Why The Concept Of 'Modesty' Disgusts Me

May 15, 2013
By

By Mohadesa Najumi

When I think about what modesty means in today’s political, cultural and religious environment, I am inclined to believe that the concept itself does not involve choice, or any dimension of freedom or independent thought.  Rather, modesty constitutes a dictatorial concept forced upon women whether they agree with it or not.  For me, modesty is patriarchy.

When I speak about modesty in this context, I speaking specifically about it in relation to clothing, mannerisms and behaviour. Throughout history, women have been judged on how “modest” they are or not.  And this has determined how much of a “lady” they presumably are or not. In a patriarchal society, to be modest is to dress and speak ”appropriately,” and to maintain a “ladylike” image. If you fail to do this, you are not only not modest, but God forbid you choose to wear a low-cut top, then you are simply a whore!

In this way, modesty, to me, means subservience. It means acquiesce. How you dress suddenly becomes someone else’s business, and how “ladylike” you are is determined by a standard you never gave your consent to in the first place. Let’s face it, men are not subject to these kinds of standards.  I mean, have you ever heard someone describe a man as “immodest”?  The dictate and quest for modesty is reserved almost exclusively for women.  And if modesty is simply about avoidance of dressing in a “revealing” manner, why is it predominantly directed at women? Why is a woman’s dress choice suddenly everybody’s business, and why is a woman’s choice to reveal what is her’s, considered “indecent” and “immoral”?

Also, how about this idea that the level of “respect” you should receive is inextricably linked with how “modest” you are. Shouldn’t “respect” be linked with intellect, intelligence, ability to hold an intriguing conversation?  What does respect have to do with the tightness of your dress or the shortness of your skirt?  Too often, we measure respect for women on the basis of how well they fit our standard of “modesty” and “decency.”  This is oppressive.  How about this?  A woman doesn’t leave her house everyday desperate to receive your stamp of approval and rating of modesty? Maybe it’s just her choice to wear what she wants and act the way she desires. It’s a ludicrous idea I know, but just consider it for a moment.

I’ve heard countless men and women use words like “impure” and “unclean” as synonyms for “immodesty.”  Modesty is a way to oppress women and to pressure them into giving into a system of patriarchy that dictates what they wear, how much skin they reveal, and how “sexual” they are.

As a way to attack, marginalize, and oppress women, it is effective. There is nothing innocent about throwing around the term modesty and there are no excuses for the ignorance about what it really implies. I for one have no interest in being “modest.”  Why?  Because who I am and whether or not I deserve respect, should have nothing to do with how I dress, how I express myself, or my gender.  And nobody should be able to dictate this for me–or you.  I refuse to vilify women who do not fit into an illusionary, irrelevant, inaccurate and un-useful standard of “modesty.”  It is a concept that truly disgusts me, and not merely because of its essential meaning, but because of the importance we have given to it.

_________________________________________

photo-13Mohadesa Najumi is a History and Politics Undergraduate and a passionate feminist. Originally from Kabul, Afghanistan Mohadesa lives and studies in London, England. Her interests range from global politics, history, writing, gender, development, political economies, democracy, Venezuela, US and MENA. You can follow her on @mohadesareverie.

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68 Responses to Why The Concept Of 'Modesty' Disgusts Me

  1. [...] why is a woman’s choice to reveal what is her’s, considered “indecent” and “immoral”? [Rest, [...]

    • Richard Shwedo on May 21, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      It IS a woman’s choice and NOT indecent or immoral, but men have made it that way because of their one track minds and how they view a women on that track. What grabs me around the unmentionables is that the MASTERS all painted or sculpted nudes during one point of their life or more. Nudes were accepted as an art form and I still believe it should be that way.

  2. [...] why is a woman’s choice to reveal what is her’s, considered “indecent” and “immoral”? [Rest, [...]

    • Richard Shwedo on May 21, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      It IS a woman’s choice and NOT indecent or immoral, but men have made it that way because of their one track minds and how they view a women on that track. What grabs me around the unmentionables is that the MASTERS all painted or sculpted nudes during one point of their life or more. Nudes were accepted as an art form and I still believe it should be that way.

  3. [...] why is a woman’s choice to reveal what is her’s, considered “indecent” and “immoral”? [Rest, [...]

    • Richard Shwedo on May 21, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      It IS a woman’s choice and NOT indecent or immoral, but men have made it that way because of their one track minds and how they view a women on that track. What grabs me around the unmentionables is that the MASTERS all painted or sculpted nudes during one point of their life or more. Nudes were accepted as an art form and I still believe it should be that way.

  4. [...] why is a woman’s choice to reveal what is her’s, considered “indecent” and “immoral”? [Rest, [...]

    • Richard Shwedo on May 21, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      It IS a woman’s choice and NOT indecent or immoral, but men have made it that way because of their one track minds and how they view a women on that track. What grabs me around the unmentionables is that the MASTERS all painted or sculpted nudes during one point of their life or more. Nudes were accepted as an art form and I still believe it should be that way.

  5. Wanda Kolomyjec on May 15, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Respect and dignity we give to people should be inherent, not qualified. Thank you for a wonderful article.

  6. Wanda Kolomyjec on May 15, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Respect and dignity we give to people should be inherent, not qualified. Thank you for a wonderful article.

  7. Wanda Kolomyjec on May 15, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Respect and dignity we give to people should be inherent, not qualified. Thank you for a wonderful article.

  8. Wanda Kolomyjec on May 15, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Respect and dignity we give to people should be inherent, not qualified. Thank you for a wonderful article.

  9. Jawahara Saidullah on May 15, 2013 at 11:17 am

    To me, patriarchal definitions of modesty are about the ownership of womens’ bodies. You keep your property hidden away but if she is out immodestly dressed then she is fair game. Thanks for something to think about on this wednesday.

    • Mohadesa on May 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Glad! Thank you :)

  10. Jawahara Saidullah on May 15, 2013 at 11:17 am

    To me, patriarchal definitions of modesty are about the ownership of womens’ bodies. You keep your property hidden away but if she is out immodestly dressed then she is fair game. Thanks for something to think about on this wednesday.

    • Mohadesa on May 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Glad! Thank you :)

  11. Jawahara Saidullah on May 15, 2013 at 11:17 am

    To me, patriarchal definitions of modesty are about the ownership of womens’ bodies. You keep your property hidden away but if she is out immodestly dressed then she is fair game. Thanks for something to think about on this wednesday.

    • Mohadesa on May 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Glad! Thank you :)

  12. Jawahara Saidullah on May 15, 2013 at 11:17 am

    To me, patriarchal definitions of modesty are about the ownership of womens’ bodies. You keep your property hidden away but if she is out immodestly dressed then she is fair game. Thanks for something to think about on this wednesday.

    • Mohadesa on May 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Glad! Thank you :)

  13. Carmen on May 15, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Great article. Thank you for saying this. While we can attach modesty directly to women we can then also see how men are contained by this in the same fashion. There becomes a separation between the modest innocent and the whore which to me can translate to our possiblity of sexual acts and what is appropriate. Sex becomes contained. Can this translate into our physical relationships? Can we ever connect in our relationships if we are constantly controlling how we manuever our bodies and in what context those manuevers are appropriate? Modesty opresses society as a whole. This separation between the innocent and the whore (the two extremes that live in every single one of us) will continue as long as we continue to believe that the human has transcended its animal urges and qualities.

  14. Carmen on May 15, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Great article. Thank you for saying this. While we can attach modesty directly to women we can then also see how men are contained by this in the same fashion. There becomes a separation between the modest innocent and the whore which to me can translate to our possiblity of sexual acts and what is appropriate. Sex becomes contained. Can this translate into our physical relationships? Can we ever connect in our relationships if we are constantly controlling how we manuever our bodies and in what context those manuevers are appropriate? Modesty opresses society as a whole. This separation between the innocent and the whore (the two extremes that live in every single one of us) will continue as long as we continue to believe that the human has transcended its animal urges and qualities.

  15. Carmen on May 15, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Great article. Thank you for saying this. While we can attach modesty directly to women we can then also see how men are contained by this in the same fashion. There becomes a separation between the modest innocent and the whore which to me can translate to our possiblity of sexual acts and what is appropriate. Sex becomes contained. Can this translate into our physical relationships? Can we ever connect in our relationships if we are constantly controlling how we manuever our bodies and in what context those manuevers are appropriate? Modesty opresses society as a whole. This separation between the innocent and the whore (the two extremes that live in every single one of us) will continue as long as we continue to believe that the human has transcended its animal urges and qualities.

  16. Carmen on May 15, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Great article. Thank you for saying this. While we can attach modesty directly to women we can then also see how men are contained by this in the same fashion. There becomes a separation between the modest innocent and the whore which to me can translate to our possiblity of sexual acts and what is appropriate. Sex becomes contained. Can this translate into our physical relationships? Can we ever connect in our relationships if we are constantly controlling how we manuever our bodies and in what context those manuevers are appropriate? Modesty opresses society as a whole. This separation between the innocent and the whore (the two extremes that live in every single one of us) will continue as long as we continue to believe that the human has transcended its animal urges and qualities.

  17. Mohadesa on May 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you for reading!

  18. Mohadesa on May 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you for reading!

  19. Mohadesa on May 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you for reading!

  20. Mohadesa on May 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you for reading!

  21. Kelsey S on May 16, 2013 at 1:21 am

    This is wonderful, you are an inspiration. Something I see that is missing, though, is the idea that I’ve heard many times that modesty is not just important for the sake of women but also important for the sake of men. I can’t even begin to describe how many times I’ve heard that men are naturally more sexual than women and when women dress in a “revealing” manner, men are more likely to “stumble”….I’ve usually heard this from Christian men. They claim they are so much more sexual than women and it really helps them keep their sexual purity too if women don’t dress this way. IT MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM AND PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE.

    • Carmen on May 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Well said Kelsey S! I would also like to add that this is the result of the separation between the innocent and the immodest within religion that I believe causes men and women to predetermine their actions and then subsequently roles within relationships. This then leads to unfulfillment within the relationship on both parts because there is a part of the self both within the man and the woman that is repressed – the woman is unable step out of this contained role and men are unable to see her out of it and when they do it is contrary to anything they know of her thus something they automatically distrust both because it is unknown and because of their ingrained belief of the role of the “good” woman.

      • Carmen on May 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm

        Also one more thing… when I say step out of their contained role I don’t just mean in terms of their style of dress actually there are things that modesty contains that are much more relevant like women’s ability to speak their minds with emotion.

  22. Kelsey S on May 16, 2013 at 1:21 am

    This is wonderful, you are an inspiration. Something I see that is missing, though, is the idea that I’ve heard many times that modesty is not just important for the sake of women but also important for the sake of men. I can’t even begin to describe how many times I’ve heard that men are naturally more sexual than women and when women dress in a “revealing” manner, men are more likely to “stumble”….I’ve usually heard this from Christian men. They claim they are so much more sexual than women and it really helps them keep their sexual purity too if women don’t dress this way. IT MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM AND PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE.

    • Carmen on May 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Well said Kelsey S! I would also like to add that this is the result of the separation between the innocent and the immodest within religion that I believe causes men and women to predetermine their actions and then subsequently roles within relationships. This then leads to unfulfillment within the relationship on both parts because there is a part of the self both within the man and the woman that is repressed – the woman is unable step out of this contained role and men are unable to see her out of it and when they do it is contrary to anything they know of her thus something they automatically distrust both because it is unknown and because of their ingrained belief of the role of the “good” woman.

      • Carmen on May 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm

        Also one more thing… when I say step out of their contained role I don’t just mean in terms of their style of dress actually there are things that modesty contains that are much more relevant like women’s ability to speak their minds with emotion.

  23. Kelsey S on May 16, 2013 at 1:21 am

    This is wonderful, you are an inspiration. Something I see that is missing, though, is the idea that I’ve heard many times that modesty is not just important for the sake of women but also important for the sake of men. I can’t even begin to describe how many times I’ve heard that men are naturally more sexual than women and when women dress in a “revealing” manner, men are more likely to “stumble”….I’ve usually heard this from Christian men. They claim they are so much more sexual than women and it really helps them keep their sexual purity too if women don’t dress this way. IT MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM AND PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE.

    • Carmen on May 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Well said Kelsey S! I would also like to add that this is the result of the separation between the innocent and the immodest within religion that I believe causes men and women to predetermine their actions and then subsequently roles within relationships. This then leads to unfulfillment within the relationship on both parts because there is a part of the self both within the man and the woman that is repressed – the woman is unable step out of this contained role and men are unable to see her out of it and when they do it is contrary to anything they know of her thus something they automatically distrust both because it is unknown and because of their ingrained belief of the role of the “good” woman.

      • Carmen on May 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm

        Also one more thing… when I say step out of their contained role I don’t just mean in terms of their style of dress actually there are things that modesty contains that are much more relevant like women’s ability to speak their minds with emotion.

  24. Kelsey S on May 16, 2013 at 1:21 am

    This is wonderful, you are an inspiration. Something I see that is missing, though, is the idea that I’ve heard many times that modesty is not just important for the sake of women but also important for the sake of men. I can’t even begin to describe how many times I’ve heard that men are naturally more sexual than women and when women dress in a “revealing” manner, men are more likely to “stumble”….I’ve usually heard this from Christian men. They claim they are so much more sexual than women and it really helps them keep their sexual purity too if women don’t dress this way. IT MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM AND PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE.

    • Carmen on May 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Well said Kelsey S! I would also like to add that this is the result of the separation between the innocent and the immodest within religion that I believe causes men and women to predetermine their actions and then subsequently roles within relationships. This then leads to unfulfillment within the relationship on both parts because there is a part of the self both within the man and the woman that is repressed – the woman is unable step out of this contained role and men are unable to see her out of it and when they do it is contrary to anything they know of her thus something they automatically distrust both because it is unknown and because of their ingrained belief of the role of the “good” woman.

      • Carmen on May 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm

        Also one more thing… when I say step out of their contained role I don’t just mean in terms of their style of dress actually there are things that modesty contains that are much more relevant like women’s ability to speak their minds with emotion.

  25. Anomylous on May 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

    If you expose your body in a sexual way, people will see that side of you, and neglect the other sides. I don’t think that’s wrong or evil, it’s just a fact of how people think.

    Besides, have you looked at how men dress? Most of my wardrobe would be described as modest and conservative. Yet almost every garment in it is just about as concealing as the male equivalent. If we dress like men, and that’s considered modest and acceptable, I call that fair.

  26. Anomylous on May 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

    If you expose your body in a sexual way, people will see that side of you, and neglect the other sides. I don’t think that’s wrong or evil, it’s just a fact of how people think.

    Besides, have you looked at how men dress? Most of my wardrobe would be described as modest and conservative. Yet almost every garment in it is just about as concealing as the male equivalent. If we dress like men, and that’s considered modest and acceptable, I call that fair.

  27. Anomylous on May 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

    If you expose your body in a sexual way, people will see that side of you, and neglect the other sides. I don’t think that’s wrong or evil, it’s just a fact of how people think.

    Besides, have you looked at how men dress? Most of my wardrobe would be described as modest and conservative. Yet almost every garment in it is just about as concealing as the male equivalent. If we dress like men, and that’s considered modest and acceptable, I call that fair.

  28. Anomylous on May 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

    If you expose your body in a sexual way, people will see that side of you, and neglect the other sides. I don’t think that’s wrong or evil, it’s just a fact of how people think.

    Besides, have you looked at how men dress? Most of my wardrobe would be described as modest and conservative. Yet almost every garment in it is just about as concealing as the male equivalent. If we dress like men, and that’s considered modest and acceptable, I call that fair.

  29. Monica H on May 17, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    I can certainly understand your point. And I don’t disagree but would like to offer another perspective. I view how someone dresses as a form of communication. This is a fact of life and can be seen across all human cultures. Clothes are not merely functional, we use them to tell other people about us. And, just like all other forms of communication, they are interpreted in a social context. Their meaning is symbolic, but within a culture we all understand what that meaning is. No, we don’t get to determine those, any more than we get to determine the meaning of the word “orange.”

    We can’t expect that we can say anything we please in any manner we please without social repercussions, and we shouldn’t expect we can dress any way we please either.

    Focusing on modesty as a means of women’s oppression seems to be focusing on a symptom of the problem, rather than the problem itself. The problem is that women’s bodies are sexually objectified in a way that men’s bodies aren’t. Whether you dress modestly or put it all out on display, you are still working within this paradigm.

    Here is a brilliant article about this subject that may interest you, and certainly changed my perspective on conversations about modesty:
    http://rationalfaiths.com/the-pedagogy-of-modesty/

    We need to find ways of making women’s bodies seen as less pornographic, not just worry about how much is or isn’t on display.

  30. Monica H on May 17, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    I can certainly understand your point. And I don’t disagree but would like to offer another perspective. I view how someone dresses as a form of communication. This is a fact of life and can be seen across all human cultures. Clothes are not merely functional, we use them to tell other people about us. And, just like all other forms of communication, they are interpreted in a social context. Their meaning is symbolic, but within a culture we all understand what that meaning is. No, we don’t get to determine those, any more than we get to determine the meaning of the word “orange.”

    We can’t expect that we can say anything we please in any manner we please without social repercussions, and we shouldn’t expect we can dress any way we please either.

    Focusing on modesty as a means of women’s oppression seems to be focusing on a symptom of the problem, rather than the problem itself. The problem is that women’s bodies are sexually objectified in a way that men’s bodies aren’t. Whether you dress modestly or put it all out on display, you are still working within this paradigm.

    Here is a brilliant article about this subject that may interest you, and certainly changed my perspective on conversations about modesty:
    http://rationalfaiths.com/the-pedagogy-of-modesty/

    We need to find ways of making women’s bodies seen as less pornographic, not just worry about how much is or isn’t on display.

  31. Monica H on May 17, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    I can certainly understand your point. And I don’t disagree but would like to offer another perspective. I view how someone dresses as a form of communication. This is a fact of life and can be seen across all human cultures. Clothes are not merely functional, we use them to tell other people about us. And, just like all other forms of communication, they are interpreted in a social context. Their meaning is symbolic, but within a culture we all understand what that meaning is. No, we don’t get to determine those, any more than we get to determine the meaning of the word “orange.”

    We can’t expect that we can say anything we please in any manner we please without social repercussions, and we shouldn’t expect we can dress any way we please either.

    Focusing on modesty as a means of women’s oppression seems to be focusing on a symptom of the problem, rather than the problem itself. The problem is that women’s bodies are sexually objectified in a way that men’s bodies aren’t. Whether you dress modestly or put it all out on display, you are still working within this paradigm.

    Here is a brilliant article about this subject that may interest you, and certainly changed my perspective on conversations about modesty:
    http://rationalfaiths.com/the-pedagogy-of-modesty/

    We need to find ways of making women’s bodies seen as less pornographic, not just worry about how much is or isn’t on display.

  32. Monica H on May 17, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    I can certainly understand your point. And I don’t disagree but would like to offer another perspective. I view how someone dresses as a form of communication. This is a fact of life and can be seen across all human cultures. Clothes are not merely functional, we use them to tell other people about us. And, just like all other forms of communication, they are interpreted in a social context. Their meaning is symbolic, but within a culture we all understand what that meaning is. No, we don’t get to determine those, any more than we get to determine the meaning of the word “orange.”

    We can’t expect that we can say anything we please in any manner we please without social repercussions, and we shouldn’t expect we can dress any way we please either.

    Focusing on modesty as a means of women’s oppression seems to be focusing on a symptom of the problem, rather than the problem itself. The problem is that women’s bodies are sexually objectified in a way that men’s bodies aren’t. Whether you dress modestly or put it all out on display, you are still working within this paradigm.

    Here is a brilliant article about this subject that may interest you, and certainly changed my perspective on conversations about modesty:
    http://rationalfaiths.com/the-pedagogy-of-modesty/

    We need to find ways of making women’s bodies seen as less pornographic, not just worry about how much is or isn’t on display.

  33. Sarah on May 18, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Love this! I don’t understand why it’s an impossibility that I might show a hint of cleavage at work AND still be able to do my job effectively. I don’t understand why I can’t be a “sexual” being (if that’s what wearing a shirt with a scoop neck makes me) as well as a “human” being, since sexuality is a part of being human for the majority of the population. I can be a professional at work and a goofball at home. I can curse up a storm with my friends and only use proper language around my parents (I am 32, for the record, but my parents still flip out when I curse). I can be an excellent driver 99% of the time and a lousy driver the remaining 1%. I am vast, I contain multitudes!

    Furthermore, the idea that women have to cover up and dress modestly to prevent men from becoming aroused is so ridiculous I can’t even. Basically that argument is saying that men have no control over their penises and that women are “asking for it” when they wear something that turns a guy on. How about men take responsibility for their own genitalia? How about we stop supporting this rape culture wherein a girl at a party who gets drunk deserves to be raped because she’s a whore while a boy at a party who gets drunk should be forgiven because, hey, boys will be boys.

    We need to challenge this status quo, these silly and ridiculous ideas of what the neckline of a shirt says about the purity of a woman, and we need to keep having conversations like this one.

  34. Sarah on May 18, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Love this! I don’t understand why it’s an impossibility that I might show a hint of cleavage at work AND still be able to do my job effectively. I don’t understand why I can’t be a “sexual” being (if that’s what wearing a shirt with a scoop neck makes me) as well as a “human” being, since sexuality is a part of being human for the majority of the population. I can be a professional at work and a goofball at home. I can curse up a storm with my friends and only use proper language around my parents (I am 32, for the record, but my parents still flip out when I curse). I can be an excellent driver 99% of the time and a lousy driver the remaining 1%. I am vast, I contain multitudes!

    Furthermore, the idea that women have to cover up and dress modestly to prevent men from becoming aroused is so ridiculous I can’t even. Basically that argument is saying that men have no control over their penises and that women are “asking for it” when they wear something that turns a guy on. How about men take responsibility for their own genitalia? How about we stop supporting this rape culture wherein a girl at a party who gets drunk deserves to be raped because she’s a whore while a boy at a party who gets drunk should be forgiven because, hey, boys will be boys.

    We need to challenge this status quo, these silly and ridiculous ideas of what the neckline of a shirt says about the purity of a woman, and we need to keep having conversations like this one.

  35. Sarah on May 18, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Love this! I don’t understand why it’s an impossibility that I might show a hint of cleavage at work AND still be able to do my job effectively. I don’t understand why I can’t be a “sexual” being (if that’s what wearing a shirt with a scoop neck makes me) as well as a “human” being, since sexuality is a part of being human for the majority of the population. I can be a professional at work and a goofball at home. I can curse up a storm with my friends and only use proper language around my parents (I am 32, for the record, but my parents still flip out when I curse). I can be an excellent driver 99% of the time and a lousy driver the remaining 1%. I am vast, I contain multitudes!

    Furthermore, the idea that women have to cover up and dress modestly to prevent men from becoming aroused is so ridiculous I can’t even. Basically that argument is saying that men have no control over their penises and that women are “asking for it” when they wear something that turns a guy on. How about men take responsibility for their own genitalia? How about we stop supporting this rape culture wherein a girl at a party who gets drunk deserves to be raped because she’s a whore while a boy at a party who gets drunk should be forgiven because, hey, boys will be boys.

    We need to challenge this status quo, these silly and ridiculous ideas of what the neckline of a shirt says about the purity of a woman, and we need to keep having conversations like this one.

  36. Sarah on May 18, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Love this! I don’t understand why it’s an impossibility that I might show a hint of cleavage at work AND still be able to do my job effectively. I don’t understand why I can’t be a “sexual” being (if that’s what wearing a shirt with a scoop neck makes me) as well as a “human” being, since sexuality is a part of being human for the majority of the population. I can be a professional at work and a goofball at home. I can curse up a storm with my friends and only use proper language around my parents (I am 32, for the record, but my parents still flip out when I curse). I can be an excellent driver 99% of the time and a lousy driver the remaining 1%. I am vast, I contain multitudes!

    Furthermore, the idea that women have to cover up and dress modestly to prevent men from becoming aroused is so ridiculous I can’t even. Basically that argument is saying that men have no control over their penises and that women are “asking for it” when they wear something that turns a guy on. How about men take responsibility for their own genitalia? How about we stop supporting this rape culture wherein a girl at a party who gets drunk deserves to be raped because she’s a whore while a boy at a party who gets drunk should be forgiven because, hey, boys will be boys.

    We need to challenge this status quo, these silly and ridiculous ideas of what the neckline of a shirt says about the purity of a woman, and we need to keep having conversations like this one.

  37. Womankind on May 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    YES!!!! A thousand times YES!

  38. Womankind on May 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    YES!!!! A thousand times YES!

  39. Womankind on May 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    YES!!!! A thousand times YES!

  40. Womankind on May 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    YES!!!! A thousand times YES!

  41. Kittenhasawhip on May 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    The concept of modesty doesn’t disgust me. Coercing women into being “modest” or “sexy” disgusts me. And to be honest, I see both types of coercion in my community.

  42. Kittenhasawhip on May 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    The concept of modesty doesn’t disgust me. Coercing women into being “modest” or “sexy” disgusts me. And to be honest, I see both types of coercion in my community.

  43. Kittenhasawhip on May 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    The concept of modesty doesn’t disgust me. Coercing women into being “modest” or “sexy” disgusts me. And to be honest, I see both types of coercion in my community.

  44. Kittenhasawhip on May 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    The concept of modesty doesn’t disgust me. Coercing women into being “modest” or “sexy” disgusts me. And to be honest, I see both types of coercion in my community.

  45. links to things | Beauty and Race: AMST 225 on May 30, 2013 at 12:03 am

    [...] This post addresses the connotations of virtue and “modesty” attached to physical and behavioral presentation: http://thefeministwire.com/2013/05/why-the-concept-of-modesty-disgusts-me/ [...]

  46. links to things | Beauty and Race: AMST 225 on May 30, 2013 at 12:03 am

    [...] This post addresses the connotations of virtue and “modesty” attached to physical and behavioral presentation: http://thefeministwire.com/2013/05/why-the-concept-of-modesty-disgusts-me/ [...]

  47. links to things | Beauty and Race: AMST 225 on May 30, 2013 at 12:03 am

    [...] This post addresses the connotations of virtue and “modesty” attached to physical and behavioral presentation: http://thefeministwire.com/2013/05/why-the-concept-of-modesty-disgusts-me/ [...]

  48. links to things | Beauty and Race: AMST 225 on May 30, 2013 at 12:03 am

    [...] This post addresses the connotations of virtue and “modesty” attached to physical and behavioral presentation: http://thefeministwire.com/2013/05/why-the-concept-of-modesty-disgusts-me/ [...]

  49. [...] “Also, how about this idea that the level of “respect” you should receive is inextricably linked with how “modest” you are. Shouldn’t “respect” be linked with intellect, intelligence, ability to hold an intriguing conversation?  What does respect have to do with the tightness of your dress or the shortness of your skirt?  Too often, we measure respect for women on the basis of how well they fit our standard of “modesty” and “decency.”  This is oppressive.  How about this?  A woman doesn’t leave her house everyday desperate to receive your stamp of approval and rating of modesty? Maybe it’s just her choice to wear what she wants and act the way she desires. It’s a ludicrous idea I know, but just consider it for a moment.” Why The Concept Of ‘Modesty’ Disgusts Me – The Feminist Wire [...]

  50. [...] “Also, how about this idea that the level of “respect” you should receive is inextricably linked with how “modest” you are. Shouldn’t “respect” be linked with intellect, intelligence, ability to hold an intriguing conversation?  What does respect have to do with the tightness of your dress or the shortness of your skirt?  Too often, we measure respect for women on the basis of how well they fit our standard of “modesty” and “decency.”  This is oppressive.  How about this?  A woman doesn’t leave her house everyday desperate to receive your stamp of approval and rating of modesty? Maybe it’s just her choice to wear what she wants and act the way she desires. It’s a ludicrous idea I know, but just consider it for a moment.” Why The Concept Of ‘Modesty’ Disgusts Me – The Feminist Wire [...]

  51. [...] “Also, how about this idea that the level of “respect” you should receive is inextricably linked with how “modest” you are. Shouldn’t “respect” be linked with intellect, intelligence, ability to hold an intriguing conversation?  What does respect have to do with the tightness of your dress or the shortness of your skirt?  Too often, we measure respect for women on the basis of how well they fit our standard of “modesty” and “decency.”  This is oppressive.  How about this?  A woman doesn’t leave her house everyday desperate to receive your stamp of approval and rating of modesty? Maybe it’s just her choice to wear what she wants and act the way she desires. It’s a ludicrous idea I know, but just consider it for a moment.” Why The Concept Of ‘Modesty’ Disgusts Me – The Feminist Wire [...]

  52. [...] “Also, how about this idea that the level of “respect” you should receive is inextricably linked with how “modest” you are. Shouldn’t “respect” be linked with intellect, intelligence, ability to hold an intriguing conversation?  What does respect have to do with the tightness of your dress or the shortness of your skirt?  Too often, we measure respect for women on the basis of how well they fit our standard of “modesty” and “decency.”  This is oppressive.  How about this?  A woman doesn’t leave her house everyday desperate to receive your stamp of approval and rating of modesty? Maybe it’s just her choice to wear what she wants and act the way she desires. It’s a ludicrous idea I know, but just consider it for a moment.” Why The Concept Of ‘Modesty’ Disgusts Me – The Feminist Wire [...]

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Arts & Culture

  • Remembering and Honoring Toni Cade Bambara Sanchez

    Sonia Sanchez: What are we pretending not to know today? The premise as you said, my sister, being that colored people on planet earth really know everything there is to know. And if one is not coming to grips with the knowledge, it must mean that one is either scared or pretending to be stupid.

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