Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dress for Success: Would It Kill Us to Cover Up a Little?

My friend recently shared with me a Mark Driscoll video concerning a married woman who dresses immodestly. I don’t love the idea of a husband trying to control how his wife dresses but I feel like the situation shouldn’t even have gotten to that point. Women should know better. If a woman doesn’t, if dressing that way makes her feel good, that man should understand from the get-go what kind of woman he is committing to.

Personally I don’t like it when women wear revealing clothing (the kind of revealing that borders on ridiculous). I have to stop myself from telling them their village called because their skank is missing. They think it’s empowering, I think it’s distracting. Men are ADD ladies; they can’t pay attention to the words coming out of your mouth if your boobs are falling out of your dress.

But is this fair though? Feminism is about women having choices where once we didn’t. An outfit that used to get us arrested for indecent exposure will now get us in a Flo Rida video. I am not sure that is what the suffragettes had in mind but we’ll take it.

However, just because we CAN doesn’t mean we SHOULD.

Modesty is a volatile subject in feminist circles because feminists often think of modesty in religious or historical terms only. What if we consider it in contextual terms? People make decisions based on their current cultural climate and unfortunately our generation is very good at depersonalizing the personal. They will form opinions based on what we SEE when there’s nothing else to go on. So when we visually leave nothing to the imagination in essence we are saying there is nothing more to us. It isn’t any wonder female objectification is such a problem when you now possess the intellectual depth of a hammer in a man’s eyes.

I’m not saying women who dress this way are stupid, but don’t be surprised if men jump to this conclusion if it appears women are putting all their energy into showcasing their value externally. They probably figure there isn’t enough energy leftover to read a book or form an opinion.

The feminists argue it isn’t about making the men happy but 49% of the population is male. We can’t ignore their perspective if we want to be taken seriously on a global scale. I really don’t want our third-wave feminist zeitgeist to be “we dress like porn stars and that makes us powerful and successful.” No, that makes us unoriginal. It requires a lot more creativity to wear more clothing and still look fabulous.

Women used to wear more clothing because they were taught to feel ashamed of their bodies. Now women feel they are showing how unashamed they are by taking it all off. This is not the only way to show pride in what God gave you, and in my opinion it is certainly not the best way. If you respect your body shouldn’t you only want to share it with those who have proven themselves worthy of the privilege? It’s not about shame, it’s about value.

If you still need a reason to not leave half your outfit at home just think about all the wardrobe malfunctions that result from less coverage. It’s exhausting having to monitor your clothing at all times to make sure everything is where it should be. Trust me, it isn’t worth the energy.

Please, think of the children and don’t be a free show. We are so much more than that.

Suggested Reading:
A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy


  1. Thank you. You have no idea how I feel about this subject. Modesty isn't something to be ashamed of, whether you are a man or a woman.
    Plus I can't tell you how many times I've seen girls dressed in "less to success" shivering their way down River Street or City Market, only to have an offered jacket turned away because it isn't cool. Well, it may just be me but nice gestures like that don't make a woman any less empowered. Just warm.

  2. Indeed, there would be a lot less cold women in the world if they were just a little less stubborn. Women try so hard to be independent and strong all the time, but being strong means being authentic. Not prideful.