Even though it’s coming to a close, summertime is my favorite season; I’m completely and madly in love with the sun and the warmth. The heat of the summer is always welcome after the harsh winters we have in the northeast. First, the hat and gloves come off and texting becomes possible again. Then the scarf and jacket are shed and you feel like you just lost five pounds! Before you know it, you’re packing away the sweaters in exchange for lighter, cooler, and thinner clothes. While all this is great, there’s something that really bothers me. Too many girls don’t realize when – frankly – they aren’t wearing enough.
The words of this year’s theme, “Behold the Mystery,” can be seen around every corner and heard from every mouth here at Life Teen. As I thought and prayed about it, I remembered learning that the word mystery comes from the Latin “mysterion.” It means something that is revealed while at the same time concealed.
This definition fits well with the virtue of modesty. Certain parts of our body have obvious sexual value connected to them. When these parts are revealed too blatantly, a woman is looked at not for who she is as a person, but what sexual value her body has; she is objectified. Pope John Paul II said that the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of a person, but rather that it shows too little.
We’re not talking about pornography, but when a guy is only looking at a girl because her skirt is so short or her shirt so low, he’s not seeing who she is as a person but only what kind of body she has. Yes, our bodies are a part of who we are, but they aren’t the only part. While we all love attention, that’s the wrong kind of attention. We’re giving men permission to objectify us in order to feel pretty and loved, but those feelings are false because any love or attention received is based on superficial qualities.
I’m not saying we have to cover up every inch of skin. I’m not saying floor-length skirts are for everyone. And let’s be honest, a sack dress just isn’t in this season… or decade. What I am saying is that it’s fine to dress so that others can tell you’re a woman, but it’s not ok to dress so that’s all they see and it obscures their vision of your personhood.
Here are a few practical tips for you ladies:
- The B’s. Any body part that starts with a “B” – you know them – should never be showing. Easy as that.
- Sit, Bend and Reach. It’s just a simple test. Sit to see if your pants are too low. Bend over to see if your shirt is too low, then reach your hands up to see if it’s too short.
- Kleenex. Do you know how thin and see-through a Kleenex is? It’s fine for your nose but not for your clothes. If you can see through your shirt, get a new one.
- Mirror. Your best friend when it comes to modesty. If you look in the mirror and question, “Is it too tight? Too short? Too thin? Too low?” it probably is, so find something else to wear.
To a holy, Godly man, a modest woman is more alluring because there’s something mysterious and captivating about a woman who knows how to tastefully conceal herself. Your body is a beautiful gift from God that manifests his glory. Together, as women, let’s claim a freedom from a desire for attention and a renewed respect for ourselves so that others can “behold the mystery” of a beautiful, and modest woman.