When I was 21 years old, I signed a one year contract with a modeling agency. After that one year was up, I walked away from the industry and never looked back. Even though my experience was brief, I got a good taste for what it felt like to be objectified for a profit.
In my book, Girl Defined, I talk about how the modeling industry along with countless other industries have re-trained our society to view the female body as a consumable object.
TV shows like Girls Gone Wild, companies like Playboy, restaurants like Hooters and magazines like Cosmo have completely destroyed America’s view of women.
Teen girls are now taught that female liberation and empowerment means illicit sex, sensual clothing and an occupation as a porn star.
As Carolyn McCulley writes in her book Radical Womanhood, “Raunchy has become synonymous with liberated.”
And worst part?
Our over-sexualized culture has done an incredible job at making the seductive woman the cool girl.
“We live in a culture of hyper aggressive female sexuality, which is arguably the worst ever in recorded history,” McCulley says.
Sadly, modesty has become close to extinct in the new American raunch culture. In fact, modesty is now looked upon with shame and embarrassment.
So here’s the question I want to pose: Is modesty actually valuable for women? Or is it simply a regressive idea from the past? And as many people are asking today, “Can Christians promote modesty in a way that doesn’t ‘shame’ women?”
These are great questions to ask that demand solid answers.
After my short-lived career in the modestly industry, I attempted to do just that. I (along with Bethany) went on a research journey with the goal of discovering exactly what it means to be a woman defined by God’s truth. In short, we both discovered compelling evidence that there is a Christ honoring way to embrace modesty in a Biblical manner without falling into either ditch (shaming women, or embracing sexual liberation).
Compelled by what the two of us were learning, we decided to co-author a book titled, Project Modesty: How to Honor God with Your Wardrobe While Looking Totally Adorable in the Process.
This book unpacks the Biblical perspective on modesty by digging into why modesty must start in the heart, why God created clothes in the first place, and how to dress fashionably and modestly at the same time.
For me, personally, the more I understood God’s heart for modesty and purity, and embraced this in my life, the more I learned to value my body as God values it.
Here are four compelling reasons for why modesty actually brings more value to women, not less.
1. Modesty places value on a woman’s body.
Women were created by God to be physically beautiful. To have soft curves and a lovely figure. This is a wonderful thing! However, God didn’t design the intimate parts of this beautiful body to be consumed by just any passerbyer (Prov. 5:18-19). When we, as women, uncover and reveal our intimate body parts, we, in a sense, cheapen what God has made to valuable.
However, by dressing with modesty and dignity, we boldly state that our bodies are precious, valuable, and not available for common consumption.
2. Modesty promotes female dignity.
Nudity and immodesty have completely backfired on women. Rather than gaining more respect and dignity in the eyes of others, we have become objects to consume. By undressing, we have trained many modern men to view us as nothing more than eye candy. We have thrown our dignity down the drain at the false promise of becoming more empowered.
Putting our clothes back on is the first step to regaining some ground. Actions speak louder than words. By dressing modestly we silently proclaim that we are much more valuable than our curves. We are dignified women who value our bodies, and expect the same from others.
As Jessica Rey stated, “modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves, it’s about revealing our dignity.
3. Modesty encourages respect.
Women desire respect just like men do. Sadly, nothing has destroyed respect for women more than the porn industry. I looked up synonyms for respect, and I found words like esteem, regard, high opinion, admiration, reverence, and honor. Porn encourages none of those for women. Why? Because porn/nudity turns women into “objects” and objects are disposable and replaceable.
Women who dress with modesty and decency naturally demand more respect. When we respect our own bodies, we encourage the respect, honor, and admiration from those around us.
4. Modesty draws attention to the face.
It’s not uncommon to be out in public and see a random guy doing a “once over” on a woman. When we, as women, undress and reveal alluring portions of our intimate body parts, we shouldn’t be surprised when strangers feast on our body. By dressing immodestly we invite everyone, including creepers, to enjoy what isn’t theirs.
The attention we receive (good or bad) is solely based on our physical body, not on who we are as a person. By dressing modestly we instantly put the creepers in their place. We send the message that our face is where the focus needs to be. We encourage people to get to know “us” not our curves.
When modesty is embraced with the right heart and for the right reasons, it is powerful and freeing in a woman’s life.
Biblical modesty promotes value and worth in ways that sensuality and immodesty never could.
God loves his daughters and He values us more than anyone in this world (even more than we value ourselves). God says we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-15). God calls us, as women, to adorn ourselves in modest apparel (1 Timothy 2:9) because He loves us and desires that we walk in purity, holiness, and righteousness.
When we, as Christian women embrace modesty with humble hearts, we aren’t proclaiming “shame,” but proclaiming the fact that we value and treasure the beautiful bodies that God gave us — all for His glory.
I’d love to hear from you below.