The internet has been buzzing recently, and it’s all about modesty.
First it was The Modesty Panel: a fascinating look at the different perspectives on modesty from various body image/bra fitting bloggers from around the world. Then, the web erupted when the news of Sarah Minder hit. (For those of you who have just crawled out of your cave, she is the Washington state high school senior who was instructed to “cover up her cleavage” or be barred from her prom.) This story hit every major media outlet like a lightening bolt in a storm, and evoked cries of “discrimination”! (It evoked cries of “bullshit!” from yours truly.)
This got me thinking about the topic of modesty. I said to myself “Jessica, what does modesty mean to you?” Turns out, it means quite a lot.
You see, modesty is one of those topics that you approach with caution. Talk about it to the wrong person, and you’re being screeched at that it’s “The Man’s” way of putting women “in their place”. (Seriously people, stop screeching. I’m not going to listen to you if you’re shrill, and I might punch you in the nose.) I don’t particularly like those people, and don’t want them screeching at me, so let me get this out of the way right from the get-go: I believe that grown women should be able to wear whatever the hell they choose.
With that being said, I think that modesty is one of those multifaceted topics that requires a lot of thought, and a good long look at all sides of the topic. Because let’s face it: there are certain situations in which modesty is appropriate. There are certain situations that it is necessary, and there are certain situations in which I don’t give a flying fart in space what you’re wearing. Allow me to outline:
If you are working in an office: it might be appropriate to dress for that setting. I don’t think it’s necessary to wear a miniskirt to a board meeting. If you are representing a company or business, you are serving a client. If you are working for a company that serves tightly-knotted, conservative older people, perhaps you should dress the part. And for the record, don’t even think about crying “sexism”. The same goes for men: Don’t show up to a board-meeting in an Ed Hardy deep-v and acid washed jeans. I’m not going to take you seriously as a businesswoman/man if you don’t dress the part.
If you are at church: Again with the conservatives, people. If the situation calls for it, it may be good to cover up just a little. I’m no church-goer, but I think the general consensus is this: if you would wear it to the club, you probably shouldn’t wear it to church. This is another one that goes for guys and girls alike. If it’s likely to make Great Aunt Ida fan herself and faint, you should probably tuck it back into the closet, and save it for a Saturday night.
If you are at the beach/Wal Mart/the Club,etc: Wear whateverthefuckyouwant, honeychild! The beach is one of those places where I expect to see various bodies in various stages of undress. If you want to wear that itty-bitty bikini or those teeny-tiny speedo shorts, go for it. I’m not judging you. In fact, I’m probably a wee bit envious of that rockin’ confidence that you possess. You work that suit, friend, and you look damn good. Same goes for if you’re headed to the club in a bodycon dress that hugs your body in just the right way, and makes you feel amazing. You don’t just FEEL amazing, you LOOK amazing too. Don’t forget it! And if you want to wear your pajamas to Wal-Mart, go for it.
If you are a child/teenager: This is going to be a controversial one. (And it’s also where the “grown women” parts of my beliefs comes into play.) I’m tapping my fingers together in anticipation of the angry comments/emails that I may receive. Bring it on, folks. I’m ready for debate. I strongly believe that it is important to instill this in our children: wear what you want, wear what makes you feel beautiful. BUT, be mindful of the rules, because they damn sure apply to you. This is in response to the prom-dress-fiasco, specifically. I don’t like the fact that so many people are siding with this girl because she “can’t help it”. Like she’s some superspecialsnowflake, and the rules should somehow not apply to her, simply because of her body. I don’t wanna hear it. There are resources out there for us boob-y ladies. Blogs, retailers, tailors: you name it. We aren’t the only ones “suffering”. Tall girls get called out in school for wearing “too-short” shorts, just because they have long legs. Busty girls get called out in school for showing “too much” cleavage. Boys get called out for wearing offensive tee-shirts, or too-saggy jeans. Are these rules silly? Some of them, yes. Are they necessary? I think so. Because school is not a fashion show. It is an educational facility, not a catwalk. I don’t know about you, but I went to highschool. In theory, the whole “No dress code, freedom of expression, FUCK YEAH!” thing is wonderful. In practice, it would never fucking work, not in a million years. Let’s not teach our children that the rules don’t apply to them. Let’s teach them how to work around it, how to make them work for them. And if they don’t like the rule, let’s teach our kids how to go about changing it the right way.
So there you have it, folks. For those of you who get turned off by walls of text:
TL:DR: Wear what you want, in moderation. Exercise common sense. Teach kids that dress code rules still apply/can be changed the RIGHT way.
Like anything, there is a time and a place for modest dress. And while everyone has differing opinions of what “modest” means, exercising some common sense never hurt anyone. I realize that this is only scraping the surface of such a complex idea. I also realize that some of you still believe that modest=sexism/being put down by “the Man” and this more important then anything I’ve outlined above. I’m open to some intelligent debate, but if you come at me screeching, I’ve got a punch in the nose with your name on it. 😉