How do I explain modesty?

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Daughter1
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Re: How do I explain modesty?

Post by Daughter1 » 14 May 2019, 20:55

AmyJ wrote:
14 May 2019, 06:52

1. Modesty is mental attitude defined by becoming satisfied and grateful for what you have while maintaining an appearance that shows you thought about the messages you wanted to send the world.
I love this. The balance between your internal confidence and your presentation in the face of others is a central point of modesty. You summarized it very well.

I think an expansion of "modesty" as it is usually discussed is the way to go. Add to the discussions of dress the mindset of how you choose the outfit. Then expand from there. Why do you choose to wear jeans and a t-shirt? Why do you choose to wear a skirt or a button down shirt and tie? Asking the why helps get to what should be the driving motivation. And the driving motivation should come from a modest approach to life.

Regarding the unfair balance between men and women, I think For the Strength of Youth is a good example. Most of the "Dress and Appearance" article is targeted to both genders. I have quoted the main paragraph that addresses them separately below. (After this, each does have a specific address - women to wear only one pair of earrings, men to "dress with dignity" while passing the sacrament.)
Immodest clothing is any clothing that is tight, sheer, or revealing in any other manner. Young women should avoid short shorts and short skirts, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and clothing that does not cover the shoulders or is low-cut in the front or the back. Young men should also maintain modesty in their appearance. Young men and young women should be neat and clean and avoid being extreme or inappropriately casual in clothing, hairstyle, and behavior. They should choose appropriately modest apparel when participating in sports. The fashions of the world will change, but the Lord’s standards will not change.
https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-stren ... e?lang=eng
The young women are given very explicit directions of what constitutes "immodest clothing." Young mend are told to "maintain modesty." When I was young, young men liked to wear pants that were falling off so that their boxers showed. They dressed slovenly and sloppily in general, but the loss of pants was a frequent risk they ran. But does the book tell them to wear pants? Nope.

I was discussing this with my sister, and I decided that I will never be called to talk to the youth about modesty. Which is good, because I would spend 30 minutes detailing how young men should dress. And end by telling the young women "make sure you dress presentably as well."

I wish I would get called to give that talk. :)
I don't think there could ever be just one single philosophy or one single religion. Since there are so many different types of people, with a range of tendencies and inclinations, it is quite fitting that there are differences between religions. And the fact that there are so many different descriptions of the religious path shows how rich religion is. - HH the XIV Dalai Lama

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dande48
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Re: How do I explain modesty?

Post by dande48 » 14 May 2019, 21:50

Daughter1 wrote:
14 May 2019, 20:55
The young women are given very explicit directions of what constitutes "immodest clothing." Young mend are told to "maintain modesty." When I was young, young men liked to wear pants that were falling off so that their boxers showed. They dressed slovenly and sloppily in general, but the loss of pants was a frequent risk they ran. But does the book tell them to wear pants? Nope.
Haha, but they should. Some men could certainly use that sort of modesty "talk".
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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DarkJedi
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Re: How do I explain modesty?

Post by DarkJedi » 15 May 2019, 06:13

dande48 wrote:
14 May 2019, 21:50
Daughter1 wrote:
14 May 2019, 20:55
The young women are given very explicit directions of what constitutes "immodest clothing." Young mend are told to "maintain modesty." When I was young, young men liked to wear pants that were falling off so that their boxers showed. They dressed slovenly and sloppily in general, but the loss of pants was a frequent risk they ran. But does the book tell them to wear pants? Nope.
Haha, but they should. Some men could certainly use that sort of modesty "talk".
Agreed. Women have lustful thoughts as well (and let's not forget the gay men). Although I really like to steer the conversation away from the idea that seeing a woman's shoulders or knees somehow makes it the woman's fault a man has lustful thoughts. That's one of my pet peeves about how modesty is addressed in the church.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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dande48
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Re: How do I explain modesty?

Post by dande48 » 15 May 2019, 08:16

DarkJedi wrote:
15 May 2019, 06:13
Agreed. Women have lustful thoughts as well (and let's not forget the gay men). Although I really like to steer the conversation away from the idea that seeing a woman's shoulders or knees somehow makes it the woman's fault a man has lustful thoughts. That's one of my pet peeves about how modesty is addressed in the church.
It's not just lust. I think it's breaking modesty if you're dressing or acting in a way that causes others to feel uncomfortable or jealous. I think it's important to recognize what we do influences others, and try to act in such a way that we're a good influence. But you're right, we should still take responsibility for our own shortcomings regardless of what's going on around us.

I don't think anyone these days has lustful thoughts around shoulders or knees. Historically, that might've been a problem. And in certain rural tribes, it might not be "immodest" or "sexual" for a woman to go topless. But I don't think that'd be appropriate; not with me, not with our society. Modesty standards aren't set it stone. But that still doesn't mean we should toss those standards away. If we want change, it should be a slow process to give people time to adjust.

With men, apparently having "facial hair" was against modesty standards. I'd say it was treated much in the same way as "multiple piercings" for women. Church leaders are still forbidden from having facial hair. It was the same way for men at BYU... though I remember during my time they changed the policy to allow clean kept mustaches. Suddenly, a good chunk of guys on campus started looking like pedophiles. :P I also had this roommate, pre-mission, who never wore a shirt, off-campus. NEVER. And of course, we've all known those guys who never shower.

One last example... I remember on my mission hearing the Church got an offer from BMW, which would allow them to purchase BMWs for missionaries at a cheaper rate than Toyota Carollas. But the Church turned them down, because of the appearance it would send. I didn't like it at the time, but now I feel it's a very good example of maintaining the right kind of modesty. Appearances are important. Cars should (IMO) be a utility tool to get from point A to point B, not a status symbol.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
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DarkJedi
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Re: How do I explain modesty?

Post by DarkJedi » 15 May 2019, 14:58

dande48 wrote:
15 May 2019, 08:16
One last example... I remember on my mission hearing the Church got an offer from BMW, which would allow them to purchase BMWs for missionaries at a cheaper rate than Toyota Carollas. But the Church turned them down, because of the appearance it would send. I didn't like it at the time, but now I feel it's a very good example of maintaining the right kind of modesty. Appearances are important. Cars should (IMO) be a utility tool to get from point A to point B, not a status symbol.
I smell urban legend. I'd have to have better verification of that one than "my aunt's neighbor's brother-in-law whose cousin works at the COB."
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: How do I explain modesty?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 May 2019, 19:44

Fwiw, I always focus on two points when talking about modesty - and both points have been mentioned already, so this comment simply is to share my own approach:

1) I ALWAYS focus first on the actual definition of the word (comprehensive moderation and appropriateness), and I do so specifically in order to shift the conversation away from the way we obsess about female clothing. With that beginning, I can emphasize that going overboard actually is immodest - like requiring shorts and t-shirts at a pool or at girls camp or dresses that cover the knee and show absolutely no shoulder area. I actually use that last example as one that is immodest, but I have to set the stage first.

2) I ALWAYS focus second on how modesty is applied almost exclusively to women, in practical terms - because the people officially creating the formal standard are almost all men. Enforcement includes women, but formulation comes from men. I ask when the last time was that the person heard specific examples of detailed requirements for males to be modest. Nobody ever can answer that, unless it is that males should not be shirtless or naked in public. I ask why female knees and shoulders are considered sexual and need to be covered when male knees and shoulders are not.

It sometimes takes a bit for the other person to get it, but I always have been able to help the other person see what I mean.
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badkarmal
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Re: How do I explain modesty?

Post by badkarmal » 01 Sep 2019, 10:42

This is such a difficult topic in so many ways. Mostly because of what people have mentioned it seems to only be targeted towards women. I personally am more progressive when it comes to modesty. It seems like someone else says it really depends on the situation. If someone wore a tank top to sacrament meeting-that could be considered immodest. But if they were wearing one on their trip to the grocery store, then perhaps it isn't immodest?

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: How do I explain modesty?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 04 Sep 2019, 15:27

This old topic again! (I mean that in a good way)

There are so many ways individuals define modesty, and that's part of the problem:
1) A person is only modest if they could be wearing garments under it.
2) Wearing what is appropriate to the activity.
3) Not being "too casual" (which seems to be a particular concern for our aging Church leaders).
4) Not inciting lust (which sounds like the problem of the lustful person to me, not the person they are objectifying. Women are seldom motivated by the things men think we are).

So two people can see the same clothing and consider it completely differently. The concept of modesty for not being "showy" or appearing to show off wealth is similarly problematic. You could buy a BMW because you want social status, or you could inherit it from a dead relative, or you could just get a fabulous deal on it. But others could look at that and say "immodest! show off!" That doesn't mean that was your motive.

I used to think, like dande48 said, that you should live your life in such a way that you don't cause another to stumble, but it is a crippling way to live. You really can't second guess what others think or how they perceive what you do. For example, you could think "If I wear pants to church (as a woman), it will upset the pearl-clutching old ladies." But you could just as easily think, "If I wear pants to church it will make visitors and investigators feel more comfortable." No matter what you do, different people will react differently.

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Re: How do I explain modesty?

Post by Roy » 11 Sep 2019, 11:28

Once again, this is not just an LDS issue. There was a female swimmer in Alaska that was DQ'ed (later overturned) because of a swim suit wedgie.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2 ... officials/

Also from the article:
Last year, a parent took a photo of her backside and shared it with other parents to demonstrate that girls on the team were wearing inappropriate swimwear. (District officials said Monday that Dimond High School’s assistant principal “indicated to the parent who took the photographs that it was not permissible for him to take pictures of others’ children and that he should stop immediately.”)

I am glad that this photographer parent was corrected here. Taking pictures of a child's backside to use on an object lesson on modesty - thus literally objectifying her - is very inappropriate and possibly illegal.

Swimsuit uniforms do not fit everyone the same way and more often than not there is a limited selection of sizes to choose from. How about, we let the kids compete without drawing attention to their bodies or sexuality for a change!
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