How the Modesty Doctrine Hurts Men, Too

How the Modesty Doctrine Hurts Men, Too February 14, 2012

by Sierra

I’ve written a few times about how the modesty doctrine hurts women. Now it’s time to switch lenses. The modesty doctrine also wreaks havoc on the minds of young men in the Christian patriarchy movement. Here’s how:

  1. It teaches men to be afraid of women because their sexual power is too great to be resisted.
  2. It teaches men to despise women and hampers their relationships.
  3. It teaches men to be afraid of their own bodies.
  4. It teaches men to control and criticize women in order to protect themselves.
  5. It teaches men to be paranoid about their sexual orientation.
  6. It teaches gay men that they don’t exist.
(There are probably more consequences of which I’m not aware, so my male readers will have to help me fill in the blanks!)

Before we go any further, a definition. The “modesty doctrine” is the belief that women need to cover their bodies to prevent men from being attracted to them, because sexual attraction leads to sin and death for both. The modesty doctrine is not the same as wearing conservative clothing. You can do the latter without believing the former. It is the belief, themindset of the modesty doctrine that is so harmful. Not the clothes.

1. The modesty doctrine teaches men that they are constantly under assault. Advertising images of sexy women in skimpy clothing feel like clouds of fiery missiles  hurtling into their brains. They have to avert their eyes everywhere they go just to avoid the images, and on top of that there are actual women wearing skimpy outfits. They feel like they can’t get away from sexual stimuli. When you’re taught that merely seeing something can defile you, guarding your eyes from “evil” becomes your eternal chore.

For boys going through puberty, this is especially painful. They can’t participate in mainstream culture (if they’re allowed to in the first place) because the music, television and movie industries bombard them with sexual images.  The solution, according to fundamentalist preachers, is to “change the culture” by telling women to cover up. But this is disingenuous. Once you’ve planted the idea that feeling attracted to a woman is sinful lust, you can’t walk away that easily. Women who already do dress “modestly” are the next targets. Are they drawing attention to themselves with fashionable jewelry or luxurious hair? They should cover up and wear plainer clothing. Young men at Message youth camps would complain if a girl had on sandals or nail polish because her feet and hands were too attractive. Were they just trying to be mean? Some might have been, but not others. Many of them were just hypersensitive to the opposite sex (you know, like almost all teenagers) and very, very afraid of falling prey to lust.

Men who are raised with the modesty doctrine learn that everything women wear is directed at them. When an “immodest” woman walks by, it feels like both a test and an assault. My best friend from church got a job at Wal-Mart when he was 17, and he complained to me endlessly about how women at his workplace would tease and flirt with him. I was treated to a detailed account of how one of the women (also a teenager) stood behind him and ran her fingers across his lower back. He went stiff as a board and tried to brush her off as politely as he could. Perplexed, she asked whether he might be gay. He related this story in helpless frustration. He couldn’t figure out how to avoid female attention without acting like a jerk, and his co-workers couldn’t understand how a heterosexual man could want to avoid female attention. He felt like he was hemmed in by demons and armed with a toothpick.

2. Young men can react to this pressure by learning to despise women. Even as they are being taught not to look at women’s bodies, they are being taught to look at women as bodies.They are encouraged to speak hatefully about the scantily-clad models on magazine covers and billboards. Pastors scream about filthy harlots from the pulpit. The specter of Jezebel is raised and crucified once again. In Message circles, young men grow up hearing Branham’s crackling voice crying that “immoral women” are lower than dogs and livestock. This translates easily to hating girls who just happen to wander into their sight “immodestly” dressed. My male friends used to vent their frustrations by mocking “fat” girls who wore shorts, because “no one wants to see that.” It didn’t occur to them that it would be hurtful to me, a thin girl, to see them dehumanize other girls. Now, as I look back, it strikes me that they really believed that women only wore skimpy clothing to attract them. Everything women wore was directed at thempersonally, because they were men.

Walking down the street for them must have been like fending off endless trays of hors d’oeuvres at a party. Only the hors d’oeuvres were poisoned, so it was urgent that they turn down each offer, graciously if they could, but most of all firmly. Every woman who walked by was offering, inviting, enticing them to sin. If their bodies responded, they were in peril for their lives. The “fat” girls were easy targets for these boys. Although they were still “offering” (by not dressing “modestly”), they were like sardines on a platter: lacking allure, they were easy to turn down and laugh about afterwards. Finally, the idea of being friends with such a girl or listening to what she had to say became ludicrous.  She had already said everything she could possibly want to say to a guy when she put on a pair of shorts.

(I won’t go into detail about the horrible ramifications of teaching young men that women are constantly offering themselves for sex just by being visible. But I’m sure you can imagine what I might say about that.)

3. The modesty doctrine teaches men that the worst possible danger lies between their own legs. They are taught to fear their bodies and natural urges. There is no such thing as an innocent sexual thought for an unmarried Christian man. There is most definitely no masturbation. When a guy actually courts a girl, he must walk the impossible line of learning to love her without wanting to kiss or touch her at all. Courtships and engagements can be blindingly short for this reason, but what happens afterwards? A man who has been taught to avoid feeling attracted to all women, including his fiancée, now suddenly has to be passionately attracted to his wife and able to perform. This sounds like a recipe for a lot of false starts, fears and failures of communication.

4. The modesty doctrine does not give men any tools to deal with unwanted sexual attraction. It only tells them not to feel something they can’t help, and then tells them that they could go to hell for it. They do not learn to take a beat and let it pass, to move on and forget about it, to live their lives with the security of knowing that they are in charge of what they do. They literally believe that they can be moved to animalistic rape by the curve of a woman’s knee.

Evangelical Christian culture teaches men that being faithful to their wives is an incredible challenge. Evil women are lurking everywhere, waiting to pounce and drag them into their dens of sin. Women’s sexual power is so overwhelming that, at any moment, they could topple into the devil’s pit. Worse yet, there’s nothing they can do to prevent it other than pray and avert their eyes. No wonder they feel helpless. No wonder they’re afraid.

It is this perpetual peril that drives evangelical men to ridiculous lengths to rid their world of sexual stimuli. The only way to prevent the inevitable (adultery or fornication) is to keep women under wraps (literally). Men become micromanagers of their wives’ and daughters’ clothing. My pastor once chastised his 11 year old daughter for wearing her sweatshirt off her shoulders (with a t-shirt underneath). “Either take that off or put it on,” he ordered sternly, warning her that boys might see the sweatshirt and think about her taking all her clothes off. I was mystified that this had even entered his mind. Because the Christian patriarchy movement invests men with such significant power, their fears take precedence as the laws of the home. Because it’s impossible for a man to fully protect himself, the job falls to all the women around him to make sure he doesn’t turn into a sex-crazed werewolf.

5. The modesty doctrine gives men contradictory messages about masculinity. The doctrine teaches them that they need to protect themselves from sin by avoiding feeling attracted to women. American culture, on the other hand, tells them that the only way to prove that theyare masculine is to be interested in sex with women (along with violence, beer and mechanical things). Christian boys feel like sitting ducks for abuse from their peers, who assume that they are gay because they avoid participating in the rituals of adolescent sexuality (like flipping through smutty magazines and checking out the cheerleaders). Since conservative evangelical groups consider being gay an even worse sin than having the hots for a girl, these boys are trapped between a rock and a hard place. They are terrified that gay boys will be attracted to them, and terrified to be attracted to girls.

My teenage best friend was constantly trying to assert his heterosexuality. Not only could he not date (taking away the “I have a girlfriend” excuse), he couldn’t spend time alone with female friends, return the playful glances of his coworkers or have a crush on a movie star. He therefore plunged headlong into identifying as a “nerd” whose intellect left no time for girls. The truth was that his family had forbidden him to court until he finished college. While in college, perceiving visual assaults on all sides, he locked himself in his room for almost the entirety of a six-week study abroad program in France. The reason? There were girls there,drinking.

6. Finally, the modesty doctrine erases gay and lesbian people entirely. The idea of being gay is just a terrifying specter for straight boys in this culture; actually being gay is frightening to admit, even to themselves.  There is literally no code of behavior for them other than to “repent” of their “sin.” I’m not sure which one is worse: being told that you’re an abomination or being told that you don’t exist. In either case, gay boys are receiving signals that they aren’t men, because “real” men need to wrestle with their attraction to women and suppress it constantly. “Every Man’s Battle” is the revealing name of an evangelical anti-pornography initiative. For gay men, there is an entirely different war going on. Theirs is a lonelier battle.

What do I make of all this?

It’s a lot of needless suffering for both men and women. Sexual attraction is a biological norm. It happens, whether you’re young or old, gay or straight, in a relationship or not. It lasts for a second and you get on with your life. But by pairing those fleeting moments of appreciation for a face on a billboard or a stranger’s lean legs with sinful lust, evangelical Christians have created an impossible bind for men and a culture of hostility for women. Living outside of this culture now, I can tell the difference between attraction (when a man smiles at me across the street or pays me a compliment) and lust (when a man follows me with his eyes fixed somewhere below my shoulders, or says something vulgar). What youdo with sexual attraction is what makes you moral or immoral. If you accept the lie that you can’t control yourself and use your sexual attraction to control or intimidate others, then you are indeed enslaved to your own lust and a danger to people. If you recognize, however, that you are always in control of your own actions and that you can choose not to act on sexual attraction, you can protect yourself and others. Self-control and respect for others are the lessons we should teach boys (and girls). We should not teach them to fear their bodies, feel attacked by the mere sight of attractive strangers, or despise the people they find attractive.

These are the things I’ve discovered through growing up with mostly male friends (an odd circumstance that got me punished in various ways in my fundamentalist church). I have also learned a lot from men who weren’t raised this way, who are used to living their lives without worrying about feeling attracted to strangers, or sexy pictures, or movie stars. I can’t pretend to know all the details of either experience, but I do remember the agony in the voices of my friends who were tired of fighting the modesty battle all the time. I remember their frustration and anger when girls flirted with them, and they were powerless. I remember how much they resented being called gay, and how they assumed stances of superiority to fend off the hurt of being falsely identified with a group they were taught to fear and hate. I can hardly imagine the frustration of actually being gay in this environment and being told weekly that you are an abomination in the eyes of God. All this heartache could have been avoided by adopting a normal approach to sexuality.

If I could do anything to soften the blows of the modesty doctrine, I would tell young boys, “There is nothing wrong with you. It’s normal to feel attracted to people. You can want to eat nothing but chocolate cake all the time, but you know that wouldn’t be good for you. You also have the power not to have sex until you know it will be good for you. Your body belongs to you, and you decide what it does. This is your freedom and your responsibility, not anyone else’s.”

The modesty doctrine is a game that no one ever wins. It perpetuates fear and contempt in men. It oppresses women. It needs to stop.

Discuss this post on the NLQ forum. Comments are also open below.

Sierra is a PhD student living in the Midwest. She was raised in a “Message of the Hour” congregation that followed the ministry of William Branham. She left the Message in 2006 and is the author of the blog The Unspoken Words: A Non-Prophet Message.

Read all posts by Sierra!

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Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

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  • CJ

    I absolutely agree with you–as long as modesty is dictated on the premise of fear. To cover oneself out of terror that one’s sexuality is too much for apparently irrational and benighted men is a travesty, stupid and confused.
    However, I would posit that modesty has another premise upon which it is naturally based, that being dignity and respect. In the dignity-and-respect approach, one admits that sexuality is important, that men and women will be attracted to one another, but not in fear. The aim of being modest ( which does not mean burqaded, skirted or doused in layers of frumpy material) is focus on the dignity each woman (and man) has as an individual, not as an object. Wearing flattering clothing is a must. Wearing ill-fitting, pointedly revealing–or carelessly revealing–clothing is demeaning. It isn’t terrifying. It is objectifying.

  • Liriel

    No, it isn’t objectifying when someone is wearing what makes the wearer comfortable and confident. Whether that’s chin-to-ankle covering or a crop top and daisy dukes.

  • africaturtle

    “Even as they are being taught not to look at women’s bodies, they are being taught to look at women as bodies”
    Exactly. have had many of these same thoughts myself, Sierra…thanks for this article.

  • Michael Bernard

    The goal of modesty is to protect against unmarried sex. Evangelicals correctly know that there is agreater chance of premarital sex if sexuality is too open and especially if there are no consequences. This fits logically with the intense opposition to contraception and abortion. Both allow people to more easily have sex. So the thinking goes that if there are no barriers to non-marital sex then sex becomes too easy. Modest women help in the battle to stay a virgin until marriage and faithful once married.
    The solution is Calvinest avoidance of any hint of sexuality. Funny how they are never worried about women being interested in sex too, just men.

  • Anonymous

    Well said, Sierra. Really, every one of your points could be an additional full-length post. It’s terrible what we do to ourselves and our children by teaching that there’s no option other than self-destructive repression/fear or self-destructive screwing everyone we meet. It also shows up in rape culture, particularly the part that says if a woman has had sex with someone before, she doesn’t have a right to refuse it to someone else (unless she’s married) or to the same person at a later time. She’s either a virgin or a “slut” with no right to self-determination.

  • Women have the right to decide what clothes we feel comfortable with wearing. We are to be treated with respect, and not to be insulted or taken from, no matter how you feel about our clothing or appearance. It isn’t all about you.

  • Encourager

    I think maybe I agree with you on this concept of healthy modesty aimed at dignity and respect. It doesn’t even have to be tied into something religious. It seems that with culture, there must be extremes — either women will be covered from head to toe and wearing a burka, or they will wear what they want when they please, even if that means being half naked. I think that certainly we should be able to choose what we wear, but I also think that if we wear next to nothing, we should not be surprised that the only thing people see is our bodies. There is a happy medium on this issue, just like there is on most issues.

  • Ambidexter

    Evangelical Christian culture teaches men that being faithful to their wives is an incredible challenge.

    The Modesty Doctrine teaches it’s the woman’s fault if a husband strays into temptation. A man never, or hardly ever, seduces a woman, it’s always the other way around. A man’s urges are barely restrained and the slightest feminine wile will cause him to become a rutting bull.

    I have to wonder how many evangelical men promote the Doctrine in order to excuse their own infidelities.

  • Cinthia Pickett

    Fine. Then when men gawk or leer at you (particularly men you aren’t attracted to), don’t complain. You do what you want, and the men will, too.

  • Sierra

    That’s truly abhorrent logic. Street harassment is about intimidation and power, not attractiveness. (See for the horrible things public leerers get up to.) Men should be capable of seeing women they’re attracted to without gawking or leering (or worse), no matter what they’re wearing. How do you imagine male doctors, surgeons, nurses and paramedics are able to cope with female patients? By controlling themselves like adult human beings.

    You are holding one group of people responsible for the behavior of another group of people. That only makes sense if the latter are children.

  • Deven Kale

    The only problem with this idea is that evangelicals willfully ignore the fact that sex happens (especially in teenage years), in spite of the known consequences. Teenage kids who know the risks will be having sex even if they know nothing about contraceptives and are completely aware of the chances of pregnancy and STIs.

    Calvinist avoidance of anything sexual will just add to the confusion of these teens. One day they’ll be playing around with their friends or in their backyards, and something will accidentally come into contact with their genitals in just the right way to where it feels good. They bring it up to their parents and the parents, in their avoidance of the topic, just tell them it’s nothing and not to worry about it.

    The kids then go to their room and explore it a bit. They tell their friends about it, and they explore it together (this happened to me personally). Maybe they’ll tell their friends of the opposite sex too, and they’ll find some way of exploring it with them as well (this didn’t happen to me). Soon enough you have these kids having sex without having any idea what they’re doing, or what the consequences are.

    One day someone’s daughter ends up pregnant. But nobody knows how it happened, especially the girl, because she “never had sex!” “Sex is evil! She would never have an evil thought or (gasp!) actually commit such an evil act as having sex!! It must have been the devil! Maybe immaculate conception! One of those HAS to be the answer!”

    This isn’t hyperbole, this really happens in groups where the entire community avoids talking about sex to their children. This is why people don’t do that anymore. It’s been tried, and it always fails, in one of the most traumatic ways I can think of. To me, this situation would be worse than death.

  • echidna

    Attitude is everything. I was a member of a swimming club pretty much from age 6 to 18. Boys and girls saw each other every day for several months of the year in swim gear (yes, the tight racing variety – this was Australia, where the racing swimmers, aka budgie smugglers, for boys and men were standard since 1927). The girls were gently told (at around age 12 or so) to not tease the boys because it would be unkind. It was a fantastic experience for the boys to be able to be around scantily clad girls, and in all of those years, there was never any embarrassing moment that I was aware of. The group was one of the most relaxed mixed-sex environments you could imagine.

    I never saw people as relaxed with their bodies in the USA, even in swimming training environments.

  • P Smith

    It boggles my mind that people promote such nonsense and idiotic dogma. It would not surprise me if some of these sexually repressed males turned sociopathic, bottled up and exploding in a rage of rape, murder (vis-a-vis, Marc Lépine’s mass murder at École Polytechnique in Montreal) or child molestation (re: celibacy and priests).

    Just look at muslims and their attitudes towards female skin being visible. If rape as “punishment” for women in some countries isn’t proof of how whacked religion is, then what is?


  • P Smith

    It boggles my mind that people promote such nonsense and idiotic dogma. It would not surprise me if some of these sexually repressed males turned sociopathic, bottled up and exploding in a rage of rape (e.g. Denis Rader, the BTK serial killer), murder (vis-a-vis, Marc Lépine’s mass murder at École Polytechnique in Montreal) or child molestation (re: celibacy and priests).

    Just look at muslims and their attitudes towards female skin being visible. If rape as “punishment” for women in some countries isn’t proof of how whacked religion is, then what is?


  • P Smith

    Please excuse the double post, and please remove the first or second.

  • Jackie

    I should feel sorry for men who make the rules that women shouldn’t show any skin, because they end up turned on even more by inadvertent glimpses of non-sexual body pieces? How does that work then?

    No. I have no ability to pity such self-inflicted confusion. Such a long post trying to excuse and explain the misery men go through in insisting women have no sexual being without their approval, only to find something sexual in them any way…poor dears.

    Better you should say “feel sorry for young boys who grow up worshiping uncovered elbows” because their father’s have deemed everything sexual when it comes to females. Or better still to say “In the need to fight sin, our male leaders obsessed so much on it that sin is all that exists.”

    This demand for modesty is twisted and twists. Look at fundamentalist Muslims (and fundamentalist Jews). Cover the hair. Cover the legs, no, cover them MORE. Cover the arms. Now make the woman look like she is wearing a sack. Crap, she looks sexier than ever. Try covering her face. Urgh, want her even more. I know, don’t let her drive or leave the house. Pfew. Now I don’t have to look at other women.

    That is what “modesty” does. There is no end to it until women are hidden. MEN are to be pitied?

  • I very much appreciate the sentiment behind your article, Sierra. I fear, though, that you limit your effectiveness by painting all Evangelicals with a Message brush. Those of us who want to leave the Message and its doctrine about women “accidentally committing adultery” behind are not all willing to throw away the Bible and the words of Jesus about “looking with lust”. I think you did an awesome job of showing the difference between lust and normal appreciation. Evangelicals are a very large and diverse group and I believe it’s short sighted to put them all in the same box with the ridiculously confining and self-righteous Gothardites and Message followers.

    I hope I managed to strike the right balance in my response, because I don’t want to discourage you at all, simply inspire you toward a more moderate approach with respect for those in the Evangelical camp who AREN’T villifying women who dress with an eye to comfort and freedom of movement or teenage boys who are experiencing normal attraction to the opposite sex.

  • I don’t think Sierra’s pitying the men who make the rules, but the boys whose childhoods and teen years are stolen and warped by them.

    I know of multiple young men who suffered clinical depression, one suicide, many addictions, and I think much of it is due to unrealistic expectations and teachings with regard to attraction and relationships. For one thing, the cult Sierra and I left taught that the Fall of Adam and Eve in Eden was sexual in nature. Couple that teaching with a young man’s naturally enhanced attraction to the opposite sex and high libido, and you have a scenario tailor made for disaster. (This comment comes from a woman who still believes the Bible and patterns her life after Its teachings- without the warped lense).

  • Lilah

    Oh, do you think that men will “gawk or leer” at me if I wear a sweatshirt with one side hanging off the shoulder and with a T-shirt underneath, just like the preacher’s daughter in the essay did? Would I be showing too much skin if I just wore jeans and a T-shirt? How modest is modest enough? If we aren’t wearing a burqa or if we aren’t covered head to toe in some other way, does that put us in the same league with women who go topless or wear thongs at the beach?

  • Sierra

    Exactly this is what I meant. Thanks, NewLife.

    Much of what I write is about the effects of Christian patriarchy on children and adolescents. None of it excuses the men who create these doctrines.

  • Sierra

    The problem is that there is no convenient way to refer to the network of ideas that the Message, Gothard, Vision Forum, Nancy Campbell, Stacy MacDonald and others participate in. They all call themselves evangelicals. Mark Driscoll styles himself as a contemporary evangelical, yet is also part of the network – how would you describe him? “Fundamentalist” has a set of meanings attached to it that don’t match this new wave very well; fundamentalists, for instance, were the ones who fought against the Pentecostal emphasis on miracles and revelation in the early 20th century. This network can’t be identified by denomination because they often have none, or are mixed up in several. The “Christian patriarchy movement” is the closest I think we can get, but it doesn’t encompass the fact that evangelical Christians are the ones inventing purity balls and pledges and stressing modesty. Not even all of them homeschool.

    In short, I refer to these phenomena as part of evangelical culture because that’s what people in these groups identify with. The thing about evangelicals is many of them are quite happy to accept the majority of what Message believers believe, and yet sneer at Message people because of the whole “prophet thing.” (I don’t think the Message is special enough to have its own “brush.”) The only thing I can say to evangelicals who don’t believe in modesty culture is that I’m not talking about them. If the shoe doesn’t fit…

  • amellifer

    I’ve just found your wonderful blog, and I really appreciate the fact that you are talking about these things. I grew up in a fundamentalist religion that wasn’t evangelical, but your message rings true for it as well. I had a lot of anger growing up for the boys my age, for these reasons. But your post has helped me to understand how difficult the message was for them as well. And, looking back, it was always grown men who spoke to my father or mother about my perceived failings.

    A story: When I was 14, my mother sewed me a white sundress. It covered me from shoulder to mid-arm and down to mid-calf. It wasn’t tight. It was made of beautiful material, and I felt lovely in it (in the running-through-sunflower-fields way). Because it was white, we tested it in a variety of lights – to make sure that you couldn’t see through it. It was completely opaque everywhere we tested it. I wore it on Sunday at Bible School. Someone spoke to my father about it, because it turns out that you could sort of make out my bra when I bent over to pick up my Bible/hymnal. I was mortified. I loved the dress, though. My mother loaned me a slip, and I wore it to church several months later. This was a problem, because there was a piece of lace at the bottom of the slip that could be seen through the fabric if I crossed my legs when sitting (the lace was below my knees). My mom then sewed an internal slip, using the leftover fabric. This was a problem, because it wasn’t a full slip, i.e. you could see that it cut off at the knee. Once again, it was only visible when I crossing my legs while sitting. After three conversations with the mystery-brother, my father forbade me to wear it. My father was extremely angry at my mother for persisting in trying to “fix” the dress. I was grounded.

    That was about 20 years ago. My father (who is still very much a member of the church) recently talked to me about this episode. What he said was, “I don’t know why I didn’t ask him why he was so intimately acquainted with my 14 year old daughter’s underclothing. I wish I had asked him why he knew, by his own admission, that the slip only showed when you crossed your legs. As a father, I should have been horrified that a middle-aged man was ogling my underage daughter – and telling me about it. Why was he staring at you in church?” The dress was modest. The problem wasn’t the dress. The problem was that a man in our ecclesia (word used for church), found me lovely. It was a damaging episode for me. It was damaging for my mother. It was damaging for my father. And it was the brother’s personal problem.

  • nolongerquivering

    Wow – you have an amazing story! HOW DARE that man scrutinize your dress like that?!! Ugh.

    Welcome to NLQ – I’m glad you found this site too. 🙂

  • Sarah

    This is a bunch of assumptions, and I find all of them petty and with no basis. Ignore these assumptions and they wont happen. The BIG PICTURE is ignored. Its purity. I know I dont want an impure man. Only a virgin who has the least eye fill possible. Therefore the relationship will be multiplied and last longer. Especially when already married for ten, twenty years. What happens when your husband is naturally lusting after all of the uncovered women he works with, sees on the street, on the tv. DUH! He jacks off to them, and ignores you!!!! and he may have sex with you once in a while, but its not as good as the young ones dancing around his head. This is the cold hard truth. The reason I cover my body in front of your husband, future husbands and sons.

  • jenny nixe

    Sarah, my husband would not be lusting after you on the street in any event. Your lack of familiarity with standard written English would be a complete turn-off.

    Men are human beings, nor crazed sex monsters. They are capable of committing, and remaining faithful, to their wives because they have love and respect for them. The dance of intimacy in a non-submissive relationship can provide enough interest and stimulation for a lifetime. My husband knows what’s out there, and he chooses me. Not because he’s afraid of hell, or doesn’t know anything else.

  • Tina

    I really enjoyed your thoughts. Well said!

    I find a similar obsession with modesty within other branches of Christianity. I am currently a Mormon Sunday School teacher to 12 – 18 year-old girls. I am *so* sick of hearing lessons on modesty! I am especially sick of the lists of “Dos and Don’ts.” I hated it when I was a teenager, and I still hate it as a leader. Of course, I want these girls to dress in an appropriate manner and with confidence and style for any occasion. Does that mean that skirts must be of a pre-defined length or that they can’t wear a sleeveless sundress? Of course not! However, I am in the vast minority in my own religion.

    I truly wish more lessons on modesty lessons focused on developing self-confidence and projecting a confident, stylish image of yourself than warnings about showing too much skin. (Obviously, if a girl wants to project a confident, put-together image, she won’t be wearing bare midrifts and showing thong a g-string above the waistband of low-rise jeans. Neither of those really shouts, “I’m aiming to be CEO of my own company,” right?) The admonitions of what *not* to do are quite unnecessary if we focus on them becoming the best, most empowered young women they can be!

  • Tina

    “a thong” not “thong a” – cut/paste error. 🙂

  • I agree with you about the point, but quiverful people cannot.

    They do not want the thought of being CEO to enter the heads of their daughters. They tell their daughters that life is all about men, and daughters lives should revolve around a father untill they find a husband.

    And then they tell their daughters not to dress in a way that get male attention…

  • JR

    One time when I was 13, I was in my house wearing long shorts (almost reached the knee) that were not tight fitting about the legs, and sitting on the floor with my knees bent, while the minister came to visit. My mother suddenly told me she needed to talk to me. Pulling me aside into my room she said in an outraged whisper, “When you sit like that he can see up the leg of your shorts to your underwear!” I don’t know if she had caught him looking or if she had noticed the angle or what. I was just embarrassed at the time. It took many years later for me to wonder, “Why was no one appalled that the minister was trying to get a glimpse of the panties of a 13 year old girl?”

  • Emmaline

    I just wanted to say that I absolutely agree with this statement.

    Our family dresses relatively modestly. (not all skirts or anything like that.. just.. normal I guess) but we do it because of dignity and respect.

    I in no way think that a womans modesty is a leash that keeps men from sinning, and I do believe it is very possible to make a young man hypersensitive to a womans body by making an issue where there is not one.

    “If I could do anything to soften the blows of the modesty doctrine, I would tell young boys, “There is nothing wrong with you. It’s normal to feel attracted to people. You can want to eat nothing but chocolate cake all the time, but you know that wouldn’t be good for you. You also have the power not to have sex until you know it will be good for you. Your body belongs to you, and you decide what it does. This is your freedom and your responsibility, not anyone else’s.”

    As a homeschooling, evangelical christian, (not patriarchal though) I plan on teaching my boys *this* absolutely. This is just common sense and I know very many christians who believe the same here.

  • Emmaline

    That is just counter intuitive.

  • Beryl

    I am not being mean or rude, so please forgive me if it comes across that way .Your father should have not grounded you for that.And you should have spoken up on your own some 20 years later. It concerns me that mothers and daughters don’t speak up for such ridiculous control from the so call “man of the house.” We allow husbands and fathers too much control over us as females. I may be rare,but, as a teenager I recognized and rejected male rudeness and domination… for all and any men. I still get into heavy discussions because i feel the need to speak up for anything men say or do against women.

  • Bill

    it is no coincidence that cultures and religions with the most vile attitudes toward women are also the ones that are the most extreme in their views of modesty.

  • Drew

    You are awesome! Teach those boys right!

  • Persephone

    Sarah, if modesty saves a women, explain to me about all the women in burqas in Afghanistan who were raped, who were beaten, who were murdered. The ones who starved to death, along with their children (except the girl children who were married off to pedophiles), because their husbands were killed fighting and they were not even allowed to beg.

    A virgin husband isn’t going to make a difference. It’s what’s in his brain that counts. And if you consider sex as making you impure, wouldn’t it be safer to never marry and carry on the tradition of the first Christians?

    A man who views women with respect is the right man, whether or not he’s a virgin.

  • JE21

    This entire article is a cop-out, and is extremely exaggerated. I grew up being taught to dress modestly, and my brothers were taught to respect women. How would being taught not to think of a woman as a hot body make men feel like they have to choose between being gay and pursuing girls in a sexual way? Articles like this are what give men the idea that they are victims, not doctrines like modesty. It just goes to show how quickly Americans turn to playing the “victim” card instead of doing the harder thing, which would be to man up and live up to sound principles. Are there weird people out there who take the modesty principle too far? Of course- that is why these days not only is there “conservative” and “liberal,” there is also “radical conservative” and “radical liberal.” Do religious leaders exist that perhaps go about teaching modesty in the wrong way? Yes, because people are not perfect. Does this mean we need to write an entire article devoted to explaining how teaching modesty warps the minds of men? The vast majority of young men and young women who grow up learning to be modest maintain MUCH more solid and lasting relationships than those who do not.

  • KH

    Well Said!

  • KH

    This is a terrible idea. You can’t control every situation.

    This is akin to never teaching a child about firearms. At some point, they will stumble across one. I prefer to teach my children how to safely handle a gun without getting themselves shot (Stop, Don’t Touch, Leave the Area, Tell an Adult). If you simply never teach them that a firearm can hurt them if used negligently, then at some point they are going to get hurt.

    The best way to avoid problems with premarital sex is to teach them about sex, its benefits AND its consequences, and leave it up to them to choose. Lucifer had a plan that forced people to be good too… God rejected it as well!

  • MS

    I think it’s interesting to use the phrase “battle to stay a virgin” — reminds me exactly of Sierra’s statements on how anything immodest becomes a personal attack on men.

    And Sierra’s important point is that making sexuality a black and white issue (purity leads you to heaven, sexuality leads you to hell) means that there aren’t any grey areas to be discussed and dealt with. It really does lead to silence and fear. Young people need to understand why before being told “that’s bad/evil/sinful/etc.” If waiting until marriage to have sex is important, then by all means, teach that to your children, but explain why in terms that are loving, not militaristic. We’re not at war with sex.

    It is interesting how the doctrine of modesty doesn’t assume women have sexual feelings. That’s a topic for a whole ‘nother post.

  • Tyson Greg

    Growing up as a christian boy, I felt many of those feelings you described. I felt like sexuality was such a bad thing that it had to be avoided like the plauge. I served an LDS mission, and up until I turned 23 I stayed clean. Then one day I snappped. I felt intimidated by girls although I went on many dates. I turned out Gay. I have a boyfriend but I hate myself. I want to be straight again, but this brainwashing of extreme sexual avoidance got me in a rough spot. I’ve tried to commit suicide twice. I’m just 23, and want to be married to a woman and have children, but I feel like I keep getting further and further from God. I don’t know who I am any more… Help

  • G. McCurry

    Tyson, if you hate yourself for what you are doing–STOP doing it. You know the answers, quit looking for excuses. The Lord will help you. but as long as you go to people who will make excuses for you, you will continue to make foolish mistakes and continue to hate yourself. Repent and feel the sweet peace the Savior offers you. Don’t worry, we all need repentance of one type or another. You are not abnormal, you just stopped following what you knew was right. Hang in there you can do it.

  • Kristin

    Tyson, I recommend that you find an unbiased counselor who can help you figure out what is right for you and deal with these feelings of self-loathing. You aren’t making excuses for yourself, merely trying to find your way. You don’t have to live as a straight man to be devout, have a happy family life, and be the father of children. And whether you decide you are gay or straight, you are still worthy of love from God, yourself, and others. I hope and pray that you’ll find peace and happiness, whatever path you take. Please be gentle with yourself. I’m sure you have much to contribute to this world.

  • Chelsey

    I am extremely annoyed by this post ! Not only is it completely false and written iin a completely one sided manner it is ridiculous ! I would much rather my daughters be modest then flaunt their bodies and by doing so attracting attention from mn of all ages and walks of life . The modesty doctrine DOES NOT STATE women should cover them selves up because sexual feelings are a sin. This is a flat out lie . It states that women should respect their bodies and to remember that the body is sacred and the same for men . You can chose to a point what u believe is modest and what u feel comfortable in . But honestly I’d rather men be attracted to my mind not just my body and being modest definately helps . Young boys and girls have so many hormones running through them the last thing they need is the opposite sex running around half naked this is where teen pregnancy comes in to play !! There are so many negative things going on in the world and u chose to critique those who are trying to preserve te sanctity of our bodies and those of our children !! U have issues period

  • Jaime Conde

    This whole argument is incorrect, although the idea has some validity. Yes, there are HUGE problems with sexuality in the christian culture, but that is because some people treat sex like the plague to their children. It’s up to the parents to be open about sex and teach their children and not treat the word like taboo. These problems have NOTHING to do with modesty, and this argument is just dumb.

  • Jaime Conde

    AMEN to Chelsey

  • jim

    i have always been an advocate of modesty but never the doctrine. it has always been my thought that being modest has little to do with what you wear and almost entirely your mindset. having and maintaining virtue has more to do with self-awareness and confidence than the length of a skirt. men and women can be crude and tasteless wearing a trenchcoat. the sooner we realize that what we are has little to do with our physical and almost entirely on our mental and emotional the better off we will be.

  • So many here failed to understand what you were saying. I’m sorry.
    In my faith and culture, modesty reigns supreme, and it has risen to the level of ridiculous. A few months ago, on Valentine’s Day, in fact, a boy left a note for a girl he found to be dressed incorrectly. She was wearing tight jeans or leggings (I forget which) and a dress that hit about an inch above her knee. The trouble, of course, was not that she was dressed wrong, but more likely he was attracted to her, and considered his response to her to be sinful. (Or felt entitled to enforce a campus rule as an unlicensed fashion policeman.)
    These boys need to be taught they have control over themselves, and to “judge not that ye be not judged” lest they end up single and alone their entire lives-which IS a huge problem you didn’t touch upon here. Men who do not learn this lesson live in fear of women and themselves. Though they want desperately to marry, they are crippled by a mindset that allows no woman to be righteous enough for them. These men also want to control every aspect of their lives and everyone around them-a guarantee they will live alone forever.

  • Randall

    The modesty doctrine I remember being taught wasn’t about young womens bodies. It was about understanding that the body, male and female, is a divine gift, the gift of gifts, half of a sould, part of personality, being; a temple to house one’s spirit; that it should be cared for, protected, respected, and adorned appropriately. The boys as well as the girls were taught to clothe the body modestly because it is sacred, not because it might tempt someone, we didn’t need anybody to tell us that we were attracted to each other.
    The modesty doctrine helped us respect the young women who didn’t use their bodies inappropriately to garner attention and affection, it helped us look deeper and find value in all. It had nothing to do with attacking females or males, only teaching correct principles of dress and decorum. I think the author might benefit from a refresh by attending standards night again once or twice with an open heart. There is no place I know of that is more specific or adamant about proclaiming the body as something divine. As for her other points, nothing fans attraction for a woman like one who demands respect and glows with the knowledge of who she is and why she’s worth waiting for.

  • Madamoyzelle

    Tyson. I’m quoting you:

    ” I felt like sexuality was such a bad thing that it had to be avoided like the plauge. I served an LDS mission, and up until I turned 23 I stayed clean. ”

    Tyson. What is dirty?

    Tyson. NOBODY “TURNS OUT TO BE GAY.” NOBODY. I guarantee you that anybody who is telling you that you can choose your sexuality is lying to you. I have never, ever heard of anyone who is naturally straight say that “I chose to be straight.” And anybody who is Gay NEVER said, “I chose to be Gay.” They will always tell you, “I am Gay. I just refused to admit it to myself.”

    Tyson–go to a place that is quiet, and where you are certain you are alone. And then say outloud, to yourself, “I am Gay.” And then listen to your heart, and feel what you feel. Remember–you have to be brave. That will take balls for you to do.

    Don’t be afraid. God will still be there for you. Be compassionate with yourself. Be kind with yourself. Love yourself. Be patient with yourself. All of the things that LDS advocates that you should do for others–do now for yourself.

    It is a very good idea, as someone else suggested, to talk with a counselor. I would recommend that you find someone who is in the general community, and not someone coming from a Christian/religious perspective, who may damage you with more guilt. You have enough of that already. A non-judgmental counselor can help you sort out your beliefs and your feelings, and you need help doing that.

    Much courage to you. If you start this journey, you will end as an honest man, who can live an authentic life.

    Love yourself as you love others!


  • Madamoyzelle

    NUTS to Chelsey.

    Attacking the writer and telling her that she has issues is rude. AND it clearly shows you up: YOU have issues.

    No, it’s not where teen pregnancy comes into play. Teen pregnancy comes into play because parents don’t tell their sons that having sex without condoms can cause girls to get pregnant. Also, I do NOT see anything in American culture that tells teenage boys that they need to save themselves for marriage. But religions and our culture certainly do like to attack the girls, and make the girls responsible for what boys do!

  • Madamoyzelle

    Randall, your post starts well, but had me laughing at the end:

    ” As for her other points, nothing fans attraction for a woman like one who demands respect and glows with the knowledge of who she is and why she’s worth waiting for.’

    So Amish women are hotties? They don’t demand respect though. They just serve. You’ve seen women demand respect? Really? How did that turn out?

    “Recommending” anything to the author is rude. She lived this. She is writing about what she lived and observed. This is how her Christianity told her life was to be lived, and moreover, what is Truth. If you don’t like what you read, blame Christianity in all its various guises. Leave the author alone.

  • Jaime Conde

    A few months ago, are you talking about that incidence at BYU? She made it seem she was modest, but my friend was sitting right there and there is no need to get in the specific details, but the news story was no where near what happened. Do I agree that the boy should not have passed a note? Yes, I think it was inappropriate for him to do that. But again, my comment is that the issue has nothing to do with modesty, it has to do with how parents and families teach sex to their children and react when sex is brought up. Women dressing modest or not has absolutely nothing to do with how I see a women. I honestly believe there is just something that women cannot understand, no matter how you are dressed, and no matter who the guy is, if he is attracted to women, he always sees her body. Even with baggy cloths, a guy is attracted to a nice body. How he deals with it has nothing to do with modesty, it has to do with how he is raised.

  • kristin

    Tyson, please call the Trevor Project.
    They have trained phone counselors who can help you to understand that you are a beautiful, healthy person just the way you are. You deserve to be alive, to be happy, to be accepted.

  • brokin

    Chelsey: Like

  • Davis

    So…. why do women wear skimpy clothing then? This a question I’ve had for a REALLY long time… what’s the point? Is it because you’re warm and you’d prefer not to be? Is it to compete with other women? What’s the point if it’s not to look more attractive to men? Or is it just because you look “cute”? Where did that all start then? Is it a self-esteem booster? What’s the point?

  • Sylvia

    Thank you for addressing this issue so eloquently. As a feminist and member of the Mormon church, this has been a constant frustration for me. I’ve been encountering chastisement for the way I present my body since the age of thirteen, and I find it completely ridiculous that even pre-pubescent girls are being objectified in their respective religious denominations. You expressed the root of this problem very well. Again, thank you for your insight.

  • Jen

    I am a woman who has adopted the modesty doctrine as an adult. I spent my undergrad years dressing in a way that drew attention to my body and I found myself in relationships that were undercutting me as a person. It was more about sex or my appearance. I started throwing up what I ate to maintain a figure where I could attract the man who would care about me as a person.

    Then about 4 years ago, I met a group of people that all subscribed to this doctrine. I noticed that men and women were friends and hanging out in a big group together, with no sexual tension and an emphasis placed on conversation and getting to know each other. The friends I gained during this time, to this date, are the closest friends I have ever had. I actually felt like my self-confidence increased by putting on a cami under lower cut shirts or dresses or by wearing knee length dresses. By covering up, I felt like it was saying to others I want to known for me, not my body. I also started dating one guy within this group. Although there were tensions there, especially over levels of intimacy that were appropriate for dating, I never had a man respect me more while dating. I have never had a man know who I was more or care more about me, as a whole person.

    I do think there are drawbacks where all the pressure seems to be put on women and when I teach my kids about this doctrine, it will be taught it is about respect. Both men and women do need to learn to control their own impulses and make it someone else’s fault. If there is some person, man or woman, dressed in a way to draw attention to sexual traits, it is possible to look away or avoid the situation. This is a high ideal, especial given the culture, but it is praiseworthy when someone deliberately knows their own limits and then takes actions to prevent their own behavior from being unacceptable. That is the ideal I will teach my children- know your limits and understand what behavior is acceptable before marriage. It is both sexes responsibility to take actions to prevent their own behavior from leading to somewhere beyond a limit. In a relationship, that means talking about limits too, so it doesn’t catch the other person off guard. And if your significant other has limits different than yours, why would you tempt someone you love? If we were talking about alcohol and an alcoholic, or a peanut allergy or sensitivity, would someone that loved someone carelessly serve the person alcohol so they could not drink it or give them a dish with peanut oil? Especially in a relationship where you know someone else’s boundaries, it is important to consider in modesty of dress. If you can’t do that, then that person may not be for you.

    My final thought, is something my father said to me after I adopted the modesty doctrine. I did not grow up with this doctrine and I am the only one in my family that subscribes to this doctrine. My father told me if I wanted to get a guy/boyfriend/husband I should show more of my body/boobs. That men are attracted to the body and will chose who to ask out based on these factors. I told him I wanted to find a guy based on who I am and my brain over my body. He just responded by telling me that might work in an ideal world, but not in reality. This saddens me, a lot. Whether it is through the modesty doctrine or some other way, we need to be teaching the next generation to respect their own and other’s sexuality. Given today’s culture, this seems to the best way I can adopt to protect my own sexuality and to be treated as a whole woman, versus just a few of my parts.

  • RN

    Much ado about nothing here. But for Christians, the bigger question would become is, will you pick and choose what you want to follow in the Bible when it mandates in I Cor. 11 that women wear head coverings? “Well, we don’t like that so we’ll just remove that part from the Bible…”

  • Truefire

    Best comment here.

  • Truefire

    Sorry, the author has no idea what it’s like to be a man. The ‘modesty doctrine’ is not just some made up bull. It’s just obvious to men who want to treat women with any degree of respect. I will do my best to respect anyone, no matter what they wear. All the same, for men who struggle with such things (most of them) it doesn’t help when women wear revealing clothing. Most women can NOT understand this. Males and females are wired differently.

    I have a saying,” Women have periods, men have exclamation points.” It’s true. Women’s near uncontrollable emotional ‘time of the month’ is not much different than the ‘exclamation point’ men get when turned on – they can’t think of anything else. It’s a near impossibility.

  • Truefire


  • Truefire

    Nail on the head.

  • Concerned

    Discipline is always hard for people. Why can’t people just be told they are incorrect? The same argument can be made for giving children guns. What if mainstream culture thought it was awesome to let 3 year olds conceal and carry? “Well…we shouldn’t tell our children different! Why that would make them weird!” That’s deception and frankly stupid.
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. No one can change or argue that. I didn’t make it up, I can’t change it. God covered our nakedness. We should take the hint. He doesn’t dig it.

  • jane

    yea you know what it is interesting because men are the ones who have to put their nasty little dicks in everything that moves. they fuck cows when no one’s looking, and they ARE the ones who’ve created this damn culture where everything is about dicks and money and vodka, women STILL RAISE KIDS AND WIPE YOUR ASSES FOR NOTHING but being told to suck dick and make a sammich???? let me just get my gun. so dont DARE say that women are the same as you because they’re fucking NOT. we’re superior as hell and your problem is that you cant accept it cuz you’re too damn proud. im not afraid of my own damn body. god gave it to me, it looks damn good, and i practice bellydance to make it even better because i like how it looks for ME. do NOT get on here and read someone’s article and just leave a comment saying its all wrong and we’re all lost souls. your religion has all but destroyed every culture its been forced upon. you DONT help. you never have. there are so many people/races/groups in this world who dont even know who the hell they are because of YOUR little group not being able to accept GOD’S diversity. dont even get me started. im a single woman and i cant stand men after the shit treatment i’ve gotten, and i was a damn SAINT. i tolerated EVERYTHING and was never ever appreciated and had to learn the hard way that all you assholes really ARE the same. and as much as i like this article, in all honesty, i can really say that i dont give a DAMN if men are screwed up because of the modesty bullshit because y’all sure as HELL have ruined everything else. its about damn time you got a taste of your own damn medicine. kiss my beautifully-toned arab ass.

  • jane

    Michael Bernard: yea you know what it is interesting because men are the ones who have to put their nasty little dicks in everything that moves. they fuck cows when no one’s looking, and they ARE the ones who’ve created this damn culture where everything is about dicks and money and vodka, women STILL RAISE KIDS AND WIPE YOUR ASSES FOR NOTHING but being told to suck dick and make a sammich???? let me just get my gun. so dont DARE say that women are the same as you because they’re fucking NOT. we’re superior as hell and your problem is that you cant accept it cuz you’re too damn proud. im not afraid of my own damn body. god gave it to me, it looks damn good, and i practice bellydance to make it even better because i like how it looks for ME. do NOT get on here and read someone’s article and just leave a comment saying its all wrong and we’re all lost souls. your religion has all but destroyed every culture its been forced upon. you DONT help. you never have. there are so many people/races/groups in this world who dont even know who the hell they are because of YOUR little group not being able to accept GOD’S diversity. dont even get me started. im a single woman and i cant stand men after the shit treatment i’ve gotten, and i was a damn SAINT. i tolerated EVERYTHING and was never ever appreciated and had to learn the hard way that all you assholes really ARE the same. and as much as i like this article, in all honesty, i can really say that i dont give a DAMN if men are screwed up because of the modesty bullshit because y’all sure as HELL have ruined everything else. its about damn time you got a taste of your own damn medicine. kiss my beautifully-toned arab ass.

  • Dan Cain

    Does she understand how a man’s brain works? Also, what ever happened to not causing your Christian brothers (or sisters) to stumble?

  • Brianna

    I dress up for fun and to look good. When I pick out my clothes it never occurs to me if strangers find me sexually attractive or not.

  • Lil Bit

    Why do guys take their shirt off and go topless??

  • Lil Bit

    So why is it that men aren’t shamed for going topless, show ALOT more skin than say a girl in a tank top. Nipples and all! but it’s the women’s responsibility to be modest and be a virgin and faithful after marriage, but ONLY the females, males can do as they please?? because no woman would disrespect a man with his shirt off the way a man would disrespect a women whom HE thought was unmodestly dressed.

  • Lil Bit

    sounds like it’s all about a way to avoid taking ownership of the consequenses of your actions (AKA person of integrity) and shifting the blame so that no guilt is felt.

  • Madamoyzelle

    The problem is that what triggers you doesn’t trigger others. And all of a sudden, half of the population is restricted on what they wear, and then where they can go, and on what they can do, so that men don’t have to suffer.

    In other words, MEN have the problem, therefore, women have to suffer!

    If a man has so much trouble seeing half of the human race in public, THEN HE SHOULD STAY IN SECLUSION so that he does not sin. I fail to understand why his problem should be mine. And if men are so hormonal that they cannot control themselves, then get some meds. After all, men are comfortable with women being medicated for their “hormonal problems” i.e. PMS. So why don’t men medicate theirs, too.

  • Madamoyzelle

    Again. Why is your problem with how your brain works MY problem to resolve?

  • Anon

    Interesting read. Unfortunately, the first two links are broken. 🙁

  • Dave

    Wow, reading some of the comments from the other guys here, their viewpoint is so alien that I almost can’t comprehend it. I grew up in a much more liberal Christian church, where “modesty” was never an issue. And you know what? If you don’t hyper-focus on sexiness as being a huge problem, then it *isn’t* a huge problem.

    I regularly check out women I see (and usually tell my wife – she makes a cute pout), but I would *never* want to be with anyone but her, happily married 7+ years. These “modesty” teachings seem to be losing some of the important distinctions between “love”, “lust”, and “sexiness”. In fact, they seem designed to create closeted straight men, which I would have thought ludicrous.

    If our bodies truly are the Lord’s temple, then why be afraid of them? If you let go of the idea that every (sexual) urge you have is sinful, you’ll realize that God gives you the strength to *choose* how you react to those urges, which is the important part.

  • Joe M

    Your article is pure horse shit. You are just another ignorant ass that ignores thousands of years of proof that modesty is extremely important. Today’s society is EGO driven. So it’s no surprise that people like yourself wouldn’t see the value in modesty. I am convinced that many people of today’s generation would have been jailed, beaten, or burned if they took a time machine to pre-20th century. Women wore long dresses. And they were far from being sexy or flattering. But women were beautiful enough to get compliments. And they were too modest to place value on flattery. Life was a lot more simple and balanced for many decades. But as soon as money and personal gain became the driving force of the 20th century, it was all downhill from there. Now we see a bunch of people who spray perfume on a pile of shit and say it don’t stink. A bunch of self serving hypocrite liars who are like walking gods of their own destiny. I have raised kids on modesty. And have gained a lot more respect than most other kids in this community. Without modesty, we have nothing but male and female whores. And you don’t have to be a prostitute to be one. There’s a thing called attention whores and I would say that 80% of all people I know are one. It’s a need for feeding the ego.

  • Memo


  • Al F

    You are 100% right, and I think more people should hear your message, because I think it would save a lot of people from a lot of pain.

  • Slhance

    Wow, do all men think everything’s always about them? Sometimes I get up in the morning and feel awesome and beautiful. The last thing I want to do then is cover it up. It’s about me and how I feel. Also I’m proud of my body. Guys do the same thing. Men who work for a beautiful body are proud of it and more inclined to take their shirts off. How about gardeners who strive to have a beautiful garden. Do they just throw blankets over thier flowers out of fear that someone might pick them? I wear spandex and tank tops because I feel great and I didnt ask for anyone else’s opinion. Anyone who doesn’t respect me because of what I choose to wear isn’t EVER a concern. Small minded people are everywhere. The point is, it’s not about YOU (men).

  • I want to stand and cheer! You are spot on in your hypotheses and conclusions. I grew up in the Mormon faith, and am now watching as it grows ever stricter in its views on modesty. I’d love to print this out for my son and daughter (as they are still being raised in that Church) and help them to understand just how damaging this “doctrine” is.

  • Nat

    I really like your comment.

  • James

    Well said. Why isn’t this obvious to the author and others who commented here? Could it be that legalism breeds licentiousness? How about we all just get real comfortable and walk around naked? I’ll tell you why: because naked isn’t comfortable unless you’re in the privacy of your own bedroom. I got a better idea: how about we repent of playing footsies with this wicked and adulterous generation and live like Jesus wants us to. “Modesty is ALWAYS beautiful” -G.K. Chesterton

  • James

    so true. only a damaged and twisted mind would write an article like this, or approve of it.

  • James


  • James

    that’s not “modesty doctrine” that’s just plain stupidity. I had people talk to me about my daughter’s low cut dress revealing cleavage and basically just shrugged and told them to get over it. What is wrong with you people?! What’s going on here is an apostate church, en masse, and it’s the leaders’ faults for doing nothing about it. It’s legalism. Modesty is a good thing. Legalism = bad thing. get your terms right!

  • James

    What an ignorant comment. she said nothing about “modesty saving a woman”. “Virgin husband doesn’t make a difference”??? she also didn’t say sex was impure. sex is never impure within marriage. what is wrong with you??? do you not read your bible? do you even know how to read? whoever is writing this for you, isn’t translating your thoughts very well.

  • James

    OK, you just corrected her english and proceeded to write the most convoluted, run on, confused paragraph ever~!!! “the dance of intimacy is a non -submissive relationship can…” durrr… FAIL
    your husband obviously doesn’t have a problem with incoherent sentences.

  • So are you going to tell us all about the Love of Jesus now?

  • James

    do you ever read the things Jesus said in the 4 Gospels, or in the book of Revelation? Love doesn’t sugar-coat. Besides, this is just my online persona. Don’t be offended. I’m just being glib.

  • Where is that Chesterton quote from? I’m not at all sure he was talking about the way people dress. I remember him talking about modesty along the lines of humility and not being arrogant or blowing your own horn. I don’t remember him talking that much about what women wear.

  • James

    it was actually a comment he wrote in reference to one of Holbrook Jackson’s salient points in his Platitudes in the Making: modesty in civilization is seductive
    so… if modesty in what we wear is very sexy perhaps it is clothes that should be outlawed, after all.

  • Deinera

    I am of the opinion that, if left to my own devices, I should be allowed to wear whatever I want regardless of how scantily clad it happens to be. If I choose to, for example, wear a bikini to a job interview, I have ever right to make that choice. Just as the people I’m interviewing with are allowed to deem me unfit for the job I’ve applied for. However, it is always my decision.

    I don’t think I have any right to choose how others choose to wear their clothing or otherwise. I have been taught to be a strong, independently thinking woman. I have grown to be a feminist and activist in many arenas. I also choose to wear whatever I want for whatever occasion. This might include more modest clothing, or more cleavage showing clothing. Either way, I am adult enough to make that decision for myself. And I expect to be treated with respect.

    I don’t think it’s up to women to explain why wearing sexy clothing is something they do. We don’t expect men to explain why they chose a pair of shoes or a certain shirt that day. “Why did you decide to wear that Hawaiian shirt with the top 2 buttons undone today, John?” Never, this will never happen.

    And to those who feel the need to discuss what women are wearing with the question of “Why?” I leave you with this. Why get tattoos? I have many of them. I have them on my arms in very visible places. I have them on my wrist. I have tattoos on my chest. Why do I get them if not to be seen by others? By this logic of explaining what I do and why, the logical answer is to get attention. To get looked at. Gawked at, as it were.

    No. People. No. I get my tattoos because I feel it makes me more beautiful. I get them for me to look at. I get them because I enjoy seeing them when I walk by a mirror, or look to grab that stray hair tickling the back of my arm. I get them FOR ME. Never for you. Never for anyone else. This is the same for my clothing.

  • Deb

    Well said Jim.

  • Sierra, Very well stated. This describes my experience. I’m a woman who was raise Roman Catholic. I followed the teaching of the church and remained a virgin until I was 28. I didn’t even masturbate. I couldn’t form a close relationship because I was so fearful of sexuality. Then I threw caution to the wind, allowed myself to kiss and be kissed, fell in love, and married. I was expected by the church to move instantly from complete chastity to a high enough awareness of my body to manage natural family planning. It can’t be done.
    This idea that people lose control if presented with any kind of sexuality and that virginity must be maintained leads to exactly what the modesty doctrine is supposed to be avoiding. If the only way to establish an intimate relationship to to let your sexuality overwhelm reason then that is what is going to happen. I believe our choices regarding sexuality should be based on reason and understanding not fear.

  • Sean

    It’s only counter-intuitive when you’re raised to believe it is. And being raised to believe women ask to be sexually objectified by what they choose to wear is the first step to promoting ‘rape culture’–wherein a woman who is violated is blamed (partly or completely) for the rape because of something she did, said or wore that was “asking for it.” It’s all part of the same continuum and it’s reprehensible.

    Those who objectify others are completely responsible for their own actions. Their mindset is the objectification of others, which they will do regardless of who the target is or how she or he is dressed. They are the problem–100% of the problem–not the victim.

  • Courtney

    I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, commonly known as the Mormon church. We have a strong modesty guideline for all members of the Church. In For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet which is used for the youth and young single adults it states,” Your body is sacred. Respect it and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and that you love Him.” (p. 6) We view modesty as a way to show our appreciation for the body in which was given to us. The pamphlet continues,” Never lower your standards of dress. Do not use a special occasion as an excuse to be immodest. When you dress immodestly, you send a message that is contrary to your identity as a son or daughter of God. You also send the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval.” (pg. 6-7) These standards are maintained not only for the youth of the Church while in high school but are also required to be implemented at the Church owned Universities: BYU, BYU-Idaho, BYU- Hawaii and LDSBC. Being a convert into the Church for two years now, I have only seen good things come from this principle.

  • Naeve_Spencer

    %100. I wrote a research paper for my Theatre History class on Frank Wedekind’s 1890’s german play “Spring Awakening,” which was recently re-done as a rock opera. In the play, a young girl asks her mother where babies come from, and her mother completely shuts her down. Later in the play she experiments innocently with a local boy, gets pregnant, and dies from an unsafe abortion.

    Amazing that it’s still relevant 100+ years later.

  • Leigha

    Women usually choose their clothes based on 1. what they think looks good, 2. what they think is comfortable, and 3. what is fashionable, either on a large scale (i.e. in fashion magazines) or based on what their friends and peers wear. The relative importance of these three things depends on the girl. For example, there are some who only care about what’s fashionable and what looks good and couldn’t care less if it’s comfortable, and there are some that only care about comfort and not at all about looks/fashion, but for most girls it’s a mix of all three.

    For MOST girls, the only time they’re choosing their clothes based on what guys might like is when they’re going out on a date (or specifically trying to pick up guys, though I’m not sure if that’s something *most* girls do).

    If it’s hot out and a girl is wearing “skimpy clothes,” then the reason is likely to be at least 90% because it’s hot. In fact, if it’s hot out and a girl ISN’T wearing skimpy clothes, it’s usually deliberately because she doesn’t feel comfortable with it, in spite of the heat. She’s choosing to cover up despite the fact that she will be less comfortable (which may be due to principles of modesty, or possibly low self-esteem or discomfort with attention).

    Any other time, it’s most likely because that’s what the other girls around her wear, and she wants to fit in. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Mean Girls, but there’s a scene where they play a prank on the mean, popular girl by cutting holes in the chest of her shirt, and she simply shrugs it off and wears it because she’s popular enough to get away with it…sure enough, by the end of the day, practically every girl in school has copied it. That’s a bit of an exaggeration of reality, but girls very much do follow trends in clothing. In fact, if you’re from an environment where modesty is the norm, you may have noticed they do the very same thing there–the level of modesty will become a competition and they will try to “one-up” each other with how modest they can be, and/or any girl who is seen as not sufficiently modest will be teased, shunned, or otherwise made to feel bad about her clothes. It’s not because of anything related to the idea of modesty, it’s because that’s how girls are in general. It’s the exact same thing they’d be doing if they weren’t raised that way, just in a more conservative manner.

  • Leigha

    Ha I can still remember the way that phrase was sung (chanted?). I have heard people claim they are adamantly opposed to their child learning gun safety because they have no intentions of them ever being around a gun (like seriously, they acted like the suggestion that it’s something kid’s should learn was akin to saying their child should be molested). Except that’s not even remotely the point; the point is to teach them what to do (or rather, not do) if they happen to come across a gun. If they’re at a friend’s house and they’ve never seen a gun before and never been taught gun safety, what’s to stop them from picking it up and playing with it?

    And I agree, the same thing holds with sex. Abstinence-only sex ed is along the same principle of simply saying your kids don’t need to learn gun safety because you don’t want them around guns (your kids don’t need to learn about safe sex because you don’t want them to have sex). But just because you don’t want them to have sex doesn’t mean they won’t, and wouldn’t you rather they have safe sex than get pregnant/get an STD? Unfortunately, however, I would think the answer from many very conservative people would be no, that if they’re going to do something so terribly horrible as to have sex (gasp), they deserve to get pregnant and get AIDS and die a horrible death. It’s only fair, after all.

    Funny thing, though. It’s been PROVEN that abstinence-only sex ed does absolutely nothing to deter kids from having sex. Kids who take such classes have sex around the same time (I believe the biggest difference shown has been a delay of 3 months), with the same number of partners, but are LESS likely to use protection, and therefore more likely to get pregnant or contract an STD. Know what does work? Comprehensive sex ed that focuses on safe sex and effective decision making.

  • Leigha

    You know, it’s funny. I used to hold these assumptions, that only a man who has never had sex (or done anything remotely sexual) could respect his wife and value her, that otherwise he would be comparing her to the previous woman/women and never be able to focus solely on her. That she would not be enough to satisfy him. But it turns out that’s not true at all. There are plenty of men who have dated and had sex with other women who have the utmost respect and love for their wives, who would never dream of cheating on them, who never make any comparisons or even think about other women while they’re being intimate with their wife. Likewise, there are men who were virgins until they were married, who struggle with the curiosity of what it would be like to be with another woman, who can’t help but wonder if it would be better with her, or her, or her.

    What really matters is not how “pure” someone is, man or woman, but their attitude. If someone values their current relationship and partner, and respects them as a person, then the relationship is off to a good start, no matter what they’ve done or they’ve been with in the past.

  • Leigha

    Actually, the only errors she made were in typing “nor crazed sex monsters” rather than “not crazed sex monsters” and that, technically, the last sentence is really a sentence fragment (something I feel should generally be overlooked in casual writing). Everything else is grammatically correct and perfectly intelligible. To simplify it, however, since you were obviously confused:
    Men are human beings, not crazed sex monsters. They are capable of committing to their wives and remaining faithful to them because they have love and respect for them. A non-submissive relationship can be especially intimate, and sufficiently interesting and stimulating to last a lifetime. My husband knows what’s out there, and he chooses me–not because he’s afraid of hell or doesn’t know anything else.

    Also, I’d like to add that last sentence presents a very worthwhile bonus–if a man has the experience to know how you compare to other woman, how much more wonderful must you be to come out ahead of them? You know he’s not thinking, “Man, I wish I’d married her instead,” because he *dated* her and knows he’s better off with you.

  • Leigha

    So the fact that she’s seen firsthand that some of the men she knows have struggled with it in the ways she mentioned (not her, obviously, since she’s a woman writing about the effect on men) means that she’s “a damaged and twisted mind”? How? Do you have to be “damaged and twisted” to observe these effects when they happen, or to talk to men about such things, or to talk to others about it? Because she’s simply reporting what she’s seen and been told.

    That’s like saying only a sick, twisted person would talk about school shootings. No, only a sick, twisted person would CAUSE school shootings. But anyone who knows they exist, and particularly anyone who has experienced one (directly or indirectly) would talk about them.

  • Leigha

    He does not hate himself for “what he is doing.” He hates himself because he has been taught that who he is (a gay man) is wrong. The solution is NOT to shove himself back into the closet, marry a woman, and live a lie for the rest of his life (if you don’t care about what that would do to him, think of what it would do to his wife to be married to someone who does not and cannot feel any sort of physical attraction to her). The solution is to realize that it is okay to be who he is; there is nothing wrong with being gay.

    It’s hard to do when it’s been drilled into your head, especially since people will keep trying to to say it’s wrong. But the reality is, it is NOT. First off, the Bible really says very little on the subject of homosexuality. It is mentioned in Leviticus, but most Christians do not follow the laws set forth there (not wearing mixed fabrics, not having contact with a menstruating woman, kosher dietary laws, etc.). The “mentions” of homosexuality in the New Testament are not really about homosexuality at all–that’s all in the way it was translated. The original text is condemning either male prostitutes, or adult men who have sex with male children/young men (not entirely uncommon in Greek culture). Homosexuality as we define it today is a relatively new concept. There was no concept of sexual orientation AT ALL until approximately the 1800s, and it’s only through the 1900s that we’ve developed the idea of sexual identity (not to be confused with gender identity–what I mean by sexual identity is the idea that your sexual orientation is an important part of your definition of self).

    Further, just because it’s a new concept does not mean it’s wrong. For example, it’s about the same age as germ theory…does that mean germs aren’t real? (If you say yes, I can’t help you. Please seek help from proper scientific sources immediately.) What happened is, we started to look at marriage and intimate relationships differently. Throughout most of history, marriage was a social contract. People married for wealth, power, uniting of two significant families (which could end feuds, aid treaties, create alliances, or just help with that wealth and power thing), etc. Women were considered property, first of their fathers and then of their husbands. They had little to no say in who or when they married, but were handed/sold off to the most desirable candidate, who then became her new “owner,” who she was expected to provide with food, children (which, incidentally, amounts to sexual slavery), and a clean home.

    Then something happened (most likely, at least in part, The Industrial Revolution and all the social reforms that followed it) and marriage, in the Western world, became less about how it benefited the families (men) involved and more about a romantic relationship between a man and a woman. And THIS is when the idea of sexual orientation started to come about. When marriage started to be about love (and attraction) rather than money and society, a man’s lack of attraction to women (or, somewhat less prominently, a woman’s lack of attraction to men–less prominently because it took a while for women to truly become considered as people and not property, so at first, who cared if they didn’t like their husband?) became noticeable and relevant. The more marriage became based on love, the more important sexual orientation becomes.

    At this point, in Western society, marriage is pretty much ENTIRELY about love and attraction (to most people, though there are exceptions). Thus, sexual orientation is a significant issue. It’s incredibly unfair to force gay people to marry someone of the opposite sex because it goes against everything marriage is about NOW. In the 1400s, it didn’t make any difference, because it’s not like straight men were marrying women they loved either. That was irrelevant. It’s not now. We marry for love, and gay people should absolutely be allowed to do so as well.

  • Leigha

    I find it incredibly inappropriate for your father to say you should show off your body more (but no more or less inappropriate, other than the fact that he’s your father, than the men in the story related above who commented on being able to see a young girl’s undergarments under her clothes when she sat a certain way). Parents should not think about their children in a sexual manner, regardless of their age, and adults should not think of children in a sexual manner. Both of these types of comments are inappropriately sexual and, quite frankly, creepy.

    I personally think that what is best for one person is not necessarily best for another. I’m glad that you felt better about yourself and your relationships when you started dressing more modestly, and I would say that it seems that is what is right for you personally. I would like to add, however, that it is entirely possible for girls and boys NOT raised in or participating in ideals of modesty to interact without sexual tension. Most of my interactions throughout college were coed and mostly devoid of any sexual tension, save from a few instances where a particular person was attracted to a particular other person, which clothing would not have helped with. Note, however, that I’m not saying they were dressed modestly or immodestly, but rather it was not something most of them gave any/much thought to. And it seemed to work for most of them (I can’t claim to know how they felt about things), just as modesty seemed to work for you.

    I have a slight problem with your analogy. I don’t think dressing immodestly is the same as serving alcohol to an alcoholic (and DEFINITELY not the same as giving someone with a peanut allergy food cooked with peanut oil; geez, that could actually kill them). If you *must* use that metaphor, I would say it’s more like drinking or talking about alcohol with an alcoholic present. You aren’t giving it to them, you aren’t telling them they should have it, but you are reminding them that it exists. Whether that’s acceptable or not depends on the people involved. There are some alcoholics who struggle with being around alcohol at all and would likely prefer their friends and family not drink around them, but there are others who see it as their responsibility to not drink and wouldn’t dream of imposing on others, even if it means a little extra effort on their part. And there are still others (mostly those who have been sober for a long time) who can be around it without a problem.

    I would just like to say that I sincerely hope (and it seems possible from the way you worded it, but if it’s not your intention than I encourage you to consider it) that you teach your children to find THEIR OWN boundaries and to hold to them, and to accept the boundaries they choose for themselves, even if it means they choose to have premarital sex (though you can of course encourage them to be very sure of their decision and not make it lightly or without proper information and consideration). I also suggest that you not set incredibly strict rules about what they can wear, but rather enforce a limit at the outer edges of what you deem acceptable and let them find their own point within that realm (or, once they’re adults, even outside it if they so choose). They are (or will be, if you haven’t had them yet) their own people, too, and should be respected as such. You chose modesty out of a desire to be seen as a whole person, not just a woman, but too severely enforced, modesty also reduces people.

  • Leigha

    By “not just a woman” I meant not just a female body, by the way. Poor word choice.

  • Leigha

    I’ve heard guys talk openly about girls before. They appreciate a woman in a turtleneck and jeans, or a hoodie and sweatpants, just as much as one in a tank top and mini skirt–perhaps more. Most seem to be more interested in looking at girls in somewhat tight clothes than at girls in revealing clothes.

    Also, you do realize (straight) women are attracted to men too, right? Have you HEARD girls talk about men? I had a friend in high school who had a crush on no less than twenty different guys over a few years (no exaggeration, I can still name most of them). Football games were punctuated with lots of comments about the football players’ butts, shirtless guys were drooled over, and certain male celebrities were discussed at length. Underwear ads with obvious “bulges” were met with giggling, as were men in speedos (not overly common in the US) or tight bike shorts. Men act like they have the market cornered on feeling attracted to the opposite sex, but that is so far from the truth. And then, of course, there are the girls who like girls and the guys who like guys…

    I like how you say “I have a saying…it’s true,” by the way. It’s amazing that you consider your own saying to be true. But considering that not all women get emotional at “that time of the month,” and that not all men are incapable of functioning around a hot girl (isn’t that supposed to be a stereotypical attribute of awkward teenage guys, by the way? I would think adults would be over that by now), and considering that–contrary to what you seem to think–women feel attraction as well, I’m not at all sure your saying IS true.

  • Leigha

    In some cultures, small children carry knives. They use them far more responsibly than even older children in our culture would, because they are raised differently and it is expected of them to do so. Not that I would advocate it, but theoretically, if carrying a gun at three was the norm in a specific culture, it would be far less hazardous than handing a gun to a three year old in *our* culture. Now, three might be pushing it a little, but if raised a certain way, a five year old could certainly be expected to behave responsibly with a weapon (that’s the age the aforementioned knife-owning children were). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if five year olds WERE taught to shot in centuries past, though they likely didn’t have guns of their own, nor would they have carried them around with them (but then, where would they have gone?).

    And I think you’re remembering the story wrong. Adam and Eve covered their own nakedness, in shame, after disobeying God. Had they not disobeyed, they would have stayed naked forever.

    That and not everyone believes in a god, even less in the Judeo-Christian God, and those who do not can not be expected to adhere to the doctrines of a religion they do not believe in.

  • Leigha

    Can you make your point without using insults? They make you sound defensive and uneducated and significantly weaken the point you are trying to make.

  • Nea

    Joe hasn’t made his point with any degree of historical accuracy either, points out the history major and historical re-enactor. As if fashion to flatter the body and attract attention was just invented in the 20th Century!

  • Mean_Old_Dog

    ***What’s the point?***

    They wear the clothes they want to, because they want to.

    What’s the point of your religion? What’s the point of your contentious post here? Why do you keep company with the people you keep company with?

    If I start questioning and dissecting your motives, is there a purpose other than to seek the ability to censure you for acting in a way I disapprove of? You could certainly talk to an individual, especially an individual you know, and address why you think that they are doing something, and that you think their reasons are harmful to them.

    But in general, nobody has appointed you Censor. People dress in a variety of manners for a variety of reasons. Some are well-advised. Some are ill-advised. You are, however, assuredly not the boss of them, and they do not need to bring their clothing plan to you or anyone else for approval. The same way you don’t have to bring your worship plan, or your speech plan, or your voting plan, or your friendship circle plan, to me for approval.

    Here is a hard truth: we are a social species. Social activity, especially moral entrepreneurship where you connive in various fashions to align people with your desires, is an inherently rearding behavior in a number of ways. It flatters our egos and more importantly, it allows us to manipulate our social, economic and political environments into alignment with tastes and agendas we develop because they are in our perceived self-interest. Social entrepreneurship is considerably more rewarding than actually getting things done. This is why societies with strong, conformist social doctrines are always backwards. Individuals profit greatly from their social entrepreneurship, but society as a whole has its energies devoted into what amount to complicated games of making the monkeys line up from shortest to tallest. These complicated games are often played for life-or-death stakes and can create and cement social and political power bases across generational timespans.

    All of which does absolutely nothing to advance the collective good — it’s just synchronized swimming exercises. Yes sometimes it is very effective at meeting challenges to the society, but those “challenges” swiftly come to be defined as any influence which would interrupt the ballet dance arranged and choreographed by established vested interests. The road to the brittle social inflexbility of Saudi Arabia or traditional China is short, it can be traversed in a generation or two.

    That is why we do not have sumptuary laws that say you can or cannot dress certain ways in public. You can contend with individuals about the wisdom of their choices, but when you begin to contend with society as a whole, you are no longer advising, you are attempting to entrepreneurially engineer yourself a position of political and social power in which you or your sectarian allegiance is the arbiter of what is permitted. Although it is often started with naive good intentions, that never ends well.

    Why don’t you instead dress the way you wish to dress, and impress everyone else with the wisdom and effectiveness of your choices, so that they emulate you? If people would not willingly follow your example unless compelled, that should tell you something important about the agenda you champion.

  • Mean_Old_Dog

    That’s right. God gave you free will. Not free will except when you see a naked body.

    If you were at a friend’s house, and they left money on a table in a room, and you took some because you were alone with it, would you or the friend be the one who did wrong? Nothing is different. Your friend is not leaving the money out there because they are a cash-slut asking for you to steal it. They are leaving the money out because that is where they choose to place it. You may feel this is wise or unwise, depending on circumstances, and your opinion may be well-informed or less informed than you believe.

    None of this will change the fact, that when you help yourself to their cash, you are the thief.

  • Alex

    It’s shocking how backwards ‘modern’ men can be.

  • Louise

    Just enough truth to sound credible. Conveniently ignores what the Bible teaches and appeals to those who don’t like what God has to say. Inaccurately presents the concept of modesty and then attacks what is not really there. Pretty much covers it. Satan is truly the great deceiver.

  • Brooke White

    don’t listen to the haters, this is by far the most compassionate view to take on the idiocy of the *resposiblity* of the female to be everybody elses keepers. The bible is ONE sacred book, it ain’t by far the only holy text, and anybody quoting it as truth better be able to read the effin ORIGINAL because the editing in the various *version* people worship so eclectically differs quite a bit. I LIKE what GOD has to say, I am just calling the haters out on NOT listening to the words which shine in all texts over and over and over again: Compassion and leave judgment to him. If they really cared they would not judge you or try to change you (after all god doesn’t make mistakes ??) but simply focus on themselves and pray for others. I have great respect for the christian faith but I admire your courage more. and your compassion…didn’t that unfailing pope just say that even atheists are saved if they live well… Thank you for writing this. Thank you for not being disheartened. may peace be with you and love and light, always