NLQ Question of the Week: Why Do Fundamentalists Obsess About Modesty?

NLQ Question of the Week: Why Do Fundamentalists Obsess About Modesty? June 18, 2015

QuestionoftheweekThis is a new series we have started running on Thursdays. Examining some of the questions involving long held Quiverfull theology and life.

First we have many different ladies and ministries calling modesty anything from floor length skirts to blending with the crowd in such a way that doesn’t draw attention to yourself. Of course, in some Muslim countries modesty is defined by the burqa, but in fundamentalist Christianity modesty is a sliding scale, whatever your pastor decrees. Knee to collar bone covered with no short sleeves? Mennonite caped dresses disguising the shape of the breasts and bottom? Denim skirts and loose tees?

Then there’s this recent posting by Zsuzsanna Anderson defending the idea that breast feeding in public is not sexual and you should not have to cover up while doing so. She goes on for quite some time about nudity and modesty not meaning you should cover up while breast feeding because true sinful nudity only covers waist to knee. (Trigger warning if you visit her post – there are photos of her breast feeding and many other women. Don’t look if you have a problem with that.)

Today’s question is not if you should or should not cover up when breast feeding, but why all this obsession over women keeping themselves covered up from the gaze of men as if men were some lust-driven beast that cannot control their own sexual feelings? Why the constantly shifting lines of what is and isn’t modest? Would it not be better to teach appropriateness of clothing choices for body type, age, places and circumstances? Or should it be a free for all with anyone wearing whatever they please? Thoughts on modesty please..

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Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

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