Christian Modesty and Purity Culture

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TigerShadow
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Christian Modesty and Purity Culture

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http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2016/01 ... -scare-me/

http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2014/10 ... ir-bodies/

Thought I'd share these articles I found; they're a near-perfect summation of my own thoughts on the matter. (Do be aware that there is some pretty open discussion of sex in some of the posts on this blog and they aren't shy about it, so if you're not comfortable with that, then don't read the posts.)

There was also a video in the post about modesty that I appreciated:

it's not about 'deserve'. it's about what you believe. and i believe in love
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GJFH
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Wow, thank you TigerShadow for posting this, I really appreciated the fact there are people besides me who realize it is a double standard. Because of an embarrassing incident I suffered a while ago, I think about this daily. Sorry people, I need a moment to rant. :anxious:

Last spring, it was unusually warm for the time of the year and I chose to dress in a tank top, not with spaghetti straps but with wider, darker coloured straps. Below this I was wearing a camisole. Halfway through the night I had a female leader ask if I needed to borrow a t-shirt, I, obviously took the hint and feeling ashamed, covered up.
Now in this youth group the head leader was older than you'd expect, I believe he was in his late fifties. As he ended the night he made a comment about modesty and respect to the entire class, I knew immediately who he was talking to.
I left with the feeling of anger and confusion, I eventually broke into tears on the way home. :cry:
Modesty, I believe, is not explicit to girls but also the shirtless youth group leaders who show up at Waterparks. And oh yes, I've seen that.
Christian girls are often taught to be the respectful ones while I believe consideration for a person's weaknesses and respect of their limitations needs to come from both girls and guys. Anyways...my thoughts.
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NinjaHunter
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I figure there is feminine and there is "sexy". Feminine focuses on looking like a women; sexy focuses solely on looking physically attractive. As long as you focus on looking feminine as opposed to sexy, you should be alright.

Just my 0.02.


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GJFH
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NinjaHunter wrote:I figure there is feminine and there is "sexy". Feminine focuses on looking like a women; sexy focuses solely on looking physically attractive. As long as you focus on looking feminine as opposed to sexy, you should be alright.

Just my 0.02.


Most everyone fears ninjas, except for one: I, Ninjahunter
I agree with you, Though it was not my intentions my was to dress provocatively, and I don't think I was.
Dressing in a feminine way doesn't solely mean you only wear dresses and skirts of different lengths, and modesty is viewed differently depending on demographics.
Regardless of form, you can dress in a feminine way if you focus on glorifying God in your body, and that could mean wearing pants and a tank top or a long dress.
There are tight, revealing dresses and there are outfits that barely cover anything which are worn to draw attention to one's body. Though attempting to look sexy can be different than attempting to look cute.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us - Romans 8:18

It’s not enough to be against something. You have to be for something better. – Tony Stark
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Audrey
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Can we start a debate on this over in The Rhetoric Alliance as well, do you think? There's a lot of stuff I want to say that is probably a bit too PG for this board.

Purity Culture and Modesty in general is one of the things that frankly, sickens me about Christianity. I've had, and still have, so many bad experiences with it while growing up in private schools/the church in general. I could rant for hours but it would be too much for this board:p

I've given up on trying to abide by any PC or modesty standard. I used to, often. Around the age of 13/14, that awkward period between childhood and puberty, I used to be SO strict with what I would allow myself to wear, to the point where I was constantly worrying that my, um, curvy body was distracting to everyone around me. I used to wear layers under all of my clothes all the time (which was unpleasant during 110 degree weather) because I was worried my shorts or shirt would ride up, but if they did, people just saw my other shorts or camisole. Every time I went to church or school I was worried that I was still looking immodest because of how my body naturally was; no clothing besides a burka could cover any of that.

And then, at age 15, I finally disregarded it all and I feel a billion times better about myself. I have the freedom to wear what I want and frankly, if someone did tell me to cover up (unless this was like Sunday morning church) I would probably end up laughing in their face and telling them that what I wore was absolutely none of their business, they had no right to tell me what to do.

There's such a freaking double standard, it's ridiculous. I went on a church retreat over the summer where we canoed something like 75 miles in four days down the Buffalo River in Arkansas. It was hot, humid, and we were constantly wet from jumping into the river. Out of the 7 boys who went on the trip, every single one of them went shirtless pretty often; one of them literally did not put a shirt on until we got out of the car to meet our parents back in TX (made the few photos we took interesting:p). But our youth pastor had the female leader give the girls a strict talking to about "appropriate" clothing. We weren't allowed to wear or bring any sort of bathing suit (not even a one piece) or tank top for the trip, and I got a talking to from one of the women running it after she said my shorts were too short and tank tops weren't allowed for girls. (I miiiiight have told her that it was freaking HOT and she was wearing a shirt rolled up to be a tank top and Nike shorts, so I can't exactly apologize for my actions considering the boys were shirtless and at that point in the trip, I was considering doing that myself).

Anyways, purity culture (oh gosh don't get me started on purity balls. It's sickening.) and modesty double standards are dumb. /rant
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@GJFH

Concerning your story, did your former church have any stated modesty standards, or did the harassment come out of nowhere? Did you have a general idea of what the modesty standards were? How did your outfit compare to those around you?

Now that I think about it, the way the youth leaders acted seems rather arbitrary, and you sound as though it came as a complete shock.


Etc., etc.: I, Ninjahunter

-- Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:28 pm --
GJFH wrote: Dressing in a feminine way doesn't solely mean you only wear dresses and skirts of different lengths, and modesty is viewed differently depending on demographics.
Regardless of form, you can dress in a feminine way if you focus on glorifying God in your body, and that could mean wearing pants and a tank top or a long dress.
Agree completely. Incidentally, I have noticed men in historical Asian settings wear their hair out long and look absolutely masculine. Femininity and masculinity are not defined solely by hair length or pants or skirts.


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GJFH
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@Ninjahunter: Actually yes, at the beginning of the semester we were asked to refrain from wearing shorts that fall above the knees, and I was wearing capri pants on that evening. I honestly thought my tanktop would not be a problem because there was a few girls who wore tight fitting tops during the year and mine was not.
Also, there were two others I remember wearing Marylin Monroe shirts, with the provocative image of an extremely sexy woman on their chests. I'm sorry, though in my book I wouldn't recommend wearing clothing of that type in church, for respect and decency...
The church's issue, I believe, was the show of my camisole straps making it clear I needed coverage and support.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us - Romans 8:18

It’s not enough to be against something. You have to be for something better. – Tony Stark
NinjaHunter
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@GJFH:

Gotcha. It makes sense that you would be upset over getting called out semi-publicly when others with more egregious outfits were not. I can see where one would be opposed to showing camisole straps, but I do not see why it would be such a big issue. I mean, one can only be so nitpicky about people's outfits before we get into the realm of legalism, in which case all healthy bounds have been overstepped and we are now arguing opinion.

Have you thought of pushing back on the issue? Just because the youth leader is older and you are not does not necessarily make him right and you wrong. With your parent's backing, you might be able to improve the situation for yourself....


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The purity culture is one of the most regrettable things to proceed from Christianity. It tells people, especially young girls, that their bodies are a hazard to men and they must dress to minimize the hazard they cause. It claims the media is feeding young girls falsehoods while being part of the media and feeding young girls false information.

I will say I was amused by one of those articles, Tiger. I mean, they were good, but one of them attacked the double standard but had as an example of a dress code, "girls no string bikinis, guys no speedos." Um. Isn't a string bikini a smaller bikini whereas a speedo covers the same amount as a normal bikini? Isn't that still setting a double standard? When people try to set specific standards for modesty for people in general they usually make no sense.
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Blitz
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*Coughs*
Wearing a speedo is technically public nudity.
*Pops back out*
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Belle
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Blitz wrote:*Coughs*
Wearing a speedo is technically public nudity.
*Pops back out*
Under what definition?
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GJFH
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Well, from a believer's perspective, a mature Christian should make an effort to be careful of the impression we give.
I think girls and guys can at least tempt another with dressing provocatively, and there should be at least a consideration from us, in my humble opinion, wearing a bikini or a speedo gives away too much, which other believers might disagree with.

It's difficult for believers, girls more often, to find a balance and hold onto purity in this society. Perhaps people should put less emphasis on the idea purity is a sacred idol and focus on building confidence with one's beauty and creating healthy standards.
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I think that people tend to get too technical about what qualifies as modest and what doesn't. In my opinion, the emphasis shouldn't be so much on what you wear, as why you wear it. People tend to get all, "oh, bra straps, midriff, thigh showing, you're going to hell". I think it should be more like, "Are you wearing this because you want to be beautiful, or because you want to attract attention?" To me, purity is about motive. What are you trying to accomplish with your clothes?
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GJFH
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Alright, if a person who calls themselves a Christian believes showing midriff is no problem, that isn't an issue for me, I agree that purity should be about motive, yet from what I gather, Purity is also about how much of yourself you give away.
I think there should be standards, for instance, if you're a guy who calls himself a Christian and you would like to go without a shirt to the Beach or around a waterpark, that's fine with me, though I should be able to wear a one piece swimming suit lacking a t-shirt without reprimand. However what I choose to wear will differ depending on the situation. Would I wear the same amount of material from my bathing suit to Youth Group?
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us - Romans 8:18

It’s not enough to be against something. You have to be for something better. – Tony Stark
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Hmm, if purity is about how much we give away, then I think behavior, and not just clothes, fits into that category. Technically, flirting and talk full of innuendo can be just as titillating as how someone dresses. Of course, combine revealing clothing with flirtatious talk, and you have a double-whammy of sensual overload.

But I digress.

I do agree with the idea that if the guy goes shirtless, the girl should be able to go in her one-piece without a cover-up. And there are plenty of nice one-pieces, or even tankinis, out there, that cover just as much as any tank-top/shorts combo. Besides which, it's harder to swim with loose material floating around and weighing you down.
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Blitz
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Belle wrote:
Blitz wrote:*Coughs*
Wearing a speedo is technically public nudity.
*Pops back out*
Under what definition?
It can be considered indecent exposure.
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TigerShadow
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Blitz wrote:
Belle wrote:
Blitz wrote:*Coughs*
Wearing a speedo is technically public nudity.
*Pops back out*
Under what definition?
It can be considered indecent exposure.
No, it can't. Indecent exposure means actual nudity—purposefully displaying one's nakedness in public. A speedo doesn't do that. It definitely leaves much less to the imagination than a regular pair of swim trunks and leaves exposed about as much of the male body as a bikini does a female's, meaning that it's definitely immodest no matter how you slice it, but it's not indecent exposure or public nudity because public nudity inherently requires that one is nude in public—as in, no clothes on in public. If wearing a speedo was considered indecent exposure, wouldn't you think that there would be a law about it by now, and that competitive swim teams would forbid them and suits like them as uniforms for male members (which they do not)?
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NinjaHunter
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First off, nudity is a bad idea. For anybody. We can all agree that we need to cover ourselves.

Showing off reproductive organs, whether male or female, is probably a bad idea (obviously). Topless for females is also probably a bad idea. Topless for males is hazier, though it is probably inappropriate under certain circumstances.

Beyond this, I can see plenty of debate and respectful disagreement.


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My family’s rules for dressing are no cleavage, shorts shorter than about two inches above my knees are not okay, lacy sweater over tank top, no leggings out in public without a dress or skirt over them, no shirts that look like they were painted on, no jeans that look like they have been worn for years meaning no holes or runs in them, no jeans with those big, gaudy jewels on your rear end(no offense if any one of ya’ll wears such things), etc. There is this website called Secret Keeper Girl, and it has a TON of modesty tips and suggested guidelines. It is also a matter of dressing your age. You know, if you are, say, fourteen, and you dress as if you are twenty-four, I don’t consider that modest.
Call me old-fashioned, but I would be alright with dressing in skirts and dresses every day. For church, my mom and I wear skirts, and for special occasions we wear skirts, but that is about the only time.
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Connie G.
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Wow, that sounds EXACTLY like my family's rules!!T-shirt and gym shorts over swimsuits in a pool are required, too. :)
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