This blog should really be called, 'things I want to talk about but it is too long and complicated a topic to post on Facebook'. It's kind of a long title, so I'll just keep the title as is ;)
But seriously though, I have all these thoughts and opinions swimming in my brain, sometimes I put them out into the Facebook world, more often though, they stay swimming around in my brain. This is one of those topics.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormon church, we believe very strongly in modesty. For women this means shorts and skirts that are knee length or longer, shirts that cover shoulders and midriffs. No low cut shirts, no bikinis, no spaghetti strap tank tops, no strapless dresses. That is a lot of 'what not to wear', and for teens especially can be hard to live when it comes to current fashion trends and finding dresses for dances. But this is what we are counseled to do, and this is what I believe in.
Recently I saw an article in Facebook about a photographer who was doing photo shoots of Mormon women, nude. The purpose? Helping these women to feel good about their bodies, to not be ashamed. I read about this (posted by a non-member friend) and was shocked. Were they really suggesting that the push for modesty made these women ashamed of their bodies? If that was the case, then I think they missed the point.
Before I was a member I wore tube tops, bikinis, strapless dresses, tank tops, short skirts, etc. The first time I wore a spaghetti strap tank top I remember feeling so uncomfortable and exposed, but the more I did it, the less awkward I felt. I wore bikinis, and felt all those same feelings, and I never got used to it. When I was learning about the Mormon church I was taught about modesty. My response? I grew up swimming, I am a swimmer, I've spent half my life in a swimsuit, why is that okay but a tank top isn't. But there really is a time and a place for everything.
On top of concept I've often heard told to Young Women, dress modestly so boys don't get the wrong idea or think bad thoughts. While I would love my sons to only associate with modest women, that will not always be the case, and they are responsible for their thoughts, not the women they come in contact with. So to be modest for the sake of vulnerable and impressionable young men only, that is not the point.
The point is, I am modest for me. I am modest to show that I respect the body I have been given, that I respect myself to not have to show lots if skin to be fashionable. I dress modestly because I believe that is how Christ would want me to dress. I feel more comfortable and more confident when I dress this way, I do not have to worry about what will show when I bend over or squat down. I do not cover up because I am ashamed of my body, but because I love it enough to dress it nicely and modestly so that my light can shine through.