2 Comments

Modesty – It Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does

This post isn’t writing related but every once in a while we tackle controversial topics, so here I go.


If you’re one of my Facebook friends, you already know this. I rail against the modesty movement. Mostly because of the whole one-piece suits only rule common in youth groups, something I hated as a teen for multiple reasons (and still do).

One reason was because it’s not easy finding suits that fit. I have a long torso for being as short as I am. Secondly, I honestly wanted to highlight my best feature – a flat stomach. Not in a sexy “come hither” way but in a way that someone dresses to highlight long thin legs or muscular arms.

Maybe the second reason is wrong because modesty includes dressing so you don’t draw attention to yourself. And that’s kind of my point. Is wearing a flattering swimsuit at the beach any worse than wearing nice pants and a turtleneck? What about wedding dresses? Do we sin because our dress is designed to make us look beautiful?

I think modesty is being appropriately dressed for the situation.

As I’m writing this, the tags are still on the first bikini I’ve owned in years, about thirteen to be exact. Now we’re not talking about a two triangles of wild material and a barely there bottom. I tried on one of those and said, “maybe twenty years ago.” Mine is a conservative athletic top and boy shorts in medium blue purchased at a sporting goods store. It’s a reward for the progress I’ve made by running and food journaling; it’s also about being comfortable in my body at 44 even if it isn’t model-perfect.

However, we’re on our way to a youth event and the two-piece is staying home. I don’t know the official rules, but I’m wearing my one-piece tank suit designed for functionality. We’re paddle boarding, people! And I really don’t want to draw attention to myself in front of my son’s friends. Which brings me to the outfit I’m wearing. Today is my day to run ten miles. Normally, I reward myself for long runs by wearing a running skirt, which is my favorite attire. Instead I opted for athletic shorts and a conservative tank top. Again, I want to look like a mom, not a teen.

How do you define modesty? Is it what you can or can’t wear or is it dressing for the situation and the comfort of yourself and others?

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About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

2 comments on “Modesty – It Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does

  1. For me modesty has become more and more about how one presents themselves and less about what they wear. Several people have told my daughter she dresses immodestly. It sad to me that people make such an issue out of the length of her shorts and don’t see the great person she is becoming.

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