Several members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are attempting to demonstrate that modesty can be both smart and sexy. On October 14th, 2011, the Daily Mail reported on a proliferation of Mormon Modesty blogs designed to communicate this positive message.
In general, these Mormon Modesty bloggers believe that their bodies are temples and should be treated with respect. While LDS dress standards don't dictate personal style, LDS standards provide guidelines for what is considered appropriate and respectful. And this doesn't just include clothing; tattoos, heavy jewelry and body piercing are also discouraged by Church leaders, although not necessarily issues of temple worthiness. Modesty is actually much more than rules; modesty is actually about showing respect for our bodies because they are a sacred gift from God and should be treated accordingly.
So who are these modesty bloggers? Here's the list of those presented in the story:
-- Clothed Much: Edited by Elaine Hearn, a 23-year-old account coordinator. Also has a Facebook page.
-- North Meets South: Edited by Erica Ricks, an accountant based in New York City.
-- Wearing It On My Sleeves: Edited by Sarah Morales.
-- No More Mom Jeans: Edited by Jae Curtis, a 27-year old freelance writer.
-- Cats And Cardigans: Edited by Brandilyn Haynes.
-- Writing Rainbows: Edited by Ashley Nielson.
All six of these bloggers show that modesty can be both smart and sexy, effectively countering the sleazy propaganda put forth by both the fashion business and the entertainment industry.
This is a welcome development, because as a man, I find it more difficult to respect a woman who dresses suggestively than one who dresses modestly. Why is this? It's because of acculturation and opportunism. I actually get turned on more by a secretary wearing a short skirt in a typical office than by a woman wearing a bikini down at the beach. This is attributable to the fact that bikinis fit in with the beach and numerous women wear them, while a single woman wearing a short skirt in an office environment stands out and detracts from professionalism. Married women who dress suggestively may be more prone to illicit affairs than married women who dress modestly, although I know of no objective statistics to back this up.
Obviously, we men have the primary responsibility for being the guardians of our own virtue. But as Young Women President Elaine Dalton suggested during the General Young Women Meeting in April 2011, women have a secondary responsibility to be guardians of our virtue as well. This means women should avoid dressing and behaving in a manner which tempts us beyond our ability to bear it. The unspoken assumption is that we men also have a secondary responsibility to serve as guardians of women's virtue; we serve this purpose best by treating women like ladies even when they don't behave like ladies. This is the most effective antidote to feminism.
One supportive comment was posted on the Daily Mail website by a non-Mormon:
It's not just LDS who have modesty rules, many Conservative Baptists, Pentecostals, Assembly of God, Catholics and other Christian women try to dress modestly! I'm plain-old C of E [Church of England] but I would never wear a skirt that wasn't at least below my knees, or a t-shirt that was too tight or didn't cover the tops of my arms and exposed too much of my 'cleavage'. Basically, it's about self-respect, and also about 'not having everything on show' to the world. There are things I like to keep for my husband! I do the same with my children, they are brought up to respect themselves!
- Anna, Newcastle, 16/10/2011 13:45