What I Would Tell My Daughter About Modesty

“And so biblical modesty isn’t about managing the sexual impulses of other people; it’s about cultivating humility, propriety and deference within ourselves.”
Rachel Held Evans

Of all the things we use to make snap judgments about people, there are fewer things more powerful and efficient than mode of dress. What you choose to wear will say loads about your personality and interests – from the bands you love to the athletes you root for, the places you’ve been and the subcultures you want to affiliate with, even to what level you conform to social expectations. Thoughtful adornment can make an average-looking person radiant, while sloppy dressing can make even a gorgeous person frumpy. What you wear and how you wear it will be an amazing tool by which you can showcase your strengths and personality.

There will be many people who will want to dictate to you how you should dress. Don’t listen to them. As you decide what to wear, consider these two questions: 1) Are you wearing that in order to titillate or excite? and 2) Will your apparel fuel your pride or vanity, or will it call attention to your goodness and beauty? There will always be men who will look at you and choose to objectify you. The lustful gaze will never go away in this fallen world. So long as you aren’t consciously attempting to provoke it – or take advantage of it – then use your best judgment. There can be no hard and fast rules about what to wear. So much depends on context and culture, specific moments in time in specific places in the world.

All that is to say, let what you wear showcase your character, your goodness, your virtue, and honor. Modesty is not so much related to lust or sexuality as it is to communication. What we wear is the first thing we say to someone who sees us. I hope you agree with me that we should not say things in order to provoke a negative emotion in someone else, but instead we have a calling to use our speech to edify and encourage: to give blessings rather than curses. Then so it is with what you wear. Communicate with your clothing a message you would be honored to speak to a crowd of strangers. That’s what you’re doing already, so take ownership of it.

Also, no Zubaz. Those are ridiculous.


2 thoughts on “What I Would Tell My Daughter About Modesty

    • I like this but I do think that we have to consider what reaction most people will have to our choices, since we do not live in a cultural vacuum. Not many woman are truly oblivious to the fact that a skimpy swimsuit is likely to illicit a sexual response from a male. We are very good at deceiving ourselves about our own motives and justifying our actions.

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