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Beauty & Fashion

Modesty Roundtable: There’s More to Modesty Than Meets the Eye

Tara Teng Project inspired

“Why not?” they would question, eyebrows raised in curiosity and bewilderment. In a world that is founded on showcasing the beauty of femininity, it was unheard of to find a pageant girl who didn’t participate in the swimwear competition. As a former beauty queen, I made a conscious decision to never participate in swimwear competitions because I wanted to be known for my intelligence, integrity and compassion rather than my body shape.

I did not make this decision in an effort to be “modest;” I wanted people to see more than my body and know that my body does not define me. Furthermore, I believe that there is more to modesty than meets the eye.

In today’s culture so much of our identity is wrapped up in our body, our sexuality and the way we choose to dress. How we dress is an expression of who we are. Sometimes people will (wrongly) place labels and make assumptions on the character traits of others based on how we choose to dress. In response, dress codes and imposed standards of modesty are often made out of fear and an attempt to avoid harsh judgment or, in some cases, sexual immorality.

While modesty certainly can be a good thing, I believe that the freedom to express oneself through fashion belongs to each person and it takes a level of maturity to discern how it is best for you to dress. Your body is precious and your soul is sacred; there must be a level of respect that you present yourself with when you choose to dress. You are made for more than looking pretty, so what do you want your clothes to say about you?

Yet the truth is that the standard of modesty looks different for everyone and is different in every culture. Although fashion is a choice, there must always be a balance between personal freedom and respect. While you are free to express yourself through your clothes, your body is not a commodity to showcase and display.

This is where dress codes and modesty standards can get tricky. When we take away a girl’s choice by imposing dress code standards upon her, we are telling her that her body is not her own and that she needs to frame her identity within the power of the male gaze. We are saying that it is more important for her to cover up and “protect” boys from being distracted by girl’s bodies than it is for boys to stop lusting after girl’s bodies.

Quite honestly, it is far easier to tell young women to cover up than it is to teach young men to respectfully interact with and view women. Forcing girls to cover up while not addressing deeper issues of misogyny, objectification and rape culture is a serious problem. Furthermore, the sexism and commodification of women’s bodies throughout the media is rampant. We need to take back beauty and show the world that we are more than just pretty.

Ultimately modesty needs to be about respect, not fear. Respect for ourselves and others are what we ought to be striving for rather than policing standards of modesty.

Finally, I believe that the greatest expression of femininity is to see the holistic beauty of a woman: mind, body and soul. We are more than our sexuality, we are more than our bodies and we are more than the labels that others may place upon us. There are no two women who are the same. Each woman is uniquely gifted with talent, intelligence, strength and compassion to bless the world. If we consciously choose to focus on valuing ourselves and respecting others then, I believe, modesty will no longer be an issue.

Tara Teng

 

Speech-Bubbles MORE ON MODESTY: Go back to the Modesty Roundtable now!

 

Image: Tara Teng

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8 Comments

  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by nolasleuth on May 29, 2014 at 22:41

    HERE’S THE TEST !

    1st TIMOTHY 2
    9 In like manner also, that women of God should adorn themselves in modest apparel, and by doing this, let them display their self image with “shame facedness” (modestly) and sobriety (discreetly); with an “attitude” of meekness and lowliness, and a Godly woman should never use her body as a Common Public Billboard, simply using her looks and image for allurement, or lewdness, by employing the seductive acts of braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array, which are the practices of a harlot. May it never be spoken of about you.

    10 But let a Christian woman of modesty demonstrate her Godly confession with the evidence of humility by showing conduct with good works, a humble submitted woman to Christ, a woman that is professing her godliness by denying to wear the garments of the Egyptians or the mindset of Egyptian women, so that where ever she goes, her character heralds that of a virtuous woman.
    A Christian Man looks for a woman with a good resume, a woman who is respected, and honorable, well spoken of, impeccable character, with a good brain for management and could be the CEO of a vast empire, or that empire called a “family”.
    A virtuous woman, who can find her for her “worth” is far above that of jewels!

    The entire purpose of Christianity is not to force you to do anything.
    Christianity is Jesus, and it is you becoming a Disciple, and you repenting, and you renewing your mind so that you will want to follow Jesus.
    Only Jesus can renew a worldly polluted mind saturated with this worlds images and ideas.
    The mind of Christ, which will rehabilitate your mind so that the wisdom of Jesus will guide you.
    DO You call on Jesus to help you make the selections for your life, friends and clothing?
    DO You want Jesus going with you to buy clothes?
    DO you want Jesus to help you chose friends and activities?
    DO you want Jesus to select a spouse to marry?
    Truly if you have the “mind of Christ”, then chose those things that Jesus would.choose.

    The Mind of Christ does not walk with “the Goliath Boys”, nor hang with Goliath’s Philistine friends. Goliath wants to party and play with you.
    Goliath does not want a relationship with you, Goliath wants you, but on his terms.
    When you dress like the Philistine girls you will end up with Goliath’s simply wanting to carouse and have some sensual and recreational sinful pleasures for a season just because that is what fun and that is what the Philistines do.

    Do you have a Philistine mind or the mind of Christ?
    The New testament apostles were constantly teaching the Churches that “Freindship” with the world is “enmity towards God”.
    Paul explained that do not fall in love with or be addicted to or bewitched by the world and its sinful lust and appetites. The world hates Jesus and his commandments.

    The Hedonistic world runs follows debauchery, dissipation and wanton living.
    The world likes to Mardi Gras, schools like to Mardi Gras, even Churches like to Mardi Gras !

    Christians are not to covet to Mardi Gras, nor keep company with such people, nor to make these people our daily friends. And we should never “covet:” the Mardi Gras people nor their clothes, their practices nor their music.
    A Christian Disciple is set free to not walk in the slavery of sin with sinners no more!

    The people of Israel were destroyed for the Mardi Gras people into the land.
    Once their Israel then started allowing after the practices of the heathen and pagan ways.
    And worse thing they did,,,, was to date and marry with the children of the Satan.
    Now the whole nation was infected and polluted.

    It was a small snowball, that took 400 years rolling downhill that led to the point where it was hard to tell the sinners from the people of Israel.
    So God was kicked out, and left and just watched till the time of redemption came.
    The Romans visited Israel and looked at the land and saw they could conquer Israel because it had no Armour from the God of the Universe to protect them.

    Jesus wants you to let Him control your Brain and renew your mind.
    Jesus wants to stand with you when you will look in the mirror.
    Jesus wants to Disciple you, and Jesus will teach you to discipline your self so that no one will speak bad of you when you walk in church or out in public.

    Jesus wants YOU to impose your own dress code upon yourself using the Bible to guide you.
    When you can discipline yourself, now you have control of your mind, not satan.
    You are no longer under the control of “the sinful nature”,
    With Jesus disciplining you, Now you can spot Satan’s schemes and Devices.
    With the mind of Jesus you will not be beguiled or deceived by Goliath or his friends.

    With the mind of Jesus,,, Now you will not let sensual lust or self image idolatry “motivate” you to dress up your body like a Public Highway Sign.

    Now you are empowered to dress up the INNER BEAUTY of the godly virtuous woman.

    YEP there surely is more to MODESTY than meets the eye!

    Jesus ,,, Do you have an APP for “modesty” I can download?

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by Kida on April 23, 2014 at 20:48

    Something that’s immodest on one girl might be modest on another, too.

  3. SitInHisShade

    Posted by SitInHisShade on March 10, 2014 at 17:05

    EXACTLY!

  4. BFFofGOD4EVER

    Posted by BFFofGOD4EVER on February 19, 2014 at 13:51

    Because I have grown up in a house with 6 brothers, I have found that guys can’t help the thoughts that pop into their heads when they see an immodestly dresses girl. (My idea of immodesty is shorts that are less than 4 inches long (leg length), WAY-too tight tops/exposed cleavage, or mini skirts/dresses that you can’t bend over in.) Sure, my formal dress for this year goes an inch above knee, and it’s strapless, too. But just remember that guys think about girls differently than girls think about guys. 😉

  5. Project Inspired

    Posted by ivyandroses on February 16, 2014 at 09:56

    Basically perfect

  6. swagggirl

    Posted by swagggirl on February 7, 2014 at 19:51

    Well put. I really really like that, it makes modesty seem less of a disatorious and more of a respect for yourself.

  7. Lovely Mistakes

    Posted by Lovely Mistakes on February 7, 2014 at 19:12

    Good article 🙂