Do Guys Have To Be Modest Too?

A frequent objection I’ve heard raised when the topic of female immodesty arises is, “Well don’t guys need to be modest too?” This is a legitimate question; however, more often than not, this is only meant to be given as an argument for women to dress more immodestly, rather than a call for men to be more modest. In fact, we even have women participating in topless protests today. Men can take their shirts off? Women should be able to do so as well, right? Or so goes the reasoning of such protesters (if equality really is their true motive.)
The argument that women should be able to be less modest because men are less modest strikes me as incredibly juvenile. It is children who often think, “Oh, my brother didn’t put his plate in the dishwasher, so I don’t have to put my plate in either.”
I also find it insanely ironic that these Feminists are still letting men dictate what they do. Feminism is supposed to be about equality, and independence and empowerment for women…and yet it’s still, “Men do X. It’s considered improper for women to do X. That’s not fair. I want to be like men and do X too.”
What others do should not dictate what we do, rather, we should do what is right and good for others.Young Keepers of The Home wrote a great article about this which I recommend you check out if you’re a girl.
However, while it’s true that how guys dress should not dictate how girls dress, it is certainly true that the Bible calls for everyone, not just women, to be modest.
Female immodesty gets more attention because it seems to be much more noticeable. Practically every girl and woman these days is dressing in revealing clothing, whereas guys typically wear adequate clothing which isn’t as revealing.  I think male immodesty generally takes a different form unrelated to clothing.
As I’ve said in previous posts surrounding female modesty, the core of male modesty is the same. It comes down to humility, and humility is a matter of the heart.

Guys should dress modestly. This not only involves covering up, but also not dressing in such a way to try and draw everyone’s attention to yourself.
Male immodesty can be a stumbling block to females just as surely as the reciprocal. Guys should keep their shirts on in public. Guys also shouldn’t wear cut-off sleeves or any other kind of revealing clothing, especially not in situations when it is far from necessary.
Often, the motivation for guys who do dress in such a way is precisely to attract the attention of girls, or others. This doesn’t just involve removing articles of clothing, but the kind of clothing. Just as girls can get too caught up in their appearance and trying to impress or draw the attention of others, many guys are guilty of this as well. Dressing to try and bring attention to yourself is the definition of immodesty.
Humility, or modesty, is considering the importance of others above self-promotion. Rather than dressing to draw the attention of others, we should direct our attention toward others, and what is best.
Even if you don’t have any poor motivations behind the clothes you wear, we should think of others before ourselves.
As I said above, I think male immodesty more frequently comes in forms other than dress. One of these forms is speech.
I think we as guys often have a tendency to want to brag about ourselves. We want to be respected, and to have others think highly of us. Well, our subconscious considers, how can other people know how great we are unless we tell them? And so, even if it’s subconscious, we seek find ways to brag about ourselves, and yet not be seen as arrogant. This is also immodest.
Rather than trying to self-promote, we should use our speech to benefit others. Instead of being so self-absorbed and concerned about our own image and what others think, we should only care about what would be good for others.
Ironically, this kind of immodest speech reveals insecurity and weakness, when it’s meant to project strength, confidence, and capability. Those that are secure in who they are, don’t need to brag. They don’t need other people to think well of them to be able to function properly.
We must forgo such immodest speech, and reject this weak natural tendency, and instead embrace strength and humility.
Finally, actions are another frequent form of male immodesty. Often, many guys like to try and “show-off”, or act tough, or suave, or whatever it is that particular guy thinks is cool. Guys often like to try and draw attention to themselves with their actions.  Many times guys will show-off or only perform certain actions in order to get others to think of them in a good light.
This is immodest, because again, the focus is only on ourselves, and how we can get something we want from someone else, even if it’s only their favorable opinion. Instead, we should consider how we can act to benefit others, and do what is best for them, even if they never know it was us who did the good. Pride, the opposite of modesty, is what often gets in the way truly acting in a selfless and benevolent manner toward others.
Again, showing-off or other pathetic display of immodesty reveal insecurity. Those who are confident in themselves feel no need to try and manipulate the opinions of others.
So, do guys need to be modest? Yes, of course, and there are many Biblical passages encouraging and commanding us to be modest (Psalm 25:9, 1 Peter 5:5, Philippians 2:5-8) . Men definitely need to be modest too, not only in dress, but in speech and actions as well.
Modesty, at its core, is caring more about doing good for others than striving to make ourselves look good. This concept falls under the command of loving our neighbors. We are all called to love our neighbors; we are all called to be modest.

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  1. Awesome post! I definitely agree. I DO think men need to be modest, but not in a 'WAH why do I have to be modest and they don't' way. That really irks me. You have a point. Isn't feminism supposedly about choice?! Except it almost never is in my experience.

  2. Great post. I think that us guys can really do a better job of being humble and not showing off… I don't know how many times I've caught myself about to do something for no other reason than to attract attention or to make myself look good.

    I like how you point out that modesty is less about outfits and more about attitudes. So many people only seem to focus on the outward appearance of modesty, and I think we often miss the point that modesty is humility.

    Again, great post.

  3. I do think it is very selfish of guys when they tell us girls to dress modestly because we might cause them to stumble, then fail to realize that it isn't just a guy issue. Yes, guys are more visual, but we aren't blind! I think part of the difficulty is that most guys don't know how modesty applies to them. For instance, to wear or not to wear shirts to the beach etc. Is it, or is it not modest? Yes, it is culturally acceptable for guys. It's also culturally acceptable for girls to wear bikinis to the beach, (instead of other more modest choices) but I don't, because I have too much respect for myself and my brothers in Christ. (Plus, I go to the beach to swim, not sit around and look pretty!) If guys want to respect their sisters in Christ, then they should perhaps, try to show a little more consideration, and a little less skin. I don't personally have much of an issue with guys not wearing shirts, (besides feeling uncomfortable) but I know girls who do. Modesty, like you say, is definitely not one sided.

  4. I completely agree with you. This affects both men and women. Even if it affects men more proportionally, there are still a lot of women whom it affects, even if it's merely making them uncomfortable, like you mention. That's not how we should be treating others.

  5. Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. And you are very right. Feminism isn't about empowering women or giving them a choice. If it was, then Feminists wouldn't have a problem with those women who prefer traditional gender roles.

  6. You're right, it isn't. Thanks for this article Reagan, (I'm sure my brother would like to read it) and I'm with Jonathan on liking how you pointed out that modesty is an attitude, not just a dress code. I find it's much easier to dress modestly, than possess a modest spirit. I also liked how you made out modesty to be more about loving our neighbors, and dressing out of consideration for those around us.

  7. I know. I can relate.

    And right, modesty is an attitude. If you have modest character, all the external stuff will take care of itself.

    Thanks for the comment!

  8. Great post….. our motivation needs to be different than “what others do” “what's fair” or “what I want to do”…. when we seek to honor Christ and glorify Him in our lives, it bypasses much of that. That doesn't mean that we won't all be tempted, in some areas, to promote self… but we need to recognize it for what it is…. promoting SELF when we should be promoting GOD. Thank you. 🙂

  9. Such a great post. We have 5 boys. Teaching them that modesty is more than keeping their shirt on is critical to helping them develop godly character. In a world that worships and idolizes the opposite, this is not an easy task. Thank you for taking the time to share this!

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