Why Modesty

My mother always told me that modesty was in the attitude, not in the apparel. 


Our church group told us that modesty was a formula.  No skirts that don’t meet the finger tests.  No shirts that show cleavage.  (If taken literally I could go topless and my cousins had to wear turtlenecks.)

Every church camp we got the modesty talk.  The message was clear- “females are responsible for the thought sins of the males.  Unless you cover up your evil body you cause someone to stumble.”


The rules were posted on the door of the girls dorm complete with verses so that when we left we were aware that modesty was good, vanity was bad, and the best way to show respect to our ‘brothers’ was to cover up.

This was reinforced by watching the older girls worry about the length of their skirts.  By the disapproving looks and caustic remarks of the older ladies.  And by the preachers telling us during church about their struggles with lust and calling for a return to modesty.  Other girls simply called them perverts but I took it as my fault.

I dressed modestly out of fear.  I was afraid of causing others to sin.  I was afraid of disapproval from the older people.  And I was afraid of showing my imperfect sinful body.

After the nudist camp I am less afraid  to show my imperfect body.  All bodies are looking more beautiful.

I’m getting less afraid of others approval or disapproval. 

I am no longer afraid of causing others to sin.  It is their own choice.  A pastor’s wife I know was talking about how angry her husband gets when women dress to ‘tempt him’.   As if it were a personal attack on his purity.  ha.   That seems a little conceited, actually.

In my experience, what makes the difference what is going on in the head of the guy looking at me that .  I’ve felt dirty from looks given to me when I’ve been more covered up than others around me.  I’ve felt completely respected when stark naked. 

There are many ways to signal sexual availability, but just owning breasts is not one of them. 

My mother was right.

6 thoughts on “Why Modesty

  1. Lorena says:

    I’ve been wanting to go to a nude beach for quite a while…but the only person I could go with is my Christian husband. Darn!

    Did you write about that nudist camp you went to on another post?

  2. I was surprised at the number of Christian naturists who believe clothes are part of the fall and they are just trying to get back to the way God made them to be. That was the line I used on my mom 🙂

    I wrote about the camp visit earlier called Uncovered- Literal Edition.

  3. “females are responsible for the thought sins of the males. Unless you cover up your evil body you cause someone to stumble”
    That is the biggest crock of shit ever. It is all Eve’s fault for tempting Adam etc. It is a cop out for men’s failure to exercise any kind of self control and act in a civilized manner. The Muslims are the most hung up about it to the point of obsession. By their standards, my sisters Mother-in-Law who is 97 dresses like a Ho. Ukraine is wonderful for guys like me from the Prairies who have never seen so many beautiful girls wearing so few clothes but the local guys don’t even notice. I think if we all went naked all the time, the world population would decrease as NO ONE would want to have sex with anyone. There are few human bodies that look well naked and most of those are featured in monthly glossies of one kind or another.

    • prairienymph says:

      And even those have been airbrushed and photoshopped !

      I really hate that breastfeeding in our culture isn’t treated as beautiful, but something to be hidden. As if breasts belonged to men instead of women and their babies. In public places I sometimes pretend that I’m from Europe.
      I think that naturism truly would decrease rape- that would be my prescribed form of treatment, to work supervised in a nude nursing home.

  4. I asked Tanya about breastfeeding in Ukraine and Russia and it is like in the days of our mothers – go hide in the bedroom. This is a country where cleavage is maxed out at every opportunity. Apparently a few women are challenging this and in parks or on trains you will see a discreet blanket over a baby feeding.

    I remember my cousin’s wife coming to our place with their first one to play Milles Bournes. She would tuck the baby under one arm, plug him in and deal the cards.

    RE nude nursing home, Jeff Foxworthy had a take on that. Gods punishment for young boys fascination with naked women was to have them open the bathroom and see their grandmother standing there naked.

  5. Also keep in mind rape has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with power.

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