Modesty: an Old-Fashioned Fling or a Modern Thing? by Julia Michala Johnson

Julia 9According to a study at Princeton University headed by Susan Fiske, men who see women dressed in proactive clothing, such as the bikini, view these women as objects not people.

“Brain scans revealed that when men are shown pictures of scantily clad women, the region of the brain associated with tool use lights up.And in a ‘shocking’ finding, Susan Fiske, ( a psychologist at Princeton University) noted, some of the men studied showed no activity in the part of the brain that usually responds when a person ponders another’s intentions (or recognizing another person as a person or equal) The lack of activation in this social cognition area is really odd, because it hardly ever happens.” (National Geographic)]

     Now, according to Fiske, theses responses are not fully conscious ones and so people don’t know the extent to which they’re being influenced.

Do we really want to be seen as walking hammers, just tools for men to play with, or as people with thoughts, feelings and control over our bodies?

Another study, according to Friske, on both male and female undergraduates found that men tend to associate bikini-clad (and other provocative clothes) women with first-person action verbs such as I “push,” “handle” and “grab” instead of the third-person forms such as she “pushes,” “handles” and “grabs.” They associated fully clothed women, on the other hand, with the third-person forms, indicating these women were perceived as in control of their own actions. The females who took the test did not show this effect. (CNN)

Modesty is something very close to my  heart these days as I see the people of my generation dressed in clothes that are very revealing.  Teens in shorts that may as well be underwear or tops that show everything.  They think they  have self respect because they wear what they want. They think that people who say they should dress modestly are sexist or they think that how they dress does not affect those around them.  All these thoughts are false.

Dressing modestly shows self-respect and respect to those around you.  It is self-respect to keep your one and only body sacred, by not revealing it to everyone you meet. Respect for the other women around you, these guys could be their boyfriends, fiancées, or husbands. Respect for the men by eliminating some of the temptations the world has today. For those of us who are Christians, respect for God by honoring the body He made for you, which He wants you to reveal only to your husband.

Ladies, you don’t need to dress in that sexy black dress to attract a man; real men, kind men, will be attracted to your smile, your eyes, your sense of humor and your actions. Be secure in yourself and develop a kind nature and personality; and you will not need to rely on boobs to get a good guy.  Modest clothing sends a message of honor, purity and emphasizes on your inner beauty.  When you choose to dress in a provocative way, you send a message that you believe your value comes from your looks rather than from your heart. Skimpy clothing says that you are only worth how good you look.

As for the sexism thought, men want us to dress provocatively! You’re not dressing by woman’s rights, you’re dressing exactly how most men want you to dress.  Today’s society has convinced women that we need to dress in revealing clothes to be and feel beautiful. We don’t! Real beauty is on the inside and is projected by our actions, and what we choose to wear.

Photo courtesy of Silver Image Photography

Me, in the gold dress, that I made, and my friend, Sophie in a beautiful modest dress. *********************************** Photo courtesy of Silver Image Photography

It’s time we dress so we can respect ourselves and men will respect us as well. I admit, in this day and age it is extremely difficult to find modest clothing, but not impossible. You can buy that really cute, but low-cut top, just wear a camisole underneath it. Wear a skirt underneath that too-short dress. I have taken to sewing my own clothing, I even made my own prom gown.

Some simple tips to becoming more modest from Wiseandgloriouspurpose:

  1. Be sure to wear sleeves. (I think it okay not to wear sleeves, but your tops should at least have straps, I wear nothing strapless*)
  2. Make sure that skirts and shorts are at least finger tip length.
  3. Make sure your clothes are not too tight; can you see the creases of your undergarments?
  4. Make sure your undergarments aren’t showing, bend over, stretch – check yourself from a few angles.

Bonus tips from my mother:

  1. Looking in a full length mirror will assure that you are dressing attractively and modestly
  2. Check your tops, is any cleavage showing?

Now woman aren’t entirely responsible, men have to curb their thoughts. It doesn’t matter how much, or little,  clothing women wear, it is not an excuse to rape.  I will delve into the responsibility of modesty for men in another post.

This article originally appeared in