A number of talks entitled "Dressing for Dignity" have sprung up around the country as parents try to reign in the the sleek, low cut, sexy dressing standards created by our fashion industries. Even news anchors are often seen exposing way more skin and cleavage than previous generations allowed - a sign of the times. These styles have even crept into the designer clothing for younger and younger girls. Some parents wonder what all the fuss is about - others are very concerned when they think their teen is over-exposed. Our costuming is just one more area where the culture is dividing - and sharply.
I would like to capture a short "sermon" I recently heard - it should help drive home the most important reason for modesty. Modesty of dress, mannerism, behaviors, speech, and thought is included in this discussion.
God created man and woman to be different from each other in a very complementary way! A very easily understood example of this obvious complementarity is loving, marital relations. however, original sin caused sexual tension! Today, the sexual, emotional, psychological differences between the two sexes are most often portrayed in a negative way (Men are from Mars and Women from Venus) rather than highlighted as the manner in which men and women are attracted to each other, bond, and love each other. Few of us are interested in talking to ourselves each day - rather different personalities, thought processes are interesting, engaging, and worthy of debate.
The Fall of Adam and Eve were the original reason why tension exists between and among the sexes. The original design of man as protector, defender, explorer, and lover can easily erode to predator, attacker, user, and dominator. The orginal design of woman as nurturer, protector, queen and lover virtues are also easily eroded to opposing vices.
When man leans toward vice, it is the modest woman who helps pull him back toward virtuous living. If she has begun to lean toward vice, she will join him in surrendering to the flesh rather than the spiritual. When a woman respects herself, she does not give in to the siren call that suggests she allow herself to be used by a predatorial male.
Some women suggest that she should be able to dress anyway that she wants - if a man has a problem with cleavage that 's his problem! These women are assenting to disrespect and being used because that's what the predatory male does regardless of her feelings! Furthermore, she may even be using herself as a weapon against male weaknesses - to her advantage.
We are never to use each other or ourselves - we are to act as if we are (and we are) made in the image and likeness of the Creator. He is a lover not a user! And this is the reason we are to instruct our daughters in modesty - so they are respected and treated with dignity by all males.
A good litmus test of modesty is this. As a girl enters the room- what is the first thing the male looks at? If it's her face- that is a good sign regarding her dress. If he notices a body part first- other than her face - then she is inviting, inciting, and encouraging lust, disrespect, and being used. Most young girls do not understand that males are more visual than females - girls are more emotional and intuitive than males. This doesn't make one better than the other- it just makes them different. We are not to use the differences to divide, disrespect or coerece; rather we are to understand the differences so we can help each other get to the final destination- Heaven.