MODESTY PART II-A:
“Never lower our dress standards for any occasion. Doing so sends the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval and that modesty is important only when it is convenient.” (For the Strength of Youth pamphlet)
It is a good idea to ask ourselves what our purpose is in wearing the clothes we do. There is a fine line between wanting to look our best and wanting to show off our best. You can look good without completely exposing yourself. With that in mind, here are a few special occasions in which one might be tempted to lower standards.
It can be very difficult to maintain standards of modesty since not too many elegant dresses come with sleeves and high necks! This was always a challenge in high school, even in Utah. Most girls sought out nice jackets to cover bare shoulders or had alterations done. (Or as Aunt Joyce mentioned in her comment on Part 1, some mothers actually made the dress...a talent I'm afraid I don't have).
Now I always understood that a sleeveless dress was immodest and never questioned it; thus I’ve been a bit surprised to find out that it’s not as common an idea among Mormon’s as I had assumed. In the current “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet it is quite clear on this issue however: “Young women should wear clothing that covers the shoulder and avoid clothing that is low-cut in the front or the back or revealing in any other manner.” Let’s be realistic ladies. What guy falls in love with a girl’s shoulders anyway?
Other occasions, like Halloween, require costumes. Even at these times it is important to remember to be modest and keep the same standards as every other day. Even when pretending to be someone or something else, you are still the one behind the mask.
Swimming is an occasion that could lots of debate. There are definitely exceptions to many of the rules when it comes to swim suits, but deciding which rules is the tricky part. Unfortunately, there is not detailed counsel in the pamphlet on this specific issue. I mean, who would really feel comfortable in a swim suit in front of the Lord anyway??
There are plenty of controversial guidelines when it comes to other sports and hobbies. Our track and cross country uniforms did not cover the sleeves. Are they immodest? Runners’ shorts are often very short. Dance outfits are very often risqué for children of all ages. Where is the line when it comes to improving performance or required team attire? What do you think?
My opinions will come after yours. But for now, keep in mind that we must be completely honest with ourselves and others when we rationalize the tweaking of modesty guidelines. Is there a real purpose or are we just wearing stretchy pants in our room for fun?
Upcoming: My own opinion on these questions and what applies to babies.
Alright, So at our ward conference the other day the stake president said that we should be dressed to past our knees and with sleeves at all times, exercise is not an excuse, yard work is not an excuse, and neither was basket ball, the stake sports director is in our ward he told us at the beginning of the season that the stake president expects t-shirts worn at all times during the games and shorts long enough to cover our our knees. We are promised protection if we wear the appropriate clothes and if we don't the protection is no longer promised. As far as dancing and swimming goes, there is a difference between tasteful and and skanky. . . and just because we are wearing swim suits and leotards there is no reason to be skanky. It drives me nuts to go to things like the festival of the trees and see three year old girls be doing hoochie hoochie dances in skanky clothes. to me if you dress your kids when they are young modestly you never have to explain to them that they need to change. My parent's neighbor girls spend all summer in the bikinis out in their front yard. as they get older they still continue to do it. . . the oldest girl is now thirteen. . . and she still does it. It would be one thing if they were playing in the water, but they are just playing. it may have been cute when they were two, but they aren't and they haven't learned the difference. I think that clothes should be worn at appropriate times and then changed out of. . . walking around in the grocery store in your swimsuit after you have been swimming is not appropriate, change before you leave the pool. and at that wear swim suits that are modest. In my abnormal psychology class we learned about the effects of pornography and of sexual abuse on the mind. The slightest thing can trigger back flash backs to people, even people who try not to remember it, even those who have been through counseling and therapy, even those that is long in the past, even those that saw stuff unintentionally, we should keep in mind what our attire is doing to those around us, we would not want to unintentionally bring back harmful things to people. The other day I took my cute son to swim lessons and there was a mother there that at the side of the pool undressed her five year old daughter and put her swim suit on her. and I thought, I am trying to teach my cute son that he is not to leave the bathroom in his underwear, that he is suppose to shut the door when he goes to the potty and when I change his sisters diaper he should not be in the room, and here sits this mom totally exposing her young daughter to all wandering eyes. . . who knows what kind of sicko is there at the pool! Good Gravy. . . the messages we send to our kids when they are young will stick with them. we need to set examples now and we need to have them learn from the beginning. There is one more soap box for your sherri, however I am still curious as to what brought this up
Thank you Charis! I may not need to post the second part after all! What spurred these posts? My brain has too much time to think! I have a whole series of this kind of stuff waiting to be revised and posted...on other topics. The biggest trigger, though, is concerning baby modesty...which I'll get to eventually.
This is a great subject. I know I am just not comfortable with clothing that is too short or too low. When I work out, even at home I feel the need to keep well covered. I have some shorts that have occasionally worn when on vacation to cover my swimming suit as I walk to the weight room to work out. If I am going straight to the pool then I'm sort of okay. Otherwise, I wear my longer clothes. Maybe it's becasue of my age, because too much skin isn't that attractive when it's all wrinkley, but I still feel like it's a good idea to just be responsibly covered.
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