Women Dressing Modestly

Discussion in 'Women's Public Fellowship Forum' started by PrivateWoman, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. PrivateWoman

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  2. abcgrad94

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    I agree with what it says, but I tend to shy away from lengthy "instructions" telling people how to/not to dress, because it usually tends toward legalism. This might be a good guideline for a girls' Sunday school class, though.

    If you do a search, you'll see we've had many debates about dress here at BB.
     
  3. Scarlett O.

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    Well ..... you did ask. I have two chief issues to raise. I'll do it in two posts so as not to confuse myself or anyone else.

    First let me say that I have no problem with women dressing respectably. Women ought to wear decent clothes. Shame on those who don't.

    Why?

    To, as you and countless others say, "prevent men from lusting"? Here's my first issue.

    James 1:13-15 says that the lusts of evil desires are within us and consume us from within, not from without.


    Lust is in the heart of a man, not the body of a woman. A man who struggles with lust will struggle in the presence of a woman in a bathing suit or a burka. He will struggle with dirty jokes and his heart will seek out the profane in mundane things. He will lust over a woman with no make-up on who is wearing a jogging suit as well as any other woman.

    Nonetheless, women, as nurturers, should dress as not be a stumbling block to a man. A stumbling block is not the cause of the problem. It is not the root of the problem. It is not the heart of the problem. It is not THE problem. But a stumbling block can hinder someone who already has a problem.

    I get kind of tired of hearing that men are ALL hound dogs and that they ALL have problems of this nature and that we women should ALL wear sack cloths.

    I think that we should approach this respectable clothing issue from another angle. We should teach our daughters to have self-respect. I have found that we women have very limited power in this world. And if you teach some women and some young girls that if they dress provocatively that they will cause a weak man to stumble, then they will dress that way ON PURPOSE!! I've seen it. More than once.

    Instead of teaching a young woman that her body is a "thing" that causes men to FAIL spiritually and that she should hide it at all costs, why not approach the matter of dressing in a decent manner in terms of teaching her that her body is fearfully and wonderfully made and is something she can dress in all kinds of decent and attractive styles in order that she can SUCCEED spiritually.

    Let's take lust in the heart of a man off of the table and put Godliness in the heart of a woman smack in the middle of the table.

    I think we'd get a lot further that way.
     
  4. Scarlett O.

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    Ok, secondly, I agree with abcgrad94. Those would be some good general guidelines to go over in a girl's Sunday School class, but not formal instruction for women. It seemed a little preachy.

    But my second and main concern was the scripture that they cited. I know that it's used frequently to tell women how to dress, but I believe it is misinterpreted by many.

    1 Timothy 2:9-10 mentions women adorning themselves in "modest apparel."

    Christians everywhere use these two words from this ONE verse taken out of context to mean that they can formulate the EXACT specifications of how long a dress must be, how low a neckline must stop at, how long a sleeve must be, how loose trousers must be, and what kind of undergarments one must wear.

    All of the above makes me CRAZY! [​IMG]

    1 Timothy 2:9-10
    is talking about nothing of the sort. In fact, it is talking more about behavior than it is about actual garments.

    How do I know?

    Go back to the beginning of
    1 Timothy 2
    .

    Paul says that we are to make petitions, prayers, intercessions, and to give thanks for everybody including those in authority over us. If we do this, then we all can lead quiet and peaceful lives. This pleases God our Savior very much Paul says and he says that God wants everyone to be saved and to know the truth. Then Paul proceeds to tell the truth about Jesus.

    OK, so far, Paul is talking about spiritual matters.

    "THEREFORE......"

    Now he says with that in mind, the men should be lifting holy hands and praying with NO arguments and NO anger amongst them.

    OK, still spiritual matters.

    "IN LIKE MANNER ALSO........"

    Hmmmm.....

    "In like manner also....."

    "In
    LIKE
    manner also....."

    Like whom? The men. Also what? Holy and spiritually minded.

    How?
    By "wearing" holy things.


    The men are to lift holy hands and focus on leading the worship service. The women are wear "holy apparel" focus on maintaining an atmosphere of worship.

    The greek word for apparel is a "garment". What are those holy garments that women are to "wear"?


    • shamefacedness (reverence for others)
    • sobriety (self-control)
    • professing godliness
    • good works
    "In like manner also the women are to "adorn [kosmeō] themselves in modest [kosmios] apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."

    Paul did not say for them to adorn themselves with garments of loose-fitting trousers or dresses, mid-sleeved jackets, and close-toed shoes.

    He said to adorn themselves with shamefacedness and sobriety and good works.

    Thayer's lexicon says that kosmios means "a well-ordered life".

    When Paul says in 1 Timothy 3:16 that bishops must be blameless and live a life of "good behaviour"..... "behaviour" in the King James Bible means the same thing - kosmios.

    Paul isn't talking about a woman's bra strap showing in church or a ban on her wearing open-toed shoes while singing in the choir. He isn't talking about pants vs. dresses. He isn't talking about the length of a shirt sleeve or long denim skirts or undergarments or bathing suits.

    He is talking about "in the like manner" of the men.

    The women are to be spiritually minded.

    They are to be "clothed" in holiness.

    "Clothed" in shamefacedness (reverence), sobriety (self-control), professing godliness, and doing good works. If a woman is clothing
    herself in these things, her literal clothing will take care of itself.

    But, if she is obsessed with her outer apparel and ignores Paul's teaching of the spiritual apparel, she can dress in a bikini on the beach or gunny sack down to her toes on the front pew and go straight to hell and take her family with her.

    I do believe that women AND men should dress in order to be respectful of God, themselves, and others.

    But 1 Timothy 2:9-10 isn't a foundation for this topic of women's clothing styles.

    It's about women, in like manner of the men having a holiness directive in order to achieve 1 Timothy 2:1-8, having a holiness directive of their own.

    A kosmios directive. Just like the kosmos directive in 1 Peter 3:1-4.

    Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment (kosmos), such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.
    Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.


    This verse isn't talking about literal garments at all.


     
  5. annsni

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    GREAT words Scarlett!!

    I find it sad how screwed up this whole topic has gotten. I recently heard from a woman who was upset because someone told her that her skirt was pretty but the whole reason to dress modestly for her is to not be noticed!! She's not going to wear the skirt again because someone looked at her and complimented her!! How sad is that??

    I do think that we need to be careful but with the motivation that Scarlett said. To have set "rules" is very sketchy because rules are made to be broken, stretched and questioned. What's better is to understand some concepts behind the topic and to understand how men work in order to know what might be OK and what might not be.

    A GREAT book that helps us to understand this topic is "For Women Only" (and she has "For Young Women Only"). It explains from men's perspectives what they see in women. It's well worth getting and a must have if you're working with young women.
     
  6. Crabtownboy

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    Proper or improper dress is cultural. I read an article a few years ago about which parts of the body women feel should always be covered and kept from view. It varies greatly from culture to culture. While you and I would probably agree on what is proper there are cultures that would disagree with us. For instance, there are cultures where any dress or skirt that shows above the ankle would be considered improper. I am not sure now, but in Czarist Russia a woman with red stockings meant she was a prostitute. A woman from another country could easily have been mis-identified and not known she was "advertising". To an Old Order Mennonite any woman with uncovered hair is improper. To an Old Believer in Russia a scarf tied in a certain way is necessary for a women to be proper. The differences of what is proper and improper go on and on.

     
    #6 Crabtownboy, Sep 9, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 9, 2010
  7. faithgirl46

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    I beliee it is important to dress modestly. Some guys will seea girl dressed not so modestly & think or believe the worst about her.
     
  8. jaigner

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    But that's the responsibility of the guy.

    The reason modesty (and that is steeped in culture) is important is because bears witness to Christ's Kingdom.

    And some of the stuff on this guide is horrific, I think. For instance:

    "Am I wearing a spaghetti-strap, halter, or sheer blouse? Not even
    pins will fix this problem! Most guys find these a hindrance in
    their struggle with lust. It’s time to go back to the closet."

    1. This is completely legalistic and not necessarily true. Contrary to popular opinion, lust is not "every man's battle." It's a temptation for most, but not every guy fights some sort of spiritual battle with this issue, just as with anything else.

    2. Women are not responsible for anything that goes through a guy's head just because of what they are wearing. That is a damaging suggestion, because it puts undue responsibility on women and can even sometimes cause psychological issues. It's also damaging because it seemingly absolves the man of some or all his responsibility. And it dehumanizes men to the point of being some lust-oozing pile of hormones, incapable of controlling itself, which it clearly isn't. If he's tempted by lust, which can happen if a woman is in burlap or lace, it's his responsibility to remove himself from the situation. Nothing a woman wears gives away any of her rights.
     
  9. jaigner

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    Oh yeah, here's another little gem:

    "More key questions: Does my shirt reveal any part of my
    cleavage? Does my midriff show when I raise my hands above
    my head? Is my shirt just plain too tight? If the answer to any one
    of these questions is yes, then I need to change my outfit."

    Ding, ding, ding! There's the legalism meter. I think the moralism buzzer will sound anytime.
     
  10. annsni

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    I agree. My husband very much protects his eyes and his heart and if he sees anything like this, guess what he does? He turns his head. Voila!! Simple!!

    [quote[]2. Women are not responsible for anything that goes through a guy's head just because of what they are wearing. That is a damaging suggestion, because it puts undue responsibility on women and can even sometimes cause psychological issues. It's also damaging because it seemingly absolves the man of some or all his responsibility. And it dehumanizes men to the point of being some lust-oozing pile of hormones, incapable of controlling itself, which it clearly isn't. If he's tempted by lust, which can happen if a woman is in burlap or lace, it's his responsibility to remove himself from the situation. Nothing a woman wears gives away any of her rights.[/QUOTE]

    I agree with this and kind of disagree with it. We DO need to be aware that so many things are being sexualized around us and it's just best for us to be prudent. Of course there's no hard and fast rules but there ARE a few things that we should use as guidelines for ourselves to just protect the men around us as their sisters in Christ. I mean I'm certainly not going to put a large cake in front of my diabetic pastor - so I certainly will not show too much around my brothers. :)

    What helps for me is that I'm 45 and not in the greatest shape. I'm lumpy and bumpy and squishy so I tend to cover up. :) I prefer shorts no shorter than what will show my stretch marks. LOL I prefer a top that will cover my top so that I can bend over without showing everyone my flab. Having a too short shirt? Even *I* don't want to see that!! ROTFL!!

    But I'll let my daughters wear tank tops and spaghetti straps - if it covers their chest. We found some camis at Costco that even *I* wear because they come up quite high and are closer fitting but not snug. I love them under a few pretty tops I have that need a little extra something under them. :) We bought a ton of these because with Costco, who knows when we'll see these again. LOL

    So I think some general prudence helps. Additionally, I think an older woman who addresses it with a younger woman is a much better way to deal with it than a checklist of rules. We have one young woman who's helping in our children's ministry who has a very cute body and she wears the cutest things but her skirts are just above the knee. The issue with that is that the children sit on the floor and she does as well. That doesn't work as well with a skirt that length so my daughter (who is a few years her senior - daughter is 18, young lady is 16) gave her a call and asked her to wear leggings with that dress so that she can be more comfortable and so that the little ones can't see anything. She did it in a sweet way and the girl didn't feel offended at all. Can you imagine if the pastor came with a checklist of measurements or something??
     
  11. menageriekeeper

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    Did ya'lls mamas not give you skirt sitting down lessons? Seriously. I can sit on the floor in a skirt that is just above my knee without showing anything. My mother literally made me practice when I was a kid. Its all in keeping your knees together and your skirt smoothed down as you squat and then sit. You don't want to try it in a skirt that is more than three or four inches shorter, but then again, a skirt that short is going to show to much thigh if you are sitting in a chair. (imo only, lol)

    I think, in reference to the OP, that people should strive to be led by the Holy Spirit instead of looking for lists of rules to follow. My girls, gasp, even wear things that are strapless. Its the overall look of an outfit that gets it tossed rather than rules about straps and length. For instance:

    My eldest dd, who is quite beautiful imo, came through wearing a strapless dress with a well lined, tiered, lace skirt that fell to just above her knees. She was getting ready to go to the church with me for ladies sewing night. I glanced at her and told her how pretty she looked but did she really want to wear something that nice to sew in? So she walked back out, without my really hearing a response and a few minutes later she came back in wearing a pair of denim capris and a blouse that left just one shoulder bare. I took one look and :eek: !

    Now, what was the difference? Technically, the second outfit covered more skin than the first. The problem was, that blouse suggested way more than sewing night at the church! It suggested more than date night with the fiance for that matter! And that blouse has yet to be worn. Neither of us have ever really figured out what it is about that blouse (becasue it is really simple) that gives it "that look", but we are both smart enough to know that "that look" is not modest. Eventually maybe, I'll add something to it, maybe a strap or a lace sleeve and calm it down some.
     
  12. Shannon_loves_Jesus

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    Scarlett O,

    I love your signature quote :eek:) Too funny.

    Shannon
    From Nashville, Tennessee
    New Member - as of today
     
  13. ThatGirl

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    This is true. While our church was preparing for a mission trip to Uganda several years ago we learned that in some parts of Africa women had to have their thighs covered but being topless was perfectly normal.
     
  14. dcorbett

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    And I never saw one woman while in Uganda for 2 weeks that had a bare top. The women there actually were dressed quite modestly, even out in the brush.
     
  15. Jim1999

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    Everyone talks about the lust of men to determine how women should dress. Ever heard of self respect?
    A woman should dress for herself, not me.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  16. Salty

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    Jim, I basically agree, but I might add that she should also dress for her husband as well :thumbsup:
     
  17. Jim1999

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    If she dresses for her own "self respect" she dresses for everyone, including her husband.

    Ever see how women dressed in Queen Victoria's day? She was a dedicated believer....but dresses covered to the ankles, except their breast almost hung out at the top......blush..blush!

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

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