October 16, 2005
A Modest Proposal
October 14, 2005
Haven celebrated her 14th birthday this week with a fabulous party. Tucker’s math tutor, Mrs. Betzhold, and her husband, Steve, started a new business called “Driveway In.” They brought over a huge movie screen, set it up in our backyard and showed “The Sandlot” to a group of over 70 teenagers! It was so much fun. We even had a snack bar with plenty of popcorn, licorice, Tootsie pops, candy bars and Airheads.
Tomorrow, Haven will be competing in her first speech meet. I am so proud of the speech that she wrote that I just had to share it with you.
By Haven Cauble
As a girl, I love fashion. I am not sure what it is about going to the mall and buying that perfect outfit, but I know I love it. One of my favorite types of clothing that is coming back is the old 50’s style. I think it is because it’s unique, but not so over the top as say, the 60’s or 70’s.
What’s ironic is that the tight sweaters that we see everywhere today were considered too revealing back then. Just as in the 1920s, the bathing suits they wore covered what today shorts and a t-shirt would cover. If we saw that bathing suit today we would call it prudish but back then it was considered scandalous.
Now, that got me thinking, what is modesty to us? And the reality is we don’t really have a fixed definition for modesty, because it is always changing. The earliest definition we have, from Webster’s Dictionary 1828 says, “Modesty is synomous with chastity or purity of manners.” It goes on to say, “Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence. The richest gem in the diadem of their honor”
Contrast that with Encarta 2005’s definition that says modesty is, “Reserved in appearance, manner, and speech, especially in relation to sexual matters” In less than 200 years the definition of modesty has gone from the highest of virtues to simply being reserved in relation to sexual matters.
At this rate I can only imagine what the definition will be like in another 100 years. Judging from the digression of the 1920’s bathing suits to today’s bathing suits -hey, there is more cotton in an Aspirin bottle!
This idea of showing skin is as old as the sun. For that matter it’s as old as sin, I find it more than coincidental that when sin first entered the world, man and woman’s first instinct was to cover their naked skin.
It seems to be progressively getting worse; spiraling down lower and lower. I mean how much farther can you go? Personally, I don’t really want to see some people walking around in the nude.
Sadly, it appears that fashion designers are targeting teens. They know teens are notorious for not wanting to blend in. They see that teens want to be remembered and often times “pushing the limit” is controversial and creates publicity. I think everyone, not just teens, wants be a trendsetter, not yesterday’s clearance fashion.
Some teens may not see this as a problem because right now, we as students are the ones pushing the limits. But soon our children will be the ones pushing the limits and we’re the ones who’ll be trying to stop them understanding that research and marketing companies thrive on selling products to teens through sex. Advertisers understand that showing skin grabs people’s attention and helps make products memorable.
Think about the term, “skin is in,” that sells so much today. Now, that has got to be hard on guys because they are visual beings. You don’t see the fashion industry using sex to sell guy’s clothing quite as much because women tend to look deeper than physical appearance. But men are all about the physical features and are easily distracted from the face and personality by simply revealing a little skin.
It is not only in America that we have this problem, either. Women in general are fashion victims, any age, but across the world 10-35 is the average. It is also across most cultures, particularly from Europe, since we get most of our fashion trends from there. Now this world-wide culture fad could change when people begin to value more than physical appearance, particularly women’s appearances.
It is also making little girls grow up too fast. Wouldn’t you rather want your daughters be playing with dolls and playing dress up to look like their mom when they are 10 years old instead of playing with make-up and dressing like Brittney Spears?
So if this problem is going from bad to worse, what can we do to stop it? If you took every culture apart and went down to the core, you would see that it begins with the family. It should begin in the home with the moms and dads teaching their children the power of self-respect and modesty, showing that values can be communicated by what you wear. They need to model it in for their sons and daughters so when their kids grow up they will uphold those values and also teach it to their kids.
Some might say it’s only the Christian worldview that holds these fashions to be inappropriate but I believe that any good father or mother wants their daughter to be appreciated for more than just physical appearances. They want their daughter to dress like a woman, not a woman of the night.
The truth is, with the exception of entertainment business, much of society recognizes and praises modesty. For example, if you dress modest and look sharp into a job interview, you have a better chance of getting hired more than a girl who comes in scantily dressed. Good common sense says modesty is the best for all who live by it.
An alternative to this is a true understanding of fashion. One can be trendy without being trashy. That is important to remember because what you wear communicates what you value and what you want others to value in you.
Here’s an idea, when you go to the mall have your good girl friends help you pick clothes and if it doesn’t really look modest, you’d want them to say to tell you. You could also get a close guy friend’s perspective on what you’re wearing. He may tell you something about what you’re wearing that would never have crossed your mind, but it would have crossed a guy’s.
We as teens have more power than we give ourselves credit for We can draw a line, we can stop buying immodest clothing. If this downward spiral of immodesty is not stopped when and where will it end? Most likely it won’t lead back to the 1920s bathing suits, and there won’t be much left for the imagination. And how much fun would it be to go to the mall when there are no clothes on the mannequins anymore?
Posted by weblion at 05:53 PM