Modesty, Beauty, and Choice

love othersIf you have seen, read, or heard about this article , then you probably can guess what this post will be about. If you have not yet read this blog post by Veronica Partridge, I urge you to do so before reading this one.

Veronica Partridge is a Christian woman who is married and has one child. Like many young women today, she didn’t think much about wearing yoga pants and leggings out in public until she talked to her husband about how he felt when other women wore yoga pants: his thoughts, reactions, and the like. Her husband found it difficult to avoid looking at other women in yoga pants, even if he actively tried not to.

Something about that post really bothered me. I totally agree with her first disclaimer statement–that she doesn’t try to tell other people what not to wear, that it was a personal choice based on her beliefs and values. However, there have been a multitude of people that have taken her post and blown it out of proportion and made it more about her saying that yoga pants entice men, rather than making it about a woman making a personal decision on how to dress herself based on her morals.

The people that openly mock and criticize her statement and decision while simultaneously getting angry, saying that “women have the right to wear whatever they want, if it is tight and entices men: SO WHAT!” have earned absolutely no respect from me whatsoever. If women have a right to wear whatever they want, isn’t she included in that? Veronica Partridge can choose NOT to wear yoga pants and leggings, and can choose to wear them. Both sides are a choice about what to put on our bodies and should be respected either way.

I have recently had conversations with my peers about topics such as this and (at a private Christian university) it is no surprise that it sparks a lot of debate about modesty, what it means to be a “good” Christian, and whose responsibility it is to address such issues. Until today, I had not given a second thought to how much people get up in arms about this topic. A friend of mine brought up a very good point: if modesty is the biggest “issue” that we as college students can come up with then we have some serious problems.

That is not to say that modesty is not a valuable topic to discuss, but it needs to be brought into perspective. People are going to dress they want to dress whether you personally approve or not. Is it really our position to judge how other people dress and choose to express themselves? As Christians, aren’t we called to love each other, especially those that society deems to be unlovable or unworthy of love? Our society’s modesty problems are not problems of modesty at all, but problems of acceptance.

I may not like what someone is wearing, and think that it is inappropriate, slutty, revealing, immodest, (insert any other adjective here) but does that really give me any right to protest it or say that they are wrong?

Style is personal. Some women feel their most confident wearing form fitting clothing. Maybe they are proud of their fit body or how far they have come in their fitness and want to show that off. Maybe they, like me, just enjoy the sheer comfort of yoga pants and leggings. (Sometimes real pants just aren’t worth it). Some women feel their most confident and beautiful in jeans and tee, or a pretty sundress, or heels.

Beauty is subjective. Style is personal. Rather than attack one another for our differences in beliefs in regards to modesty and beauty, why can’t we just agree to accept other women as they are? Also, if modesty is the biggest concern we are choosing to focus on, then we have a lot larger problems than whether or not a woman chooses to wear yoga pants in public.

As a society, we need to take a look at what we are choosing to care about and think: is this something trivial or something that really deserves our attention? That is the thought that I hope to leave you with today. Acceptance and reevaluation.

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