Body shaming vs. Modesty

Standard

I have seen several articles lately talking about body shaming of girls. The latest story I have seen was arguing that a school’s dress code was teaching body shaming. When did teaching modesty become shameful?
I currently teach in a public elementary school, but have also spent time teaching in a public middle school as well as a public college. Each institution applied a dress code to both male and female students, as well as faculty members. Students (or faculty) who violate the dress code receive a warning. Further violations result in further consequences. This is regardless of gender. Period. The end.
However, let’s be honest, do guys need as many guidelines as girls? Sure, there are those who need reminders to pull up their pants. Their waistbands are called WAIST bands for a reason. They are not thighbands or kneebands. You look silly showing your underwear (also called UNDERwear for a reason) and you walk a lot faster when you are not having to hold your pants up.
But, in general, it’s the girls who need the reminders. Some of these are for safety purposes, but others teach MODESTY. We need reminders about what shoes to wear. This is a huge one in my two story school building. We also need reminders to cover up the areas that don’t need to be public and that when we don’t, we are a distraction to others and, let’s be honest again, some of those skimpy clothes are JUST NOT COMFORTABLE. Most are also not cute. On. Anyone. The reality is that when you are showing too much skin you distract the boys, the other girls, the teacher, and even yourself.
On the contrary, dressing modestly keeps the focus where it should be – on learning. Modesty does not mean boring or not cute. More modest clothing is actually very attractive – for the right reasons. It draws emphasis on what we should use to attract people to ourselves: our minds and hearts.
Nowhere does modesty work to shame women’s bodies. Instead, it works to teach us to value ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. It also teaches others to value us. If you show others that you deserve to be held in high esteem and that you won’t tolerate anyone treating you any differently it sets the standard for everyone else to follow. Men who do not want to value you will run. This might mean that the man you think you want will run. But that means he isn’t worth your time – at least not yet. Don’t lower your standards – make him raise his. If he doesn’t … his loss. That means that God has someone way better waiting for you.
Is there body shaming out there? Sure. But dress codes and teaching modesty are not the same thing as body shaming. Body shaming works to make us embarrassed of our body and to feel ashamed of the beautiful creation of God that we are. That is wrong. Modesty works to make us feel proud of ourselves in every way and reminds us that we are precious and deserving of value.
Let’s be honest. As women, we know what our clothes can do to others, especially males. We know how to attract attention, and not always the kind of attention we want. Am I saying that a woman who dresses provocatively deserves to be mistreated? ABSOLUTELY NOT! However, as women we should be responsible enough to choose our clothing wisely.
I can hear you now. “But it is so hot! I need to wear less clothing.” Really? I live near Atlanta, GA. We know some hot weather. Add in humidity and … well, just suffice to say there is a reason that it is nicknamed HOTlanta. When you sweat looking out the window, you know it is bad. But really, does a few extra inches of clothing make that big of a difference? I am not out wearing jeans in Atlanta July weather, but neither am I wearing shorts that show off private body parts. My four inch above the knee shorts keep me plenty cool. Well, as cool as you can get in Atlanta in July.
Come on, ladies. Cover up what needs to be covered up. Certain things are simply intended for your husband and no one else. Show some modesty and self-confidence.

One of my favorite Christian authors, Beth Moore, has said it better than anyone else I have heard.  Here are her thoughts:

Well said, Beth!!!

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