What Immodesty Means To Men
The weather is barely into the 80’s and already women and girls are parading around in short shorts and low-cut tops. It happens every year, but it seems to be a trend that is going in the wrong direction. My wife has often lamented that she has shopped in multiple stores and cannot find a modest dress for her or our daughter. Clothes shopping for modest ladies has become a treasure hunt without a map.
While the Bible makes it abundantly clear that modesty (for men and women) is the standard of dress the Lord expects, culture is often more important to believers than God’s Word.
1 Timothy 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
Modesty is a forgotten topic in many homes. Parents buy immodest clothing for their daughters and husbands keep silent when their wife and daughters parade around dressed inappropriately.
While this article is not about what is modest and what is not (because really, unless you are a reprobate, everyone reading this article should know the difference) this article is about what women do to themselves when they dress immodestly. I will define modesty this way – dressing so that a man’s attention is not drawn to my body, but to my face.
Before the impure man
Immodesty produces several reactions in men depending on the type of man they are. To the impure man, he takes advantage of the free display of your cleavage and thighs. Maybe the tight fit of your clothes gives him enough material to work with to complete the process of undressing you. I say complete the process, because you started it. The impure man sees you as a thing by which he can gain a measure of perverted sexual gratification. You are a masturbatory tool and lose your standing as a soul with real value.
Such impure men could show up at a high school football game to video tape the cheerleaders who are dressed in skirts that barely cover their pelvis and tops that don’t leave much to the male imagination. However, most men don’t need a video camera for their minds to capture sensual images suitable for recall at a later date. The male mind is stimulated visually. This is why 95% of the porn consumed in the world is by men. Women have no idea the power imagery has over a man’s sex-drive.
The aforementioned pervert who showed up to tape the cheerleaders will be mobbed by the parents if he is discovered…these would be the very same parents who dressed their daughters in a way that invite men to leer and lust.
Don’t get me wrong, there is no excuse for a man to entertain impure thoughts in his mind. Lusting after a woman is adultery, and adultery is a serious sin. However, the way a woman dresses has a significant negative impact on the men before whom she displays herself.
Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
When a woman or even a girl goes out in public dressed immodestly, they send a signal to men (and even boys) that they don’t respect themselves and neither should he. They send the signal that they are not special and not worthy of respect. Women who go to work or school or to Walmart dressed “sexy” engender no more respect from men than they have for the porn actors they probably watch at home.
Every father knows the enormous power imagery has over the male mind, especially the teenage male mind. This is why every worthwhile father objects when/if his daughter is dressed inappropriately. For some reason, men have ceded the responsibility of determining how their daughters dress to their wife. Dad, we’ll come back to you in a moment.
Before the man who desires purity
All men are visually oriented. God made us that way. Men have a strong sex drive; also a gift from God. God expects males to satisfy their sexual needs through their own wife (not girlfriend or significant other). While men’s visual nature and their strong desire for sex have not changed since Adam, the access to sexually stimulating material has. Even if you exclude the unfettered access to porn, the man who would keep his mind and heart pure and his sexual desires fully trained on his wife is at a woeful disadvantage.
If he turns on the television, he is bombarded with commercials containing sexually suggestive material and models. Commercials from beer to toothpaste are filled with long uncovered legs and exposed cleavage. If he drives down the highway, there will be billboards and signs that have mostly naked women. If he takes his wife to eat, there are mostly naked women parading themselves around. There is almost no place in our society today where modesty is valued and where men can escape the stimulation.
Even in churches, women and girls arrive in short skirts or low-cut blouses. Even when he is trying to worship and focus on his walk with God, he has to avert his eyes and guard his mind. To men who desire purity of heart and mind, you are an annoyance. You are a stumbling block. You are an inconsiderate person with whom he doesn’t want to associate.
Conclusion for the ladies
Ladies, when you dress to get men’s attention, you will always succeed. Unfortunately, the attention you get is always negative. You either become an object for his impure mind to play with or you become a annoyance to be avoided. In either case, you are not respected. Dressing to appeal to a man’s sex drive (i.e. being sexy) will get you attention. Many of their eyes will be on your body. Meanwhile, your worth as a person goes out the window.
If you truly respect the men and boys at your church, cover your thighs and your torso! Keep your clothes loose fitting so his attention is not drawn to your chest or rear quarters. If you respect the boys at your daughter’s school, don’t let her dress like a tramp! If you respect your male coworkers and shutter at the thought of being part of their self-gratification, then dress right!
There will be some women who read this and get mad. They are more worried about their tan lines than their reputation. They are more consumed with their selfish right to dress how they want rather than their duty to represent Christ or their negative affect on the men around them. Such women are either not saved or have been in rebellion to God in other areas of their life for a long time. I cannot do anything but pray for them. Their immodest dress indicates they have long abandoned pleasing God and is more likely a reflection of their desire or participation in sexual immorality.
Ladies, here are some things you need to do
- Determine that pleasing your Lord is your #1 priority in dress. We are called to be peculiar people because the lost culture and the saved culture are not the same. We can’t follow them down the evermore deviant path they are going.
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
- Have respect for the men (and boys) around you by dressing appropriately. If you respect them, they will respect you back. If you disrespect them in your dress, they will not respect you back.
- If you have a daughter, don’t assume the role of decision maker regarding her clothing or yours. Let your husband make the final decision and don’t try to pressure him into giving in when he objects. He is trying to protect you from the impure man and he is respecting the pure man at the same time.
- If you have immodest clothes in your closet, burn ‘em.
Conclusion for the dads
By now, some of the angry women have asked their husbands, boyfriends, or dads if what I am saying is true. Most men don’t want to admit the power visual stimuli can have over them lest they be thought of as a pervert. They will lie and hide the reality and the struggle from the females in their life.
Men, being visually stimulated by an immodestly dressed female is not your fault. Not averting your eyes and asking God to purge the immodest image from your memory is. In 2 Samuel 11, we see David, while walking on his rooftop, saw a beautiful woman who was bathing in her home. He could have returned to his palace and called any one of his wives to come and be with him. Instead, he chose to look upon her. When he went from seeing to looking he crossed a line.
Dad, you have some responsibility in this. Whenever I see a teenage girl in public who is dressed inappropriately, I always ask myself “Doesn’t she have a father who loves her?” Dad knows better than his wife or daughter what she is doing by going out mostly naked and he apparently doesn’t love her enough to stop her!
Dad, here are some things you need to do if you have daughters
- Set clear standards of dress based on your relationship with Jesus Christ. You know what is modest and what is not when you see it. If you don’t recognize immodesty, the Lord does. Ask Him!
- Go shopping with your daughter once in a while. She is more likely to desire modesty when you are with her reminding her of the tremendous value she has as a person and a soul for whom Jesus died.
- Give your daughters the right kind of attention. Most teenage girls have a severe need for attention and approval. If they don’t get it from their dad (the most important man in their life to that point) they will go looking for it from boys their age (the least important males in their life…ever). To get the average teenage boy’s attention, all she has to do is show off some body and she will get it. This kind of attention is a recipe for her to fall into immorality. If you think your daughter can dress to attract sexually impure boys and not become impure herself, you are kidding yourself.
- Stand your ground! You are fighting to preserve your daughter’s purity and her self-worth. If she needs a boy’s attention to make her feel special, you have already failed and need to get to work ASAP! Don’t let your wife talk you out of your standards and don’t let your daughter do it either.
Dad, if you have sons you need to
- Teach him to look past a girl’s figure. Teach him to look for the beauty that lies underneath the surface and doesn’t fade but can actually increase with age.
- Teach him that if they associate with girls who are dressed trashy that they will have the reputation for being trashy.
- Teach him to keep his mind pure by guarding the eye-gate. Whether it is porn or bikini clad girls at the beach, he has a duty before his Lord to not look or lust after any woman not his wife.
- Teach him that there is no more beautiful and satisfying expression of God’s gift of sex than when a man and woman have been abstinent before marriage and monogamous in marriage. Everything else is a cheap substitute that will rob him of fully enjoying sex the way God intended him.
- Don’t be afraid to speak frankly yet appropriately about sex with your adolescent children. Sexuality is of God and when it is exercised the way He intended, it is a beautiful act. If you fail to clearly set forth God’s boundaries of purity in dress, in mind, in behavior you will deeply regret it one day.