Friday, April 25, 2008

Some Great Thoughts on Modesty

Not by me, by Lindsay at Contrariwise, but I'll weigh in, too:

Now that God has entrusted me with two precious little girls, I have to admit I’ve started worrying about things like body image (because mine isn't always the healthiest), eating disorders (because I had one) and clothing choices (because they'll have to wear something). I want my girls to embrace their femininity. I want them to feel beautiful inside and out. I want them to recognize that their bodies are temples, beautiful vessels for something that’s far more important than sexy curves or flawless skin – their souls.

I don’t want them obsessing about how they look or wearing skimpy clothes, which I think often goes hand-in-hand. I pass by some of the stores designed for tweens and I wince. How could I let my 12-year-old wear that? How will I someday walk the fine line between making them love and respect their bodies and at the same time keep them from flaunting the skin they feel comfortable in? Sure, these aren't exactly pressing issues at the moment. Right now our occasional clothing battles consist of my 3-year-old not wanting to wear any clothes at all (oh how I pray this won't be an issue when she's older!) or asking to wear a ruffly dress as PJs. I suspect things will most likely get a little more complicated as they grow older and become more aware of their bodies, others' perceptions of them (especially boys'...yikes!) and those crazy hormones start kicking in. While I can’t expect them to not want to wear some “cool” trends down the road, I can expect (and require) them to be modest.

The irony of all this talk about modesty is the more a woman flaunts her body, the more likely she is to hate the way she looks or to feel like an object. Oh, there are going to be people who argue this isn’t the case. That there are some women who feel perfectly comfortable wearing revealing clothing. Maybe so. But when I think back to days when I chose to wear a short skirt to some college social event, I can't help but think I was wanting something more than to convey a sense of style. Some small part of me wanted attention. Why? Because, perhaps I didn’t have enough confidence in myself as a woman to believe I was beautiful unless I was showing enough leg to encourage some random guy to give me the once-over. It’s not easy for me to openly admit this, but I know I’m not the only young woman who has struggled with issues of body image and modesty.

That's where Lindsay, 21, comes in. She bravely and refreshingly discusses modesty on her blog Contrariwise and why it’s something to embrace, not a sign of oppression, as some people might claim. She courageously submitted the same article to her campus newspaper and has subsequently been called some nasty names. By some other women, no doubt, who just might be using their anger to assuage their guilt or their own insecurities. Just a theory.

Lindsay writes: “You don’t have to ignore your heart when it reminds you that you’re more than a bunch of body parts. You have more to offer than skin. If you don’t want to be treated like an object, don’t give the world a clear view of the objects you want it to look beyond. Grab some leggings for that mini; the 80s are in right now. No one’s saying you have to grow your hair into long pigtails and find dress patterns from Little House on the Prairie. Try some modesty on for size. You might be surprised at how beautiful you become.”

Amen, sister! And if there’s one thing I can teach my daughters about their bodies and modesty, it would be something along the lines of what Lindsay says here: “You are beautiful You are not gorgeous because of your hot body or sexy clothes. You are so lovely because you are the crown of creation.” Can I hear another, "Amen"?

Read the whole Girls Gone Mild post here.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

Thank you so much for your compliments, Kate! I have to give some credit for the idea to Wendy Shalit, my friend Kaitlyn, and the other mild girls in my discussion group. The rest goes to the Holy Spirit. I just let him work through me; he gives me the words I need.