My blogging and facebook friend Michelle Krabill, who remains Evangelical but has a beady eye for Evangelical folly, quotes a survey of what women’s clothes Evangelical men found “immodest”. A choice example is that 65.4% said it was a “stumbling block” when a girl reaches into her shirt to adjust a bra strap. So, if my strap falls down, I must walk around unable to move my upper arm, until I can find a restroom and correct my dishabille in private- or risk tripping a man up with Naughty Thoughts, so that he falls off the true path of Christ and heads for Hell. But then, my breast will be lolling about inside my shirt, unsupported, perhaps even jiggling a bit. Oh! What is a girl to do?

Is it not amazing that I have such power over men’s souls? Or at least, that women younger, more attractive, and cissexual, have that power?

When skirts were all floor length, a glimpse of stocking really was something shocking- something unlooked for, which suddenly drives a man to thoughts of SEX. Some men have sex drives so strong, insistent and unrelenting that any sudden glimpse sends them wild. Which is why we wear slit skirts, of course: a glimpse is so much more fascinating than a clear view. While 29.1% of the survey said that slits in skirts are immodest, I am sure 100% would find slits horribly fascinating. God have mercy, that woman is showing her knee!

Halter necks like these dresses have are immodest, say nearly three quarters of the 1600 men surveyed. Indeed, a quarter would object to the models exposing their (rather sexy) collar-bones. We really cannot win: if we wear a niqab, some men will object to seeing our eyes, and in Afghanistan even these are obscured, behind a grille, within a loose, tent-like thing. The Taliban Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, modelled on the similar Saudi ministry, then objected to women wearing shoes with hard soles which made noises as the poor slaves walked.

When a commenter said that “most of the people responding [to the survey]  are Mennonite/Amish/Quaker” I got wound up. It is true that we tend to wear modest clothes, though I have no objection to showing off my collarbone, even my chest almost as far as my non-existent cleavage. But we do not enforce these standards on each other through fear, like these men. Rather, we value “plain dress”, which like “plain speech” is part of our testimony to Simplicity, from self-respect. Our plain dress is also practical, and lacking display.

Morality enforced by others will always be tyranny. The only way is to trust each other to behave like moral adults. Judge not.

For connoisseurs of Evangelical idiocy, here is an attack on and defence of the weird doctrine of Dispensationalism,

11 thoughts on “Modesty

  1. Ha! Ha! Which then is the weaker sex? Women are to be judged, assessed and even traded like so much horsemeat at the market, yet they must modestly cast down their eyes and cover themselves to be decent. An obvious contradiction. Husbands are to be titillated by their wives, but only in the privacy of their own homes, and it is women who assume the responsibility for at once satisfying and also curbing men’s sexual appetites. That’s another two or three mixed messages. Women have no sexual appetites of their own, obviously. It’s like the nursery bullies in the playground who taunt a child for wearing immodest knickers…who’s looking at you, kid?

    If a Quaker dresses modestly, this is possibly more to do with what they think is important, than with a belief system which oppresses women. In any case, gaudy dress in Quaker meetings is sometimes admired. Who among us does not enjoy a splash of colour?

    Have a lovely day.

    XX 🙂


    • Well, exactly. Men get distressed by their Naughty Thoughts, or act on them culpably, and blame someone else. It must be that she made him do it, because his actions do not fit with his view of himself. This is a fear response: the World is Bad. It is all very, very silly.

      That Fear response is not Quaker.


  2. To quote the wonderful satirist/songwriter Tom Lehrer in his song “Smut”:
    “Older books had dirty parts, though recent books are bolder
    But filth, I’m glad to say, is in the eyes of the beholder”
    “When correctly viewed
    Everything is lewd”


  3. Pingback: Reblogging: Modesty | doubleinvert

    • I have reached into my shirt to correct the strap of my slip (The Horror!) even in meeting! And wandered around today in denim shorts, even walked naked across a campsite.

      Welcome Chris, poet and classicist. Thank you for commenting. Interaction makes this hobby so much more interesting.


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