So, here’s the deal with modesty. The word can conjure (for me) the cheesy image of a demure maiden who lives at the turn of the last last century and speaks when spoken to. Nerdy and very homeschoolerish. I’m also not a fan of self-deprecating modesty because (1) it makes me think of the time a pastor I know accidentally interchanged “self-deprecating” with “self-defecating”, and (2) because it isn’t sincere. However, I do feel strongly about modesty in dress. One last disclaimer, I don’t dress like I’m Amish.
Growing up, I think my motivations to dress modestly were more focused on myself and my personal pride. Not “pride” in a bad way but more of a self-confidence in knowing I didn’t need to be sexually alluring to get where I wanted to go. This is a great reason, but now that I’m an adult with adult brothers, adult friends, and a husband, my motivations are much more “others” focused.
Every man’s battle is lust, and every man faces this battle every day to varying degrees. It isn’t a defect of his nature or an indicator of perversion, but simply one of the challenges that result from living in a fallen world. An attraction to beauty is hardwired into the nature of a man both for the obvious reasons like the whole continuation of the human race deal and as a reflection of an aspect of the nature of God.
There are many great reasons to dress modestly, but the most compelling one for me is just this: I don’t want anything I’m wearing to be a source of struggle or embarrassment for another person. I had a conversation a while back with one my brothers in which he expressed his frustration over the way women dress. He was frustrated because he felt that women don’t understand the challenges that men face and how something as simple as a low-cut top can undermine a man’s fortitude, becoming either a source of embarrassment over his failure, or an unwarranted irritation.
Here is my conviction: I dress modestly out of love and respect for the men I meet. I want the men I interact with to feel comfortable around me and safe in knowing that I’m not going to go out of my way to make their Christian walk any harder a journey.