I am no fan of modesty. In the name of full disclosure, I used to be seriously “modest.” For several years in high school and college I covered by elbows, knees and cleavage. I swam in the Dead Sea in a black t-shirt and skirt. I wore tank tops backwards, to take advantage of the high neckline, which was actually intended as the back of the shirt. I wore old navy long sleeve t-shirts year round, with another short sleeved t-shirt over it for the fashion. As an Orthodox Jew, I dressed more modestly than the Duggers.
And then I got fat and immodest, I think pretty much in that order.
I was taught that modesty is about opposing objectification. Underneath it all there an assumption of male sexual aggression (even if it’s only in the thoughts of the male aggressor) and heterosexuality (amongst other women the clothing can come off). I was taught that I am literarily the embodiment of temptation; that I must control men’s temptation by covering my body in meticulous ways.
And then I got fat. Fat women are supposed to coverup, not because they are sexual sirens’, but because they are sexually unappealing – men are not supposed to desire there bodies. Just take a look any “dress for your figure” article – it is about the hiding of fat bodies.
Cover your body because you are a temptation and cover your body because you are the anti-temptation? Modesty is profoundly about the desires of men, and thus, ironically the objectification of women, the very problem it claims to address.
A friend once said “both magazines for men and women are publishing articles on how to please men!”
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