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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Confessions of Another Teenage Bride: Modest IS most definitely still Hottest!!

There has been an article circulating that I have read and read and I just don't get it.
You can find the article here.
I have a hard time with this post and here's why (and please know I am trying to be sincerely gentle and diplomatic in my presentation with this. I mean no offense or malice at all): My platform as a former Mrs. Oklahoma in 2011 was Modest is Hottest. I went to schools teaching teens and preteens of both genders about the importance of acting modestly and morally in all we think, do and say.
Saying that the phrase "Modest is Hottest" is a "shallow" thought (as I read in this link) is baffling to me.
1) It's a catchy phrase originally designed to remind girls and women that being modest is ok and in fact, cool. The term "hot" is relative to an individual's interpretation. I personally don't consider the word "hot" to mean slutty or ho-ish, as it seems others around me do. In the urban dictionary it states "hot" as meaning cute, pretty, attractive.
2) It speaks to youth! And if even one young man or young woman walks away after hearing someone give a positive speech about modesty using this phrase (as opposed to someone starting off a speech with modest is NOT hottest - how confusing is that?) then, that is one life and attitude changed. And isn't that the end goal?
[Side note:  I also understand this is also a lesson in semantics. But, it's also kinda the whole point, too.]
Now, I'm not saying we should dress in toe sacks. But I also think the article teeters on the line of shaming those women who are naturally thin, fit and attractive and look stinkin' hot in no matter what they wear (we all know one, right? lol), by making them feel that if a man outside of their spouse looks at them in the wrong way that it's their fault (I understand she didn't say that directly - I just see some underlying tones here that could be misinterpreted).
For instance, and I quote: "The idea that we can be virtuous and walk around looking hot at the same time does not add up". So, a young woman who wears a modest pencil skirt and button down blouse in high heels gets whistled at while heading to work.  Was she sinning because she was considered 'hot' by another's standards?  Is she to blame for their actions? (Again, I understand here that the point is trying not to be looked at as an object. Sometimes, that's going to happen no. matter. what. As the 2nd article I shared pointed out, so many in other countries who wear coverings from head to toe are still considered only objects and are raped and beaten daily).
In my opinion and in my experience, modesty has less to do with the clothes hanging in our closet and much more to do with how we act and how we feel about ourselves and how we project that outwardly through our individual personalities.

To quote her again: "If you want to be 'hot', if you want to be 'sexy', if you want to be 'eye candy', you won't find that while keeping your shorts long and your necklines high". I understand. We should not be wanting these particular shallow things. But this statement could EASILY be misinterpreted by teens, even with her explanation that followed, even as I misunderstood it when first reading it. I also think that delves into a realm of controversy with the idea that either A) women are the root of all men's evil thoughts about women or B) Women should be allowed to wear whatever they want and men should just control their thoughts. To quote a friend of mine, "Modest is hottest is not about control. It's about the preservation of value and dressing to your potential. It's not about propagation of 'rape culture' or shaming of women, it's about respecting your most valuable asset...Your body."  (And just throwing this out there: I think the girl that wrote this article is hot! Is that wrong of me to think? lol. In all honesty, she is very attractive and I, being one who loves to observe people - you might call it stalking, don't judge me! - would consider her a gorgeous lady and would watch her and make mental notes. I do the same thing with men. It's if I lust after that man or woman that I become sinful. And that's on my head. I, and only I, control my thoughts. I am not convinced we are puppets to our temptations).

I quote again: "There is a time and place to be hot, to be desired and to be sexy..." (totally agree!)..."and it's not in the grocery store, at work, or at school....a truly wonderful man will want you to be beautiful for the whole world to see! But he will want you to be hot only for him." ??
 No, no, I get it. I, as a grown LDS woman, understand what she's saying. But...if I'm wearing something that makes me feel beautiful, sexy, hot, (insert your own favorite adjective here), am I supposed to change my clothes before I go out in public? Should I ask my spouse if what I'm wearing is sexy and change if he thinks so? (It's absurd, I know, but indulge me...is this not how some could interpret this?)

On another note, if we are to emulate our leaders, get our best education, be our best selves, wear our Sunday best: think about it, anytime you look your best we are naturally going to be more attractive.

Please, please don't get me wrong; There are several points I loved about each article.
i.e. "If you’re pro-modesty (by whatever definition that means to you), then live it and teach it as a means for empowerment and benefit to yourself, not as a service or protection for men. "
"If modesty is a concept you subscribe to, there is great power in changing the modesty conversation from what you LOOK like to others to what you FEEL like inside."
Modesty is defined differently by different cultures – even different families – and it’s time to stopshaming people into covering themselves and start teaching truths that need shouted from the rooftop: We are more than just bodies to be looked at. When we begin believing that, we begin acting like it, and female progress in every imaginable way will move forward." 
"So, to the girls who inch up your skirt just a little higher than you should... To the girls who pull that shirt down a little too low... To the girls who give a little more than you should be giving, thinking you will get that love you so desperately desire, only to be told 'it's not you, it's me' and left wanting what you gave back, feeling confused and broken..."

"But girls, I can promise you one thing. The guy you are going to want to be with, the guy who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated, is not going to be found with that mini skirt and low cut neckline."
So much good stuff can come from each of these articles. I just wish it didn't seem to require tearing one good message down to make room for whatever the next big phrase or idea or ploy will be. And, more selfishly here, I do wish the one phrase wouldn't be shot down so vehemently because some are choosing to interpret it under a different light (especially when a public figure such as myself has had SO MUCH success with it).

Bottom line, let us not judge each other for the battles we fight within. We all have our Summer cottages in Babylon. Nor should we push another in the way of our understand and interpretation, but let us allow each other our free agency and thought patterns. In the end, it is not what we have done in this life that matters so much, but who we have become. And for the record: I don't know about you, but I've never seen someone readily latch on to another's celestial map without first looking to see, out of sheer unabashed curiousity,  if their own map won't lead them to far greater blessing along the way.




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