Teaching Your Daughters to Value Modesty

Written by Cathy Reynolds

Reality TV is all the rage these days. Survivor, Big Brother, The Amazing Race, The Apprentice – they all share the same premise: ordinary people confronted with extreme adversity.

I have an idea for a great new reality show – one in which the task is so challenging as to be nearly impossible. Take a typical mom, dad and daughter, and drop them in a shopping mall with $500 to buy the daughter a new wardrobe. The catch: everything they buy has to pass the modesty test.

Sound simple? Let me tell you, it’s not. When my daughters were small, the fashion world had little impact on their clothing choices. Dad and Mom made most of the decisions for them. For many years, in fact, I made their dresses for special occasions myself, and these were always received with great excitement. As they grew and their worlds enlarged, so did their perceptions of fashion. Our shopping expeditions became exercises in endurance, rather than enjoyable outings.

As just one sample of what we’re up against as parents, one very popular store markets thong underwear emblazoned with sexy slogans like “eye candy” and “wink, wink” to girls aged 7-14. Asked to defend their product, the company spokesperson said, “It’s cute and sweet and fun.”

Granted, this is an extreme example. But even when shopping for basic items like jeans and t-shirts, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find attractive, fashionable clothes for young girls that don’t show off a whole lot of skin. Tube tops, crop tops, clingy fabrics, low-cut dresses and low-rise jeans are all the rage. CNN and Fox News Channel commentator Betsy Hart complained about one national retailer, where she found everything for her young daughter to be too tight, too low-cut and too short. In her words, “dressing my not-yet-six-year-old like she is Britney Spears is at best silly, and at worst unnecessarily sexualizing our littlest girls.”

In this cultural climate, what is a parent to do? Drawing from my experiences as a mother of three daughters, I’d like to share a few suggestions that might be an encouragement in this critical parenting issue.

1. Embrace modesty

Given the current state of things, does modesty even matter anymore? Our culture tells us no, and we’ve been so affected by the world around us that sometimes we don’t even stop to think about what our appearance says about us, or how it measures up to God’s standards.

God calls us to a life of purity, and modesty is a natural outworking of a pure heart. A speaker I heard recently told of young men in her church youth group who were complaining about what the girls in the group were wearing. These boys were sincerely coming to youth group to worship God, and they really felt that they were being distracted from that and even led astray by the immodest dress of the girls in the group. They didn’t know where to look, and it was very hard on them as they tried to obey God and keep from lusting.

Keep in mind that these were boys who were actively fighting against temptation. Imagine the impact of improper dress on men who have serious lust problems, or who don’t even recognize it as a problem. I think that the proliferation of pornography and blatant sexual messages in our society today is linked to widespread immodest dress. What once would have been considered unacceptable and risqué is now not just accepted, but commonplace. No wonder some men have great difficulty in this area! It is a battle for them to protect themselves from the onslaught of our sex-crazed society. Yes, the men have a responsibility to control themselves, but we women also have a responsibility not to cause them to stumble.

The way in which a girl dresses will also impact the kind of guy she attracts, which will in turn impact their behaviours and attitudes toward sex. As one young lady shared, “I know that the kind of things that I wear draw a certain kind of guy. And ultimately the guy that I want to have as a husband is a guy that’s committed to purity. He doesn’t want to lust…If I’m dressing kind of seductively in what I’m wearing, I’m going to be attracting a guy that is okay with that, and it almost says that I’m impure, but that he’s okay with that; whereas, if I’m dressing modestly, it’s going to attract a guy that respects that and appreciates that.”

Ultimately, the most important reason for embracing modesty is that God’s Word tells us to do so. If the Holy Spirit lives in us, our bodies are God’s temple, and revealing clothing is not honouring to Him. It is also not honouring to our spouse (or future spouse). Our bodies are meant for our spouse alone to enjoy, so a girl who displays her body publicly is actually defrauding her future mate.

2. Define family modesty standards

What is modesty? Modesty means different things to different people and, like other words, its meaning has undergone a metamorphosis over time. The dictionary tells us that to be modest is to avoid impropriety or indecency, to be reserved in sexual matters, and to be unpretentious in appearance. Indecency is a strong word, meaning ‘highly unsuitable,’ but unfortunately our society has redefined this word as well. What was once considered unsuitable dress in public is now commonplace. Perhaps it is better to focus on the idea of being unpretentious in appearance. A modest person does not call attention to themselves by the way they dress.

In order to teach our daughters to value modesty in a world where modesty is seen as prudish, we must make the effort to establish clearly what we consider to be modest. This is made more difficult because society’s standards of modesty have changed so much over time. When I was in high school, for example, exposing a bra strap would have been extremely embarrassing for a teen girl. Today it’s considered no big deal, and in fact many girls in elementary school purposely wear designer straps as a fashion statement.

So how do we know what constitutes modest apparel and what doesn’t? Ultimately, it is up to you as parents to set the family standard. Discuss it with your spouse and come up with some guidelines that you can pass on to your daughters. Determine what you consider to be acceptable clothing choices. Talk about a specific age when it comes to wearing make-up, heels, etc. and be prepared to explain your decision-making process. I’d encourage you to give this some serious thought and refrain from changing the standard if you have more than one daughter. With three daughters and eleven years between the eldest and youngest, this has been a test of our memories!

For our family, necklines are close to the collarbone and hem lengths are to the knee or longer. Makeup is worn to enhance, rather than to attract attention, and the first makeup to be used is a little mascara and lipgloss around age thirteen. Clothing is clean and well kept.

In developing your standards, you may also need to educate yourself on current fads and slang. Some clothing and accessories may look innocent, while actually conveying a much different message. For example, a lot of kids today are wearing t-shirts carrying slogans of a sexual nature. Because the terms are different from what we grew up with, this often flies under the radar of parents – but rest assured, the kids all know what they mean! Or consider jelly bracelets. These thin, multi-coloured rubber bracelets were innocently traded and collected by children in the 1980’s. They’re now back in vogue among teens and pre-teens, with one important difference: they are now used as sex bracelets, where giving a person a bracelet of a particular colour carries with it an implied offer to perform a corresponding sexual act. If your child wants to wear something and you suspect it may convey a hidden message, ask them about it.

Be assured, modest clothing can still be stylish and attractive. Be prepared to spend some extra time searching out suitable fashions for your daughters. They are out there, but you’ll have to be willing to cheerfully make the effort and, in some cases, spend a little extra.

3. Get the kids onside

Once you’ve set your standards, the next key is to get your kids to buy in without a full-scale revolt! It’s easy to say, “I’m the parent and you will do what I tell you,” but while that approach may bring about outward conformity to the standard, it will not help your daughters to begin to value modesty in their own hearts. Instead, you want to help them to understand why modesty is such an important character issue and teach them to make good decisions on their own.

We’ve found it very helpful to be able to give our daughters reasons as to the suitability or unsuitability of a piece of apparel. It’s good to be able to explain to them how a young man regards some of their fashion choices. This explanation, of course, must be purposeful and age appropriate. Your daughter may honestly not realize that the item she’d love to wear causes guys to look at her in a way she was not anticipating. She may respond by saying that this is the guy’s problem; that he should have more self-control. And, again, young men should demonstrate self-control, but God has designed males to be visually attracted to females. Your daughter needs to understand that this is very powerful, and she does not need to contribute to the problem.

The teaching of modesty should begin as early as possible. Model a modest form of dress. Provide bathrobes for family members and be aware of the way you dress both within and outside your home. Minimize the impact of the brand name mentality by beginning early in their lives to teach them the value of money, and that a brand name item is not necessarily a better item. Often we get our kids hooked on brand names by dressing our young children in these clothes, and it becomes hard to backtrack when the price tag inflates or the styles become racier.

Be on the lookout for good role models that are older than your own daughter and allow these friends to influence them; they can be a tremendous help to you. Also, watch for positive examples in the world of entertainment and introduce your kids to them.

4. Counter the media onslaught

Realize that fashion is big business. Kids’ and teen clothing represents a multi-billion dollar industry, and the advertisers know exactly how to entice our children. Your daughters are bombarded from an increasingly early age through the media – music, videos, TV and technology. In fact, marketing that used to be aimed at teens has now shifted to the tween group (ages 8-13).

This shift is having a noticeable impact on girls in this age category. Adult clothing styles are being mini-sized to fit young girls. As Betsy Hart pointed out, this has led to the sexualization of pre-teen girls seeking to emulate their media heroes. And it’s not just the clothes that are being adopted, but also the attitudes toward life in general and sexuality in particular. Kids are being made to grow up faster than ever before.

We can diminish the influence of media by helping our daughters make wise choices concerning TV programs, videos, movies, music and reading material. It’s important to begin at an early age to instill values and guidelines for making discerning choices. Talk about these choices in entertainment and fashion selection with your tweens and teens before they ever become issues.

5. Value character over appearance

It is important to tell your daughter how beautiful she is, so that she doesn’t have to go outside the family to hear this message. Even more vital than praising her appearance, though, is affirming her character. We need to counteract our culture’s influence by placing value on what God values – the inner heart and character of an individual. The Bible says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). Compliment your daughter on her inner character frequently. Encourage her to cultivate a vibrant walk with Jesus Christ by being a character model before her and taking a genuine interest in her spiritual life.

Most importantly, pray for your daughter daily. It’s a very different world than the one that we grew up in and the temptations are more overt and bold. Pray fervently that she will have a heart that seeks to know God.

6. Recognize dad’s critical role

Never underestimate the influence of a Dad. My husband went on many shopping trips, even though this is not his favourite activity, in order to show his interest and have some input into the selection process. Dad’s approval is extremely significant in a daughter’s life, so fathers need to be careful in how they relate to them. Both words and tone matter greatly. Even though she may act like she resents your intrusion in her life at times, your daughter really does care about what you think of her. Dads, let your daughter know that you think she is beautiful – that she is unique in your eyes and God’s. Your girls carefully watch your reaction – your opinion counts!

Preparing your daughter to follow God’s standards in this area of modesty is a gift that will last a lifetime. I like to think of modesty as a pattern that I am helping my daughters weave into their lives; a pattern that will become so much a part of their moral fibre that it will enable them to freely and fully enjoy being the women God has designed them to be.

“For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” ~ Proverbs 2:10-11


100 Responses to “Teaching Your Daughters to Value Modesty”

  • Andi says:

    Good article.

    There are several issues that need to be discussed.

    I am a not-so-skinny woman in her twenties who liked at a man from work but feared he would only wanted to be my friend.

    I have always maintained my Christian standards in purity and modest dress. I always obeyed modesty rules that I was taught. However, I decided to do something about my situation. I wore an open shelf bra to work but nobody would notice in my modest thick blouse and business blazer. When I would put something on his desk, I would quickly unbutton my top two buttons to let him see my full bosom when I bent over and then buttoning up just as quickly when I left. I told myself this was OK because I was still dressing modestly.

    After a couple of days of that he was staring at me with his mouth open at every chance. I used immodesty to cause him to lust after me.

    The issue of “weaponized clothing” needs to be part of the mpdesty discussion. I’m sure I’m not the only Christian woman who acted immodestly but told herself it was all right because she was still dressing modestly.

    Well now that guy is my husband and we have talked about this. He admitted to lusting after me but that wasn’t the reason he liked me. He said all I did was make him frustrated, and that just upset him. (I apologized for what I did.) The lesson to take home is this; it is very easy for a woman to get a man to think about sex with her, but that won’t make him love her.

  • Elkay says:

    Julie, than you very much for sharing that story as it strongly emphasizes the author’s point that true beauty is found the inner heart and character of an individual. Those young men who wanted to dance with your daughter knew that the way a girl dresses signals the kind of guy she is interested in being with and they wanted to be with her. The author also made an important plea to “pray for your daughter daily. It’s a very different world than the one that we grew up in and the temptations are more overt and bold. Pray fervently that she will have a heart that seeks to know God.” Stay close to her and make sure she knows you are a safe harbor for discussion on any and all subjects.

  • Julie says:

    Thank you for your thoughts. This helps me to organize my thoughts on the modesty issue in planning to speak to my sewing students. I wanted to share a story. Several years ago, my daughter asked to attend a “prom” that would be attended by Christian homeschoolers. I agreed as long as I could be a chaperone since it was out of town. My daughter wore a beautiful modest dress. I was absolutely shocked at what the other girls were wearing…heavy makeup, dresses with bare midriffs and low cut, some very short, etc. The dance was very crowded with hundreds of young men and women. At one point I stepped outside with some other parents for fresh air. A father found me and told me I needed to go back in and witness what was happening. The dance floor was cleared except for my daughter, a young man I didn’t know and a long line of young men waiting for a “turn”. Each one took a short spin with my daughter before the next one cut in. My daughter was obviously bewildered and embarrassed by the attention. I asked someone else what was going on. They explained that they believed the young men were making a statement by showing that they preferred the girl dressed like a beautiful young woman instead of a harlot. It was eye opening for both myself and my daughter.

  • Elkay says:

    Carole and John, I cannot agree with you any more strongly and neither can Timothy who, speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit said “And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing . . . ” (1 Tim 2:9a). Indecent clothing simply invites trouble and when young people start off in life this way, there will be hard times ahead. We have grandchildren in this age group and we and their parents talk frankly to them about this issue. If you are able to, please do the same and pray for them. The fervent prayer of a loving grandparent accomplishes much!

  • Carole says:

    Yes, the media is leading our youth to wild behavior. It is okay to wear see through clothes and to talk lewdly and to marry many times and have kids from different fathers. I don’t believe in that either. We may say they have the right to live this way, but I don’t believe it’s what God wants.

  • Carole says:

    We have youth who wear wrong clothing to church. Two of them can not sit down or bend over and the preachers kids wear those cut jeans that I would not have gone out of the house wearing. No one chastises them. I am old and was brought up to be a young lady and dress properly in public. One day the youngest PK wore shorts so short that with her sweatshirt made her look nude. Like I said, I am old and want to look good when I go to church.

  • John says:

    This message is timely and is a critical topic that needs moral prospect. The media is one platform that influences pre-teen, teenager and tween to engage in early sex and also responsible for lewd and immodest life style. When you look or look into the future of those pre-teen and teen’s future that dresses immodestly? (see-through clothing, showing their thigh, exposing their breasts and releasing foul languages) what did you see? Whores, sexual loose adults, unfaithful to their spouse, poor behaviour etc. I believed Mary is virtuous, modest, good character and a virgin when God find her faithful to birth our Lord. Virginity and modesty are brother and sister, they go together.

  • Elkay says:

    Dewayne, thank you for your post as I think every mature parent that truly cares for their children would say “Amen” to your addition to this oh-so-needed article. I happen to be at a beach that has been cited as one of the most family-friendly beaches in the country. Yet I am shocked at how many young and older women are wearing 2-piece swimming suits that expose far, far too much skin. At the same time, young males are wearing suits that drop below their knees. Strange isn’t it?

    The author is correct in saying that “We need to counteract our culture’s influence by placing value on what God values.” 1 Timothy 2:9 tells us that “women should wear decent and appropriate clothing” and 1 Thessalonians 5:22 warns us to “stay away from every kind of evil” (both NLT). We do need to pray: for our country, for families and for our children. What Aldo said Sept 25, 2014 leads me to say, “Lord Jesus, do come quickly.”

  • Dewayne says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject. One of the things young ladies and mean may not be aware of is the meaning of one of the “L” sins, Lust & Lasciviousness. Most probably understand that lust is an intense sexual desire which someone feels. However many may not know that lasciviousness, which also leads to sin, is when you act or present yourself in such a way as to cause someone to be aroused towards a sexual desire. Both are not pleasing to God and we are exhorted to avoid throughout the New Testament by the apostles and even Jesus in Mark 7:18-23. Yes we can do what we want in a free society, but the question that beckons to those who would follow Jesus is, “does it please my heavenly Father?”

  • Rudey says:

    I wrote a piece about teaching my two daughters about dressing themselves that you might find interesting or thought provoking. Please take a peak if you’d like … My thoughts are less modest and play into teaching my girls how to express themselves with guidance and guidelines.

    It was featured on Blog Her today and also it’s on my site. If you like, stop by my FB page at http://www.facebook.com/rudeysroom and give it a like. Thanks!!!

    Rudey’s Room – http://rudeysroom.com/2016/01/20/10-things-i-want-my-daughters-to-know-about-dressing-themselves/

    Blog Her – http://www.blogher.com/10-things-i-want-my-daughters-know-about-dressing-themselves

  • Aldo says:

    Renee, today’s society is full of suggestive and immodest standards to tempt both male and female alike. That is because the Devil is the authoritative ruler of this world (Luke 4:6), and will be until Jesus comes back. His agenda is to steal, and to kill, and to destroy as many lives as he can (John 10:10). Our only hope is the Word of God, Who came that (we) may have life, and that (we) may have it more abundantly. That is why it is so incumbent on we who are believers to make known the “good news” of the Bible.

  • Renee says:

    She isn’t talking about rape, she’s talking about distraction. Teenagers should be able to go to a place of worship (church, temple, mosque) without having to fight sexual feelings. Yes, teenagers get sexual feelings and boys are visual, sorry that’s how it is it’s science. Now, we should ABSOLUTELY teach our boys they have NO right to a girl’s or woman’s body, no matter what she what she is or isn’t wearing; and that their clothes don’t define them. But your clothes are like a label. Why would anyone want someone lusting after their daughter? The responsibility for a modest society should not be on one sex alone, or one group alone. But again, we are in a very secular country now, and cannot expect all to heed to what the word says. And that is ok, what good is faith and spirituality if it is forced? But my bottom line is, we have the RIGHT to teach our girls modesty as we see it important in scripture. I bet everyone screaming this blog writer is “slut shaming” has nothing but cultural support for the women in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia who get beaten and killed for showing their faces. You cannot depend on people to raise their sons with respect and morals…let your girls protect themselves and let your sons know to be kind.

  • Chris Landwerlen says:

    nichole Smith…the bible teaches us that whatever we do in Word or deed, we should do it all for Gods glory. obviously God is glorified in our lives reflecting his holy character as he has said…be ye holy for i am holy. that doesnt mean dresses to the ankles for the women and long sleeve shirts for the men but good taste and modesty so that in all things jesus may be glorified. blessings!!

  • Eli Melul says:

    Sorry Nichole,
    It is actually exactly the other way around, by tantalising men (especially those who have gone through an agonizing break-up and/or readjusting to loneliness, emotional pain and yes celibacy) YOU are furthering our irrational male lustfulness which YES is a constant unending God-given struggle which is then made even more difficult. Self-worth should indeed be based on your sensitivity to the unfortunate.

  • Nichole Smith says:

    This type of thinking is the reason our society is not able to move forward. You are the reason men think its okay to rape and sexualize little girls. You want them to grow into self confident women? Stop teaching them that society gets to choose their worth based on their clothing choices.

  • Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord i lift our people all over the world, that we need to bring back modesty in our live, but people are doing there own thing and it is a trend to have modesty in there lives. As for me, I put pride in how I dress each day for my Lord. I care about how I look to others in my day and want to dress properly. In Jesus Name amen

  • Eli Melul says:

    if I may point out to Caity, just like natural ANIMALISTIC in-built tendency of a male may seem pathetic to a female, why is it not ok for me as a male to view natural, incorporated, and in-built INSENSITIVITY of impropriety in dress as MUCH MORE pathetic, however much it becomes an imagined norm. In short ANY natural deformity SHOULD be pitied! CERTAINLY not cruelly exploited by either side.
    As modesty has eroded so has toxicity and half-hearted enthusiasm at lopsided competitive practices destroyed the economic opportunities of this country.

  • Eli Melul says:

    In my opinion everyone is off the mark completely when it comes to correctly understanding modesty. Modesty and decency go together. Impropriety defiles purity because the male has a natural primal urge to desire/consider closeness to any female which cannot be overcome whilst gazing on lewdness and therefore temporarily disconnects us from thoughts of G-d-liness and feelings of purity for that short time. These constant breaks eventually can eliminate our natural joy of life. It is especially unfair especially to single people to be constantly paraded by flesh and breeds callousness and bitterness all around.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Dave148, you are quite right. This post is not about shaming girls at all. It is being aware of how we as women dress affects others, both men and women. To be honest, as a woman, I am extremely uncomfortable around other women who are showing too much skin, and often feel like I don’t know where to look. How much more so do men have a problem?

    As a woman who has daughters who chose of their own accord to dress modestly, and who now have daughters of their own, I know what a challenge it is to find children’s clothes that are fashioned for children, and not for little adults. Being aware of the issues helps us to better deal with them.

  • dave148 says:

    I think the posters who thought this was about shaming girls missed the point. Girls and women have a strategic advantage when they dress under the radar. They are more likely to find out boy’s/men’s true personality. They are also more likely to be given criticism they might deserve. Provocative dress for a single woman is short sighted, but it is rare for an attractive and confident woman to realize this. The ones who do are true jewels.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Calty, I don’t think anyone here is saying that there is ever an excuse for a man to lust or act on that lust. But it is wise for parents to help their daughters understand what is appropriate apparel.

    The Bible talks about being aware of the weaknesses of others and out of love for them, stay away from choices that will cause others to poor choices. We can all help one another when we have that kind of mindset.

  • Shelley says:

    Sorry, but I do not agree with reality shows.

  • Caity says:

    What an awful message to send to girls! It is NOT a woman’s responsibility to cover themselves up from the eyes of men. Men and who cannot focus because a woman is showing some skin are NOT men. They’re pathetic and need to gain some self control. It’s stuff like this that makes rape a victim-blame able crime and the reason people slut shame girls.

    And those boys who “couldn’t focus” and “didn’t know where to look” can focus on the wall where they should be staring in time out for practicing such misogynistic behavior, as should their parents for teaching them!

  • Marilyn says:

    I would just like to say something to the gentleman who said God made man naked. He is right, BUT that was before they sinned and realized they were naked and found fig leaves to cover themselves. How does God feel about modesty? If you read farther you will see that they hid from God because they knew they had done wrong. God was not happy with the fig leaves so he made them coats to wear. Not being judgmental, just sensible.

  • mike s says:

    Since when is showing skin sexual ? in what world should it be acceptable to tell boys that the girl is to blame for his inability to view women in a non sexual way while they are in church . In what way is a crop top or a clingy dress or a bra strap sexual ? They are clothes . A woman in a non sexual setting ( church ) doing a non sexual activity ( attending church ) Is not sexual just because she has a spaghetti strap shirt and shorts on . If you think it Is sexual you obviously are the one who is the problem .
    God designed males to be attracted to females and vice versa . It does not matter what clothes we wear it is biology . to tell girls that they are in any way responsible for how any guy views the sexuality of her clothing teaches them that they are asking for it . you made the guy rape you because your dress is too clingy you slut .

    God made man in his image . His completely naked image . Obviously God does not think a girl being naked is immodest . So how can you think that adding any amount of clothes equals modesty.
    The media is not responsible for sexualizing young girls .clothing styles are not responsible. puberty Is responsible for sexualizing young girls . a naked woman getting ready for bed in front of her husband is not sexual But A 12 year old in a crop top or tight shirt somehow is even if she doesn’t think it is …. that is not the medias fault
    the problem Is adults like the OP want to keep girls innocent and non sexual until they are married when the reality of biology is once puberty starts sexuality starts . For boys and girls . God made us that way . We can not stop teen girls from becoming sexual beings no matter how much you think God Is wrong for making them that way.

  • mike s says:

    I taught my dauers to dress how ever they feel comfortable . Do not let anyone try to guilt shame or pressure you into dressing how they think you should dress . Clothing style and what is modest or not is a matter of opinion . And the only one that counts ifs their own .

    Is something loose more modest than something form fitting ? Is long more modest than short ? Is black and white more modest than colors ?

    to teach girls that they should dress a certain way because of how other people will think of them is to teach them that their self worth or self esteem is decided by other people and not by them . I would rather my daughters be proud self confident immodest dressing women than be insecure shameful self doubting girls that can’t decide for themselves how they should dress .

    there are times and places that dictate the style of dress . All other times and places should be determined by you for yourself .

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Jeremiah, I have to very strongly disagree with what you’ve written here. The responsibility for the action of sex traffickers does not lie with young girls, no matter what they are wearing, it lies with the traffickers. There is no item of clothing a girl or a woman can wear that makes it okay for her to be abused. It’s a very dangerous line of thinking to say, “well if girls and women were more modest they wouldn’t make men lust after them”. Men, like women, are responsible for their own actions. There is a long history in many parts of the world where women and girls are less than human, and certainly less than men. It is that belief, and not the clothing, that leads to trafficking and other forms of abuse.

  • Jeremiah says:

    This issue is a key factor in sex trafficking. The inmodest dress causes people to think along the lines of sex wich in turn demoralizes people. As soon as people are demoralized they tend to turn to immoral activity such as purchasing porn in an obsession with the human body. the human body is then a must and they are often willing to purchase sex, and the internet is a great place for it. God is the only solution! He is the only one who can restore peace after it’s been robed.

  • Alfred says:

    Hi Danio, This is a very timely issue, indeed! Thank you, Cathy, for explaining it so well! As Christians, we need to uphold modesty while the world is pushing sexuality. The world is shrinking in that advertising is becoming as world-wide as news-coverage. I have heard that one of our leading industrial nations is secretly researching how much, and how much more, violence the general public will tolerate and accept. It seems to me that the same is happening to provocative dressing! We just cannot go along with all that! The Bible says “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12;2) That is an inside job, for it is MY mind that I need to renew as the Spirit leads and as the Bible teaches. Our children are learning by watching us in every-day life! What a responsibility!

    I think our homes hold the answers: The way we and our children honour God, love the Lord Jesus and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, is what helps shape our nation! Every Christian family influences their community which is part of the country they are in. The decline of a nation starts when in the home there is laxness in following God, which leads to moral decline, which leads to political anarchy.
    Blessings to all those of you who are striving to be the salt and light that we are called to be in this sometimes dark world! I may pass this article on to our children who have pre-teens and teenagers. Thanks again.

  • danio says:

    Dear Cathy,
    Thank you for your article. Today, my wife pulled up a few dresses online for me to look at for our 5-year-old daughter. I found them all revealing, but when I brought this up, she was puzzled. Here in China, many women wear modern-standard clothes from the Western world, with no regard for implication. It’s quite refreshing, actually, to see random women in sexy clothes, without any related intention or awareness on their part!

    Nonetheless, year after year, I see more staring, rubber-necking, and glazed-over eyes of men who are attracted to the evolving dress. I find myself lingering longer than a glance too, and can clearly see the direction of all this. Relationships among youngsters are becoming more nonchalant, unstable, even hurtful.

    I’m searching online for inspiration. Your article provides confirmation for my love of modesty, and its power to strengthen the heart, provide purpose, and increase self-esteem. I’m so excited to give my daughter more tools to build her beautiful identity, in the image of her mother – pure, undistracted.

    Thank you!

    (Unfortunately, although I caught a glimpse of useful comments, I couldn’t benefit from more, because of the overwhelming complaints, which felt very uncomfortable reading… Funny such a positive cause could receive so much antipathy. Someone will probably find some sentence in my post to lash out at. Have at it, I guess, if that’s your path toward understanding and parenting…)

  • Doris Beck D. Beck says:

    Glad you found this article helpful Jill! I have to admit that having raised two daughters this was a challenge and now they in turn are facing the same issues with their daughters(they have four between them!) All the best in your speech! :-)

  • Jill says:

    Hi! I am giving a speech for a church fashion show about modesty and style, and this gave me a few great topics to work off of! One thing, the rubber band bracelets (crazy bands,) are used for collecting and trading, I have never heard of them being used for anything ‘wierd.’ So don’t be too concerned if your daughter wants them, because im sure a very few people use them for the afore mentioned purpose. (This is coming from a high school freshman who grew up with crazy bands.)

  • karen says:

    Thank you for such a thorough and well written article. I was so disheartened/depressed/angry after I had been through walk-through/registration with my twin 11 year olds who will be in 7th grade. The revealing clothing so many of these 11 and 12 year old girls were wearing was shocking. Middriffs, see through shirts, shorts that looked as long as a swimsuit and the ultimate, tanks that went to the their waste on the sides and back, and only a thin bandeau (bra) top underneath showing everything these barely pubescent girls had. What I could not wrap my mind around were the mothers, standing there with them, allowing their girls to dress like this. When did hooker wear become so O.K. for tweens???

  • shelley anderson says:

    Well-Sub.=Being obedient to my Lord in all that i do for him in my Life. I am submissive to my parents when they raised me to be the person that I am today. God has full control in my life and i am obedient to Him in all things that he give me to do.

  • shelley anderson says:

    I like this article and I pray that we as adults can encourage our young people to work on there modesty together as one under God direction.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Jennifer, what kinds of advice would you give to young men about modesty?

  • Jennifer says:

    Why are so many articles on teaching children the virtues of modesty focused specifically on teaching this to DAUGHTERS? Sons need to learn modesty too. Especially in today’s culture, men are pressured to act with a certain degree of bravado and to view and treat the opposite sex in a fashion that is not appropriate (and puts to tests a woman’s modesty). The responsibility and expectations should not rest solely on the female populous.

  • Nancy says:

    Here is my definition of submission:

    Sub= under thus to me submission is to be under or behind my husband’s mission. To help and support him and his decisions for our family. Of course that implies that I married a man which mission I support, trust and respect.

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    My apology for not responding to your questions but hopefully in responding to CC’s questions you will see that I totally agree that a wife’s submission to her husband is only half of the equation and that a husband loving and cherishing his wife is just as important. I totally agree that as you said, ‘a husband is expected to give his love to his wife and, also we are told to submit ye to one another.’A husband should never try to dominate. That is far from the Biblical mandate.

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    I agree that you can definitely love and cherish someone and yet not be equal, but that’s not the case in a husband/wife relationship because God created us in His image. He didn’t create man in his image and then created woman to be less than……we are together in His image, equal before Him.

    So how does submission come into it at all? That’s where the two sides come in….yes, women are to submit, but in the same way, men are to love and to cherish.(remember the model here is Christ and the church and Christ laid down his life for his church) So yes, my husband and I do work together in an equal partnership(I always tell him I also believe in equal opportunity so he is welcome and able to do everything I do including cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping….which he does by the way). So we do each play to our strengths and weaknesses and solve problems together and talk about them. So both of us self-sacrifice, not just me. So at the end of the day if there is a decision to be made and I don’t agree for some reason, it isn’t hard to submit to his decision and trust him with that.

    I think the misunderstanding is that submission is a controlling husband and a wife that just says ‘yes dear’ without any communication or attention paid to her desires and needs. That just isn’t at all what the biblical teaching is all about. Quite the opposite in fact. In your example above, the husband who is loving as the Bible tells him too would in fact not move their family away and instead lay down his own desires for hers.

  • CC says:


    Didn’t mean to equate a husband/wife relationship with a human/dog one, of course. Just trying to say that you can love and cherish someone (or thing) and yet not be equal. And yes, it’s possible we’re using different definitions of “submission.” To me, submission implies that the man gets the final say in decisions that affect both partners. For example, if the man’s job requires him to move out of city or state, he has the authority to decide for him and his wife that they’re moving, whether she wants to or not. Should she leave her work, friends, and family for the sake of her husband? In my mind (and I suspect a lot of others think similarly), a “submissive” woman puts her husband’s wishes before her own. If he wants to move, she doesn’t fight him on it, she moves, and I don’t think that kind of constant self-sacrificing is healthy or fair.

    Regarding your husband and yourself, it sounds like you are describing an equal partnership, in which you play to each of your strengths and solve problems together. Where, then, does submission come into it at all?

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    I don’t think that anyone would equate my relationship with my husband to the same relationship that you have with your dog or the relationship that I have with my children. True, you can love and cherish your dog and I definitely love and cherish my children, but the nature of our relationship is totally different. And yes parents have a certain amount of authority of their children up to a given age but I think you are confusing words here.

    I would never say that a woman should submit to her husband in the same way that a child submits to a parent. Nor does the man have authority over the woman in a way a parent has authority over a child. And it has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence. It’s a choice that I make and we do it together. For example I am more gifted when it comes to numbers so I take care of all the finances in our family. We talk about the decisions we make but in the end I do it all….there is nothing about this that says that I am less intelligent than my husband nor that I am not capable of making the decisions on my own, because I definitely am more than capable.

    I definitely would never tell you that you are offending nature(not sure where you got that idea) or that this has anything to do with your morality. My question to you would be this…..have you chosen to have a personal relationship with Christ? Having an understanding of the basis of the love relationship between Christ and the church is important to understanding the basis of the respect, honor and love aspect of the relationship between a husband and wife. Without that this becomes an argument which generates heat and not light. :-)

  • Jean says:

    And, also a topic that confuses females about submitting, is the delivery room. To all childbearing females, while we know that, you and your husband want the baby to be healthy, we must keep in mind that at a certain point, the delivery room business is up to the wife, the woman…totally. Tell your husband to chill. There is no reason for a discussion, discuss what?? You are the one who is hurting, out of it, tired, naked, exposed, weak, emitting fluids, etc.
    Listen women, regardless of what confused people say to you all, unless your husband is mighty evil, or, arrogant, or selfish, he should give in to you at this time. Remind him, that you are uncomfortable and naked, not him, and that he cannot over ride your comfort or privacy. If you need to have the nurses call hospital security, to escort him out of the room, you may do so.
    Likewise, a wife would not try to dominate the vasectomy and prostate exam room over her husband. She should not demand that her parents come into the room, just because he lets his dad in. The husband and wife both, should submit to the other and there is no discusssion when the other spouse is in pain and naked. There is nothing to discuss.

  • Jean says:

    Doris, you kind of misunderstood me. And let me be clear, I am not one of those weak women who is afraid to stand up to her husband when it comes to my being the one who is the naked patient in the delivery room. He does not have the right to dictate then, as I am the one who is naked and suffering in pain and a woman should never be naked in front of her husband’s parents or her dad, or any male visitor. And no, it is not obvious that that has happened to me. You do not know me like that, just as I cannot not say that something is obvious about you, just because of a comment.
    I was asking you to give your view or opinion, to see just how far you would take the part about the woman submitting, that’s all. I wanted to see what your response would be.
    What I also was trying to do, was to get a discussion about the husband’s role, so that for once people would stop harping so much on the wife’s role in marriage. We do that a lot in this country, you know. It gets pretty old and worn out sometimes. I try to follow what God tells me to do, but I also know that we should also make sure we discuss the husband’s awesome responsibilities to his wife. Some of you are not discussing both sides of the LAW.
    My suggestion to all who claim to follow God’s laws, is that we do not pick and choose what we want to choose out of His Word, but that we tell the whole truth. A husband is expected to give his love to his wife and, also we are told to submit ye to one another. There are times when a husband would not try to dominate. So, let us not be hypocritical!!

  • CC says:


    I love and cherish my dog, but he is not my equal. Parents love and cherish their children, but children do not have the same authority as their parents, and for good for reason – usually, parents make the better decisions. To say that a woman should submit to her husband like a child to its parent is infantilizing, implying that the man is naturally more intelligent and therefore deserves to be in charge. To those women who have complete confidence in their ability to make decisions for themselves, it’s degrading. If that’s how you personally find happiness, that’s your prerogative. I’m glad you’re content in your relationship. But don’t try to tell me that I’m offending nature, or that I’m somehow less moral than you because I choose to take charge of my own life. If God didn’t want me to make my own decisions, He shouldn’t have made me so darn capable.

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    Jean and CC,
    As a woman and mother of daughters I have to say that I agree with the author of this article in what she has stated about teaching our daughters modesty. That’s the main point of this article.

    Both of you have reacted to a secondary issue in Marcella’s comment about wives submitting to their husbands. You cannot take that outside of what the Bible also teaches men, and that is to love their wives…..these two go hand in hand and that is a topic for another article. Husbands who cheat are obviously not remembering or living the reality of loving their wives as Christ loved the church is how the passage in scripture says it, which means that He was willing to lay his life down.

    In my case, I can honestly say that after 37 years of marriage to the same man, he has modeled that love to me. Is he perfect? Far from it! But then neither am I. But I respect him and as such am willing to submit….that doesn’t mean that I am not equal to him, not at all. In fact he treats me as an equal but he also cherishes me(and yes, don’t be jealous he regularly brings me flowers too)

    Jenn, you also asked my viewpoint on what happens if a husband tells his wife that he will bring her mother in law and father in law to come into the delivery room and watch her deliver the baby. Obviously this must have happened to you and if he did that without your full agreement then all I can say is that I am so sorry that he didn’t listen to your feelings on thoughts on that. Loving you would be listening to what you are saying and respecting your feelings as well. It’s a two way street….totally!

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    I’m glad that you appreciated this article. It is a great thing to share with our daughters and granddaughters!

  • Jean says:

    Don’t get offended,I am serious, but apologize if you are hurt bymy statement when I ask you this, but is this really a woman or the authors’ way of trying to provoke women? If you are indeed a woman, may I ask you about the role God gives to husbands? Please expound on that as you so eloquently did for women’s roles.

    Then further comment about husbands who cheat.
    Then further comment on what happens if a husband tells his wife that he will bring her mother in law and father in law to come into the delivery room and watch her deliver the baby. What are your viewpoints on these two topics?

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