Thursday, December 6, 2012

Modesty is the best policy

When I was still in the Philippines, I remember from kindergarten to high school, the skirt uniforms were strictly 3 inches below the knee. In Physical Education, girls never wore shorts, instead they made us wear jogging pants regardless of the fiery temperature! In Sunday mass, church rigidly discouraged women to wear tops with low neckline, spaghetti straps and shorts. When I was young, I didn't quite understand. I thought I just had to follow our school principal and our parish priest's conventional rules because they were teaching us daintiness or delicadeza defined as an act of being refined or delicate in taste or manners. After watching the video, I fully understood that it was way beyond that. It truly was an eye opener. I guess when I lived in my country home, where most people around me dress conservatively, I think I was fine. However, when I moved in a place so free spirited and nobody cares what you wear, as time passed and as I have gotten older, it became a big challenge. 
Mark 12:3131 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[a] There is no commandment greater than these.”
The most important thing I picked up from this documentary, is that if we love our neighbor (our brothers most especially) and if we care for them then we've got to keep them from temptation. Studies say that it is in men's nature to be visual so the least we could do is to be modest. Thus we should dress up modestly.

What is modesty?

Let me borrow the definition from Wikipedia for a secular definition.
"The word is used, more about women than men, to describe a mode of dress and deportment intended not to encourage the opposite sex; actual standards vary widely. Clothing should not reveal parts of the body that society of the time and place consider immodest. A modest woman would not behave so as to encourage the sexual attention of men."
Now, here's the definition according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.
2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.
Basically, secular and spiritual definition sums up modesty to keeping oneself reserved, chaste, and decent especially in clothing so as to not attract unhealthy sexual curiosity and attention from the opposite sex.

When my husband and I were on our early stage of relationship, he would give comments with the way I dress. Most days he would praise the way I carry myself and some days he would criticize. When I dressed too revealingly, he would tell me and that was one of the things I liked about him. I didn't take his judgment badly because I know he was just trying to protect me. Also, I am confident that he loves me just the way I am, without trying to dress provocatively to impress him or anyone. After watching the video, I had a better understanding of dressing up modestly for my husband. Would you like other men looking at us with malice? Would you like to be an object of temptation or worse, destroy a relationship?

Another thing I am grateful for is that I grew up seeing my mom set the bar high for modesty and simplicity. It is said from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that:
2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.
The example I witnessed from my mom in my early years helped mold the way I choose my clothes. They say that parents are the first teachers of children which is so undeniably true. Every single thing they do has a big impact and influence to them. My mom's old fashioned style that I regretfully distasted in the past (now she's improved!) made sense to me now. I hope I can set a good example for my future children as a chic way :)

Now, I am a very grown young lady. It's no longer my mother who decides what clothes I wear. It now lies in my hands. Even if I live with people who explicitly assert great example, a husband who cares, it is still a struggle at times. *sigh* And now having watched this video, there's just no escaping from the truth!!  

On the other hand, I am just blessed that God never rests in reminding me on how to live my faith and I feel He tells me to share what I've learned. The intent of this blog is pure. We may all feel guilty of dressing up immodestly, trust me, I did too but let's not feel offended and hurt. To all the women, hope we take this advice, as a privilege to avoid being violated and harassed by men.  Also, let's do our share of dressing up modestly as a way to help our brothers in resisting temptations. We all deserve a man who will respect and love not just our physique but our whole being, to the very core of our souls. Also by showing respect to ourselves, we show respect to our God. In the past, I would think "who cares what I wear?" but now I know that someone up there cares. 

PS: I know the video runs a bit long but I assure you it is worth your time. I personally thank my aunt for sharing this amazing video to me. Thank you Tita Cathy! And also this morning I read about a blog shared by her husband that is just too good not to share. It is with relevance to modesty as well. Feel free to read. 

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2012 by Johnny Tsunami


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