Modesty Survey: What Do Guys Think About What We Wear?

I don’t have time to post a bunch this morning because I’m off to our homeschooling track meet, but someone sent me this link and I just have to share it.

I’ve been wondering lately about current fashions and whether they really are modest and proper. I’ve been having a hard time with the low rise pants, because I think they show way too much (plus, on most people they’re not that attractive).

And I always believed that T-shirts shouldn’t be form fitting. Oh, and showing your bra straps? A definite no no. Not quite as bad as showing one’s underwear, including a camisole, but definitely bad. One should never give even a hint of lace.

But in the last year I’ve tossed almost all of those missives out the window because that’s just what fashion is. I’ve started wearing much more form fitting clothing, and I put camisoles under V-neck shirts, and I wear some low-rise pants (though I try to get them as high as possible). And my daughters do, too.

For the current fashions, we’re still pretty modest. Please understand–we never show cleavage or belly buttons, and we wear long shirts. It’s really just the form fitting aspect that bothers me!

Anyway, here’s a link to a modesty survey that was done recently. They asked men and teenage boys what they thought was modest, and it’s interesting. Take a gander. I do think this is a serious subject–because I think we do need to care about our guys, but we also need to be careful that the Christian modesty message doesn’t shame girls.

I’d love to keep talking about this tomorrow. So if there’s anything you see there that’s really outrageous, or really insightful, leave it in the comments! Just go here for the survey.


  1. Anonymous says:

    >I found the survey to be very interesting. This is an issue that I've been thinking about for quite some time. I have 2 daughters (6 & almost 8) and I find it's very difficlult to find modest clothing for them. In fact I've been trying to brush up on my sewing skills for just that reason. They want to be cute and stylish, but there are limits to what their father and I allow.

    What really suprised me was the number of things I hadn't even considered that they questioned, such as if a women re-adjust her bra strap. I have (very) narrow shoulders and find myself doing that often because I'm trying to keep them out of site. I guess I need to be more careful about how my shirts fit across my sholders if that will be a problem.

    I also thought it was funny the number of times the results were rather even. The same nimber of men would agree as would disagree. One of the commenters had the right idea. When in doubt, ask Daddy!


  2. >I think modesty begins when the babies are babies. I don't let my two year old daughter wear two piece bathing suits, run around without a shirt on or show her diaper under her skirt. I have friends who claim to value modesty who do let their toddler aged girls do all of the above! My thinking is, if it's okay at two (or three, or four…) when does it become NOT okay???

    Just this morning I bought a skirt for Avery at a second hand shop. Before tossing it in the cart I made sure it had a "shorts" type lining in it so she could be modest! I can't stand letting a toddler girl show off her diaper. If I let her diaper show why not let her unders show??

  3. Anonymous says:

    >I find it disappointing that many Christian women don't appear to think modesty is important.

    I also think that information such as the modesty survey is very helpful, because women are not as visual and men, so we can easily "stray" off into "fashionland". :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    >Why is "modesty in dress" only an issue that women have to follow and men are victims of. Are other women out there sexually dead? Am I though only one who finds men tempting? Why does no one talk about men running around with their shirts off? Or bending over with their backsides in MY face? Men are sexy, too, and can be just as immodest in dress and action.

  5. Anonymous says:

    >Tara, your comment is disgustingly sexist. Why is showing a girl's diaper more immodest than showing a boy's?

  6. >To the last anonymous comment;

    I really have no idea where you're coming from with regards to Tara's comment. It sounds to me like Tara has daughters. She wasn't making any comment about boys at all. I think you're reading too much into it. She was simply saying that WITH HER DAUGHTER, she is beginning modesty as a baby.

    The post, after all, had to do with how you're raising your kids, and she was simply responding about how she is raising hers. She wasn't making any comments at all about boys, since she doesn't have any.

    As for the other anonymous about men's modesty, I think that's a good point, too. I think the reason it doesn't get talked about is that women are less sight oriented when it comes to sex than men are. That doesn't mean we're not sight oriented at all; only that men tend to be more so. So you're right: we all should be more modest, men or women.

  7. Anonymous says:

    >Sheila, Tara specifically said, "I can't stand letting a toddler GIRL show off her diaper." If she wasn't being sexist, she would have left it at toddler. A diaper is a diaper. Most people can't even tell boys and girls apart at that age if they aren't dressed in common gender-related colors.

    And I'm not sure what sort of woman you are, but I am CERTAINLY every bit as visual as a man is. I am not ashamed to admit that I can be sexually charged by an "immodest" woman as any man can be and also by men.

  8. >Anonymous, I understand what you're saying, but if you read the context of Tara's post, she's specifically talking about how she handles her two-year-old DAUGHTER. And the post is about modesty in regards to females. So I just thinking you're reading too much into it. The question was: how should we raise our daughters? She's responding to that. Tara comments here a lot, and her comments are right on. I just think you're being a little quick to label her "disgustingly sexist". I really don't like that tone in the comments section of my blog!

    As for you being just as aroused as men are by the visual, I'm not saying you should be ashamed of it, or that it's not true. I'm just saying that studies show that men do tend to be more visually stimulated. That's why porn tends to feature naked women, and not naked men (and the majority of porn of naked men is consumed by gay men, not by heterosexual women).

    It doesn't mean that women can't be visually stimulated, it's just that it tends to be that men are far more than women are, which is why modesty tends to be talked about in a female context. But regardless, you're right that both genders should endeavour to be modest. I wholeheartedly agree with that.

  9. >What a nice little debate this has sparked. Here are my thoughts.

    I don't think the biggest issue with Tara's post is that she thinks only girl babys/toddlers should be modest, but instead how she is helping her daughter become a sexual object.

    By dressing her daughter in "modest" clothing she is basically telling everyone around that underneath the clothing is something that is arousing, something that pertains to sex. And frankly, there isn't. Girls don't sexually mature until much later. To stop this sexualization of children, I believe that Tara should instead not worry if her daughter is being immodest, but rather about bigger issues like her daughter's education.

    Shelia – I also quite disagree with this statement you made "It doesn't mean that women can't be visually stimulated, it's just that it tends to be that men are far more than women are, which is why modesty tends to be talked about in a female context."

    That is not based in fact, that is instead based on your interpretations of a male based society. A society that belittles women time and time again.

    Women can definitely be as visually stimulated, it's just that they are told that that is not acceptable. They are told that they cannot be as sexual as men, and that their bodies are controlled by men.

    Frankly, modesty is another way for people to think of each other as sexual objects. For when we cover ourselves up for the express purpose of avoiding arousal, we send the message that our body is entirely sexual. All this meditation on modesty is taking away from the thoughts and ideas of all, things that are way more important than the scraps we cover ourselves in.

  10. Oh what a touchy subject! I wonder why modesty, more than a lot of topics discussed in the Bible, makes us so tense and defensive. Currently, I’m on a quest to discover what God is asking of me in this department. What I’ve gotten so far is that modesty is not very legalistic at all. God didn’t put rules about “skirts can’t be above the knee” or “the four-finger rule for cleavage” because it’s not about the rules. It’s about the heart.

    1 Timothy 2:9-10 says “Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” It’s not necessarily saying “don’t wear these things”, but rather don’t have what we wear be the focus of our lives. Instead we should clothes ourselves with godly character.

    Why do we wear what we wear? Personally, I have to check my heart daily to see why I’m wearing something. For example, I love wearing leggings as pants with a longer shirt. Some days I can wear it because my heart is not in a selfish place of wanting attention by causing my boyfriend to lust after me. But other times I know that if I put that specific piece of clothing on, it would be sinning against him as my brother in Christ, and against my body that is a temple. The reason that this can change for me, is because the way we carry ourselves has a HUGE impact. It is usually subconscious for both us and men, but trust me, they pick up on it. Why do you think there is such a big deal made about confidence being sexy? When we’re confident, we carry ourselves differently. People, specifically men in this case, pick up on that. And the same goes for when we’re dressing in attention-grabbing ways. If God cared about all the specifics and rules, He would have spelled them out for us. But it’s a personal journey for everyone to go through, and therefore nobody can just make standards that are set in stone for every person in the world. That’s where the judgmental attitudes come in. I’ve seen it from both sides, and undoubtedly played on both sides too. The side of “wow that girl is dressed like a skank and needs to cover her crap up” and the side of “most Christian women are prudes when it comes to clothes, and I feel judged so I’m just going to judge them back and pretend like I don’t care what they think.” If you’re honest with yourself, we’ve probably all had both of those attitudes towards others. It’s so prideful and it breaks my heart to see that in myself and my sisters in Christ. My prayer for everyone’s search for modesty is that we would approach it with a humble heart, finding a balance between being sensitive to others’ struggles while still understanding that some people are going to be lustful no matter what we wear. God made our bodies beautiful, both women and men, and that is something to celebrate and enjoy. There is definitely a difference between appreciating the beauty and lusting after it. I still haven’t figured that out yet completely, but hey, we are so covered in grace that I don’t think we even know the beginning of it!

    As a side note, I just wanted to say that I, too, am one of those women who are pretty visual. But, I understand that it’s not just your opinion that men are more visual in most cases, it’s the results of surveys that have become statistics. Sheila, I appreciate how you handled that bit of information, and I pray that we can all accept the way we were made and not be ashamed or defensive of it, and celebrate the differences all around us!

  11. The Lord convicted me several years ago about my need to better model modesty in front of my boys. I knew I had succeeded one day when my older son and husband were talking about a girl at school that used to live down the street from us. The only way DS could describe her was “the one that dressed skanky”. Well, my younger son (then about 10-11ish) asked what “skanky” meant. We left it as “not modestly” but apparently that was all he needed because he proceeded to tell us that she didn’t respect herself. :) Now with both of them being teenagers, I feel it’s even more important to stress modesty in all aspects of our life, and I’m pleased to say that my future daughter tends to dress very modestly herself. :)
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  12. I just wanted to say, that I think a lot of women and girls (especially teens like myself) are being lead astray by the Modesty Survey. When I first read the answers to the modesty survey, I was shocked that wearing jeans and an even a relatively modest one piece could lead my fellow brothers in christ astray. The majority of the guys who answered the survey did take responsibility for their sin, but it seems as though the survey is acting like a means through which girls should reevaluate their wardrobe because the majority vote said that “insert clothing item here” was immodest. Anything can be immodest depending on how a person views it. Anything a girl/women wears could lead a man astray, because no matter what we wear, guys will always be physically attracted to the opposite gender. The survey blurred the lines between physical attraction and lust, and that is very dangerous. I have a feeling that a lot of guys are now feeling guilty for being physically attracted to a girl, and the girl’s are now feeling guilty for wearing clothes that they previously thought were modest. Although a page of the survey website did address the fact that modesty is a matter of the heart, most of the questions were about outward appearance. While it’s never a bad thing to re-acess one’s reasons for wearing a certain item, I do believe that it is wrong to present a man’s opinion of modesty as the standard to which women should adhere. Modesty had nearly nothing to do with the opposite gender, and almost everything to do with where one stands before The Lord. If your are striving to honor God in all you do, and if your identity is in Jesus Christ, then your wardrobe will reflect that. You don’t need men who have texted in answers on a modesty survey to tell you what is immodest and what isn’t. I think that since one modesty survey has been done, to be fair, another should be done as well. This time, it should focus on a women’s/girl’s opinion of a man’s modesty. I have the first answer/question in the swimsuit category that can appear on the new survey:

    Statement: A bare chest and low rise swim trunks are immodest.

    Answer: Yes! Especially guys who have six pack abs-this can be a real stumbling block, because then I focus on the guys “hotness” instead of his personality. A loose fitting non-clingy swim shirt can definitely help with this problem. Also, the low-rise swim trunks are one of the biggest stumbling blocks there are. They leave little to the imagination.

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