Modesty – highlights from the online debate (1)

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‘Throw a modesty debate in the midst of college men and women, shake up the ant farm, and watch the chaos ensue.’   – John

Are there any objective standards for modesty?

All comments included on this page were taken from the comments posted on The University News website in response to last week’s article by Anna Kaladish about modesty in female dress.

Nico Cerza, Gabriela Marquez, Helen Furton, Julia Rossini, Rachel Dudlet, Liz Nguyen, and Atala Brandao wear their leggings with pride in response to last week's controversial "legging's article," which has been viewed thousands of times. -Photo by Rebecca Rosen
Nico Cerza, Gabriela Marquez, Helen Furton, Julia Rossini, Rachel Dudlet, Liz Nguyen, and Atala Brandao wear their leggings with pride in response to last week’s controversial “legging’s article,” which has been viewed thousands of times. -Photo by Rebecca Rosen

Our bodies are beautiful things and they should be celebrated as such. Yes, I entirely agree that your body should be saved for marriage, but I also believe that a woman (and even man!) should be able to celebrate, decorate, and adorn her body however she thinks is beautiful.
– “hannah”

I think that both women and men should have the right to wear what they want and still be faithful Christians. We should respect each other and each other’s bodies, even if one person’s clothing choice may not be your own. Isn’t Christianity so much about loving each person as God does, no matter what they wear, what they do, or what they believe? Let’s gain some tolerance here!
– Rosalyn

While personal arrogance is bad, Catholicism does lay a claim to absolute truth over all other religions, which includes modesty as a moral precept.
– Andrew

Modesty is all about context and the right time and place. Sometimes the lines get muddled in today’s oversexed society…
– Christina

I am pretty sure the point Anna was trying to make with this article was exactly what you’re saying: that “our bodies are beautiful things,” which is why it matters HOW we adorn them. Just because someone is able to wear short shorts or leggings doesn’t mean that they should.
– Philomena

Keep in mind, modesty is cultural. And even in the U.S., different regions and upbringings provide different versions of modesty. I always think of the example of French colonists forcing Pacific Islanders to cover their breasts because the French were offended by [the practice]. Eventually, it was the French who began to bathe topless.
– Colleen Collins

You are wrong to say that American culture excuses women for wearing tights as pants. I can tell you that most young men get off on it the way they get off on pornography, though to a lesser extent. And they talk about it without end. I remember in high school a boy mockingly tried to direct my attention to a girl’s yoga-pants-clad butt so he could ask me if I thought it was smiling at us.
He did so mockingly, because he knew I wanted to respect the dignity of this girl. But how can a man do this when the ones he wants to respect are forcing him to struggle against his natural impulses? And for what? Comfort? You set us up for failure so you can be comfortable? That is uncharitable.
– “nick”

I’m not going to go around quoting Bible verses or Catholic theologians’ takes on modesty, but I do think people have the right – in society’s eyes and God’s – to wear long, dark, very comfortable leggings to class, to the library, to the mall, on a date, and, really, wherever and whenever they choose.
– Rebecca

Anthony Guerra's car, the unofficial flagship of the pro-leggings movement that formed last week. -Photo by Rebecca Rosen
Anthony Guerra’s car, the unofficial flagship of the pro-leggings movement that formed last week. -Photo by Rebecca Rosen

This comment [responding to Rebecca’s final paragraph] is deeply troubling. The author says she won’t appeal to any authority on questions of modesty. She will do what she chooses, and claims that choice as a right in the eyes of society and in the eyes of God. Even the Supreme Court’s standards are more objective than that. I find the rhetoric of this response to Anna’s polemical rhetoric intellectually lacking and deeply troubling.
– Robert

How should we talk about modesty?

I see no reason to think Anna was being anything more than humorous. This topic always drives people nuts, and I’m not entirely sure why. Immodesty is immoral, pure and simple, and admonishing the sinner, with charity, is one of the spiritual works of mercy. Anna is not making baseless accusations, for many women at UD wear the things she describes. Comparing UD to the worst possible case does not change the objective nature of the UD situation she describes.
– Andrew

I do not think that speaking in favor of women reclaiming dignity is distasteful or hateful. The truth may hurt, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
– Kristin

Boys need to learn to be men, and instead of being offended by the actions of their sisters in Christ (which is any and every woman in the world regardless of her virtue), they need to remember that it is because God made woman beautiful that she ought to be modest. It is because He made woman to be loved that she ought to be modest. It is out of love that you ought to urge woman to be modest, not out of self-righteousness (something that every person is guilty of) or personal weakness.
– Judy

It’s unfortunate that people have been offended, but I think the article was in fact meant to be a deliberately acerbic diatribe for the purposes of satire. Apparently this satire is a little too opaque for the average reader of The University News.
– Michaela S-S

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