on the inside. Women have been programmed to satisfy men’s sexual fantasies and men have been programmed to satisfy women’s romantic ones. So, yes women have sexual fantasies about men, they just aren’t encouraged to the way men are. That’s why the men and women who have no objective opinion on the whole mess dress and act exactly how society programs them to. You have no idea what it’s like to be a woman and you can’t unless you were in an alternate universe where men and women showed off equally.

        • Brian Forbes says:

          Sydney, that was very interesting. Thanks!

          I showed that comment to my wife, and she gave me a partial confirmation. Women do lust after men’s chests. And then she ruined her testimony by offering to show me some examples. LOL! See, I can’t do that. If I wanted to show my wife the chests of women that make me lust, not only would she not let me, but it would start me on the addiction cycle that has (thankfully!) been broken for many years now. It’s not worth the risk to me. But she can see herself from an objective place that keeps her from falling.

          I am fat. I almost have to go to those specialty big and tall places. Those specialty niche markets actually do very well. My family dresses modestly where it comes to water (i.e. board shorts & a jogging shirt), and it can sometimes be very hard to find what is both modest and fashionable. In all the shopping for these specialty items, I have found that the businesses don’t have an agenda. Maybe they do, but it’s secondary to the drive of the consumer. The business only cares about the money. They put stuff on the shelves that goes off the shelves. There’s no conspiracy. The people put out what the people buy. And if we want to have a niche market store for modest apparel, by all means, start one. I sincerely hope your store makes it. Alas, I don’t think it will become a major chain. The drive to show skin runs deeper than cultural influence.

          Look at the difference between a woman who flashes a crowd vs. a man who opens his trench coat. The guys would say, “Ooooo!” The girls would say, “Ewww!” The natural draw is different between them, and I can say with confidence that it wasn’t just a cultural thing. I have overcome cultural taboos in my life, and this is nothing like it.

          So thank you for the insights. I half agree with you. I just hope that if we’re going to change, we can move toward purity instead of debauchery. The regulation of our actions should not be the culture, but God and His perfect standard. The judgment of the culture lasts but a moment. God’s judgment lasts forever.

      • Brian Forbes says:

        I agree with that. 🙂

        I wear a shirt when I’m swimming, not that I’d make a woman lust with my manliness.

        • analyticalperspective says:

          See? That is chivalrous. It’s men like you who keep us women psychologically virtuous…or maybe it just leaves more to the imagination….

        • Eva says:

          analytical perspective, I am loving your comments!

  17. April K says:

    I have to give credit where credit is due: this is the best post you’ve ever written on any topic, Matt. Really. This from a highly critical reader.

  18. cece says:

    That was a great post. I appreciated that you not only mentioned modesty in dress but also modesty in our being. Who isn’t annoyed when you are around someone who just brags or talks about themselves all the time? Good job!

  19. Denise says:

    I love this!! It’s all about the heart! Nailed it!

  20. Elizabeth says:

    I KNEW you were Catholic!

  21. adelat2012 says:

    I agree with you Brian. But at the same the same time people find it weird how close my sister and I are to my father. He broke the cycle of sexual abuse of my grandfather and my uncle his brother. When my best friend in college told me what happened to her. i was shocked not because I didnt know about it but because dad was never that way. He will be the first person to tell you the first two years of my life he took care of me because he had back surgery and my mom had to work. So I do trust him when it comes to clothing advice and other things. I the teenager in me even though I am 27 I want to rebel but then I remember he is usually always right.

  22. adelat2012 says:

    Reblogged this on Work in Progress: Broken but Stitched together with Love and commented:
    Love this!!!!!

  23. wekurtz72 says:

    Been reading Matt’s column for a while now – cited by a mormon friend of mine. What a terrifying bunch of lemmings most of you are.

    Brand names = human indignity? Modesty protects the dignity and solidarity of a person?? To resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies?? Really? How so? If this all gets chalked up to some iron-aged deity who hates gays and relishes in the micro-management of everyone’s sex lives, I suppose I won’t be surprised. Disappointed it still happens in the 21 Century; not surprised. But for the record, this is all the same apologetic BS that muslim men use to force ‘their women’ to wear burkas.

    • Courtney says:

      Finally someone sane posted!!!

    • Bro says:

      Read more into the point of what he’s saying instead of pulling other meanings out of it. It’s not that you’re wearing a name brand, or that the guy posted about his boat on Facebook, it’s how and why. The people who wear big brands to make the statement “I’m rich and fashionable, look at me!” or “I have money to buy a cool boat, look at me!” are the people he’s talking about. If you bought a Hollister shirt at the resale shop (or really, anywhere) just because it looked nice and fit well, I don’t think he’s talking to you. Modesty is a virtue. That was the point. And for the record, many women choose to wear burqas, and even protest laws prohibiting them (see below). Some women really do value modesty, and I think they also realize that it isn’t all about clothing. That was the point.

      http://people.howstuffworks.com/veil3.htm

    • Matt(Not Walsh) says:

      Brand names and “designer clothes” are a way of bragging. It’s a way to say I’ve got money. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the need of people to have “designer clothes”. Why spend $150 on a pair of jeans when you can go to Walmart, or similar stores and get a pair for $20. Makes no sense to me. It’s about bragging about what you can have. As for your Muslim comment at the end, I want you to think about one fact. 90% of the women in prisons in Islamic countries are there because they’ve been raped. The men say that the women tempted them with their eyes, or because an inch of skin showed somewhere. Yes, the Muslim laws are flawed, but if wearing the burkas and being covered from head to toe, including her eyes, keeps a 7-year old girl from getting raped, I hope they keep wearing them.

    • William M. says:

      Hmm, Why do you immediately resorting to name calling and disparaging statements instead of a reasoned reply? Using pejorative statements to make fun of those you disagree with shows your intelligence?
      Nowhere did I see where anyone claimed that brand names = human indignity. I did see where “Status Brand Names” = showing off / bragging and hence is immodest. But then your statements sound very much like one who has a guilty conscience and want to override it to convince himself that it is wrong.

  24. Pingback: Beauty and modesty. | Dark Brightness

  25. I love that this is such a broad look at modesty. I have honestly never heard it put that way as respect for personhood. I love it. It makes sense.

  26. Monochrome and Color says:

    Reblogged this on A Nurse Remade.

  27. Tapeman says:

    This is a good post with a lot of good points. I especially like the section where you mention how men are essentially seen as being completely unable to control their emotions and impulses. I have hated that whole concept from the moment I learned of it, since it seems to imply that men have no self-respect and no ability to make good decisions, which is completely untrue. It is a concept that I constantly am working against, since people assume that, since i’m a man, I’m not going to be able to control what I do, and therefore I can’t be trusted. It’s stupid and demeaning.

    Also, I think you may be missing the point of the ‘Modest is Hottest’ slogan. While I agree that it is interpreted in the societal sense of ‘being modest makes you more attractive’, I believe that it was initially contrived because it’s catchy, and because the real meaning of the slogan is something different. Namely, it is saying that you don’t need to show yourself off or talk yourself up in order for people to like you; rather, you simply have to be who you are, and you will gain friends and respect as such. I’m not sure if I’m really getting my point across here (I’m an engineer, not an English major), but I choose to view the slogan in a more broad sense than it seems you are. That’s just me though, you can have your own interpretation if you want. Cheers!

    • Kelsey says:

      I understand where you’re coming from, but your interpretation is not really based on what the slogan actually says. When we say someone is “hot,” it doesn’t just mean “nice-looking.” The implication of heat refers to the same thing as getting “hot under the collar.” It means they look so “nice” they get your blood pumping and hormones flowing. It usually means, “Heck yes I’d jump in bed with that.” If someone is trying to dress/be modest, that’s the opposite of the message they would be trying to send.

  28. Dear Matt,
    Thanks for your insight into this almost forgotten virtue. Here is a blog post from Beauty Redifined. These ladies also bring up similar points as you. Especially the part about we’re responsible for our thoughts being distracted by a flimsy dress—it is not a woman or girl’s responsibility to protect men from their own thoughts. http://www.beautyredefined.net/modest-is-hottest-the-revealing-truth/

  29. litsrb says:

    I couldn’t put my finger on why the little saying “Modest is Hottest” bugged me. But you summed it up quite nicely. So thanks for that.

  30. Malcolm says:

    I have an amateur interest in anthropology, so I would like to share two contrasts.
    The Kavirondo, a tribe living near the Great Lakes of east Africa, were famous in pre-contact days for two things. The first was their rigorous commitment to chastity. The penalty for sex before marriage was death. What you got away with in some other tribes you certainly couldn’t get away with among the Kavirondo. The other was their commitment to total nudity. Married people wore a string at the back or front instead of a wedding ring, but it covered nothing.
    In Arabia, on the other hand, men are not allowed to see any part of a woman’s anatomy except her hands and her eyes. Yet they are obsessed with sex. The conversation in male society is rather like that of teenaged boys behind the school lavatory.
    The moral of the story is, the most sexual part of the human anatomy is the 3 lb of grey matter between the ears and behind the eyes. The degree of sexual virtue in any society has little to do with how much they wear. Our best practice, I suppose, is to dress according to the standards of the society in which you are, without going to the extremes of brevity.

    • “The moral of the story is, the most sexual part of the human anatomy is the 3 lb of grey matter between the ears and behind the eyes. The degree of sexual virtue in any society has little to do with how much they wear. Our best practice, I suppose, is to dress according to the standards of the society in which you are, without going to the extremes of brevity.”

      Exactly. This is one area where it’s totally legitimate to look around and match the level of dress of everyone else. In fact, covering up TOO much can be immodest because you are drawing attention to yourself.

  31. Dee Jakes says:

    Our real ‘judge’ is going to be Jesus & the Holy Spirit’s job is to convict us of wrong doing so I come to the conclusion that when I look in the mirror & the Spirit whispers to my heart that all is not well, I have a decision to make. Modesty still produces ‘lust’ in some folk. So for me, in all areas of my life it is an audience of One that I look to please.

  32. jennifer says:

    Thank you for this post, Matt. Since you shared a Catholic Catechism, here are some teachings on modesty from my own church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nicknamed the “Mormon Church.” These excerpts are from a booklet called “For the Strength of Youth,” which contains a wide variety of topics that we not only teach to our youth but also ask that the adults live by as well:

    “Your body is sacred. Respect it and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and that you love Him.

    “Prophets of God have continually counseled His children to dress modestly. When you are well groomed and modestly dressed, you invite the companionship of the Spirit and you can be a good influence on others. Your dress and grooming influence the way you and others act.

    “Never lower your standards of dress. Do not use a special occasion as an excuse to be immodest. When you dress immodestly, you send a message that is contrary to your identity as a son or daughter of God. You also send the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval.

    “Immodest clothing is any clothing that is tight, sheer, or revealing in any other manner. Young women should avoid short shorts and short skirts, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and clothing that does not cover the shoulders or is low-cut in the front or the back. Young men should also maintain modesty in their appearance. Young men and young women should be neat and clean and avoid being extreme or inappropriately casual in clothing, hairstyle, and behavior. They should choose appropriately modest apparel when participating in sports. The fashions of the world will change, but the Lord’s standards will not change.

    “Show respect for the Lord and yourself by dressing appropriately for Church meetings and activities.

    “If you are not sure what is appropriate to wear, study the words of the prophets, pray for guidance, and ask your parents or leaders for help. Your dress and appearance now will help you prepare for the time when you will go to the temple to make sacred covenants with God. Ask yourself, “Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord’s presence?”

  33. analyticalperspective says:

    Matt,

    I’m planting this here and dedicating it to you. It pertains to modesty of thought?? Yeah. That’s it!

    http://analyticalperspective.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/people-with-tattoos-are-going-to-hell/

  34. Courtney says:

    I hate when people make the point that it is a WOMANS RESPONSIBILITY to dress modestly as to not arouse men or entice them in any way. Are men some type of animal that can’t control themselves? Cavemen, perhaps? No, I didn’t think so. Woman can dress however they want, as far as I am concerned. We are the owners of our own bodies. I know this wasn’t explicitly said by the author, but it was by the people he quoted. And it infuriates me. Why is the onus always placed on women?

    • Flaunch says:

      Uh oh… someone didn’t ‘read the blog entry. Read it again, Matt’s on your side.

    • Valerie P. says:

      Would you think it was cruel if you saw someone dangling a hot Krispy Kreme donut in front of someone who’d had a weight problem since childhood? Someone who just cannot lose weight no matter how hard they try? Of course you would! And then if they asked you to please put it away, would you yell “no way! I can eat whatever I want in front of whoever I want! So you just sit here and squirm while I devour this delicious donut!” It’s the same thing with women who say that they aren’t responsible for men looking at them. But no matter how hard men may try to look away from an attractive woman who is leaving nothing to the imagination, it’s almost a physical impossibility. God created men to salivate over undressed women. It’s his design for getting procreation accomplished! Men are absolutely hard-wired to be physically aroused by women, and telling them to just “look the other way” so you can dress however you want is immature and disrespectful to God’s design for your body.

      • emily says:

        Donuts and rape are different. If I were eating a donut and someone asked me to put it away I would ask them to go someplace else. I don’t think people need to eat according to other peoples diets. I get that eating sweets is a temptation but the onus on not eating a donut is on the individual person, not the other way around. PS I do not eat donuts. Do you realize that fully clothed modestly dressed women get raped too just like someone in shorts a tank top and flip flops (which is a very typical summer outfit)? Men check out women in all types of clothes. They even check you out in a winter coat, hat and scarf. There is nothing a woman can do to stop from being checked out or lusted after and no woman is 100% safe from rape. I am tired of women being told how not to get raped as opposed to men being told not to rape. Women can’t be blamed for rape! How awful that people still think, “she asked for it” , “she had it coming” and “she deserved it”. Where is the compassion? A human being was violated and tormented in a violent, sadistic manner. This should bother people! Virgins are raped. Wholesome, Christian girls are raped.Nice, everyday people are raped everyday all across the world. I don’t think God designed men to have not one iota of self control. I don’t think he wants them to drool at every passing female. If so, how can a man ever be faithful? Temptation is everywhere. Ladies to tempt the men. Sweets to tempt overweight people, credit cards to tempt those without extra cash. It’s all around us. We have to be personally responsible! Think of back when sexual harassment was common in the workplace, did these women go to work in a bikini? NO, they were in business suits and uniforms. There are more rapists than donut danglers in this world. PS I am a modest dresser.

      • Kelsey says:

        One of the best analogies I’ve ever heard compares clothing to a garden. I live inside of my house (mind/body), and you can’t really see what goes on in there. But you can see the exterior, and how I choose to decorate that can reveal a lot about me. But however I decorate it, that doesn’t give you a right to come into my garden or my house. You are welcome to appreciate the decorative choices I have made, but if you don’t like them, then you have the power to look away or walk down another street. If you find them mesmerizing, you still shouldn’t stop and stare. It’s bizarre to stare at someone’s front yard, and it’s disturbing to stare at someone’s body. Give a genuine compliment if the situation warrants, grow some self-discipline, and point your eyes where they need to go. Maybe it seems like simply looking in a different direction is a “physical impossibility,” but it REALLY isn’t. Put a hand over your eyes if it’s that bad. Or you can always walk away entirely.

        Now, the counterpart to that is that people should try to dress appropriately to the situation and show compassion for others, and a good friend should be able to approach someone to let him or her know that certain choices might not have been in good taste.

      • adelat2012 says:

        Ok so someone needs to go read their bible to realize that way we act now men or women was not the way the way God intended. Go read Genises. Adam was created then Eve. They ran around naked with not shame until they both sin and they did both sin. That is when original sin came in and changed the world. So sorry God did not create the urge in men to stare at women like that. No this is sin. The same God did not create women to treat men like sexual objects. Don’t deny it we all do even me.
        What a lot of Christians forget is that we will not stop sinning like my pastor says till they throw dirt in are face. You see are flesh is sin and it doesn’t go away till we did. It says in the bible that when we are saved we are given a new heart of flesh no longer stone. Jesus also says that our body and heart will be in battle till we die. Are flesh is going to want to sin. Are spirt not so much. It doesn’t mean where not saved. It just mean we have to get rid of this ideology that in order to be christian you have to be perfect. We have to get rid of this whole idea I am saved so even if I sin I am already forgiven so I am going to choose to sin. We have to stop judging people from what they wear because I know a lot of girl who dress all modest is the hottest and they are having a lot of sex with different people. The same with girls dressed like whore. I would know thanks to my boobs my reputation has had so much more experience then myself. I love people who tell how I lived my life. That why I joke around that I am a virgin slut. I am 27 never been kissed never been on date never had boyfriend and is going to try really hard to wait till I get married. But because of boobs no matter what I wearing I was the class slut. The way I see it people talk about other people so other people won’t notice they are the ones doing it.
        We need to stop having this double standard with men because by the way God has no double standard. The way we are programmed and made was created by God but then sin came in and distorted it. Thats the sad part. We need to stop making excuses and trying to change others. WE need to start doing what Jesus wanted to love God with all are heart soul and mind and body and to love your neighbor.
        Because am the only one who notices that Jesus is rough and touch with the phrases the religious and gentle with the sinners. We tend to do it backwards were nice to Christians even when they sin and we treat the unbelievers like crap.

      • Eva says:

        A better comparison is one of these two;
        1) A person sitting on a bench with a fat person next to them eating a donut vs a provocatively dressed woman sitting next to a horny man.
        2) A person dangling a donut in front of a fat person vs a provocatively dressed woman dancing around in front of a horny man.

        Notice how the two are very different. In the first, the circumstances are simply acting against the fat person or the horny man. In the second, the circumstances are actually being shoved in their faces.
        However, in both cases, the fat person would not be able to use either excuse to snatch the donut from the other person’s hands and eat it/throw it away/stomp it into the ground. In the same way, in neither case would the horny be able to use the way the woman was dressed as an excuse to sexually harass, assault or rape her.
        In both cases, both tempted parties should walk away or ignore it.

        Men may be ‘hard-wired’ to be attracted to women’s bodies but this doesn’t give them the justification to use these women as sex objects, no matter how the women present themselves. Only by obtaining a woman’s verbal consent is anyone allowed to have sex with her. And the same goes for men. Women are not excused for being sexually aggressive towards a topless man just because he is topless. They are not excused from coercing or forcing a man into sex because he’s too drunk to say no.

    • Matt(Not Walsh) says:

      Why do the women who wear micro-skirts with pretty much nothing but a bra have such a lack of respect for themselves. Why do they think they have nothing to offer but their bodies? That infuriates me.

  35. jonesey says:

    Hey Matt, do you know what else is really immodest? Sticking your nose in other people’s business and getting all preachy and judgemental about it. So, if I follow your rules about modesty, I’d have to conclude that your entire blog is a huge shrine to immodesty.

    • Stovo says:

      Yeah, and the Bible is so immodest, too! Think before you post, jonesy. Honestly, your self-righteous rage bleeds through your words.

    • Mike says:

      Because no one in the history of the Bible had anything to say about other people’s business. They kept there noses out of it and their opinions to themselves. Good job on reminding us of that.

  36. Mike says:

    Am I the only one who noticed that his friend’s wife “let” him buy the boat? Someone needs to check who’s the head of that family.

  37. Catholicfire says:

    One of your best, Matt! Glad to see you’re beginning to give credit to your Catholic perspective in more and more posts. For those who are commenting that he only talked about woman’s clothing, or didn’t mention any men’s clothing… clearly you missed the purpose of the whole post. Read it again.

  38. Valerie P. says:

    Would you think it was cruel if you saw someone dangling a hot Krispy Kreme donut in front of someone who’d had a weight problem since childhood? Someone who just cannot lose weight no matter how hard they try? Of course you would! And then if they asked you to please put it away, would you yell “no way! I can eat whatever I want in front of whoever I want! So you just sit here and squirm while I devour this delicious donut!” It’s the same thing with women who say that they aren’t responsible for men looking at them. But no matter how hard men may try to look away from an attractive woman who is leaving nothing to the imagination, it’s almost a physical impossibility. God created men to salivate over undressed women. It’s his design for getting procreation accomplished! Men are absolutely hard-wired to be physically aroused by women, and telling them to just “look the other way” so you can dress however you want is immature and disrespectful to God’s design for your body.

    • kyotoredbird says:

      There’s a huge problem with your analogy, and its that women are actually people and not just food items to be devoured. And women exist for more than just sex, whereas a donut serves no purpose besides being eaten.

    • Eva says:

      Telling women to cover themselves completely, even in extreme heat, and to always act completely composed, innocent and modestly around men just in case men get sexually aroused is disrespectful to women.
      Guess what, men will be attracted to women anyway. Because they’re women. If they can’t see the good parts of a woman’s body they will simply imagine it. And women will do the same to men.
      Women and men can dress however they want (as long as they’re dressed) because it’s a free country and everyone over the age of 18 i.e. adults, both male and female, are expected to understand that you can’t justify sexual aggressiveness in any way by what the other party was wearing. If they’re sexually aggressive anyway, THEY need to be punished for it and the other party need to be supported, not judged.

  39. amanda says:

    Interesting, informative post, Matt. Something I have been questioning as of late is everyone, including the 2 year old, ‘needing’ to wear brandname clothing, as in, written all over it. Hurley, Tommy, Calvin, Apostale…I don’t think it’s wrong to wear brandname clothes, but the constant advertising – wow. My grade 1er asked me ‘mom, who is Hurley?’. I told him it’s a brand and it’s not important. But I know for them, it’s definitely a status symbol. Our kids go to a Christian school and I just didn’t think this would be something my grade 1er would come home with 🙂 I understand kids always would rather conform, especially in the teen years and I hope to teach them discernment but I’m just wondering how people think this will affect their kids. ‘Train a child in the way he should go’…

  40. Thanks, Matt! This is an awesome post…we’ve always wondered how this ‘modesty’ thing should be approached. And you’ve articulated just so fittingly. Thanks one again!

  41. Reblogged this on Precious Awakening! and commented:
    I’ve long heard debates on this topic of ‘modesty’ but nothing so fittingly put across! Good read…and it blessed me!

  42. MmmHmmm says:

    You touched on modesty as it refers to male/female lust and male/male envy. Let me just give an example of female/female envy. It is something that I see everywhere! The grocery store, school, but it especially saddens me to see it at church. The purses with the logos plastered all over, the jeans with gaudy embroidery on the pockets. All of these things that let all of the other women know, how expensive your outfit is. Even though they should have enough confidence in themselves to not need such things to feel worthy and accepted. We are human and weak, and can feel like we are back in highschool. But instead of the cool shoes or backpack, it’s the diaper bag with logos all over it, letting everyone know how much it cost. I know that this is a very unpopular point of view, but I feel so sad when I see moms that look at the “cool” diaper bag with longing (mixed with a little shame). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with owning quality things. But, it is possible to find excellent quality items, that are far more subtle. I know people will say “I didn’t buy it to show off, I just bought it because I like it”. But in the same way that a woman should be conscious when selecting her clothing in regards to the way it will be perceived by men (“I didn’t buy this thong bikini to show off, I just liked it”), also we should make conscious decisions in regards to our fellow sisters. Not wanting to be a stumbling block for them either. Since I am anonymous, I will admit to owning a few very nice bags, jeans, sunglasses, etc. But if you were to walk past me, you wouldn’t know if they came from Saks or Target. I’m only admitting this, because I wasn’t always so careful about my choices and have since changed my ways. I would encourage others to prayerfully consider this as well.

    P.S. Although I agree with your view on “Modest is Hottest” on a philosophical level. I think it’s a cute way for girls to remember what is truly attractive. That being modest lets her true self, her inner beauty, be what is attractive. Rather than letting it all hang out and finding lust, rather than love. Lighten up on this one, Matt. 15 year old girls are dreaming about falling in love, not Thomas Aquinas 😉

    • adelat2012 says:

      I dont agree with the modest is the hottest. Yes, I was once 15 dreaming of my first kiss and reading Thomas Aquinas thanks to debate. You want to know what is sad is having my crazy family telling me now that I am 27 that I need to go out and find a guy because when I young they all told God made the right guy for you and he will come when it is time. Thanks to my brother he bursted the little hope I had by telling not every one gets married. My best friend goes of course he told you that when you were young. You were to young to understand. Sorry I am that weird kid that I prefer to yank the bandaid off as long as someone is doing it. Tell me the truth always even if it hurts because at least then I can deal with it and move on.
      My life has not gone the way I planned but I am where God wants me. Taking a chance of being a writer. I want to write for him. I want to write for that kid that is thinking of killing themselves. It just hard with people thinking you got sick on purpose because you dont want to work. Adela you just need to get a job and go out and you will meet someone. Because why do you worry about birth control if your not sexually active and your never going to meet a guy sitting at home. I tell you dont know that right now I sick I have a recurring ear infection pain due to my fibro pain due to my hernated disc and mild scholosis and arthritis. So right now no I am not going to drive and put others in danger if it was just me then maybe. But my mother thought me at 14 when I got my permit. A car is dangerous weapon and not going to kill someone if I dont feel comfortable driving. Plus we dont know God’s plans two years from now I can be so much better and more independent the way I used to be but I am holding on to the little mustard seed of faith because God is in control and I may not always understand his will but it is for his best.
      God Bless And Love

  43. kenyaliving says:

    Thank you. This is absolutely spot on the money. I’ve been discouraged to read blog posts from “formerly modest” Christian women who have jettisoned modesty because they feel there is a double standard — e.g. women have to be modest and watch what they wear, but men don’t have to take any responsibility for objectifying women. Their response (go out and buy bikinis and mini skirts and toss modesty in the dustbin) is not the answer. Are women required to dress modestly, soberly and with purity and holiness in mind? Yep. Are men required to treat women with purity “as mothers…as sisters” instead of as objects? Yep. Two sides; same coin. Modesty is universal and is a Christian virtue. It’s not legalism — it’s the joy of the beauty of holiness, for both men and women. Keep nailing it, Mr. Walsh.

  44. Miriam says:

    I am a strong advocate of promoting modesty among our youth–men and women alike. My problem with “Modest is Hottest” and the “dress modestly to prevent impure thoughts among men” line is that it teaches our daughters that they should dress for those around them and not for themselves and, more importantly, for God. Dressing and behaving modestly shows respect to God for the body we have been given. By reducing modesty to the point of declaring it “hot,” it reinforces the attitude that a woman should dress in a way to please men. On the other hand, using female immodesty to excuse or justify lustful thoughts and actions among men is also wrong. I feel like when we focus so much on using modesty as a tool for dealing with man(kind), it cheapens modesty as a virtue that pleases God. It becomes an issue of fearing man more than God. When we teach the correct principle (that being modest in our thoughts, words, and actions is pleasing and respectful to God), it lends purpose and meaning to the act of dressing modesty.

  45. Gee says:

    This post made me think about this video I saw. I’d encourage everyone to watch it.
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=00JF2MNU

  46. military widow says:

    Good blog Matt – It needed to be said.

  47. Danielle says:

    Matt, I had to laugh about you saying you wont buy a bikini for your daughter. Our household has same standard for our three year old. However, parenting tip I learned the hard way…on a week long boat/lake trip two years ago…its much, much harder to change a diaper when those littlest ones have on a life jacket and one piece! We also have a 19 mo old son. Parenting is hard! Setting the standard for them starts early. We commend you!

    • Elizabeth says:

      I learned the same thing… I just buy separates for my toddler so it comes out more like a tankini! Still cute and age-appropriate, and waaay easier to do the diaper! I wish they put snaps on the bottom of swimming suits for small children like they do for onesies. That would be super convenient and open up the shopping choices a little more. 🙂

  48. Reblogged this on Narrow is the way and commented:
    HA!!…AMEN

  49. Wonderful Post!

    narrow way!

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