February 22, 2011
Is it just my imagination - my wild and hopeful imagination - or are there happy signs of a return to modesty? Oh, I know there are still shocking magazine covers, outrageously dressed 'celebrities', and appalling advertisements, but here and there are hints of a return to a kinder, gentler era when fashion flattered rather than offended.

Have you noticed there is more fabric to the clothes on offer? Tops actually cover the waistband of the bottoms - which now cover the whole of the, you know, bottom - and with layering and draping being 'on trend', designers are now doing for us what many of us have been struggling to do for some time now: cover our bodies while still allowing us to feel good about ourselves, and leave the house without blushing - all in the same outfit.

But wait; what does modesty mean? Is it merely hiding the body in a flirtation with Victorian prudery? Is a long denim jumper a requirement for, or sure indicator of, a modest heart and modest behaviour? Likewise, does a profession of modesty make up for a lack of modesty in practice?

Modesty preserves 'the mystery' of what should remain hidden. It guards and protects what is private, intimate. This refers not only to our body, but our interior life as well, our heart. It means not sharing with the world what is meant to be personal.

Truth is incarnated in nature. We know that the male initiates, while the female receives. Women take into themselves, emotionally and physically. God designed us this way, and our physicality bears this out. If God designed our most intimate selves to be hidden... shielded... He has done so for a reason. Sharing ourselves unwisely, precipitously, whether physically or emotionally, leads to harm. We open ourselves to heartbreak, feelings of shame, disease. Society suffers as well, which we see all around us today: broken families, lack of personal dignity, immoral behaviour.

It seems a leap to conclude that the moral decay of civilization results from low-rise trousers, and it feels very unfair to lay the responsibility for the preservation of sexual morality at the feet of women. But as sure as I love shoes, that's how it is. It is written into God's design: He gave us sensitive, intuitive hearts; we are receptive to His call, and inclined to piety; our bodies are closely connected to our spirits. It is for us to lead the way... and not just for the good of society, but for our own protection as well.

4 comments:

  1. This is another excellent post. Many in today's society see modesty as puritanical, outdated and restrictive of free expression and it is nothing of the sort. As this author expressed, it is an outward sign of a woman's interior life. How a woman, OR a man for that matter, dresses is very telling of what is going on in the interior of that person.

    Christ said at one time, that if a man gazes upon a woman lustfully, then he has committed adultery in his heart. I understood that, but what I never really saw in this, is that he was speaking to MEN. If a MAN. There is a simple reason for this. A man, as embarrassed as I am to say, is very susceptible to temptation by a woman's appearance. His imagination is bad enough to draw him into temptation and sin even with a woman modestly dressed, never mind with a mode of dress that is very revealing of her form.

    What does this say of men? Are we that brutish? Yes, some can be, but some of us are disciplined enough to know when a gaze is more than a gaze and to turn away. But when a woman does dress in a manner that is flirtatious, or immodest, then it leaves very little for a man's already overwrought imagination and trouble looms. The author expressed a great truth in the following;

    "...and it feels very unfair to lay the responsibility for the preservation of sexual morality at the feet of women. But as sure as I love shoes, that's how it is."

    Unfortunately, she is very right. Women have great power over a man. Despite years of feminist complaint that women have no power, they are wrong. A woman, by her conduct and indeed, her dress, does have great moral power over a man. More times than not, she does lead the man into a behavior that is either moral or immoral. Whether she is receptive or unreceptive, makes all the difference in the world to a man.

    I work with both men and women. Many times I've observed a woman approaching a group of men, and by her speech and behavior, elicits a certain conduct and speech from them. If she is dressed in something that accentuates her form, and her speech reflects this, the men are less than what I would call respectful. Yet, let a woman that is modestly dressed, (no, I don't mean having to wear a burka), and her demeanor characterizes a civility and moral expression, the men do a complete turn around, and are very careful in what they say and do around her when she approaches them. They do what they can to show her respect. She commands the behavior of men without her knowing. Yes, there will always be men that do not care a whit whether a woman is present or not, he will be uncivil and disrespectful, but for the most part, this is not so.

    Yes, a woman has great power of morality over a man, and that I'm afraid also comes with great responsibility. It may not seem fair that she should be burdened with this, but as the author stated, that's how it is. Thank you for a wonderful post.

    RJB

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like the notion that our outward demeanour reflects our inward disposition. I believe we can put ourselves 'out there' in other ways that give evidence of a lack of internal respect. One way is the quality (or quantity) of words we speak. So often women are stereotypically labelled as having lots to say while saying nothing. While we are more inclined to communication, we nonetheless need to have discretion in what we say. Some of the most talkative people I know are some of the most restless. It's as if they use their words to distract themselves from an internal chaos they don't want to deal with. I believe because woman are more in tuned to things of the 'heart', we have a responsibility to be mindful of our words so that they are listened to and respected.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Modesty and economy of language quality AND quantity - very interesting correlation. I have struggled with this as the ability to converse is honed (although some have an innate gift for it) and it is challenging to say what one truly means, and mean what one says - without fluff and nonsense.

    I have found that writing has helped hone my language skills, for obvious reasons, but most of all because one can look back at what's written and cut-cut-cut what is not essential. Unfortunately, that can't be done when speaking...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, the last two comments are so honest and heartfelt...I commend you both. And I agree, once our words are out of our mouths, we can no longer edit them or take them back. Once out, they are out to stay. We all need to be-careful at what we say and let the Holy Spirit guide our words. Thank you ladies.

    RJB

    ReplyDelete

About



What is a woman? What does it mean to be feminine? There is softness and hardness, compassion and ferocity. There is contentment and adventure, freedom and service. We're conundrums, especially to ourselves, but we all, in some way, possess beauty, creativity, intuition and love. We were made for love, and we are loved, cellulite and all. Here we aim to show every woman the richness and beauty of her own femininity and explore current issues relating to women in our world. We also wish to share our own experiences - exploring the joys and challenges of stay-at-home moms and single professionals and everyone in between. Welcome! So glad you're here!

Follow


Follow by Email

Search

Popular Posts

Powered by Blogger.