by Randi Roberts
Sentry Magazine, September 2003
"Do not let your adornment be merely outward-arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel -- rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God" (I Peter 3:3-4).
Modesty! It's such a simple word for such a complex subject. It is what separates the Christian young ladies from this world. It is what young Christian women get to hear lesson after agonizing lesson over. During my freshmen year at Florida College, I was taught, along with my female classmates, that I was to dress modestly and not to show off my feminine figure. The implication was that boys just simply couldn't control themselves otherwise and that if I respected myself as a woman, I should find a boy who is attracted to my personality rather than my looks. My first thought, of course, was that some unattractive girl somewhere encouraged this thought process so that she'd have a fair chance with the guys. However, I learned over the course of the year that it is my responsibility as a Christian girl to not be the source of temptation for boys if I can help it. I dress as modestly as I possibly can while still fitting into the styles of the day. It annoys the fire out of me, however, when people say that the only reason a girl would wear something or be tempted to wear something immodest is simply to attract a member of the opposite sex. That's crazy, and if you ask me, it's awfully self-centered for boys to ever get this idea.
To be honest with you, I am tempted at times to wear things that a Christian shouldn't wear, simply because it's cute. Girls don't just want to be accepted by boys, we want to be accepted by society. We don't just want the boys to be impressed, we want society, in general, to be impressed. Why do women spend time fixing themselves? It's not just so that men will notice them. It's so that people will see them and they can feel good about themselves. Let's just face it, when you look good and you feel like you look good, you feel better about yourself. It's a matter of self-confidence! It's often the same with boys. Although they won't always admit it, they care about what they look like just as much as girls do. The difference is, that girls don't lust the way boys do, so they don't have to have five-billion classes on modesty.
I'll tell you something else, modem styles are more comfortable. To be able to wear a backless shirt in the hot summer months in Florida would be great! Short shorts and tube tops and halters and shirts that show your stomach look so tempting when you're standing outside in one hundred degrees weather for longer than five minutes. Going to the beach with my Florida College friends is an ordeal in and of itself. Boys make sure they wear shirts, while the girls wear at least two layers of clothing. We wear our regular swimming suit under a pair of boy's swimming trunks and a very modest tank top. If you ask me, it's amazing that none of us have drowned yet! Not to mention, our tan lines aren't really great. It is difficult to not grow resentful of the males who are with us on our beach outings. You can't imagine how many times I've wanted to just rip out all the male eyes on the entire beach! It's nothing against them personally. But if they're the reason I can't ever get a good tan, their eyes are what I'd go after!
Having said all that, what it really boils down to is the difference in the way boys and girls think. We never will be able to fully understand why boys think the way they do. For some reason, God made them that way and I have to say, I think that boys are just about the greatest things to ever walk this earth. If the only way I can enjoy their company, the way the Lord intended, is to be uncomfortable once in a while, I'll do it! I understand what I Timothy 2:9 means when it says "that women should adorn themselves in modest apparel with propriety and moderation," and I will continue to do just that. However, it is silly to think that nice girls should never be tempted by the immodest. It is judgmental and wrong to assert that if a young girl chooses a more comfortable item that doesn't measure up (to the critic's standards) that the female is on a hunt to attract boys. There is just so much more involved in the matter than sexual attraction.