Yesterday, I read this post over at Motley Mama about modesty. Here's the photo responsible for sparking the conversation:
I usually fall between "flirty" and "proper" when wearing a skirt or dress. Partially because I'm perpetually cold and more clothing = more warmth; partially because I feel more comfortable when I'm not worried about accidentally showing my underwear to everyone in the room.
But - I have worn shorts and skirts in the "slut" range - across campus and back late at night - without thinking twice. (Looking back, probably not the most prudent choice, but nobody was gonna convince my 18-year-old self that.) Did that clothing choice make me a slut? If I was raped while wearing that outfit, would that makes the offense less atrocious? And, unfortunately, this stereotype goes both ways. Should a woman who chooses to wear high collar shirts and "matronly" length capris be looked down on as a prude? It's like Goldilocks - am I showing too much, too little, or the "just right" amount of skin (whatever that may be)?
After all that, I'm not sure exactly how I define modesty. I mean, dress for the occasion - don't wear a nightgown to a job interview - but should I be upset if someone wears a skimpy dress out to dinner?
Enter Evelyn Beatrice Hall: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Except, applied to clothing. I really think people should be able to confidently wear any outfit (of their choosing!).
And slightly off topic, but do men ever think about this stuff? When I compare men and women, it seems showing skin is more appropriate for women (in every situation) than men. At my work - men are expected to wear pants daily, but when the weather is warm, it's acceptable for women to show some bare leg in capris, a skirt, or dress. At the beach - men in board shorts, women in bikinis. At a party - men in knee-length shorts, women in short shorts. Have you noticed this?
How about you? I'd love to hear where you fall on the "modesty" scale.