I think a big part of the problem we have with fetishizing modesty, objectifying women and female body-image dysmorphia is directly tied to our absent Female God. We do not know or talk about our Mother in Heaven. We do not sing to or about Her, except in O My Father(!). We do not see Her in our art or read about Her in our scriptures. We have no model for what an ideal female body could look like (unless we accept Cosmo’s version) or what an ideal female person could do and be.
The church we belong to is part of the (male) body of Christ, and the God we worship has a physical male body. There is no perfected female body to pattern our perfecting after.
So instead we hate our bodies and live in fear of the judgments of others:
“Am I sexy enough to keep my husband from straying?”
“Am I modest enough to not get raped?”
Sexy? Modest? SexyModest. Kind of has a ring to it.
I do not accept this: not for myself, and certainly not for my daughters. Something has to change. If I were an artist, I would paint the Mother God. If I were a singer, I would sing Her praises. If I were a weaver, a sculptor, a poet, I would produce something that would bring Her here, to look at and worship and know.
I do want my daughters to be modest.* But I want them to be so for the most immodest of reasons: because they take after a Goddess.
Modesty is Love
(to the tune of Reverence is Love)
Modesty’s not about covering shoulders, it’s thinking of Mother above.
It’s knowing my body is just like her body. I’m modest for modesty’s love.
When I’m modest I care for my inner soul, instead of the clothes that I wear.
And when I am modest I know in my heart, Heav’nly Mother and Jesus are there.
If you’ve missed the modest-pharisee protest online, some of my favorite recent posts include Stephanie’s Fresh Meat, Sue’s epic modesty rant, Cynthia’s cap sleeve art, and How the Modesty Doctrine Hurts Men, too. See also Breastfeeding in Public.
adjective1. having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one’s merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.2. free from ostentation or showy extravagance: a modest house.3. having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, dress, etc.; decent: a modest neckline on a dress.4. limited or moderate in amount, extent, etc.: a modest increase in salary.