Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: Why Modesty?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Why Modesty?

I get asked a lot why I wear skirts, which is sometimes followed by the question of what modesty is all about. While this is not about why I only wear skirts (a personal conviction, and something I may write about later), this is to answer the simply question of,

What's the point of dressing modestly?

There are a lot of answers to this question. A lot of it has to do with the protection of the men in our lives. But that can't be the only reason, can it? After all, I can't protect them from everything. I slip up; I make mistakes; I wear that shirt that's borderline too tight or too low because I think I look good in it. But the simplest answer I have found for myself, the simplest motivation I have for being modest is this:

I want to be a safe place.

We've all been in situations when we're with our brothers, guy friends, boyfriends, husbands, and we instantly feel uncomfortable for them when we walk past Victoria's Secret, or when that certain scene in that movie comes on. 
It's not a jealousy, or even a protective issue. I just cringe with an embarrassment for the whole female species. Because I know it's difficult for them. I know in those situations their brain is struggling against the opportunity to use the "hey, I'm a guy, I can't help it" excuse, or to be a nobler sort of man.

It's been my goal for the past couple of years to be a girl that men can be safe around. Whether it's my guy friends, my friends' significant others or the adult men in my life.
I do not want them to feel assaulted whenever they are around me. I want them to feel like they can be around me without keeping their guard super high. I want them to be talk to me without having to fight for eye contact because they're trying so hard not to look at my body. I want to be able to hang out with couples and the woman not feel like she needs to be jealous or protective over her boyfriend/husband's eyes or attention. I want to be a source of friendship and encouragement, being the smallest distraction that I could possibly be.

This causes me to ask myself some very hard questions sometimes. Especially when I'm with my guy friends or my brothers and I notice a shift in their behavior when a girl "dressed like that" walks past. And it just leads me to wonder: "do I cause that sort of defensive reaction to the guys in my life? do I make them feel uncomfortable?"

Two possible responses:

Gals, this is a weakness for men. And since we can't protect them completely, we have two responses: we, as women, can set out to assault this weakness, OR we can do what we can to be, as much as possible, a "safe place" for their minds and their eyes. Yeah, it's the less-fun road to take. It means making sacrifices with certain clothing items, and turning down the latest styles sometimes. 
But to put my vanity before the purity of the men in my life is an atrocity.

Let's challenge and encourage each other to becoming safer places for the men in our lives instead of being just another source of struggle.

You can read my next post, "4 Reasons you should NOT be modest," here.



  1. I love this post.
    I agree, I think us girls who are striving to be modest need to challenge and encourage each other more. It's always nice to know there's someone else in the fight, too. :)

    Thanks for the great post, and I definitely think you should post about why you were only skirts.
    Many blessings,
    Kelly Brown

  2. I have to disagree. I have nothing against modesty, but what I do have a problem with is the idea that women should dress a certain way to protect men. Protect them from what exactly? How a man acts around a woman is on HIM not her. Why should women change the way the dress to make life "easier" or "better" for men? Why can't men learn to control themselves around women?

    1. Kathlyn, that is a great point. I talk about that a little bit more in my post "4 Reasons You Should Not Be Modest" (here: I would love it if you would check it out. Feel free to email me if you want to talk more about this:)