I’ve been debating whether or not is should write this post. I’ve gone back and forth with all the reasons I should or shouldn’t. I’ve been worried partly because I don’t want to offend anyone, and partly because writing this will automatically put me under a microscope just begging for people to call me out.
I should probably start off by saying that I don’t think I am better than anyone else. I don’t think I am stronger, smarter, more mature, or wiser. I am beyond normal and exceedingly flawed. I long to be loved and beautiful just as much as, if not more than, the next person. Looking in the mirror is a daily struggle to be content with, or even love, my body. I can’t remember a day in my life when I looked in the mirror and thought, “I’ve got a rockin’ bod! Woot! Go me!” I can think of pictures I have stashed away in the garage and I’ve thought, “wow! I thought I looked so horrible. I wish I looked like that again!” It is moments like those that remind me that my brain is so messed up and vision is totally flawed.
It could be those insecurities that lead me to this very post.
Women, what you wear matters. It matters to men. It matters to women. It matters to your children. You may say, “my children!? You pervert!” Hear me out. Just this week I was laughing with a friend about our boys. She was changing in her room and her 9 year old son walked in. He could not stop staring at her boobs. Yep. A 9 year old boy was enamored with the female body…it just happened to be his mom. It sounds funny! It is funny! We joked about it and I said, “guess he has hit the age when he isn’t allowed around when you’re changing anymore huh?” Boobs weren’t always a distraction. He…well…grew into it. So, just keep that in mind when you’re dressing. Will a 9-year old boy not be able to take his eyes off of your chest?
What you wear matters. During this last t-ball season a woman kept coming to the games and practices wearing really revealing clothing. She would come wearing crop tops without a bra, super tight and low skinny jeans, maxi dresses with a deep v neck and plenty of side-boob, and super short shorts…It was so distracting. I am a girl…who is attracted to men…and I found it horribly distracting. I kept thinking, “if I can complete the picture, so can my husband…and every other person here.” Now, the practices were held at an elementary school, and the games at a church. So before you go defending the clothing, just think about how you’d feel walking into church and seeing boobs and bellies in your face. Super distracting.
Here’s the most tragic thing, though: I don’t know if she was a parent or sister or who she was for the little boy who played on the team. I never was able to get enough courage to talk to her. I was so immobilized by my own insecurity that I couldn’t even talk to this woman. I don’t know if anyone did the entire season! Wow. It is embarrassing. I am totally ashamed of myself. I let my preconceived ideas of what someone should wear at church or other childrens’ events get me so wound up that I couldn’t even walk over to her and introduce myself. And my husband and father in law were the coaches. I, of all people, should have been the most friendly, outgoing, welcoming person there, right? Wrong. I was not who I should have been. I wish I had a do-over.
Do I take back what I said about wearing immodest clothing? No. I really think it is distracting and inappropriate. But should that strike fear and insecurity so deeply in my heart that lose all courage to say, “hello”?
When I was working on campus in college we had a “No B’s” rule. It was great. “No boobs, no butts, no bellies.” I loved that rule! Could it be any clearer? I would venture to say that would be a great rule continuing on through life…not just in my campus bookstore. Why do we need to walk around showing off our boobs, butts, and bellies for everyone to see? It is not necessary. You don’t need to show that much to get attention.
When I was in high school a speaker said that if we thought of ourselves as cars, and clothing as advertisement, it would say a lot about how we can portray ourselves…without even realizing it! She said that Lamborghinis are cars that everyone wants. They don’t have to advertise. Fords and Chevys have more advertisements than you can imagine. She said we should see ourselves as valuable, high-quality, important, wanted…even without advertising our goods.
Have I been perfect in my dress? No. Is clothing the only way you can choose to be modest or immodest? No. Does being immodest mean you have to look matronly? No way! (Although I don’t suggest taking fashion advice from me…I don’t even take fashion advice from me). But I never want to be the woman who walks into church, the grocery store, the school, or the playground and every man has to turn and walk in the opposite direction because what I’m wearing is too much (or too little) for them.
I am trying to say these things because I love women and I want them to be cherished for who they are. I want the clothing on the outside to reveal the beautiful, loving, kind, energetic person on the inside. I also love men…my father, husband, brother, uncles, cousins, grandfather, and my sons. I want their eyes to be guarded. I don’t want to walk into church, or to t-ball games and see beach-appropriate clothing. It’s awkward. It’s distracting.
I don’t think that women are responsible for all the thoughts of men. That is ridiculous. But I think we do what we can, as much as it is up to us, out of love and respect. Think of it this way: if I suddenly became allergic to chocolate, I would hope that my husband would not eat it around me. I wouldn’t want it in the house. Would it be his fault if I ate it? No. But it sure would be a lot less tempting if it wasn’t in my cupboard calling my name.
Am I ever going to go out and start a little modesty crusade expecting to win battles here and there? No. My hope is that maybe a few hearts will be changed, and maybe I will have the courage to look past my own insecurities and discomfort and reach out and befriend people who maybe don’t fit the mold I want them to. I bet I will be surprised at what I might learn and the new friends I can make.