The phrase modest is hottest now lingers as a laughing point in many Christian circles. While the commercialized modesty trend has slowed down, the issue of modesty still remains. What does modesty look like for women? For men? Can men and women be both sexy and modest?
Scripture says to be respectful of yourself and others, junior early childhood education major Jacquelyn Canonico said.
“When I think modesty, I think it’s being mindful of struggles my brothers have and not creating a stumbling block,” Canonico said.
She said putting time into your appearance isn’t always negative, but being sexy and modest isn’t something to strive for.
“I think there’s something to be said of taking care of yourself physically and looking nice. This goes back to respecting the body God has given you. I don’t think a specific appearance is something to push for,” Canonico said.
Senior youth and educational ministries major James Talbert said both Christian and non-Christian men are affected by the way a woman dresses.
“If I’m a non-Christian guy, the thing I’m going to be first attracted to is what she is wearing. If I am aesthetically pleased I should be attracted to her. As a Christian, if I see a girl who is modestly dressed I realize she isn’t trying to seduce me,” Talbert said.
Talbert said many men on campus are fighting against the struggle of lust but women can help them in the process.
“For girls it might take a double take in the morning or asking the roommate, ‘Is what I’m wearing provocative?’ As men we’ve been taking intentional steps and women should take intentional steps as well,” Talbert said.
Dressing modestly should also be a concern for Christian men, junior nursing major Brittan Hunter said.
“Men do need to have more responsibility and be more aware of how much skin they’re showing and how tight their clothes are,” Hunter said.
Hunter said there is a pressure on campus for both men and women to look a particular way to attract a member of the opposite sex but that it is more on women.
“There is more pressure on them [women] to make the right choice because there is such a variety of things they can choose to wear. They know guys respond to it so it’s challenging for them to make the right decision,” Hunter said.
Junior social work major Hannah Crabbs has thought about modesty and appearance due to her recent focus on healthy living.
“Being someone who has lost a significant amount of weight, people have noticed my body has changed. As a woman, I can look good and be confident in myself. If the confidence and tastefulness are rooted in pride then that’s when it goes wrong,” Crabbs said.
Crabbs said being modest goes beyond just physical appearance.
“If we are waking up in the morning and trying to dress ourselves with things of the Lord, being patient and caring about our neighbor and loving those around us then, as silly as it sounds, I think our clothing choices will reflect our hearts,” Crabbs said.
Associate professor of Biblical studies Dr. Suzanne Nicholson gave a biblical basis for physical appearance found in the Old Testament.
“In 1 Samuel 16:7 Samuel is getting ready to anoint the first king after Saul. Samuel hears from God don’t look at the outward appearance—man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart. True identity comes from our disposition toward God,” Nicholson said.
Christians must go against mainstream culture to be modest said Nicholson. “As much as our individualistic tendency says we can do whatever we want we must give up our right to wear whatever we want to help our brother or sister in their walks with Christ,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson added that an attitude of modesty is only part of a lifestyle of worship.
“Doesn’t matter if you’re a male or a female. Ask yourself, ‘Is what I’m doing bringing glory to God?’ This includes the way that you talk, walk, think, look and your study habits,” Nicholson said.
Abby Segers is a guest writer for The Aviso AVW.