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Displaying 1–28 of 28 comments

Devon Torchiana

April 25, 2013  3:36pm

Dannah, I very much appreciate your framing of modesty within a celebration of God's creation and the beauty of the bodies He created. So often modesty can become one more way to restrict and surveil women, but the way you have constructed it here is a healthy and supportive way of thinking about what is appropriate. hopefullydevon.blogspot.com

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JANET W

April 12, 2013  11:48am

Jim, I'm not sure where you live in that you commonly interact with "streetwalkers" (I'm assuming these people are prostitutes that advertise their wares on streetcorners), but for the vast majority of us, I think, we don't really have a point of reference. If you are actually seeing women whom you mistake for prostitutes at your church or in your daily interactions because you also know how prostitutes dress ... then I think this is an issue for you to, perhaps, address. You might say something like, "One of the prostitutes that I know has that same dress that you have on." -- If that is an untruth, and you don't actually interact with prostitutes and don't in reality, have a point of reference outside of the movie, "Pretty Woman" -- then you might just withhold judgement.

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Jim Ricker

April 10, 2013  8:35pm

If you don't want to be thought of as a street-walker, don't dress or act like one. If you don't want to be thought of as a block-walker, don't dress or act like one. If you think that it is inappropriate but that 11, 14, 16, 0r 34 year-old females walking around with mini-skirts and scoop tops on while looking like a version of "Pretty Woman" (a street-walker) is not inappropriate, then you have zero sense of biblical modesty. If you want to argue against a straw man who thinks women should wear ankle-length dresses and burlap bags while being denied the right to go to school, go ahead by all means. You'll just be hitting a false person with a false position. Much of the modesty movement is nothing more than common-sense.

Jim Ricker

April 10, 2013  8:30pm

Hi Janet - as a person who grew up in a rather conservative Baptist church, attended a very conservative biblical college of Baptistic roots and has been involved to one degree or another over the years with the 'modesty movement' I'd say I'm well versed with the movement yes. Eating disorders do not come from unreal expectations of modesty. Many other problems come from the extremes of unrealistic 'modesty' expectations but eating disorders are not one of them. There is nothing inappropriate in pointing out that much of what one sees streetwalkers dressed in while they are working is the same as what much of the women and young girls are wearing today - nothing at all. You just don't like the expression because it is too close to the truth for you and you don't like it. Just like it would be wholly appropriate to say that boys who are walking around with their pants halfway down their legs look like those who are the ones who are the block-walkers in prison. Continued

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JANET W

April 10, 2013  9:53am

Jim -- do you really know what's taught and underscored by the "modesty movement"? Read any articles, paid any attention at your own church? I think you'd be surprised by what you find, if you took the time to look into this issue beyond your gut response for women "not to dress like streetwalkers" (which, by the way, is just a terribly inappropriate expression).

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Jim Ricker

April 09, 2013  6:31pm

No one has an eating disorder caused by a 'modesty movement' or anything like one. Trying to connect not dressing like a street walker or not wearing a scoop down to the middle of your cleavage has nothing to do with whether you eating disorders. There is a hug difference from teaching your daughter that modesty is an attitude of presenting yourself honorably (and this goes for guys as well - having prison-pants is not modest) and telling her to make sure there is nothing showing that could possibly ever make a male look longingly. This principle is the same for men (modesty in appearance, modesty in thinking, modesty in presenting oneself). My dad had a great way of describing all this stuff and he wasn't a believer by any stretch. If you shine your car up, detail it out, clean the engine nice, put it out at the edge of the property along the road with the hood up, the windows down and the doors open, everyone will want to stop and look, and buy - and this shouldn't be surprising.

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Michael Trowbridge

April 09, 2013  1:17am

The resultant self-objectification of young girls is becoming a major problem stemming from this (twisted) modesty movement. Anorexia in 7 – 10 year old girls is growing rapidly. In fact, my 8 year old beautiful niece is now readmitted to the hospital for another whole week to prevent her self- imposed starvation. This hyper-focused obsession on repressive outer “modesty” demonstrates a repudiation of God given feminine beauty akin to what Islam is doing with the burqa. I agree that the push up padded bra is wrong by disrespecting the specific feminine beauty that girl has (smaller breasts). But to corrupt the beauty of the larger breasted woman deeming her beauty is immodest and impure is also disrespecting God’s design for her... when you say she must hide her God designed beauty. When you write, “God calls us to modesty and purity...” this is true for the inner person. 1 Tim 2:9 is the only verse which supports your call for “modesty” – and it seems to be mistranslated....

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GWENDOLYN B ELLIS

April 08, 2013  5:40pm

I meant to say dresses/skirts above the knees.

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GWENDOLYN B ELLIS

April 08, 2013  5:37pm

My concern of late, watching & observing or noticing Christian Gospel Female Artists/Celebrities dress code (their own). I pulled the Febr., 2012 article on "Clothing" up to see if I could find anything to answer my concerns (I couldn't read all the comments) and then I read this article too. I guess I'm trying to get a feel from others or an article done here regarding the dress apparel of Gospel Artists. I see of late very short dresses or over-large tops over leggings (not jeans or slacks) and/or skirts or dresses over the knees as they perform or express themselves in voice ministries. I am a little bit older and part of the boomer generation, so yes my culture was raised off our parents' culture, but with modesty, classiness and a little hip/cool if you want to call it. I just think we as Christians are set-part from the world & worldly things to draw others to Christ. It's His anointing I want to see through the spoken or sung Word. What are your thoughts anyone?

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JANET W

April 05, 2013  3:55pm

wondering how one "purifies" another person .... Are you to wash away your wife's sins in some manner? It's an honest question. When one sets themselves up as Jesus in their wife's world -- it presupposes a level of sinlesness on the husband's part and a measure of sinfulness on the wife's. I think one must look a little closer at these verses to determine their correct meaning -- as it cannot possibly be saying that the husband is God.

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Doug Knox

April 05, 2013  1:38pm

I hope you don’t mind if a guy weighs in on the discussion. First, thank you for your comments on the godly man’s role in protecting women’s intimacy. I could not agree more. As one who is called to protect and preserve my wife’s dignity--to keep her as a pure and spotless bride—I must believe I bear the greater responsibility. The Ephesians 5 passage has a lot more to say to husbands than to their wives. Paul’s command for wives to submit to their own husbands presupposes their husbands’ self-sacrificial ministry to them. Earlier this week one of the daytime talk shows aired an interview with a married couple who runs a Website on which members can cheat discretely on their spouses. Their defense of their hedonistic position (see my comments on the April 4 blog at DouglasKnox.com) was truly pathetic. This post, in contrast, demonstrates what genuine Christian thought should look like. Thank you again.

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JANET W

April 05, 2013  12:54pm

I found it interesting that under your "communicate our message more carefully link", there is another linked article from the APA that talks about the self-objectification that girls are taught... here: http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx "In self-objectification, girls internalize an observer’s perspective on their physical selves and learn to treat themselves as objects to be looked at and evaluated for their appearance. Numerous studies have documented the presence of self-objectification in women more than in men. Several studies have also documented this phenomenon in adolescent and preadolescent girls..." Isn't this exactly what the modesty culture is teaching young girls? - Evaluate yourself based on what others' think of your appearance? That's why this focus on "modesty" as being about physical appearance and sex is so wrong. Not only is it unBiblical, but it teaches kids to self-objectify.

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Hannah N.

April 05, 2013  9:27am

Dannah, your statement is incorrect when you say "there's really only one way to understand gender, sexuality and the body." And I find that a bit condescending, too. Christians may disagree about the inessentials of our faith and this is a subject, I fear, where we are miles apart and will never agree. But that doesn't mean there's only one way — your way. Yet another reason why I avoid the modesty/purity movement despite being the sort of person who "follows" all of their "rules."

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Amy Peterson

April 05, 2013  9:07am

Hi Dannah, Thanks for taking the time to respond thoughtfully to some criticisms of the modesty movement. I'm concerned that your mention of the burqa as oppressive is reductive and would be offensive to many Muslims. I think you might really enjoy this series about different perspectives on the hijab. It's hosted by a Christian woman living in Djbouti: http://www.djiboutijones.com/tag/hijab/ Peace, Amy

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Dannah Gresh

April 05, 2013  8:59am

Renee...I, too, do not believe a husband is held responsible for the sexual sins of a wife committed outside of their relationship. But Ephesians 5 is Paul instructing a man in how he should function in relationship with his wife. There is a strong declaration that he should be the leader in terms of sexual integrity. It is he who should deny himself and his desires to lift her up in purity before Christ on their wedding day and every day after.

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Christine T.

April 05, 2013  1:05am

Dannah, I am the mother of teen and "tween" daughters. I'm thankful for you and your work in helping girls and young women see themselves as the precious children of God that they are. I find it discouraging that you are receiving so much criticism for your article in favor of being mindful of our attire. We as Christians are called to be pure and holy both inwardly and outwardly. Our clothing (or lack thereof) sends a message to those around us. Dismissing that concept can be harmful to ourselves and detrimental to our witness.

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Renee Merriam

April 04, 2013  9:24pm

The verse the author referenced in Ephesians 5 is not referring to a man and his earthly bride, but of Christ and his church. The reason why men were afforded with the "responsibility" of a woman's sexuality is because women in that day and age were seen as no better than property, they had virtually no rights. Christ's, and later his followers, radical acceptance and views on women was remarkable. Notice I don't see many people telling women pastors, authors and speakers today to "be silent" in the church, yet other purely cultural Scriptures that should not be weighted today are lifted out conveniently for something like this. I do not believe Scripture indicates that God will hold a man responsible for his wife's sexual sins prior to their relationship or marriage as seems to be indicated in this article.

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Anamaria Scaperlanda Biddick

April 04, 2013  3:14pm

Hannah, I ditto the author's comments to look at Theology of the Body (or the great introduction to it, Called to Love)- but I also agree that our bodies are for so much more than sex. They are for all those things, which Called to Love discusses. Part of that is our orientation towards unity with another person that gives life (sex). I think talking about all the things our body IS for (including sexual love) would be a welcome addition to the modesty conversation.

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Dannah Gresh

April 04, 2013  2:55pm

Hello Heretic Husband...what a non-sensational name to use on Christianity Today's website. ;) Certainly didn't mean to confuse you. All humans are worthy of respect but sometimes we are better at acting like it, don't you agree? When we act in accordance with our incredible value, others around us tend to treat us as valuable. A non-human case study: people tend to take care of neighborhoods that are taken care of...and further vandalize neighbors that are run down. It is human nature to follow expectations. Now, this doesn't mean we can or should treat a man or woman in accordance with anything other than their true value assigned by God despite how they are treated...in fact, that was a main point of my article: A woman gets to be treated with respect regardless of how she presents herself...However, I would like to be a mother that teaches my children to align their behavior with their value. Good question. Thanks for asking it.

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Dannah Gresh

April 04, 2013  2:51pm

Hannah...there's really only one way to understand gender, sexuality and the body. Ask your Creator. He has written so much down for us to have a worthy understanding. If you are a deep thinker, try reading "Theology of the Body" by Pope John Paul II. A worthy undertaking for a person unafraid of deep study!

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Dannah Gresh

April 04, 2013  2:49pm

emilynn...The "stumbling block" mentality in isolation really annoys me, too. If you are going to use I Corinthians 8, it should be in context so let's not forget the verse that comes before. I'm sure you'll agree that I Corinthians 8:8 should not be forgotten. Let's rephrase it, "Modesty does not bring you closer to God. We are no worst if we are not modest. No better if we are." The context of a healthy conversation about modesty must be one that weighs out all of scripture. The problem with people who use I Corinthians 8:9 without 8:8 is that they put undue responsibility on a person (male or female) who is not modest. And the fact is, maybe God has bigger fish to fry in their spiritual life than what they are wearing. Modesty must be taught in proper balance to the more essential truths. But it is still important and worthy of teaching to our children.

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emilynn 7

April 04, 2013  12:50pm

I find it inconsistent for you to use Barbie as an example of fast tracking the sexualization of young girls & yet somehow maintain that your own work (specifically your Truth or Bare test) is somehow different. Having a tween girl use a mirror to see if she can see her underwear or budding breasts is just as objectifying as the Barbie dolls on our store shelves. While I completely affirm the need for women & men to respect their bodies I think a more nuanced discussion of inherent dignity, personhood, & the importance of consent would serve us better than body shaming. On another note while some may find it inappropriate & distressing that young girls in short skirts & skin tight tops is a fashion trend, it is far more distressing for me to watch Christians turn this into a "stumbling" block for men. If the clothing choices of young girls causes a man a problem it's not because he's stumbling, it's because he's a pedophile, & that, (not fashion) is what should be unacceptable.

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Hannah N.

April 04, 2013  12:42pm

I am just honestly very tired of the modesty/purity movement. Repackaging the message will do nothing for me. It truly contributes to the hyper-sexualization of women's bodies in a negative way. Our bodies are "for" so much more than sex/purity! They are for rock climbing. They are for walking. They are for eating. They are for praying. They are for sitting. They are for learning. They are for playing the piano. They are for scoring goals, hitting home runs, jumping over hurdles. They are for hugging friends. I could go on and on and on. I would love to see a redefinition of modesty that is not all about sex. Some women may flaunt their legs, but how many more Christian women flaunt their happy marriages and angelic children via Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest? The modesty/purity movement lost me long ago, and I'm one of many Christian women seeking different ways to understand gender, sexuality, and the body.

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JANET W

April 04, 2013  12:37pm

How do clothes "rob" any little girl of her true desires? I just don't get that.

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Sue Mahdi

April 04, 2013  11:53am

My little girl enjoys being a little girl. Immodest clothes rob her of her true desires.

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Stacy Cerone

April 04, 2013  11:47am

Dannah, thank you so much for going forward with this modesty/purity movement. Everywhere we see clothing, advertizing, entertainment, etc. bombarding our girls with messages that encourage the expression of human sexuality with brazenness, immodesty, and a do-what-feels-good-in-the-moment type thinking. I have been so blessed to have your tools through the Secret Keeper Girl and Pure Freedom ministries, and to see you making this stand on behalf of our girls. Your article has excellent points and focuses on the value and the specialness of our bodies, God's plan for sex as a whole, and the counter-cultural self-control we must instill in our daughters to go against "the norm". You are supported and prayed for. Continue to stand in the modesty movement!

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Heretic Husband

April 04, 2013  11:35am

The article says: "We don't have to earn that respect, but we can be worthy of it. " How does this work? The phrasing seems to imply that some women are *not* worthy of respect. So how does one come to be worthy of respect without effort?

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JANET W

April 04, 2013  10:51am

I'm sorry, there's so much wrong with this article, that it's hard to know exactly where to begin. I'll start with the very premise that a woman's body is "for sex" -- That's not even an implied within the Bible. Let's also throw out the definition of "modest" that seems to be put forth here -- Biblical modesty isn't about sex at all. It's not about covering up or "tempting" someone with sex. We have to start the conversation from a true Biblical perspective of what "modesty" actually means -- then we can talk about the true worth of a woman (and it doesn't have a thing to do with her sexuality). I believe in a much, much better modesty movement than is presented here. This just serves to objectify women (and little girls). To objectify women in God's name is really wrong. It harms both women and men.

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