Answer: A whole heck of a lot! As I mentioned in my intro post, I grew up in an Evangelical home attending an Evangelical church and thus I learned from an early age that modesty was of the utmost importance. In fact, girls should take it upon themselves to protect their seemingly powerless brothers in Christ from the temptation and sin of lust! We do this by following three simple guidelines:
- No tight jeans/short skirts!
- No cleavage! (i.e. must wear color coordinated tank top under V-neck/low cut shirt at all times)
- Absolutely NO BIKINIS!
Let me be the first to tell you that training girls like this is harmful in so many ways. For me it produced a kind of self-hatred. I didn’t realize this until a few months ago when reading another blog on this topic. As an adolescent girl I always felt like I didn’t have any body image issues. My nose wasn’t too small, my lips and ears weren’t too big, my hair wasn’t the wrong color, and I loved food too much to stop eating it!
But I did have issues. My face was too beautiful and my body was too attractive. Every time someone told me how pretty I was, I cringed inside. Every time a guy looked at me in that way I felt like I was letting them down. There were even multiple times that I asked God why he made me look like this!?
So for all those people who consistently ask me why I’ve never dated and why I’m not dating, here’s your answer: “I’m not comfortable with a man being attracted to my physical body.” And that is a shame. Because God did make me look like this. He made me in His image- heart, mind, soul, and BODY- and He is beautiful, so why shouldn’t I be? Not to mention, the physical part of any relationship is also very important!
I had these crazy fantasies about finding a guy who, when I asked him why he liked me, would say things like my intellect, my sense of humor, my passion for truth and justice, my desire to know God…and who wouldn’t mention my physical body. Turns out, guys don’t exclude that last part, and I’m glad! PS~ if they do, they’re 1) lying or 2) not the guy for you! (actually if they’re lying to you, they shouldn’t be the guy for you either)
I’m not saying that the idea of modesty is something to be thrown out the window, but I do think it’s something we need to reevaluate. Maybe I’ll post my thoughts on what I consider it to be tomorrow 😉
Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I have broken all of the modesty rules: I love skinny jeans, no longer wear tank tops under all of my V-neck/low cut shirts, and have been spotted poolside in a bikini.