On Modesty and Attracting Members of the Opposite Sex:
My daughter and I frequently have discussions on modesty. Most of the conversations are initiated by her. These conversations usually start out with the question, “Mama, why would someone want to wear?” … shorts or a skirt that short, a shirt that low-cut, clothes that tight, a swimsuit that revealing, etc.
My typical answer is, “Because they don’t have much self-respect.” And this is true, however there are several reasons for the lack of self-respect, and maybe some additional reasons behind dressing inappropriately.
While in Anderson, my friend and I had several discussions with the girls on this topic. It was nice to have someone else speak into the lives of the girls from a Christian viewpoint other than myself. And I say girls, because the young lady we brought with us had just spent a day shopping with us at the mall two days before this conversation. So she had already heard and chimed in on the conversation about modesty and lack of respect. Most of the stores at the mall seemed to be catering to prostitutes by the looks of the clothing they carried.
The jist of our conversation –
We kind of have things a bit backward. Have you ever noticed in nature that it is the male of the species that has the beautiful plumage, the brighter coloring, the more extensive decoration? It is the male that works to attract the female, not the other way around. Why? Because males are already attracted. God has placed within the male the unrelenting desire to procreate. The same holds true for the human race. Unfortunately, society gives the opposite idea. Society tells girls that it is their responsibility to attract men, and that if they are thin enough, beautiful enough, and show enough skin that they will attract a man. And it will, but probably not the kind she desires. Most women desire a relationship with a man who will love her for who she is, and with whom she can share her life, dreams, heartaches, and fears. Not a man who will use her and objectify her body. A man of virtue, the type with whom a woman desires to share her life, will look away when he sees a woman who is exposing herself to attract attention. He does so in order to honor God, himself and to honor the woman. Unfortunately, since our society objectifies women as a norm, it is harder and harder to find men of virtue and women who respect themselves.
In both 1 Peter and 1 Timothy women are instructed to let their true beauty be from within and to dress modestly and with decency. When a woman has a beautiful spirit on the inside, it radiates to outward beauty. And that is very attractive. Please do not misunderstand (as some do with these scriptures) there is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to be attractive. There is nothing wrong with wearing make-up, jewelry, dressing nice, and looking nice. I doubt that my husband would appreciate it much if I did nothing to take care of myself; if I dressed in only sweats, sat around all day on my bum and didn’t take care of my health and body – or him. But all outward beauty is cold and meaningless unless inner beauty exists.
So, how do we know what is modest and decent?
At this point of the conversation, my friend’s husband entered the room and chimed in. He said, “If a girl wants to know if her outfit is modest, she needs to ask her father not her mother. Fathers will know if what their daughters are wearing will send the wrong message to guys. Mothers have no clue.” And he’s right. I’m not a guy, so I do not have a complete idea of what goes through a man’s thoughts when he sees a girl. I might think I have some idea, but I don’t have the full scope. Unfortunately, quite a few girls either have no fathers in the home, or the ones who are there aren’t paying attention. And sometimes mother’s aren’t setting a good standard in their own dress and being good role models. My friend’s husband wanted to go further with the discussion, but my friend shushed him. I wish she wouldn’t have. I think it would have been very beneficial for the girls (and myself) to hear more of a godly man’s perspective on the issue. I did appreciate what he did share.
So, if there are any godly men reading this, please feel free to chime in as well.
These aren’t my complete thoughts on the issue. But I would like to hear yours.