THE HEART OF MODESTY
Originally published by Blessed Is She
My initial reaction to Matthew West’s latest single “Modest is Hottest” was amusement. Although I love his music, I didn’t quite understand why the lyrics needed to carry a legalistic grip to convey the message on modesty. Besides, the word “hot” is burdened with sexual undertones and only serves to objectify women, in a different way. Having served young people for more than a decade now, I can safely say that this pietistic approach to modesty will only escalate shame, seeing our bodies as sources of temptation that must be hidden, rather than what they truly are.
Clearly, there is a chasm. Clearly, we are struggling to convey truth in a post-modern, godless culture. How do we celebrate the female body without objectifying women? In the midst of this moral wasteland, how do we practice modesty?
I have always loved fashion and have fond childhood memories playing dress up with my sister and admiring my mother’s chic fashion tastes. My journey to modest fashion, however, took on new meaning only after my conversion.
I fell away from Faith and chose atheism in high school, when I needed it the most. The turbulence at home, combined with an anemic faith, propelled me to choose “pretty” and “cool” without a moral compass. I slid down the slippery slope of immodesty and promiscuity, and my identity crisis showed up in my clothing. With constant battles that left me feeling undesirable and unlovable, I was dressing for attention and drowning out my pain with addictions.
Today, as Christ continues to heal my self-worth, I am able to see gaps that result from a fragmented view of God. My broken lens altered the way I saw my body. Just like other material objects, fashion became an undue attachment to fill a cavernous void within. I was chasing imitation beauty and settling just to “fit in.”
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