Holy Boobs and Butts! Put Some Real Clothes On!
on modesty in the church
I am quite certain to make some enemies with this, and while I wish that wasn’t the case, I will not withhold truth regardless. I speak it in love – for you, ladies, and for the men, but mostly for God. I won’t apologize for the truth, either. I just won’t.
Dear friend, modesty is a Biblical value. It is not misogyny, and it matters. I’ve seen your Facebook posts. I’ve read your rants against school dress codes penalizing girls when their underwear is showing. I’ve read your monologues on the virtues of yoga pants. And I have seen your own personal wardrobe choices. I’ve even seen what you allow your 5-year-old to wear, or your 15-year-old. And it makes me sad. I’ve heard you complain about men needing to control themselves, and that your clothing choices shouldn’t affect them. Maybe so, but it does.
You say you choose your attire because it’s comfortable. Then why don’t you wear flannel pajama pants all the time? You say wearing these clothes makes you feel good. And that’s because they make you look good—by the world’s standards—standards, which are designed to attract attention for physical attributes, usually by revealing body shape.
When I was 15, I didn’t understand modesty. I didn’t understand it fully at 35. So I understand. Our culture says we should be able to wear whatever makes us feel good and attractive. And, unfortunately, the definition of that is rapidly becoming less and less about the clothes and more and more about revealing what is underneath.
When I was 15, I was laying on the beach with friends wearing bikinis. We were 15 and had 15-year-olds bodies. We liked showing off those womanly curves and garnering a safe amount of attention. Walking by were two men, not together. One whistled. The other, sarcastically commented, “He wants you for your mind.” This memory stands out to me. We were all a little creeped out by the significantly older man whistling at us. But the other man’s sarcastic comment drew attention to the very mistake we were making in our wardrobe choices, and we all knew it. We were highlighting our bodies, attracting attention, but for the wrong reasons and from the wrong people.
Now, years later, as a married woman, I have a sneak peek into a man’s mind. And that is as scary as it sounds. As a recovered porn addict, he has shared with me the struggle he faced every day for much of his life. That struggle was you!
Your yoga pants, no matter how comfortable and buttery soft they are, can and do tempt men; and for the addict, it’s analogous to an alcoholic walking into a bar. Everyone knows an alcoholic should never walk into a bar. And the porn addict should never be around women revealing their bodies. The problem is you’re everywhere! And so that struggle presented itself at the post office, walking down the sidewalk, at our kids’ school plays, and at church. Yes, even at church. No place was safe.
I hear your argument that your clothing choices are not responsible for a man’s actions. And I don’t disagree. Each person is responsible for their own sin. Each person is responsible for entertaining temptation or resisting it. Your clothes on your body aren’t responsible, you say. And I won’t argue.
Modesty and Pornography Connection
However, what you may not realize is that pornography is the most pervasive addiction in America, and probably the world. It is estimated that 98% of men have looked at pornography at some point in their lives. Many, fortunately, have not struggled with an addiction, but oh so many have! Sex is the most commonly searched word on Google. It makes up about 25% of all search engine requests. And as any addict knows, for the man who is fighting it daily, the temptation begins with a trigger – the cleavage in the choir, so to speak, because it is absolutely everywhere!
Ladies, you should be concerned with the image you present through what you wear, particularly if you profess Jesus Christ. I understand women who really don’t know better, but for those of us in the church, we ought to. We ought to carry ourselves with dignity, we ought to dress in a way that elicits a feeling of care and concern for our brothers in Christ, for our sisters in Christ, whose husbands may be tempted by your attire. Because when you realize the depths of the addiction, the pervasiveness of this secret sin, you should care. While you may believe your leggings don’t matter, or your busty blouse is your business, modesty matters. Perhaps you never thought about the men who you cause to stumble—the good men, who are legitimately fighting to avert their eyes from you. Perhaps you never thought about their wives, your girlfriends. Perhaps you never considered it could be your husband next. Perhaps you never knew that 70% of men are pornography users. But now, you know. And I truly hope you care.