On the Topic of Modesty

I recently read a blog post that several of my friends have been sharing like the common cold on Facebook. The article was directed at teenage girls, and was written by the mother of teenage boys. Her main point, I believe, was that girls should protect their modesty. When they share bathroom pictures of themselves scantily clad via social media with her sons, they are sharing that with the whole family. (this is a good point, anything you put on social media is out there for everyone, and should be viewed that way!) She also went on to say that those types of pictures weren’t welcome in their home.

I agree about the modesty issue. Not only are many girls posting inappropriate pictures and dressing in clothes we wouldn’t necessarily approve of, it’s getting harder and harder to even buy clothes that are appropriate because less clothes is the norm.  The shorts get shorter and the tops get shorter too. I also respect the blogger’s decision to monitor what comes into her home,  and what  appears before the eyes of her children. That’s a good call, one every parent has to make. I did not appreciate that the article featured photos of her sons in swim trunks at the beach. Is it okay for men to only wear one item of clothing and for women to look at their bodies, but not vice versa? Kind of a double standard, in my opinion.

What bothered me the most, however, was the placing of blame for any potential problems these photos caused the blogger’s sons, on the girls whose pictures they looked at. The article stated:
“Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he can’t ever un-see it?  You don’t want the ‘____’  boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you??”

I have a huge problem with that. If you don’t want your sons to think inappropriate thoughts about girls, then you need to teach them that women are not objects to be judged by their outward appearance. You teach those sons how to be men, by showing respect to all women regardless of their wardrobe. That attitude is a more subtle reflection of a larger national problem. We live in a society that skirts the line between forward thinking and fostering a rape culture. What does that mean? It means we have created a culture that makes young girls think that boys won’t even notice them if they don’t act in a provocative fashion. It makes men expect to see women as sexual objects and not individuals.  Women in our media are objects. We talk about women’s rights and being modern but when it comes to music/tv/books and movies, we dehumanize women by focusing on their physical appearance and nothing else.

In all honesty, it’s not just men who treat women this way, it’s other women too. Think about your basic woman’s magazine and how many advertisements in that magazine will be geared toward making women more attractive, younger looking, or more sexual. We feed the beast with all that junk.

So why are those young girls posting selfies in their pj’s? Because society is telling them to do it. They are being told at every turn that this is where their value lies and that if they don’t want to be left behind, then this is how they have to act to keep up.

Modesty is an important message for girls. Girls are awesome, I am one. We need to teach them to respect themselves and make healthy choices. Just as important, however, is that we need to teach boys how to control themselves, and that women are awesome, and not just an outlet for sexual frustration.

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11 comments on “On the Topic of Modesty

  1. thejourneyisthelife says:

    OOOO you are BRAVE tackling the modesty issue! 😉 I so agree with so many points. And love that you point out that women are part of the issue! And really what are we teaching our sons?

    • LOL, I was a little scared to hit publish . . .
      I think we’re teaching boys that they don’t really have any control over themselves and it’s okay to blame girls when they have impure thoughts, and thus they are not responsible for their own actions. Because really, poor guy, he was overwhelmed with lust when he saw that skin! How do men not see how this is demeaning to them??

  2. Rachel says:

    Oh Beth, I read this today and thought the same thing about the kids beath photo. Double standard indeed with the picture. Glad you hit publish;)

  3. Rachel says:

    Oh Beth, I read this today and thought the same thing about the kids beach photo. Double standard indeed with the picture. Glad you hit publish;)

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Great article Beth. 🙂

  5. amber says:

    holy freaking amen!!! as long as we keep dealing with the outward it’s never going to take care of the real issue- the heart!!! and i believe it goes both ways.. one feeding the other. men need to have self control and be pure in HEART. honoring women for who they are, not what they are. and women need to be confident in being women. smart, capable, comfortable in their own skin- not having to revert to their sexuality as a means for affirmation and security. but i can’t help but feel in it all it really comes down to one thing – that only christ can fulfill us!! whatever it is we’re seeking or looking for. whether some cheap thrill for a guy or number of likes on a facebook photo for a girl… as children of God until we’re living for HIS approval alone there’s always going to be something else we’re chasing after to satisfy us.~

    excellent post, beth. love your gracious, straightforward way of addressing things!

  6. tessfull2 says:

    I didn’t share that article b/c I didn’t find it helpful. It was more like a stern lecture of finger pointing at unsecure girls. I do commend her action to stand up for her boys, but I felt it more of a rant then a helpful piece on how to parent. You can’t “block” real life.

    The truth is men/boys are always going to be presented with a choice. I agree that we must teach them on how to deal with it. Blocking out the problem doesn’t fix it. Eventually they will be confronted with it when mom isn’t around to monitor.

  7. Jessica says:

    So, I don’t know you, but I saw this linked on facebook, and I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I am so sick of the modesty posts that put all the responsibility for male purity on women and girls. The double standard makes me so incredibly angry that I can’t even articulate it.
    I really appreciated what you had to say about men being responsible for their own thoughts, and the importance of teaching our sons to not objectify women. A hearty amen!

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