Modesty and “The Legging Problem”


Maryann White is the mother of a Notre Dame student, and final week she penned an Op-Ed for the Notre Dame campus newspaper titled “The Legging Difficulty.” The fundamental thrust of White’s write-up is a complaint against immodesty amongst females. In specific, she has a trouble with the legging trend. She writes:

I’m not attempting to insult everyone or infringe upon anyone’s rights. I’m just a Catholic mother of 4 sons with a trouble that only girls can resolve: leggings.

The emergence of leggings as pants some years ago baffled me. They’re such an unforgiving garment. Final fall, they obtruded painfully on my landscape. I was at Mass at the Basilica with my family members. In front of us was a group of young females, all wearing really snug-fitting leggings and all wearing quick-waisted tops (so that the reduce physique was uncovered except for the leggings). Some of them really looked as although the leggings had been painted on them…

I was ashamed for the young females at Mass. I believed of all the other males about and behind us who couldn’t support but see their behinds. My sons know greater than to ogle a woman’s physique — surely when I’m about (and hopefully, also when I’m not). They didn’t stare, and they didn’t comment afterwards. But you couldn’t support but see these blackly naked rear ends. I didn’t want to see them — but they have been unavoidable. How considerably additional tricky for young guys to ignore them.

As you can visualize, the students at Notre Dame did not appreciate this Op-Ed. Some students protested the Op-Ed by organizing a “Love Your Leggings Day” for the campus final Tuesday. The Washington Post reports:

A student group, Irish four Reproductive Wellness, similarly declared Tuesday to be “Leggings Pride Day.” On Facebook, the group explained that White’s letter, despite the fact that properly-intentioned, “perpetuates a narrative central to rape culture” by implying that women’s clothes alternatives are to blame for men’s inappropriate behavior.

Wow. Rape culture? This mother’s easy plea for modesty is supposed to be viewed as advancing rape culture? To be confident, there are lecherous males in the planet who are additional than prepared to blame their evil behavior on how females dress. We can recognize that any such insinuation is a moral dodge and need to be repudiated. The sinner has himself to blame for evil alternatives that he tends to make, and he can not rightly blame everyone else for what is his personal fault.

Obtaining stated that, it is seriously problematic and sloppy to equate modesty with rape culture. Albert Mohler discussed this on The Briefing this morning and stated this:

Illegitimate is the argument that concern for modesty is basically portion of that shame culture, that speak of modesty is just a way of shaming females. That is not a reputable argument. The Bible tends to make clear it is not a reputable argument. The Bible tends to make clear why we put on coverings for these private components in the very first spot. Then the query is, “As we extend from that to acceptable clothes, what would that appear like?”…

Wearing clothes that directs interest to these private components rather than away from these private components is inherently problematic. It is by biblical definition, whether or not male or female, immodest. A single final believed about this for Christians, a single of our responsibilities to a single one more as brothers and sisters in Christ is to encourage a single one more to holiness. Every thing we do, like our selection of clothes, but like every thing else must at the really least be judged by that normal.

I couldn’t agree additional. Modesty is not “rape culture.” The way in which we decide on to adorn ourselves is morally implicated. In reality, modesty is a portion of biblical virtue (1 Tim. two:9). Kevin DeYoung elaborates:

Modesty operates with the Bible’s unfavorable assessment of public nudity post-Fall. From Adam and Eve scrambling for fig leaves (Gen. three:10), to the dishonorable nakedness of Noah (Gen. 9:21), to the embarrassingly exposed buttocks of David’s males (two Sam. 10:four), the Bible knows we inhabit a fallen planet in which particular elements of our bodily selves are meant to be hidden. Certainly, this is precisely what Paul presumes when he speaks of “our unpresentable parts” which need to be “treated with higher modesty” (1 Cor. 12:23). There’s a purpose momma known as them private parts…

Modesty demonstrates to other individuals that we have additional crucial factors to provide than very good appears and sex appeal. The point of 1 Timothy two:9 and 1 Peter three:three-four is not an absolute prohibition against attempting to appear good. The prohibition is against attempting so really tough to appear very good in all the strategies that are so reasonably unimportant. The query asked of females in these verses–and it surely applies to males as well–is this: will you grab people’s interest with hair and jewelry and attractive clothing or will your presence in the area be unmistakable for the reason that of your Christlike character? Immodest dress tells the planet, “I’m not confident I have something additional to provide than this. What you see is seriously all you get”…

If the Bible is to be believed, this complete organization of modesty is not irrelevant to Christian discipleship. Our bodies have been purchased with a cost. Consequently glorify God with your physique (1 Cor. six:20). Which implies we do not show everybody every thing we could believe is worth seeing. And it implies we will not be embarrassed to retain most private these factors that are most valuable. Shame is a potent category, in the Bible and in our personal day.  The crucial is understanding what factors we must essentially be ashamed of.



(You can listen to the rest of Albert Mohler’s commentary beneath or download the audio right here.)



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