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I’ll Keep My Clothes On, Thank You

By: Bethany Baird

I vividly remember my one and only interview with a local modeling agency. The director pulled out the personal information sheet and slid it across the desk. I scanned through the pages and my hands started to sweat. What was I going to tell this guy? I was supposed to mark down which categories of modeling were most interesting to me.

Club wear? Lingerie? Swimwear? None of those options were going to cut it. I was hoping for something with a bit more…coverage.

I awkwardly explained to the director my personal convictions for clothing standards.

I could see the look of mockery in his eyes. According to him I should have felt honored to strip down to nothing and pose for the camera. He explained that “Most girls would die for an opportunity like this and I was throwing it away for the sake of my convictions.”

I handed back the personal info sheet and he said, “Once you become comfortable with your own body and skin, then come back and we can talk about modeling.” I thought his statement was ridiculous and told him, “I’m perfectly comfortable with my body. I just have no desire to show it off to creeps like you.” Okay, I didn’t really say that last line…I just thought it.

My very short lived experience with the modeling agency opened my eyes to what girls in my generation are dealing with.

It used to be that Playboy and pornography sites were looked upon with shame by women all across the world. It was considered a disgrace that women were flaunting their bare bodies for men to lust after.

Fast forward the clock a few decades and the average modeling agency is only interested in girls who are willing to show it all.

Somehow posing naked in front of a camera is no longer viewed as degrading, but empowering and artful.

Author Wendy Shalit explains the modern view this way: “Modesty today is always taken to be shame, although they are two distinct words and two different concepts. The prevailing view is that if you think sexuality should be private or special, then you must be ashamed of it. You’re a prude. Conversely, if you are ‘comfortable with your sexuality’, then you should be ‘cool’ with lifting your shirt for strangers. If you’re like me, you may wonder how this harem mentality is liberating for women.”

Sadly, our culture gives us no reason to cover up our most intimate body parts.

As a whole, our country is quickly following in the footsteps of Europe where nudity is normal on beaches and on television. If we as Christian girls are not careful, we will end up the way Carolyn McCulley describes, “the proverbial frog-in-a-pot-of-boiling-water scenario.” What used to shock us will soon become normal.

I want you to think through these two questions:

  1. Have you bought into the cultures lies about your purity and modesty?

  2. What do you think about the sexual freedom our culture is promoting?

As Christians, we must have a completely different perspective than our lost world. This quote by an unknown author describes the situation perfectly:

“We can begin to see how ironic it is that women who have decided to dress modestly are often said to be the ones ‘uncomfortable with their bodies’ or ‘ashamed of their sexuality.’ However, to say that a modest woman is uncomfortable with her body is like saying that I am uncomfortable with my expensive fine chinaware because I refuse to use it to feed the dogs with. Just as my fine china is too precious to put to common use, so the treasure of the human body should be too valuable to use in any but the appropriate context.”

Like the modeling agency director told me, “Come back when I am comfortable with my body,” I say in response to him, “I refuse to feed my body to the dogs.” I know that God has a greater purpose for my body and my sexuality. He fashioned my every curve and made me a woman to be beautiful and enjoyed by one man – not thousands.

The culture is continually pressuring us to uncover more and more.

With summer just around the corner we need to get our minds focused on truth. We need to remember the value that God places on our delicate, feminine, attractive bodies.

Kristen explains this topic further in her blog post: 4 Ways our Raunch Culture is Lying to You

She says, “The most common and noticeable way our raunch culture has affected girls is in the way they dress. Instead of protecting and saving your most intimate parts for your husband, the fashion industry has taught you to “flaunt what you’ve got.”

Well said Kristen! Click on the link above to get the rest of her blog post.

I would highly encourage you to establish your convictions on purity and modesty before the summer gets here. Once summer hits the temptations to “uncover” will be in full swing. Without a solid understanding of purity and modesty, it will be nearly impossible to stand strong.

Let’s talk about it…

What are your thoughts on modesty and purity?

How do you fight the pervasive influence of our raunch culture?

How do you avoid “uncovering” when the summer time hits and immodest clothing floods the stores?

Photo credit: www.flickr.com | 22691907@N02/7643048122

I'll Keep My Clothes On, Thank You

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  • Grace

    This is such a great post! I feel very strongly towards modesty and valuing our bodies and agree with everything you are saying. This modern world has downgraded its values so much so that we (both men and women) are expected to strip ourselves of all modesty and become what society so desperately craves for.

    Staying modest can be hard with so much pressure from the world. As humans we crave to be loved and gain attention, sometimes from anyone who’s willing to give it. Today’s society loves those who show off their bodies and are confident in doing so but those who are still perfectly confident with their body but don’t look to show it off are rejected. But there is a love greater than that that the world gives and that’s Gods love. Dressing modestly pleases God and there’s nothing more satifying knowing that you are doing something for God and His glory.

    ~~

    As I am from Australia Summer has just recently ended (thank God!) but it’s still pretty hot even in Autumn meaning that clothing stores are still trying to scrape in the last summer fashion trends while it lasts. Most of these are midriff tops, bikinis, little dresses and short shorts. We can admit that some of these pieces are pretty but as soon as you see the length or the cut-outs we’re usually turned off. This is a good thing and if we can keep that up than we’re on our way to a sure fire modest outfit everytime! Standing out for all the good reasons, maybe attracting a Goldy mans eye, who knows?

    Stand strong and remember this little quote…

    “Modesty is gratefully using what we have to live and act in such a way that God alone is glorified and objectified.”

  • Hannah Grant

    Oh, and the link for “4 ways our raunch culture is lying to you” doesn’t work 🙁

  • CT

    Well said!!! In some cases, I sometimes just decide to sweat in long pants or capris in 90 degree weather if I can’t find any modest shorts — where I live, they’re pretty rare.

    • @disqus_AVwvcSjG1S:disqus It can be hard to find modest shorts. We’ve noticed that classier clothing stores tend to carried longer shorts that come in a looser fit. We are proud of you for striving towards modesty! Keep it up 🙂

  • Elizabeth Williams

    I heard another blogger describe our bodies/modesty as you would merchandise in a store. The highly valuable items you place behind glass and the cheaper items you place on the clearance rack. She was challenging us to think about what price/value we’ve put on out bodies because so many girls have cheapened themselves. Thanks for this post!

    • @disqus_5YpbXzg7FS:disqus Great insight. I love that analogy. It makes me think about the value we place upon ourselves. Good thoughts girl 🙂

  • Elisabeth

    Great post, thanks so much!!Yeah, modesty is the best and most important thing!!Everyone aught to be modest, even unsaved people will say I respect that person more when they don’t show where not susposted to.Our culture today is sort of like “it’s okay to wear lingerie in public”which is really what most of the dresses are.As of late I’ve felt burdened to change my style.Though some may say this is extreme, I have decided if all possible never to wear another pair of pants again, just skirts and dresses.Because after all, isn’t that what women wore only for centuries.I think if Gid wasn’t women to wear pants they would have worn them in bible days.n

    • Elizabeth Williams

      So encouraging to hear that you’re taking a stand for modesty. I know many great, Godly Christian girls who wear pants and I know everyone has their own standards. If it makes you feel any better, I only wear skirts/dresses too! I don’t look down on other people for their different modesty standards, this is just what God has led me to do. People will definitely think you’re weird, but it CAN be done. I just started an Instagram account where I post pictures of modest outfit ideas. If you have IG, my username is modestlyme92

  • Taylor

    Can you give me some name of stores you like to shop at for modest clothing?

    • @Taylor Great question! It’s always nice to know where other girls find modest clothing. Some of my personal favorite stores tend to be a bit pricey, so I try to shop at nice resale shops when possible. We have a resale shop called “clothes mentor” that only carries the classier clothing lines. They carry Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, J Crew, Gap, Cold Water Creek, Talbots etc. Those brands tend to have modest options to choose from. I’ve actually noticed that Old Navy is carrying long bermuda shorts. I’m really tall and they come all the way to my knees. I recently purchased a super cute denim skirt off of http://www.bodenusa.com They carry super cute, fashionable, modest clothing. I also have a friend who shops online at modcloth.com and has been able to find great modest pieces. I’ve also noticed that shabbyapple.com tends to carry a more modest clothing line. I hope that gives you some ideas to work with 🙂

    • Elizabeth Williams

      Taylor, I’d also like to mention Mika Rose. They have some of the cutest clothes ever! They might be a little pricey though.

  • Sonia

    I love the bills stand you take on this topic. I’ve always been ashamed and embarrassed with the way women in our culture parade their bodies around for any and all to see. The excuse og wearing less clothing in higher tempatures should not be accepted. I’ve been on several missions trips to countries where the normal temps were above 100 degrees but I never saw any of the locals in anything less than a cropped shirt and capris or long skirt. They actually covered themselves completely off the wanted shelter from the sun. Our culture has thrown away modesty in the name of vanity!

  • Sabrina

    Hey Bethany, just wondering, did you actually tell him “I refuse to feed my body to the dogs.”? What was his reaction to that response?

    • Sabrina, I didn’t actually tell him that. I just made it clear that I wasn’t interested in posing naked. He thought that was very strange and sad. I think he felt sorry for me and viewed me as “suppressed.” I’m pretty sure he thought I was really dumb for not taking the job. 🙂

  • Amaris Watje

    Wow, so great to hear from someone with such awesome convictions! It gets so sticky in the modeling agency as well as secular theater and film acting. So many compromises are required . . .

  • Mary Ellis

    It is completely ridiculous for you to look down upon someone who chooses to wear less modest clothing. Every female has the complete right to wear whatever they choose, whether it be a modest outfit, or a skimpy bikini. No one has the right to say what other can and cannot do with their own bodies. Absolutely ludicrous.

    • Dolly

      She’s not looking down upon them. You are right, every woman can wear what she wants to, but what Bethany is getting at is that you can wear what you want, but does it honor God? I doubt a string bikini honors God.

      • GameRac9765

        No it goes completely opposite to what you’re saying. I don’t think such things like a string bikini necessarily have to be used by a woman to be honoring God

        • Dolly

          Clothing doesn’t directly honor or dishonor God, but we should honor God with our body AND what we put on it.

          • GameRac9765

            Ok, I was just saying that because nowadays clothes seem to be really skin showing and inappropriate.

          • Dolly

            I completely agree.

  • cassidy

    So long as it is very well underlined and made distinct that women aren’t covering up because they are caused to feel shame or guilty about their body then I would completley agree with this post 🙂 We should hold onto modest through respect and love of our bodies and of good stewardship of them under God’s authority.

  • Laci R.

    This was an excellent post! Kudos to all of the women pursuing biblical
    womanhood, young and old! We are a dying breed unfortunately.
    XOXO


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