Saturday, July 7, 2007

Modesty

I remember hearing this term used for the first time and thinking "Oh no. Now i have to dress like an Amish farm girl with a skirt down to my ankles and long sleeves." Luckily, I was mistaken and am currently not dressing like an Amish person. Modesty, as Webster defines it, is the "regard for decency in behavior and dress." Many people, like myself, when they first hear about modesty feel like it is unimportant. "Why should i dress any differently than my friends and every other girl out there? Guys are just going to see it anyways. And if they have a problem with the way I dress, that's their issue to deal with." That whole mindset is completely absurd and selfish. Personally, I used to dress immodestly. I would go out looking for the tightest and most low-cut shirt. Why? Because i LOVED getting the attention. People left and right would tell me I looked skinny and cute. I had boyfriends that would tell me I looked hot, and my self-esteem would just shoot out the roof. Every girl wants to look cute and attractive, but what today's society is telling us, is that to look cute and get guys, we have to put on a mini-skirt, buy name-brand clothes, and show off what we have. But seriously think about it. Those guys that we will get the attention of, are they they guys who will respect us and treat us like the princesses we are? Or are they going to see how we dress, take it as an invitation to use us, and then move on to the next chick in a skimpy outfit? If you don't know the answer, its the latter. I'm not saying that we should completely hide our bodies by wearing tons of layers of clothes, but that we can put on clothes that are in style, and they don't have to be showing inches of cleavage and our butt cracks. Do you want a guy who is going to take one look at you and want to get to know who you really are? Or just want to get in your pants? With dressing modestly, we enable guys to look at us and see that we respect our bodies, which in turn will make them want to respect us as well. After dressing immodestly for a while and hearing of this, I thought it was bogus. Who would ever NOT want attention and praise for looking good? Then I examined myself. I started realizing that the attention I was getting was from guys I knew were only after one thing. I recall a time when I caught one of those guys staring at my chest and walked away not filled with happiness because I caught someones attention, but sadness and a sense of feeling used. I spoke with a guy friend about the situation and he even said "Oh but you know you like the attention."

After that, I noticed that not only that type of guy, but also my close guy friends would not always be looking at my eyes, but would glance downwards. It started to really bug me. For the first time, I felt like an object. I took a step back and thought, "Is wearing tight, skimpy clothes worth the inner pain and sadness each time a guy says I'm hot or checks me out?" I decided not, and started dressing more modestly. At that time I had met an amazing guy, who is now my amazing boyfriend, and asked his opinion on the clothes I wore. I asked him to go through my entire wardrobe and pick out the items of clothing that were immodest. He made a large pile and I promptly threw the stack of clothes away. I wanted the assurance that I could go into my closet and pick out anything and not have to worry about feeling used. I realized that I could still get attention, but in a positive way. After asking my future boyfriend, Peter, to help me out, I saw how he respected me and how glad he was to help me become more modest in dress. It shocked me at first, never having experienced a reaction quite like that from a guy, but it also amazed me. I had always heard stories of women who had found men that respected them and treated them like princesses, but I had never experienced that for myself. Being treated with such dignity floored me. I knew that I was on the right path to becoming more modest and showing that I respected myself and demanded that same respect from everyone around me.

Some of you have probably heard modesty in relation to "leading men into sin". This is where I previously believed that if a guy fell into sin by looking at me, that was his own problem. But think about it. Say you lived in a house and always left the door and windows open. It is basically an invitation to enter and steal whatever is inside. When a guy checks you out, he is taking a piece of your dignity with him. A piece that was basically offered to him based on what you were wearing.

Modesty regarding dress is a huge deal, but also the way you act can be defined as modest or immodest. I was in the club scene for a summer. I never knew how much of an effect my actions made on guys i with whom i would dance. But with modest dress, comes the responsibility to act modest as well. If your actions are saying "I wanna turn you on" then that's exactly what a guy will assume you want to do to him.

Although summer is an amazing season due to the beautiful weather and break from school, it is also a time where modesty is critical and must be taken into consideration. When going shopping for summer clothes really ask yourself if the item of clothing you want to purchase is modest. A little bit of extra fabric to cover your chest or belly won't make you die of heat stroke. Personally, I don't wear short shorts. I've always felt very uncomfortable wearing them, and am soo glad that Bermuda shorts and capris are in. This way, I'm not overdressed for summer weather, but not showing off all of my legs.

In a culture that promotes immodesty and promiscuity, it is our obligation to be counterculture and show the world how to be truly respected and that comes by us respecting ourselves by the way we dress and act. Thank you for your time and keep checking back for more updates!

~Lauren

5 comments:

Corey said...

Very cool.

Emma said...

I can understand not wanting to feel like you are being controlled by men through what you wear, in terms of giving them power through "the gaze" and therefore taking that power from you. But I feel like you are also being controlled by your now boyfriend. By asking him to look through your closet, you just lost control from yourself by having him judge what he deems acceptable to him for you to wear. You just lost having control over your own wardrobe, which the thought makes me shake my head in the absurdity of such a situation. You may reply to this saying that it was necessary and that you wanted him to do this, but if you think about it you are still being controlled by males. Who is choosing your modesty? You obviously are not, but giving more control to males to deem what is acceptable for you to wear.

This was a topic of conversation between a friend of mine, whom I showed your blog to, and myself. Both of us are young women and both of us felt the same way. While I want to give you a "right on girlfriend" (which I think that you want), I feel the need to say shame on you for letting others control something as simple as clothing. A woman should think for herself, and not let the power that God gave her fall to others, whether they be male or female. With this being said I worry, because control starts with something so simple as wardrobe to losing friends because another feels they steal time from what is theirs.

Also, what seems to be the problem in your "sexperts" blogs is your lack of acknowledging the copious amount of differences in people. Not all males lack respect for women, and not all females find the need to parade themselves in front of males half naked. This leads me to ask whether or not either of you have the experience that I believe you don't have to actually be writing a blog such as this. Have you been on both sides of the spectrum to deem you actual "sexperts"?

In regards.

SEXPERT said...

Emma,
You clearly misread the blog (not particularly this entry, but other entries as well). There is nothing about control or male dominance, but sexism and degradation--neither of which I impose upon Lauren or any woman. In fact, if you had read my blog above, you would have seen the sentence: "It's in your control." Another sentence read: "I'm not going to tell you what to wear."

Your comment is littered with typical feminist (an ironic term, since feminism is basically anti-womanhood) propaganda, and that has no place in a selfless, loving relationship. Lauren didn't have control in mind when she asked me to look through her closet. She didn't think of herself at all, but thought of me and men like myself, who have lusted over women and had problems with purity. She was compassionate and caring, and I am very grateful to her for changing her style of dress rather than allow me to continue to degrade her with lustful thoughts, which isn't what either of us want.

You needn't worry about control; Lauren buys her own clothes, makes her own friends, hangs out with people I barely even know--but she also lets me have a say in her life because we love each other. I also buy my own clothes and hang out with my own friends, but if she doesn't want me to talk to an ex-girlfriend or a past romance (for example), I will respect her wishes and not talk to them.

It isn't about control, Emma, it's about selfless love and respect of the other's feelings and desires. I never forced her to throw out clothes, I told her which ones would tempt me to degrade her as a person, and she chose from that pile which ones she would keep and which ones she wouldn't keep.

Also, if you had really read the blogs you would have seen phrases that say things along the lines of "not everyone..." this and "some people" that. Your biases have blinded you, and it is you who should be careful about where your beliefs are leading you: it sounds like a very self-centered path.

That said, I will shut up for a while and Lauren will say a few words--her own words, by golly, not a script that her overbearing boyfriend gave her! *rolls eyes*

SEXPERT said...

Emma,

It seems like your point of view is one that I previously had, and I recall touching on that subject in my entry. I used to have the mindset that I didn't care what people thought of the clothes I wore, or how my choice in clothing affected people around me. Now after going through a conversion last semester, I now have more respect for others which does not mean that I'm allowing them to control me at all. Peter did not forcefully come into my room and tell me what I could wear and what he didn't like. He just gave me suggestions and I took them to heart. I still could have kept those clothes if I wanted to, but I didn't. That was my own choice. I still go shopping on my own and choose what I want to wear, but what I WANT to wear are modest clothes, and its not because Peter says I should buy certain clothes, its because I respect myself, him and every other person out there. And because I want to be the best example I can be of a woman who respects herself and the people around her. I fully chose to be modest, and asked Peter's guidance while going through this change. Especially since while I was going through this change, my perception of certain clothing being modest or immodest was skewed.

Peter explained how we do state things such as "Some people" showing that we don't believe that ALL people have the same viewpoints or opinions or lifestyles. And like Peter stated, it seems like your point of view is focused around "self" rather than caring about the people closest to you.

Theres a fine line between being respectful and being controlled. I have been down both paths and I'm certain that right now I have never been more free because of the respect I give to others and the respect I demand as a woman.

nina said...

i LOVED reading this, lauren. i completely agree with everything you said, and everything that you and peter stand for. your metaphors are awesome, too. keep it up! :)