The group of lingerie bloggers were discussing this topic lately. There are a lot very different points of view and some really heartbreaking stories.
I wasn’t really interested in this topic until this flash mob started. For me modesty is just a set of stupid conventional rules, completely arbitrary depending on socio-cultural factor. But this mob made me think about how much my behaviour governed by these rules.
Except some African countries women wear tops in summer just to cover up. Vast majority of men wear shirts or T-s for the same reason, and I can’t remember a lot of really short shorts on men. So skin is banned for both genders, but for women rules are more strict in the chest department and less strict in tightness and length of bottoms. What we think as immodest is mostly outfits that are on edge of this rules, but not ignoring the rules totally (that would be considered more like rebellion or even insanity).
I think that our clothes are a symbolic language of some sort, with all that polysemanthic that symbols usually carry. And this really creates a lot of misunderstanding. Because sometimes when you mean: “I want to feel comfortable and I like sun on my skin and I’m happy” some not very pleasant person reads it “I have no self-respect, I’m a slut and I want men attention really bad”. And it was short bright sundress with opened shoulders. And when you mean “I’m value freedom including freedom of movement and I’m soft and creative” some not very pleasant person reads it “I have no self-respect, I’m depressed and frigid and lazy”. And it was boho style outfit in muted colours with all that shabby chic that some people just don’t get. And when you mean “I’m smart, pulled together and serious” some not very pleasant person reads it “I’m a corporate slave”.
Modesty as a message “I don’t want attention” could be expressed by clothes with a lot of coverage and clothes hiding the shape of the body. But what many people don’t seam to get is a lot of skin and clothes revealing body shape don’t always mean “I want attention from opposite sex”, sometimes they mean “I think that the heat is really excruciating today” or “I love my body” or many other things.
And there are cultural differences. In exUSSR high heels on women mean “I’m feminine” and could be worn very casually, they are not considered “sexy” by themselves. To get this you should complete the look with make up and revealing clothes. In many Asian countries hems are quite short and it’s not about attention, but about climate. Although neckline that is ok here could be considered too revealing over there. Outfit which is modest in any European country is very revealing in Saudi Arabia.
It’s polite and considerate to comply with the written rules if they exists. If temple asks for covered head, knees and shoulders then I go for a long skirt, a blouse with sleeves and a head scarf if I want to visit. If I had a dress code at work or in school then I would stick until I find another (hate this crap, but if it’s in the contract then I’m all about keep to the terms).
If I feel comfortable that any person I know could find this photo of me in the Internet, then I feel ok to upload. If not then I don’t want the risk. That’s why, sorry, but no photos in the underwear, don’t want guys at work to find them.
I really grateful to women who post their photos in reviews, so I do feel like I’m not contributing as much. Although I think it is not a good reason to do something that would make me uncomfortable.
I think that life is too short to think about people who could get me wrong or think that I’m too prude or too shameless, because there are always be such people no matter how hard I try to please everyone. And the best option in my opinion is to express myself in a way which is comfortable for me.