Recently I received a thoughtful question from up the TNTT vine…
Modesty is not about covering up something because it is ugly. Instead, it’s about cherishing and protecting the beautiful, especially about safeguarding love and respect. Since Woman (and all things women) is the more beautiful sex, there is an emphasis to safeguard her. Women do this by dressing and behaving appropriately to help others see that there is more beauty to them than just their skin and hair (because it’s so easy to stop just there).
“If the Theology of the Body teaches that our bodies are beautiful and reflect God, why must we be modest in Church?”
Since women are so attractive, it is easy for men to get caught up in the physical and external looks. By dressing and behaving modestly, they are helping others find where their true beauty is. I like to remind myself with this quote: “The most beautiful part of a woman is her.” Meaning ALL OF HER. The moment we focus on just one aspect of her person, is the moment we objectify her and abuse her. Her whole person (body, soul, mind and heart) is beautiful, and modesty helps us find that total beauty by guiding our attention to her as a person instead of getting caught up in and stopping at the external beauty. Modesty helps us treat others and ourselves with the dignity and respect we all deserve. Modesty done right, it makes us free and happy!
At Mass, we also dress modestly* to help others find where the true beauty is… where Beauty Himself is: Jesus (God). After all, God invented beauty itself! He is Beauty itself! And everything that is beautiful is only beautiful because He knows how to make it that way. So if we behaved and dressed immodestly, we are not just disrespecting ourselves, but God (because we’re distracting others from realizing where Beauty is).
Here are two posts I wrote before addressing this question:
I hope that helps!
*Note: dressing modestly does not mean making yourself look ugly! It means having good taste, class and dignity. For tips about this, I recommend these:
1) Verily Magazine (yes, I do read this once in a while and not ashamed about it!)
2) Leah Darrow (once competed on America’s Next Top Model)
3) And a whole bunch of short articles about Modesty from ChastityProject.com (by Crystallina and Jason Evert)