Monday, February 2, 2015

Stop the War on the "Modesty Culture"


Many of you have probably seen numerous posts all over the web about whether or not to wear leggings and bikinis.  This one in particular has fueled me for writing this post: The yoga pants witch hunt: missing pieces of the modesty conversation (Thank you Hannah Schaeferfor expressing your views, however, some of them I don't agree with, but I hope this article will respectfully and adequately express my feelings on the subject.)







Some may say that wearing leggings or bikinis "show too much of your body and therefore lead men to sin", others however think that this is a "too severe" or "too conservative" point of view.

Personally, I believe both items can be attractive, but I think that it is wise to abstain from wearing either of them.

Why, you might ask, in our modern culture are they a problem?  When, as you can see, so many others wear the these items every day. 

These are the 3 main reasons why I don't wear bikinis nor leggings. 

Number one: I stand out, and in a beautiful way.
Dressing modestly encourages me to find rarer or unique styles to stay within my modesty standard, while following current fashions.  As a fashion conscious woman this is very good. A bonus of maintaining your morals is that you can encourage other people to do the same.

Number two: Because of the effects they can have on other people.
I know people constantly berate the "Modesty Culture" by saying that it makes women feel responsible for leading men to sin.  Now personally, unless you are intentionally wearing something to purposely lead someone to sin, I think you're fine, after all it's where your heart is.  I choose to not wear bikinis and leggings, because I don't want to make men (and sometimes women too, though in a different way) feel uncomfortable, guilty, or self conscious.  Each person has their own set of stumbling blocks, and while I can't and will not try to dress modestly for the entire male population (because it would be impossible) I will try to follow my own standards; guidelines I have developed through counsel, prayer, and reasoning.
 
A few of my brothers in Christ will say that bikinis and leggings aren't a stumbling block for them.  So why am I still against wearing them?  Though these might not be a sin issue for them, I know for a fact that they are for other people.  Some of those people might not even recognize bikinis or leggings to be a stumbling block, because they might not have the best intentions or correct morals.  Therefore, I am also protecting myself from their thoughts, while maintaining my dignity; rather than being considered an object, which brings me to my next point.

Number three: I want to be viewed as a person, not as an object.
A study from Princeton confirms my desire to not wear a bikini:

From an article on CNN's website:

"New research shows that, in men, the brain areas associated with handling tools and the intention to perform actions light up when viewing images of women in bikinis.
The research was presented this week by Susan Fiske, professor of psychology at Princeton University, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science."

Another article from National Geographic goes on to say:

"And in a 'shocking' finding, Fiske noted, some of the men studied showed no activity in the part of the brain that usually responds when a person ponders another's intentions.
This means that these men see women 'as sexually inviting, but they are not thinking about their minds,' Fiske said. 'The lack of activation in this social cognition area is really odd, because it hardly ever happens.' "

Now, I am not blaming men for thinking this way; that is their "Cross" to bear.  I want to help them overcome the stumbling block, or not even have to deal with it, as much as possible.  I also want to protect myself from being thought of as an object by a guy without a good moral compass or one who is failing at that moment.

And as far as leggings:
I feel like women are made up of a myriad of different aspects (beauty, mystery, charm, purity, personality... the list goes on).  In the case of leggings, I feel like the aspect of sexuality (which is a beautiful part of being a woman) overrides the others so much that it should be saved and given to the man that you have committed to stay with for the rest of your life (aka your husband).

In Conclusion:
With all of this said, I wanted you to know that I am not condemning anyone, but rather calling you to action and asking you to consistently think about your clothing choices, so you can help others remain pure, while maintaining your decorum.

Modesty and purity are not exclusively a female responsibility, rather it is a communal commitment to respect others.

I think we should stop this war over the "Modesty Culture", and rather with love and respect, work together past our differences, to make the world a better place.

See you on Friday's Vlog!
~Anna

Here are the links to the articles about the bikini study, caution, they are for a mature audience:
CNN
National Geographic

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