An unprecedented number of hot summer days is drawing many to the beach and the air-conditioned malls. As everyone dresses to ‘beat the heat’ I am noticing a pattern. For the guys, loose shorts and comfy tees are the trend; for the girls – less. Shorter shorts, tighter tops, less fabric, less coverage, less modesty…just less.
In this modern age of freedom, girls are empowered to seek their own identity and express themselves as they see fit…good for them. It is not wrong to be you. I have an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach, however, when I see beautiful girls dressed in less than what their underwear would cover. With the better part of their bosoms bared and their bottoms well below the hem of their shorts, these young ladies have sacrificed beauty for, well, for, hmmm, the best word?
When I was growing up, my grandfather had a great saying (he was a wise old man). “If you’re not selling, don’t advertise.” I’m pausing now for the backlash of society yelling about how a woman can wear what she wants and it has nothing to do with a man. Sorry, I’m not buying it. Super tight shorts and pants that crawl so far up your behind that you chafe is not for comfort or freedom of expression. Tops cut so low that you are frequently adjusting your straps trying to keep them hidden are not convenient. Skirts so short that you have to regularly tug to keep them over your panties are not comfortable. Each of these things are designed and worn to draw attention. How do I know that? I used to be one of those girls. I was not hoping to catch the eye of my friends. They were dressed the same way and for the same reasons. Each of us was hoping to draw the attention of the guys.
Now that I’m a little bit older (or a lot older) I have learned some very important lessons, the first of which is that how I look on the outside might draw looks, but what are they worth? I have teenage sons and daughters and I have heard from all of them that the people they are drawn to are not those who are “cool” in their appearance. That is not to say that we should all go around dressed as ‘scruffy-muffins’. But Scripture tells us,
1 Samuel 16:7
The LORD does not look a the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
In counseling my oldest daughter and one of her friends, I tried to explain that the way they dress has a much larger impact than they might realise. Even though they both dress modestly, they had not necessarily considered the impact their choices might have. I asked the girls how they would feel if a young man put his hand on their elbows in order to guide them through a door or help them over a rough patch. Both agreed that they would appreciate such a gesture. Baring an elbow is pretty innocent. Next, I asked them if it would be alright for that same guy to put his hand on their tummy? Their thigh? Their chests to the top of their breasts? OF COURSE NOT! Those areas are personal, private and require special permission (like a wedding ring) to access. So the next question is, “If you don’t want a young man to touch you there, why would you invite him to look at you there?”
No different than teasing a dog with food is teasing a man with sensual images. Men were designed to hunger after a woman’s body. They need to learn self control and behave appropriately, but why on earth, would we want to tease them? A woman wearing skimpy clothes does not give a man the right to violate her. But ladies, what are your motives? If you’re not married and hoping to catch the eye of a man, do you really believe that he won’t also be looking and continue to look at other women? If you are married, don’t those special places belong to your husband? As much as you don’t want him looking at other women, he doesn’t want other men lusting after you.
Ladies, don’t sell yourselves short. God created you to be softer, curvier, smoother. Everything God does is perfect. Your body is what God created it to be. What are you going to do with it? Is it available for anyone or is it special? To be cherished and protected and saved for the man who will notice and appreciate so much more than just your outward appearance?
1 Timothy 2:9-10
I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves…with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
1 Peter 3:3
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…rather, 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.