(Part 2 of 3) To read Part 1, click here.
Part 2: Modesty: What Guys’ Think
The weakness of the male has been known and well documented for thousands of years. Girls know they can attract guys by what they wear (or what they don’t wear). Yes, it’s true. It’s not a myth. However, the kind of attention girls attract by dressing immodestly is not the kind of attention they want to attract.
In our culture today, the average male wants to indulge in this weakness. He likes immodesty. In fact, he may even prefer women wear less. However, for the Christian man who is trying to live a God honoring life, immodesty can be a major obstacle. A Christian guy I know (guy A) described it well when he said, “Life is a battle over lust for men and boys. I only ask that you don’t give aide to the other side.”
Sure, the responsibility is 100% on the guy not to stumble. He has the power to control himself. It’s no one’s fault but his own when he stumbles. But! It’s very frustrating when girls, especially his sisters in Christ, are aiding the side of Satan. You wouldn’t talk about cigarettes in front of a person who was trying to stop smoking, right?
Many girls don’t even realize how difficult it is for guys. Like girl B said, “I think people (sometimes) overestimate the impact of immodesty vs. modesty. Because immodesty is normal. It’s what society is USED to, so much so that it almost becomes unnoticeable.” Yes, immodesty is normal. Does that mean it’s not noticed? Absolutely not! It is normal and it IS being noticed, which means men are stumbling and struggling on a normal basis.
Occasionally a person will throw out the point, “Well what about guys? Guys need to be modest too!” This statement is very true. Males need to be modest just as much as females, however, the issue of female immodesty is so much bigger than male immodesty. Also, men are much more sight oriented, and are much more susceptible to lust through immodesty than women. God created this facet in men to be a blessing, but like all good things in God’s creation, it has been abused and corrputed by mankind and has led to sin.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:9, 12-13, “But TAKE HEED lest by any means this Liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak…but when you sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, YOU SIN AGAINST CHRIST. Wherefore, if meat makes my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh while the world stands, LEST I MAKE MY BROTHER TO STUMBLE.”
Like I was talking about in part 1, if your liberty causes others to stumble, then you no longer have that liberty. So girls, you can’t just wear whatever you want. If it causes others to stumble, then you are not just sinning against your brothers in Christ, but you sin against CHRIST! So if wearing something causes your brother to offend, then don’t wear it. Wear something that won’t slight someone else.
Why is it so hard for girls to be modest? Well then, this brings up the question, “What is modest?”
People like to make a big deal about it. They like to make it sound hard, but it’s not. Now, the stores do make it hard to find modest clothing (Who’s telling you what to wear again? Legalistic oppressive men? I don’t think so). However, it’s not impossible to find something. Just wear enough and make sure it’s not too tight. I mean, I don’t like wearing tight clothing. That’s uncomfortable. The same goes for not wearing enough clothes. That’s not fun either. Do girls really like forcing themselves into tight clothes, or being half naked? I don’t believe it.
Pants are fine, they just can’t be too tight. Shorts are fine, they just have to approach the knees. I don’t think that’s asking too much. All of my shorts reach my knees and none of my pants are skin tight. There is no practical or good reason for pants to be too tight or shorts to be too short. They don’t have to come right down to the knee, but they should be decently close, you know, for decency. Skirts, in general, probably should reach the knees though. T-shirts are fine, but again, they can’t be too tight, and they can’t expose anything. Not that hard. Now, I’m just talking about what’s modest and what isn’t. If you want to talk about what girls should wear, as in, what’s feminine or what looks nice? That’s an entirely different subject.
The Rebelution came out with a great modesty surveythat goes through the different kinds of clothing guys consider immodest. It’s a very valuable resource for any girl who wants to respect her brothers in Christ, but is unsure how.
Additonally, modest clothing is typically a lot more feminine. Long skirts and dresses…that’s feminine. Jeans, shorts, t-shirts, those are a lot more masculine or gender neutral. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a girl wearing those things if they’re modest. Jeans, shorts, and t-shirts can be modest. A lot of them aren’t because they’re too short or too tight, but they can be modest, and there are practical reasons for wanting to wear these articles of clothing. There are times when jeans or shorts can actually be much more modest than a skirt. Or, there are times when doing a certain activity wouldn’t be possible or practical in a skirt or dress, and it would be better to wear a t-shirt and shorts. However, there is no denying that a skirt is feminine.
I also really like what this article, Clothing and The Character of a Child Part 1, has to say about the importance of clothing. This blogger makes some really great points about how clothing goes far beyond covering up, and I wholeheartedly agree with his thoughts.
Not too long ago, women would pretty much always wear a dress or a skirt. But with the Feminist movement, women were convinced that they were “oppressed” or not equals to men, so they started wearing pants, and cutting their hair short (among other things) to try to be more like men. That doesn’t mean if a girl today wears pants that she is trying to be masculine, but that’s how it started. That was the idea behind it. And today, a lot of women do reject femininity. The culture has told them that it’s wrong to be feminine. So you see a lot more females acting and dressing like males. That’s not empowering women, that’s enslaving them. Forcing them into a role that they weren’t created to fill.
Men were meant to be masculine, and women were meant to be feminine. A feminine woman is more appealing than a masculine woman, and a masculine man is more appealing than a feminine man. Modest skirts and dresses are more feminine, so they’re naturally going to be more attractive. And that’s a general statement. Of course there are going to be individual cases where this isn’t true. But those are exceptions, not the rule.
Some fear that being feminine or modest is unattractive, but that’s a lie. You do NOT have to be immodest to be attractive. Here is what guy B has to say, “Something that is immodest is something that is designed to arouse lust within me. Attractiveness is a far more mysterious quality, a mixture of spirituality, personality and physical beauty.”
I really like this quote. Not only do I 100% agree with it, but it brings up another good point. What effect does a girl have on a guy when she is immodest?
I know a lot of girls dress immodestly to attract guys, and as I said at the beginning of this part, it works. However, it’s not the kind of attraction that any girl would want to receive.
First of all, a girl shouldn’t waste one thought or action on how to attract a guy. Girls (and guys) shouldn’t spend any time thinking about how to attract the opposite gender. We should focus instead on living for Christ and growing into the men and women He wants us to be. If we do that, people will be attracted to us, not because we have done anything to manipulate them, but simply because a person living for Christ is someone other people want to be around.
Second, when a girl attracts a guy because of immodesty, she is attracting him with her body only. The feelings she is stirring up in him are lust and desire, not admiration and nothing that even resembles love. Guys who are attracted in that way are attracted because they see an object they can use for selfish pleasure.
Brain scan studies published in National Geographic News February 16, 2009, have revealed that when men are shown pictures of scantily clad women, the region of the brain associated with tool use lights up (is activated). Tool use! For example, areas of the brain that normally activate in anticipation of using tools, like hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc. The researchers also found that a part of the brain that usually turned on during social interaction actually de-activated when they saw the pictures. Do girls realize they’re making themselves into objects—tools–when they dress immodestly? When you cease to dress modestly you can actually cease to be a person in the eyes of men.
However, there are good God-fearing guys out there who are striving to live for Christ. They want to respect women and treat them as equals and sisters. But in our culture, it can be a struggle to treat them the way they deserve because they insist on dehumanizing themselves. Immodesty invites guys to treat girls poorly. It can make it hard for guys to even see girls as people.
Immodesty is extremely unappealing to such God-fearing guys, but that doesn’t mean they don’t/can’t fall to their fleshly weaknesses. Lust is a weakness for guys, and I don’t like girls trying to prey on my weakness. When girls dress immodestly, I feel like they’re trying to take advantage of me because of my weakness. I feel like they’re trying to manipulate me. I don’t like that. Who does? Who likes people trying to take advantage and manipulate them? I don’t know how many girls consciously realize what they’re doing, but whether they realize it or not, that’s what they’re doing. They are attempting to manipulate and trip up men when they are immodest.
Because of these feelings, guys (at least ones trying to follow Christ) are extremely appreciative of girls who try to dress modestly. Also, a modestly dressed girl clues guys (and people in general) into a girl that potentially has a modest spirit, and a girl who is seeking to honor Christ rather than the world. In our culture today, a modest girl is going to stand out. It takes guts to go against the grain like that, and that’s impressive. So I just want to personally thank all the young women out there who are seeking to honor Christ and respect others by choosing to dress modestly.
It comes down to this: you can decide to dress immodestly and be treated as an object and a tool, or you can dress modestly and be respected and appreciated. Which do you prefer?
Guy C also makes this great point about immodesty, “It’s a testimony to insecurity when women dress immodestly. A woman who knows she is beautiful doesn’t have to walk down the street half naked to be noticed.”
Like in my post, What Are You Worth, if we get our sense of value or security from what other people think of us, we are dehumanizing ourselves and making ourselves out to be objects. But Jesus says that we are so valuable that he would die for us while we were yet sinners. While we were still in rebellion against Him, he would rescue us by dying for us! Yet so many s girls still think they have to show off their bodies to be thought of as valuable. That is so wrong. You show off your body and you’ll be thought of as cheap, not valuable. Have enough security in your life in Christ to know that you can dress modestly. And the truth is, modesty is infinitely more beautiful than immodesty.
So girls, do yourself and your brothers in Christ a favor and put some decent clothes on. If you want people, let alone guys, to respect you at all, you’ve got to dress modestly!
I really like what this girl (girl E) had to say about the whole issue, “The thing about immodesty being the norm is that it shouldn’t be. Sure, it is, and maybe some people tune it out, but I, for one, don’t. And it makes me, even as a girl, feel uncomfortable.
Yeah, lots of guys are going to ‘think bad thoughts’ anyway, no matter how girls dress, but that’s no reason to throw basic standards to the wind. That’s just a really bad argument. And yeah, I do agree that everyone’s standards can be different. My friends have different standards than I do, but I still think they’re modest (usually) and attractive. (They, however, still haven’t gotten over the fact that I, GASP, actually like wearing skirts. Geez.) Still, there has to be some rule of thumb, some basic starting point for Christians, or you can justify going back to wearing the trampy stuff because it ‘feels good.’”
And I also sincerely agree with the sentiments of this girl (girl F): “I think it’s VERY important to dress modestly. Not only does it please God, but it makes it easier for the guys. You can be very cute and fashionable, and also dress modestly. You can wear colorful and fashionable shirts, and jeans too (that aren’t tight), and skirts. They are very pretty and feminine. I think people these days are so careless in how they dress. It’s actually disgusting. When I walk past billboards with girls in bikinis, showing off their body, it just sickens me. It always makes me happy to see girls wearing skirts or modest clothes. It’s hard to find. To me, they’re much more beautiful when they’re modest, than when they’re exposing themselves.”
Immodesty really is a sad thing for everyone involved. A lot of girls do it to attract guys, which is totally wrong. Girls shouldn’t be trying to attract guys. Plus, the guys they do attract through immodesty are not the guys they want to attract, because those guys are not interested in those girls as people, but as objects for their own personal enjoyment. Girls think they’re being loved, but they’re really being used.
And then you have men who really and truly are trying to live for Christ, yet women are placing so many obstacles in their way. It’s frustrating and even infuriating. Sometimes there can even be a temptation to hate or resent the girls who dress that way, which is as wrong as giving into the temptation of lust. So, loving these girls and women the way Christ would have us love them becomes extremely difficult as well. You’re battling your fleshly weakness on one hand, and you’re battling not to resent the people who are trying to manipulate you and cause you to stumble on the other. Terrible situations to be in, I can assure you.
But again, if a man does fall pray to immodesty and sins, he can blame no one but himself. He is responsible for his sin. However, when a man sins as a result of a woman’s immodesty, the woman has also sinned.
1 Corinthians 8:9, 12-13, “But TAKE HEED lest by any means this Liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak…but when you sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, YOU SIN AGAINST CHRIST. Wherefore, if meat makes my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh while the world stands, LEST I MAKE MY BROTHER TO STUMBLE.”
Immodesty: It’s bad for everyone.
However, I couldn’t finish my examination of the issue of modesty without touching on the attitude of modesty that goes along with the physical clothing. Also, I can’t skip on what the Bible says about the matter. I’ll delve a little more into these two topics in Part 3.
Check out this site for more great modesty resources: Pure Modesty