31 January 2013

Things Denise Has Been Pondering: Modesty

Today I came across an article titled "How Modesty Doctrines Made Me Hate My Body" by "Sierra" from No Longer Quivering (http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2011/11/21/how-modesty-made-me-fat). Most of the time I don't mind feminist writings and if I don't agree I say to myself, "Self, they are allowed their own views just like you are." However, there are some times that I just cannot be quiet about something I've read. Like this article.

This lady was not raised in the same faith as I was.

I am SHOCKED that whoever taught her the principle of modesty taught her to believe these things: Modesty taught me that what I looked like was what mattered most of all; Modesty taught me that I was always on display; Modesty was not just about dress. It was also about moving like a lady; modesty was literally keeping me weak; modesty contributed to my eating disorder; Modesty taught me that I was a decoration; Modesty made me objectify myself; I couldn't grow like a normal human adolescent; When you argue that what's modest and what isn't is a valid concern for women, you tell them that their appearance matters most. You objectify them.

I'm so grateful for my religion. Modesty is extremely important to us but not for ANY of the reasons this woman gave. Men and women are taught to be modest because our bodies are temples - given to us from God. We are taught to respect our bodies as they are in the image of God and Jesus Christ. 

Unfortunately, the Church is made up of imperfect people who are all trying to do their best. Sometimes these imperfect people teach perfect principles imperfectly. I know that as a young woman I was sometimes taught to be modest in order to help the boys not think impure thoughts. The problem with that teaching angle is that girls want the boy's attention and they will dress in ways that they might not otherwise in order to get that attention. Maybe the boys need to be taught to respect girls who dress modestly and not "reward" those who dress otherwise.

Anyways, I feel badly for "Sierra" and the body issues she has struggled with because of the poor teacher she had. I hope that girls will learn to be proud but respectful of their bodies. If I ever have a daughter I hope I can effectively teach her the principle of modesty so she will truly understand her divine worth. You can be sure that we will be teaching William to respect his body, too.

1 comment:

Jay and Abbey Rowley said...

Wow. I've heard some crazy things being taught in the church, but I've never heard of modesty being taught this way! I want to find that leader and slap him/her. I'm really excited about this new curriculum for the youth because it will teach them to find answers instead of just listening to their leaders. That way, if they have a imperfect leader teaching crazy doctrine, they will know how to find peace in true doctrine. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!