Warning: this post might make you mad.
I keep a little calendar by my computer with daily ideas on what to write or publish here on the AHW. Nothing is set in stone, but today’s topic was “my opinion on a controversial subject”. And there are many, many subjects in which to write that are steeped in controversy. I mean, just turn on your TV or login to Twitter and you’ll see what I mean. But, the AHW is not the place for those posts. The AHW is a place to share beauty and feminine and faith. It’s not a soundboard for condemnation or political opinions. Instead it’s a place where like minded women can come together and bask in the beauty that is differences anchored in a common faith. It’s a place that celebrates diversity in unity. And with that, I’ll continue my dialogue on modesty.
Modesty is a very controversial subject. So many think it means so many things. There are people who tell you any sort of curve, color, pattern, shape, or height is immodest. And then there are those that have no boundaries in modesty and claim freedom to wear what they want when they want. And if I’m being honest, both parties are correct. I don’t think modesty is something that can be forced upon anyone. It’s something that is studied, learned, practiced, refined, and lived. And it’s because of these things that modesty is left up to the student’s interpretation. And yes, you can argue from a biblical standpoint, but there also lies the same outcome.
I hope to encourage women no matter where they are in their walk. Some women have been dressing modestly for ages while some are just “window shopping”. I hope to offer answers to questions such as “where can I find affordable, fashionable clothing that still adheres to my standard of modesty?” or “I’m just now starting to dress more modestly, but I don’t have a large budget. Where can I find affordable wardrobe staples?”. Most of all, I hope to be a safe haven for women who think they have to sacrifice beauty for frumpy. Because that’s simply not the case.
Modesty, at least in the view of the AHW, is that we maintain respect for our bodies by keeping them covered. Not to hide our bodies, but to reveal our dignity and to protect what’s holy. We cover what’s valuable. We live in a society where a woman’s body has become an advertising gimmick and it’s my purpose to show women that we are more than a gimmick. And our bodies mean more to our Creator than what it can sell and who it can attract. With that being said, I also don’t think it’s sinful to dress fashionably, or put on makeup, or wear heels, or wear a midi skirt without tights. While all of the opposite of these things are fine, I don’t take it to the extreme of calling them “sinful” because sin is breaking G-d’s law (more appropriately His Torah) and well, the Torah isn’t very vocal on these issues. The Scriptures do give us definitions of nakedness (Isaiah 47: 1-3), but after that it doesn’t really get into the WHAT we can wear. It’s left up to the person and that’s person’s intent.
Modesty isn’t the same as making oneself unattractive. It’s not meant to stifle a person’s individuality or freedom. In fact, modesty is the exact opposite. It creates around us a space for dignity. It’s a small private space that allows a person to live free from the gimmicks. It’s a place where we can embrace femininity in a way that honors G-d and isn’t consumed by the world. Modesty, at least as I see it, is a way to express myself and maintain self-respect.