A Modest look at Modesty

I have been seeing a lot of blogs and articles talking about modesty lately. On occasion I feel like we are missing the point of modesty.

From my perspective as a Christian woman and mom to daughters, I want to tell you what I think modesty is and is not.  Let’s start with what it isn’t.

Modesty is not about keeping men from lusting or acting inappropriately. That is their job. Each man is responsible for his own thoughts and actions. If he’s indulging in lustful thoughts toward any woman, he will be held accountable to that before God. I understand that images can be difficult to ignore, but that’s why you don’t indulge. Avoid what you can, men, and deny the indulgence of sin. If a man uses the way a woman dresses to make excuses for his bad behavior, he is still responsible for it. I cannot blame the cookie for my eating it or gaining weight. I chose to eat it, the cookie cannot become a cookie ever again, and I cannot take back what I did. (yes, this is probably a terrible metaphor, but I hope you get the point: Men acting on their lust hurt women and men cannot ever take back what they have done. Acting on lust in any way can be irreparable.)

Regardless of how you dress, you are not responsible for the choices someone else makes. Keep in mind that I am not in any way endorsing dressing in immodest fashion because while I see it as an ill-guided attempt to make a statement, usually, immodest dress comes down to gaining attention in an unhealthy way.

Modesty is not about hiding the female body behind layers of fabric. It is not about being frumpy or anything of the sort. One doesn’t have to wear a burka or a Little House on the Prairie dress to be considered modest.

Now that we’ve highlighted only a couple of the things that modesty is not, let’s examine what modesty IS:

Modesty is respect

  • respect for one’s body
  • respect for one’s self (your character-who you are)
  • respect for others

As a woman, I am responsible for myself, my actions, my words, and my thoughts, just like any man. There is no difference in this regard between the genders. I refuse to blame others for the choices that I make, and I want to hold them responsible for the choices they make.

Modesty in dress isn’t saying to the world that I’m better or holier than thou, either. In fact, when I make a concerted effort to choose clothing that accentuates my body in a modest way, without over-revealing it, I am saying I respect myself as a woman, and I respect you as well. I do not then hold myself and my desire for attention or fashion as more important than those around me. I care about other people. And while I care about what they think of me, I care more about what they see in me, which is what I would rather they were thinking about to begin with.

The old adage, actions speak louder than words, is still true today. The way we dress is an action, and it certainly speaks to people from the time we enter grade school (maybe even from the time we’re born) until the day we are laid in the grave.

Be beautiful, sparkle and shine, stand out a midst the crowd, but don’t do it with the skin you reveal. Make the effort to respect your self by respecting your body and respecting others. You won’t regret it and anybody who’s anybody will respect you, too. Those are the people you want around anyway. 🙂

‘nough said.

-Rachael Ritchey

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8 thoughts on “A Modest look at Modesty

    1. I have a feeling people are now imagining me in bulky turtle necks and long jean skirts…fashion no-no… Uh…for one thing, I try to stay away from turtle necks ’cause they make my head look tiny on a huge body and secondly, I stopped wearing long jean skirts like two years ago. 🙂 I kinda love the cookie analogy, too, but I usually get really strange looks when I try to make such comparisons. haha Glad you get it!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Um, they were. Now we have moved on to “maxi skirts” which are long jersey cotton skirts. Jumpsuits are becoming quite popular now, though, so they maxi dress and skirt may be on the move out of fashion? I sometimes feel like I’m on the tail end of things…hence the reason I just gave up the jean skirt two years ago. I think that fad died out more like five or six years ago. 🙂 short (mid-thigh to knee length) jean skirts come and go in the fashion world, but I’d just stay away from them if I were you. It’s too easy to make a fashion blunder with them. Who knew I was such a fashion expert? haha

          Liked by 1 person

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