As y’all may have noticed, this week the Bosom Bloggers have been all about The Modesty Panel. I didn’t originally intend on participating because I didn’t feel like I had that much to say. I still don’t think I have that much to say, especially that hasn’t been said already by the other awesome bloggers involved (listed below), but I thought I’d make a quick bullet list of the thoughts I’ve been having while reading over everyone’s posts and giving thought to the subject.
1. Why is the word modest when used towards men almost never about their clothing, but for women it almost always is? When a man is being modest, it means that he’s humble about his accomplishments. When a woman is modest, she’s humble about… her… body? Is a woman’s body an accomplishment? I suppose sometimes it is, if a woman has worked hard to achieve her “dream body”, but in my case I know for sure that I could never think of my body as an “accomplishment” haha. I’ve done nothing to “earn” my body.
2. Why is it that, although I dress preeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetty immodestly (it’s not immodest to me, but to others it would be), I’ve never been talked about or given looks like the other women who have written posts have described? Is it because of the high humidity and heat of the Deep South? Is it because I am fairly slim, so I’m not “offending anyone”? Maybe it’s because I sort of “own it” and would be the first to describe the way I dress as “a little slutty”. Am I just oblivious do it? I kind of think it’s the last one haha. Even though I dress quite revealingly, I never seem to get “she’s dressed so slutty”, I just get “wow her boobs are huge”. Which still isn’t an appropriate comment to make, but it never feels judgmental as much as surprised or flabbergasted at my breast size.
3. Now that I’ve said that, I guess that actually I have had other people insinuate I’m being immodest… it’s just that it’s always been friends so I haven’t noticed that much, or really been offended. But, I now remember, in high school my best friend (who’s a “32A”, I measured her to be closer to be a shallow 28D/DD/E, but she’s not unhappy so I don’t push it on her) would always say to me, “If I’m a straight girl and I’m getting distracted by your boobs, your shirt is too low cut.” I was never offended, and thought it was kind of funny. But I guess that is sort of her way of saying I was being immodest. Or I have another friend who’s a “32C” who constantly points out my visible bra… yeah, sorry, my bra is almost always going to be visible, especially on the sides. That’s just how it works. I’m not upset about it, so you shouldn’t be either. But she always approached it like she was telling me my fly was down or something. Like it was something I should be embarrassed about. Newsflash: everyone already knows I’m wearing a bra, whether it’s visible or not.
The only time I’ve had someone talk about my clothing in a way that actually felt judgmental is when I was talking about dressing a curvy figure with a group of girls. One of them has a figure that’s very similar to mine, but she dresses in baggy t-shirts and jeans all the time, and as a result “looks like a potato” (her words, not mine!!). She’s always complimented my figure, but I always point out that really she has the same figure, she just doesn’t dress to show it off like I do. On this occasion, she was showing the girls a rather short, rather low cut, tight fitting dress she had (AND LOOKED AMAZING IN), and I was saying that if she wanted to show off her figure she should just dress like that all the time. The other girls all disagreed, saying that it wasn’t appropriate for something like going to class, but I said I would totally wear it to class, and just throw a cardigan over it, following it up with “I guess I do dress a little slutty though” in a joking manner. But a religious girl in the group immediately fired back, “Yeah, you kinda do.” I have to admit, I was a little offended. It’s sort of like how it’s okay for you to fight with your siblings and call them names, but if someone else did you’d be really upset? I don’t know. But that’s the only time I’ve ever felt really judged, even if I maybe invited the criticism with my “joke”.
4. Whooooaaaaa never mind again. How am I blocking all of this stuff out?! I just remembered another time that I got judged for being “immodest”. I worked at Chick-fil-A for a long time, 3.5-4 years, and at one point was in line to get promoted to Team Leader. I had a meeting with a manager before the promotion was final so that she could give suggestions on things I could approve (that all the managers had discussed in a prior meeting), and one of them was the way I dressed off the clock!! I’d regularly come in to pick up my check in a tank top and shorts, and she suggested that I start keeping a t-shirt in the car to put on over my tank top to cover up more. So it wasn’t even a matter of not being dressed professionally, it was a matter of too much skin! A t-shirt is not exactly professional attire either, and this was just a fast food job. And customers couldn’t even see me when I came in the back door to go straight to the office to pick up my check… Yuck, how did I forget that incident? The idea of all the managers sitting in a circle, talking about how revealingly I dressed (and most of them were men, there was only one woman manager at the time) really skeeved me out.
5. Why is modesty connected to self respect? Why do I have to cover up my body to respect it? Maybe I respect its need to not be covered in fabric when it’s 100+ degrees and 90% humidity outside. So don’t complain about my tank top and shorts, thank you very much.
6. Why do people always act like girls who dress immodestly are doing it for male attention (which is a very heteronormative view, regardless of how wrong it is on other levels)? Seriously. Even if I’m going someplace where there are only going to be my close guy friends that I’ve known since middle school, I’ll probably be wearing a short skirt and v-neck top. Or in my apartment, where I’m dressed to impress literally no one but myself, do you know what I wear? Underwear! Literally just my underwear haha, not even a bra unless it starts to get uncomfortable without one. At all girls sleepovers, I wear short pajama shorts and a tank top. The way I dress is not to get the attention of sexual partners.
Basically, the way I feel about modesty is: my body is not open to suggestions, and that includes what I put on it. People are always going to have their own personal ideas of how others should dress, act, etc., and I know I make snap judgments about people all the time. But I don’t let them control how I treat anyone, and I definitely do not vocalize them unless the person in question asks my opinion. Also this post came out really long, seems like I had more to say than I thought I did!
Seriously, I do. not. care. what you think about what I’m wearing. I mean, my profile picture on Facebook is me in a bikini. Even the cartoon version of me I dressed in a low-cute, tight dress. So judge me all you want, but keep it to yourself!
Other bloggers who have written better thought out, less stream-of-conscious-no-point posts for the Modesty Panel (linked ones are already written):
Braless in Brazil
Hourglassy (they have a few other posts as well, not sure how to title them all as links here though!)