Females are not the only ones who dress immodestly, but theirs is the most notable, and they are the most marketed by our immodest culture. Sadly, the way Christian women dress is hardly distinguishable from the way pagan women dress. Many of them strive for Britney, not beauty, So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
The Underwear Factor
Let’s start with the premise that it is immodest for a woman to wear her underwear in public. Let’s move on and ask what the practical difference is between a bikini and underwear. Both cover the same areas on the body, and neither leaves any more to the imagination of some poor peeper than the other. A bikini in public is underwear in public. Therefore, it is immodest to wear a bikini in public.
What about a one-piece. Well, is it modest to wear underwear to the beach but with an extra piece of clothing wrapped around your midrift? Okay then. The exposed bellybutton and lower back are not the criteria for immodest attire. It is immodest to wear a once-piece in public.
So these two bathing suits are immodest because of the underwear factor. The only escape is to deny the premise that underwear in public is immodest. Any takers?
The Hot-Dipped Factor
It is popular today for women to have stretchy pants required as their work uniform. From waiters to office girls, hot-pants (as my wife calls them) are popular. And who can deny he has seen a girl wearing a pair of jeans that looked like they were hot-dipped on her legs and rear? The tight pants (or a tight blouse) are not underwear, and they do not reveal skin, but they do reveal the areas of the body that are unseemly in public contexts. A woman’s bosom and rear are for her eyes and her husband’s eyes. Period. Therefore, she must not expose them either by revealing them bare or by hot-dipping a thin layer of cotton or denim around them. Yoga pants at work are an abomination.
I am baffled that Christian men let their wives out of the house showing their bodies to every man who would glance. Why would a man not care about his daughter wearing underwear to the pool? Why does he not care about the shame that is brought on her, him, and Him, when his wife displays every curvy asset of her body through intentionally thin fabric?
How Tight is Tight?
It’s difficult to make modesty standards, but here’s a helpful rule of thumb with tight clothing: When you can make a true-scale plaster caster mold of your body parts with your clothes on, your clothes are too tight.
What about Skirts?
So far I think we have been pretty straightforward without being legalistic. Letting men see you you in your underwear or clothing which seeks to expose rather than to cover your unseemly parts is inappropriate, careless, and immodest–which is unlawful.
This is the controversial part, so I’ll make it brief and allow you to draw your own conclusions. The Bible seems to make the exposure of the thigh tantamount to nakedness (see Ex. 28:42; Isa. 47: 2,3). There are many objections however, and here is an interesting discussion on this. Obviously certain skirts reveal partial thigh, and granting the validity of the “thigh” argument, these skirts would make the woman naked. I haven’t studied that issue in detail, but it does seem that at a point in history God deemed women (and men) naked who exposed their thighs. One might want to make the argument that that was a cultural standard which doesn’t carry over culture to culture. If so, fine, but given what the thigh means to our sexually perverse culture, I would prefer my wife only show her thighs to me.
And it’s quite awkward to see your wife’s thighs, I might add.
Thoughts, Questions and Conclusions
Here are some interesting thoughts and questions on which to reflect:
- How do you other men feel about your wife exposing her thighs to other men? Her body parts through intentionally tight clothing? Frankly her whole body at the beach or pool? Do you care?
- Isn’t it interesting that the goal of women seems to be to try to show as much skin as possible without actually undressing, and to try to get their clothes as tight and revealing as possible without actually showing skin? This seems to suggest that they are uncomfortable being covered! How strange and twisted.
- I frequently see prostitutes in urban areas leaving work who are not as immodestly dressed as the women walking the downtown college campus, the women on duty at restaurants (Cheeseburger Paradise), the women at the mall, etc. I’m dead serious. What characterizes a prostitute today is not skin or tight clothing, but things like early wrinkles, drugged-over eyes, a provocative strut, and disheveled hair. Church girls’ clothing is much the same as non-prostitutes, which is to say these former women like to advertise but not sell.
- Ladies, modesty might cost you. If you cannot desert your bikini, your skin tight clothing, if you cannot restructure your wardrobe and learn to cover rather than to reveal, you may not be fit for the kingdom. Jesus warned about those who wish to do battle for him: they must count the cost. The implication is that those who don’t will suffer great loss.
- Men, address the immodesty in your home. Love your wife, your daughters, your younger Christian brothers. Make it easier for these brothers to “flee youthful lusts.” Honor your King. Let’s keep the bodies our Christian sisters, daughters and wives, for their (future) husbands alone. Fight your cowardice. Do it Pro Rege, For The King.
Let’s wrap up (pun intended) with some observations and a call to action by Nancy Wilson (Credenda Agenda, page 10)
Women are careless in their ways when they dress in a manner that is too revealing. It doesn’t seem to matter how often modesty is addressed, the careless woman will continue to dress to please herself, which is often too provocatively. A careless woman may or may not know that she is bouncing along in her sweater or that when she sits down in her short skirt, too much is seen. If she knows and is wearing these clothes intentionally, she is careless. If she doesn’t know and would be horrified to find out, she is careless. Whether she is a teenager, a college student, a young mother, or even a grandmother, the standard is the same. Modesty is for Christian women of all ages. It is not something that comes into effect at age sixteen, after marriage, or after the third child. A careful woman dresses in a manner that not only demonstrates her obedience to God’s commands, but also shows a kind consideration for her fellow saints. When a Christian woman is dressed immodestly, it is at the very least an embarrassment, or a distraction to her fellow saints. At the most, it is a pastoral problem for the church.
Because of the rampant immodesty in the Church, it is no wonder some Christian women have resorted to dressing like prairie muffins in clothes that were in style in the covered-wagon days. Though they may look out of step with the modern world in a calico dress and bonnet, at least we cannot charge them with immodesty. I am not advocating dressing this way, but I am saying that an immodest “fashionable” woman has no grounds to make fun of her sisters in jumpers. If only we could learn to dress carefully, modestly, and beautifully. Certainly it must be possible.