Teen boys turn One Direction's romantic anthem into slut-shamey modesty music

Jul 31, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. ET
Image: Kell Cakes Via YouTube

A smarmy music video tells girls that they're beautiful as long as they don't wear short skirts or low-cut shirts. Modesty culture strikes again.


A fake boy band released a "cover" of One Direction's song, "What Makes You Beautiful." They altered the title and words to spread a virtue culture message — girls don't need to dress skimpy to be beautiful. Shame has never been so catchy.

"We know it's rough," the song starts out. "When the world's making it so tough. Don't need short skirts or low-cut shirts. Bein' the way you are is enough."

I couldn't even make it through the whole thing before I started to heave. I'm dreadfully tired of the simple-minded notion that how a girl dresses has anything to do with how a boy thinks, feels and acts.

Boys are responsible for themselves

It's pretty simple — girls are not responsible for how boys think or act. Modesty culture requires women and girls to seek approval from males on how they dress, and it puts the responsibility on females for the thoughts and actions of other people.

How does this make sense?

The video, which was produced last fall, does the rounds on Facebook every few months. I've seen the video shared with disdain by my friends, but plenty of folks think the message is totally fabulous. It's not. It's bullcrap. It's body policing wrapped up in a fake teenage boy band, led by Mormon musical leader Alex Boye.

Molly, a friend who originally showed me the video, says, "This makes me want to walk into the middle of this school yard naked. You know what makes me beautiful? Being myself and dressing in as much or as little clothing as I'd like."

Virtue makes you beautiful boy band | Sheknows.com

Photo credit: Kell Cakes via YouTube

She's right. Girls do not need a music video telling them, "Integrity is hard to find these days." Integrity means being honest and having strong moral principles. It does not mean that you dress modestly and burn your short skirts.

What this song is telling me is that women who dress how they want lack morals and virtue. However, the two are not mutually exclusive. It's mind boggling that some people think they are.

Ban this video in your home

Do me a favor. Don't let your kids see this garbage. Girls don't need rules from males on how to properly dress. Men and boys don't hold the final say over what females can and cannot do when they rifle through their closets in the morning.

I think Boye and his crew would better serve the Mormon community — and teens everywhere — by writing a song that lets boys know that they are smart enough to come up with their own thoughts. We need to have more faith that our boys are strong and intelligent, and that they own their thoughts and feelings. And our girls need to know that what they wear does not and will not define them.

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