Jump directly to the content
Believing in a Better Modesty MovementLil' Wiz / Flickr
Believing in a Better Modesty Movement

Believing in a Better Modesty Movement


Apr 4 2013
How we teach purity through a celebration of beauty and self-respect.

I started Secret Keeper Girl, my ministry to tween girls, with one core message: you are a masterpiece created by God. My research led me to believe that when we teach girls to celebrate their beauty while we teach them the self-control of modesty, it enables them to embrace self-respect free of hyper-focus on their bodies.

A healthy message of modesty can allow—and in fact, encourage—women to celebrate their beauty.

Make authentic intimacy—not marriage— the goal of purity.

The shallow end of the purity and modesty movement often offers a girl the false promise of a guy in exchange for her purity ring or modest attire. We have convinced girls they can make a deal with God: a purity pledge now and a wedding ring later. Purity is not something you use to bargain with God. It is something you do to obey him. When you put the focus on God and respect for the inner qualities of worth he has planted in each of us, the outside stuff—our beauty and power of allure— isn't that big a deal and is easily brought under the control of our inner character.

Frankly, I find this challenge to be much more difficult to address, complicated by the fact that God himself tells us that marriage is a picture of the love of Christ and the Church. We must take care never to underemphasize the value of marriage, but we also should not overplay it. It is not the goal of purity. Authentic intimacy should be the goal.

Genesis 2:18 says "It is not good for man to be alone." This isn't to say that singleness is not good. It says it's not good to be alone. Our desire for sex is not just a drive for a physical release but a force meant to propel us to seek intimacy. God created us to function in community whether single or married. This is what makes our human sexuality so drastically different from the rest of the animal world.

While the evangelical and purity movement must tread carefully in these two areas, the dialogue of self-control achieved through modesty and purity is worth having. Recently, critics have been saying that teaching women modesty and purity places undue responsibility on my gender for the sexual integrity of both men and women. Others run with that thought and sensationalize it to claim that modesty promotes rape culture. Such sensationalized messages fail to take into account that God calls us to modesty and purity, and leave us unable to dialogue our way to good solutions.

Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

Comments

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
The Universal Call to ‘Mothering Like Christ’

The Universal Call to ‘Mothering Like Christ’

Childbirth illustrates the life-giving sacrifice of body, mind, and soul that applies to us all.
Don’t Call Me the Best Mom Ever

Don’t Call Me the Best Mom Ever

Why it's time for Mother's Day to retreat from the extremes.
I Forgave My Teen Daughter’s Killer

I Forgave My Teen Daughter’s Killer

The gospel taught me that forgiveness is not a pardon.
Why We Want to Return to Stars Hollow

Why We Want to Return to Stars Hollow

The weirdest part of the Gilmore Girls hometown? How they did community right.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

My Son’s Autism Changed Everything—Even Our Church

I came to see special needs families as an unreached people group.

Twitter

  • RT @KatelynBeaty: Sarah Arthur's (@HolyDreaming) "Top 10 Tips for Getting It Done" ("it" = "all the writing") belongs on your wall: https:/2026
  • "Partnering with God to nurture others extends beyond biological parenting" https://t.co/LkbJyaavGp
  • The gender gap is more powerful than the God gap for a Trump/Clinton election https://t.co/jWa6DWvg62
  • The experience of labor and mothering, in their reflection of the incarnation, reflect a life we're all called to https://t.co/LkbJyaavGp
  • In honor of the #NationalDayofPrayer: Why you shouldn't settle for just praying alone https://t.co/Ib8g7gJ1q2


What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
Believing in a Better Modesty Movement