Friday, August 14, 2015

This Whole Modesty Thing ...

Back when I was a teenager, we were taught in Young Women that we should dress modestly. Some girls chose to follow that counsel, other girls didn't, and that was pretty much the end of it. Counsel given, choice made, life went on.

However, about a year ago - or maybe two years - all of a sudden, modesty became this big thing. Bloggers everywhere decided to start picking it apart. Some were really . . . well, let's just say that the discussion became interesting. People began to place blame - "A man can't control his thoughts, so a girl has to stay modest for his sake." Others felt that asking a girl to dress modestly interfered with her rights and was taking us a step back in our progression toward an equal society. Still others stated that when it gets hot outside, girls need to dress in less clothing so they don't get overheated. And it's all felt very angry and defensive and prickly.

And I've sat here going, huh?

I have to be honest - to me, this is an issue that just doesn't feel big enough to be an issue. If you'd like to follow the counsel, follow it. If you'd rather not, don't. It's your choice, that whole agency thing we talk about all the time. Those who follow the counsel have their own personal reasons for doing so. Those who don't have their own personal reasons for their decision too.  What is your heart telling you?

Whenever I see a debate like this raging on the Internet, I can't help but wonder what we're missing when we get so caught up in distractions like that. It's really difficult to listen to our hearts when there's so much chaos. We need quiet. We need to turn off all the other voices and listen to ourselves. That's how we'll make the choices that will lead to happiness for us - not engaging in all the rhetoric.

It's the same with every piece of advice we're given, counsel we're dispensed, or commandment we're given. We have the choice as to whether we'll listen, and we need to make those choices by tuning in to our own hearts and determining for ourselves where we stand on those issues. The Holy Ghost is always there to confirm to us the rightness of our choice, or to encourage us to take another path. In the end, it's up to us. It's always up to us.

My daughter and I choose to dress modestly. We don't do it because we're trying to keep men (those slobbery, hairy beasts) from lusting after us. We don't feel as though our rights are being taken away. We also don't find ourselves suffering particularly when the weather gets hot, or any of the other arguments being made for/against. We simply feel better about ourselves when we're dressed modestly. That's our personal choice. And we encourage everyone to make their own personal choice, for themselves, in their own lives, because that's how the whole agency thing works.

There. I've now joined the voices of bloggers everywhere discussing this topic. Peace out.


Jennifer said...

As I was reading your list of people's reasons for and against modest dress, I kept wondering why nobody mentioned self-respect. And then you wrote: "We simply feel better about ourselves when we're dressed modestly."

Well said, Tristi!

LINDA L. ZERN said...

I've always thought that if we focus on helping young women build their relationships with their savior then they will figure out where their skirt hems are supposed to be, but then again I'm the primary president. I'm glad when they keep their clothes ON. :)

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