It looks like the Modesty Police in Malaysia is hard at work making sure people comply with attire that is deemed appropriately modest.
On June 8, a guard at the Wangsa Maju Road Transport Department office asked a woman to put on a sarong before she could be served.
On June 16, another woman was denied entry into the Sungai Buloh Hospital for wearing shorts, but was allowed in after she wrapped her legs with a towel.
Barely a week later, two women were denied entry to the Selangor State Secretariat building as their attire did not cover their knees.
On June 24, a woman was denied entry into Penang’s Balik Pulau Court Complex for wearing a skirt deemed too short.
On May 7, a man was denied entry into Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s lost and found department because he was wearing shorts and sandals.
If the purpose of our clothes is to glorify God, how are you doing so by wearing something that obviously causes others to sin in their minds? Yes, it is everyone’s job to control their own eyes, but you ALSO have a responsibility to not give them reason to sin.
Warning: Contains Photographs of Men
Actually, you know what? Stuff all that nonsense about what to wear or not to wear so as to not make someone else stumble. There are some people that are gonna look and go “Mmm…” no matter what you’re wearing. If you have a Y-chromosome, I’m gonna look. There is a reason why a friend a uni dubbed me ‘the most heterosexual person’ she knows.
Let’s talk about Modesty,
Let’s talk about you and me,
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be,
Let’s talk about it.
(For those who know, sorry for the earworm.)
My post last week on Modesty (Again!) generated a bit of a discussion on my Facebook page.
This blog post is an attempt to sort out the different opinions on modesty and my thoughts on those opinions.
A week ago, my Facebook feed lit up with several people posting a video by Jessica Rey about the evolution of the swimsuit. When I say ‘lit up’ it really was just a few small sparks here and there, but the responses and ‘likes’ they generated made me curious.
Ms Rey’s presentation was okay, but I would hardly call it ‘Brilliant’ or ‘Excellent’ or any of the positive adjectives I saw in my Facebook comments. I understand she was limited to nine minutes, so it is quite likely that she was unable to say everything she wanted to about modesty in that time frame.
In particular, I found her citation of a Princeton study to be somewhat lacking. How big was the sample? Upon further research, I discovered that the study was conducted on 21 heterosexual male undergraduates. TWENTY-ONE male university students between the ages of 18 and 21! And since we’re talking about Princeton, I’m guessing these males are American (probably white) and from privileged backgrounds. Surely even someone who has never studied statistics can tell that that cannot be considered representative of the entire male population. Yet, a simple search for ‘Princeton bikini study’ into one’s search engine will show that many, many people have jumped on the bandwagon and sensationalising the study’s results with tabloid flair. As if ALL men are like those in Princeton.
Of course, Ms Rey’s ultimate aim is to talk about what modesty means. Oh, and to promote her line of modest swimwear. It is just unfortunate that she had to resort to quoting a small, inconclusive study to do it.
And why all this talk on modesty in swimwear anyway? Oh, right, it’s that time of year in the northern hemisphere.
Anyway, while I was dealing with an unsettled feeling after listening to Ms Rey’s talk, Q invited Rachel Held Evans to share some of her thoughts on the topic.
The discussion in the comments section makes for very worthwhile reading also.
While looking around on BibleGateway for verses on modesty yesterday, I came across a link to this blogpost. The blogpost was written six years ago (Nov 2012) and references an article. Unfortunately, I can’t find the full article anywhere on the web.
The part that stood out to me in particular was this:
When our priorities get mixed up,
Our family (or worse yet, the family-integrated ministry model) becomes a sort of idol. Idolatry is when we substitute or place a created thing in the rightful place of the Creator. When we get ourselves backwards and pursue as our primary goal the family-integrated thing, the homeschooling thing, the patriarchy thing, the breeding thing, the modesty/home-baked bread thing, or the “making sure our boys are tough warriors and not wimpy” thing, instead of God’s glory, idolatry is just around the corner.
I think Jay Barfield gets it right, but does not speak out strongly enough and also stops short of mentioning other things that can also become idols.
When we get ourselves backwards and pursue as our primary goal the family-integrated thing, the Christian homeschooling thing, the no-college thing, the patriarchy thing, the courtship thing, the breeding thing, the modesty/home-baked bread thing, the dresses-only/head-covering thing, or the making-sure-our-boys-are-tough-warriors-and-not-wimpy and making-sure-our-girls-are-submissive-and-groomed-to-be-helpmeets thing, instead of God’s glory,
idolatry is just around the corner. it is idolatry.
Some thoughts that have been rattling around in my brain…
Out there somewhere is the argument that if you have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic, then it would be irresponsible to offer him an alcoholic beverage. In the same way, since we know – not if – but since we know that men are visually stimulated, it is irresponsible for women to dress inappropriately. Dressing modestly would be the loving and respectful thing to do. Women do contribute to men’s ‘temptations’ and therefore must bear some responsibility in helping men control their urges.
I don’t know where this argument originated, but I have seen/heard it more than once. So, I am not pointing fingers at anyone. Those who use this argument probably heard from somewhere else, too, and thought it good enough to repeat.
At first glance, it seems logical. It appeals to our sense of kindness towards our fellow brethren and our desire to act responsibly. But after mulling over it some more, I’ve come to a different conclusion. The analogy is poor at best and offensive at worst. It objectifies women and emasculates men.
There is a she-person.
She could be your grandmother, your mother, your sister, your cousin.
She could be your daughter, your granddaughter, your niece.
She could be your co-worker, your employee, yes, even your boss.
She is not asking to be raped.