By Alison Satterwhite
“Modesty in dress is one of the identifying characteristics of true saints. It is an aid in preserving chastity and an outward sign that the modest person is imbued with humility, decency, and propriety. Immodesty in dress is worldly, excites passions and lusts, places undue emphasis on sex and lewdness, and frequently encourages and invites… immoral practices. It is an outward sign that the immodest person has become hardened to the finer sensitivities of the Spirit and been overcome by a spirit of vanity and pride.” ~Bruce R. McConkie, an apostle
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” ~Corinthians
I suppose our standards of modesty are relevant to the society in which we live. We are not, after all, in Afghanistan, where modesty means being covered literally, from head to toe. Instead, we live in a society whose media focus is primarily on physical attributes when it comes to women, and increasingly so, for men. I can’t help but wonder if we are so cultured to accept these norms, that we fail to see the societal dilemma it is posing for our young girls and even grown women. With one-sided media images ever present, can we really expect our men to view us as anything but objects of sexual desire and physical perfection? It certainly takes a higher moral code to rise above the current indoctrination which is not allowing us to see the forest through the trees.
I recently came across a quote as I read a BYU Alumni article featuring an up and coming clothing designer, Melinda LeSeuer of www.shabbyapple.com. I loved her thoughts on the matter when she said, “Immodesty disempowers women. When women dress respectfully, they are given respect. Dressing modestly communicates to others that one deserves to be treated as a person with a mind and a strong sense of self.” As women we ought to first be valued for our humanity, intellect, character, individuality, inherent goodness, and beauty. If our focus is less on provoking sexual feelings from the opposite sex, we are far more likely to fall in love and develop a lasting and meaningful relationship. Ladies! Let us not distract those around us from our real beauty by dumbing down our standards of modesty and instead take the higher road.