Friday, January 11, 2013

Proud to be Modest?

Among fashion bloggers, there are numerous subsets.  There are the vintage lovers, the retro pinup set, the high fashion high dollar bloggers.  And there's also a set of modesty bloggers, showcasing their love of fashion married to their religious conviction on modesty in dress.  I've even come across several Muslim bloggers who highlight their fashion while adhering to strict "hijab" rules of dress.  (I hope I've said that correctly.  My intent is not to offend.)  

Elaine, a modest fashion blogger of Clothed Much posted this article from Jezebel on Twitter.  Apparently there is a website that asks the question, "Is this modest?" and then proceeds to answer said question.  This is how Jezebel describes the site.
"Is This Modest" is a website that claims to promote an open and practical dialog about modesty, but it's actually a male-gazey compendium of creepshots of high schoolers and misogynist rants about too-tight t-shirts. Is it possible to have a sane discussion about modesty? Not if modesty means, as it does on this site, that it's a woman's responsibility to prevent men from thinking impure thoughts. 
I tried to check it out for myself, but the site is now displaying a "under construction" sign.  But it does get me thinking about the modesty discussion and the thing I keep coming back to is that modesty is an attitude.  An attitude that is expressed in our demeanor, dress, conversation, etc....  So it seems paradoxical to take pride in one's modesty.  

There's a verse in the New Testament that seems to be on repeat in my head.
and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. (1 Thess. 4:  11-12)
 Mind my own affairs.   Wow!  That's not something I've spent a lot of my opinionated life doing.  But this is what plays in my head when I find my thoughts ever focused on what SOMEONE ELSE is doing.  Tending to myself and my own issues and trying to HELP not FIX someone else is more than a full time job.

I get it.  Both sides think that they are helping.  Modesty proponents believe that they are helping women to stop relying on their sexual attributes.  They also, I'm sure, believe that they are helping men, because, Hey, if women would just stay covered, men wouldn't have sexual thoughts about them!  (There is just soooooo much wrong with this theory!)  Those who decry such modesty based websites as misogynistic, believe that they are liberating women from being viewed as sex objects.  Often overlooking, however, how even the most feminist of feminists will jump at the chance to be portrayed as lust worthy.

Look, we're all flawed.  We ALL need help.  But that help is never going to come by finger pointing, judging and ostracizing one another in the name of a self proclaimed mission.  Both sides offer valid view points, but at the end of the day, it's our OWN selves we are responsible for.

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