The Battle Over Modesty
As the parents of a girl who's only 9 years old, you'd think that my wife and I wouldn't already be facing the problem of finding decent, modest clothing for her to wear. But we are. Fortunately, our little girl goes to a school that requires modest dress by way of standardized uniforms, but she doesn't want to be seen in her "uni" when she's off campus, and that's where the problem arises. Just today, the two of them were trying to find a decent pair of jeans, a pair that didn't ride way down on her hips or fit so tight as to cut off the circulation in her legs. They were . . . not successful. And remember, we're talking clothes for a 9-year-old!
Rebecca Hagelin, who is a vice president of The Heritage Foundation and the author of Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture That's Gone Stark Ravng Mad, covers this very topic in her column today ("Fashioning a response to immodest clothing"). She had written a column a few weeks ago about her futile attempts at finding modest clothing for her 13-year-old daughter. Many of her readers wrote and let her know that she was not alone in this problem.
After sharing some of her readers' comments, Hagelin goes on to write:
Women and girls who decide to dress modestly often have another surprise in store -- men and boys treat them differently. In the book "Dressing with Dignity," former model Colleen Hammond explains why:
"I believe it is because, subconsciously, men can read women's body language. If they see a woman who dresses with dignity and carries herself with grace and femininity, they pick up on that. They take it as a sign to approach her with the respect, reverence and honor a woman ought to have."
Exactly. And if a girl dresses like a streetwalker, they pick up the opposite message. Is that the signal we want our daughters to send?
We should all try to communicate to the little girls in our lives a simple message Hagelin likes to use: "God made you a person of value. You're somebody special who deserves to be respected. So . . . I want you to dress in a way that reflects the treasure you are."