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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Whosoever Looketh On A Woman...


I've seen a lot of people post that swimsuit video lately.  I appreciate the commitment to modesty that I'm sure led many to share it.  The speaker, Jessica Rey, is a savvy, articulate businesswoman, and a talented designer, and it’s easy to see why so many people found her message appealing. Women today hear a lot of voices telling them how they should look, dress, behave, and live, and it can be frustrating for women to feel so disempowered by cultural messages that tell them that the only value they have is in being sexually appealing to men, that what they have to say is only incidental to how sexy they look when they say it.  Efforts to resist this cultural tide are necessary and laudable, and I applaud those parents who are raising their daughters to value themselves intrinsically, and to disregard what the fashion magazines show them about the importance of having a perfect body or a stylish wardrobe.

I think, however, that this presentation swings too far in the other direction, and I am disappointed with its message, especially when I see it in the context of a rising emphasis on modesty that also devalues women, though more insidiously.  Though it is indeed objectifying to teach a woman that her value lies in wearing fewer clothes and showing off her body so as to turn on the boys around her, it is also objectifying to teach a woman that her value lies in wearing more clothes and covering up her body so as to keep the thoughts of the boys around her pure.  The better message is this: wear what you want, like, and feel comfortable in, not for its effect on other people, but so that you can be happy and free as you go about doing many good things in the world.  And stop judging other people for what they wear as they go about living their lives, because it’s none of your business and it’s not about you.

Ultimately, the speaker is promoting her own swimwear line, and her suits and promotional materials seem quite lovely.  I applaud her good business sense and style, but I disagree strongly with her methods of self-promotion.  Rey's speech is very problematic, for several reasons.  First, she's misrepresenting the Princeton study she relies on for most of her argument.  Most social science research is easy to misinterpret to serve one’s own ends, and this study is no exception.

The study in question, presented by Dr. Susan Fiske at Princeton, was conducted using a sample of 21 male Princeton undergraduates (note that in this type of research, an acceptable sample size is 30+, and that the more data points you have, the more reliable your findings).  These men were asked to fill out surveys that gauged if they harbored "benevolent sexism" (i.e. women should be protected by men, women should not work outside the home) or "hostile sexism" (i.e. women are incompetent and inferior to men, women are trying to take away the rights of men, etc.).  They were then shown brief flashes of pictures of fully clothed and swimsuit-clad men and women, and their brains were scanned for activity.  Note that all the swimsuit-clad women were wearing bikinis.  The researchers did not use pictures of women in "various states" of undress, or with "varying amounts" of clothes, as some articles have suggested, and there were no one-piece swimsuits to compare--there were only two conditions: fully clothed and in a bikini.  Please also note that the images of women wearing bikinis did not have heads.

As for the men's reactions, the researchers found (via brain scans) that those men who harbored strongly hostile sexist views also saw the bikini-clad women as less human, and did not have brain activity in the part of the brain responsible for evaluating another person's thoughts and feelings.  Note that this refers to a small subset of the already-small sample size: only the men harboring the most hateful attitudes towards women.

This is hardly an earth-shattering finding--that men who are generally horrible to women, when presented with headless images from a swimsuit catalog, do not see the models as people, and have parts of their brains light up that are associated with "things you manipulate with your hands" (which should tell you what these college boys are doing with their free computer time, not make you reevaluate your choice of swimwear).  

The headline could just as well read: "A Few 19-Year-Old Frat Boys Can't Relate To Real Women, Study Shows."  Stop the presses.

I also take issue with the speaker’s highly selective overview of the history of women’s swimwear.  She skips over the Romans, who bathed nude and are depicted in murals wearing clothing very similar to a bikini.  She skips over the many cultures in which topless and nude bathing are seen as perfectly respectable and natural.  She lingers smugly over the bikini creator’s introduction of his invention, noting that the model who introduced it was a “stripper,” as if to tar all women with the same brush, neglecting the fact that all change is seen as scandalous when it first appears—after all, not so long before the bikini, women had been wearing horse-drawn houses to go swimming.  Times change.  Culture changes.  And acceptable dress standards are bound up in culture—and they change, too.  Pioneer women would find capri pants scandalous.  That doesn’t mean we need to compare bare ankles to stripping.  Your great-great grandmother would find your one-piece swimsuit inappropriate, while you label it perfectly modest.  But we live in different times and cultures, and there are no absolute rules for determining what is “modest” across all time and space.  (As proof, I would note that the speaker, believer in modesty, is dressed in a perfectly lovely outfit, one that would nevertheless get me labeled “immodest” and kicked out of class at BYU—for showing my shoulder.  So if you’re about to argue that “the world changes, but the Lord’s standards of modesty never change,” you may want to re-think your argument.  And your spokesperson.)

Furthermore, it is not the responsibility of women to manage men’s sexual desires.  Full stop.  It is not women's job.  Even if it were, it’s hard to see how a one-piece swimsuit is markedly more “modest” than a two-piece, or how men would be rendered incapable of sexually desiring women thus attired (something no study cited even attempted to address).  In fact, there is no point at which a woman would be sufficiently clothed to negate a man’s sexual desire.  Men in countries in which women are swathed in robes from head to toe still manage to notice that they are women, and still find them attractive and desirable.  They complain that their eyes and ankles are seductive and leading them to sin.  If it were true that men could not control themselves, a more effective solution would be to put out their eyes or ban them from the beaches, not to mandate a dress and behavior code for all women they might encounter.

Here's the truth: Men are people, their bodies made in the image of a divine Father.  Women are people, their bodies made in the image of a divine Mother.  Our bodies are beautiful and God-given, not shameful.  They connect us to the earth and to each other.  They allow us to relate to each other in enjoyable ways.  They are also not the only way we relate to each other.  Men and women are capable of relating to each other as human beings, no matter what they're wearing.  This is part of being an adult.  We are capable of dealing with our sexual desires, which are normal and healthy and good, without shaming ourselves or those with whom we come in contact.  Fetishizing normal female body parts--be they breasts, navels, shoulders, knees, or (gasp!) ankles—and insisting they be covered because we cannot control ourselves—does real harm to both women and men.(1)

Look, wear whatever you want to the beach.  Wear a bikini.  Wear a burkini.  Wear a one-piece.  Wear a house, if you like.  If you want to, wear one of the swimsuits the speaker is selling—they are cute, after all.  But whatever you wear, wear it because it makes you comfortable, because you like the way your body looks and what it can do.  Don’t wear it because a stranger—or a loved one—has convinced you it’s the only way to get respect, or the only way to be attractive, or that your body is a dangerous minefield of potential temptation for all the men who lay eyes on you and it’s your responsibility to remove that temptation, you irresistibly sexy woman, you.  Don’t give in to the lie that your body is all you have to offer—but also, don’t believe the equally insidious lie that your body is shameful or dangerous or needs to be covered up (but “stylishly!”) in order for you to be a person of worth.

You have the right to be treated with respect, no matter what your size or shape, no matter what you’re wearing.  Men are not slaves to their hormones.  They are capable of treating you with respect in all walks of life.  If the cited study shows anything, it’s that the men who can’t see you as a person, no matter what you’re wearing, are the kind of men who weren’t worth your time in the first place, who were already likely to hate and devalue you.  And their demeaning attitude is not your fault.  It isn’t your responsibility to prevent others from sinning.  Jesus did not say “Whosoever lusteth after a woman…should tell her to put more clothes on, already, she’s causing him to have impure thoughts!”  Jesus laid the blame at the feet of the man whose heart was filled with lust, not the women he dehumanized.  And so should we.  Because lust is a problem of the heart, not of the wardrobe.

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Notes:

(1) There are so many examples of people taking this way too far. The speaker, for instance, decries the rise of the bikini and the fact that now, even little girls are wearing it.  Perhaps she has not considered that a two-piece swimsuit is much more practical for parents running their little girls to the bathroom—rather than peeling off a heavy, wet swimsuit from the shoulders, the child can use the potty unassisted.  Anyone who sees a little girl in a swimsuit and thinks "sexy underwear" is the one with the problem, not the child.

Pictures from theseasong.com and castlesandcrowns.com

UPDATE:
I've been a little overwhelmed by the response to this post.  It's clear that many of you have strong opinions about modesty, swimwear, and a host of other things.  That's fine, and I appreciate spirited discussion.  However, a few commenters have gone overboard, so I'm going to give a quick reminder on the ground rules here.  You've been warned, and I will delete all comments that don't follow these rules of common courtesy.
1.  Stick to the topic of the post.  (This post is not about breastfeeding, moral relativism, alcoholism, or autism.)
2.  Avoid questioning the faith, testimony, faithfulness, righteousness, or intent of other people, including me.  That's just rude.  Avoid sweeping generalizations about people you do not know.  
3.  Along the same lines, do not insist that you, personally, know the mind and will of God.  Not only is this incredibly arrogant, it shuts down reasonable discussion.  You do not have the "God" trump card in your hand.  Avoid the temptation to play it.  Do not call others to repentance, dump GA quotes on them, or drive by with links to the For The Strength Of Youth pamphlet.  
4. Engage a person's ideas, not their character.  On the flip side, if someone has engaged your idea and disagreed with it, do not claim that you are being persecuted.  Refuting your argument is not the same thing as persecuting you.
Thanks, all!
-Amy

FURTHER UPDATE:  I think this discussion has reached its natural end.  Thanks, everyone, for participating.  Comments are now closed.  Check back later this week for a follow-up post that will address some of my conclusions from this conversation. 

330 comments:

  1. I love it. You've articulated exactly what I've felt about the video. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thank you for writing this! This is a perfect critique of a truly problematic video.

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  3. This article shows exactly what is wrong with people - all we think about is how it makes US feel and who cares if other people don't like it, I like it, it makes ME feel good.
    Most women wouldn't walk out in public in a bra and panties, wearing a bikini is no different.

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    1. Most guys don't walk around in public with their shirts off. Women don't walk around in leotards for that matter. It's all about context. Certain types of clothing are appropriate in certain settings. I don't see how having a layer of very thin, tight fabric across your midriff makes you more modest and respectable than someone who doesn't. If people were really concerned with modesty, their arms and legs would be covered and their swimwear would not be so form-fitting.

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    2. The underwear vs. bikini argument is flawed. While you are right in saying that most women wouldn't walk out in public in a bra and panties, that's because the clothing itself means different things.

      The difference is that in one situation (the bikini clad one) the woman is CHOOSING to be seen by other people wearing those items, and it's not our place to infringe upon her choice.

      And in the other situation (underwear and bra) the only time you would be seeing her is in INTIMATE settings where the third party person seeing her is either welcome OR intentionally or unintentionally invading her privacy.

      It's about what the clothes mean, not how much of it covers your body.

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    3. But what about MY choice to not have to see a woman in a bikini?
      I don't personally like a woman flaunting her bikini-clad body. I don't.
      If I am not to infringe upon HER choice to wear a bikini, she is not to infringe upon MY choice to not have to see that.
      It is not that her rights take precedence over my rights, or mine over hers. Her rights end where my rights begin (and vice versa). Am I supposed to avoid all public pools, oceans, lakes etc so she can strut around in a bikini?

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    4. Yes. If you don't want to see women in swimsuits then it's your responsibility to stay inside. The end.

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    5. @ "myfullcup" - If you are that worried you could move to a monastery - or you could pull your head out of your butt and realize that your "rights" have in no way been "violated".

      @ Ashley P - Well said!

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    6. You DON'T have a right not to see something. You have a right to remove yourself from a situation in which you are seeing something you don't want to see.

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    7. Myfullcup, nobody has the right not to be offended. A woman can wear what she wants. If you don't like it, your neck can turn your head another direction, or your feet can take you to a different area.

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    8. Myfullcup, by your reasoning, if I believe I should have the right not to have to read any post on the internet which disagree with my beliefs, then that obliges YOU not to ever post anything on the internet which is in conflict with my beliefs. If I, as a vegetarian, have a right not to be presented with the offensive sight of other people eating meat every time I walk into a restaurant, then other people are obliged to respect my rights by never, ever eating or serving meat in any place where I might be offended by seeing them do so. All restaurants must now serve only vegetarian food because consumption of meat offends me and I have a RIGHT not to have to SEE that! Right?

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    9. @myfullcup
      Since you appear to be someone very troubled by the human body, the name you've chosen is rather ironic: what kind of "cup" do you mean, exactly?

      Also please do all of us--especially those of us wh are parents of young women--a favor and DO stay away from pools and beaches. You're way too fixated on women's body. I hate the idea of you looking at girls and women in such a manner. Creepy.

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    10. The bible really does call us to be modest. Granted, there are many different ideas of what is modest, but instead of comparing it to others, the point should be, try to be modest! Not thow it out the window because you don't like one pieces or what not. There should be an effort to care for one another in how we dress. Every part of the body of Christ (as in the community of believers) is connected. You will never please everyone, but aim to please God and live in peace with others, who are also all his children and part of the body of Christ. When one part suffers, ALL the parts suffer. When one part rejoices, we all rejoice with them too.

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    11. Most references to modesty in terms of clothing in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon condemn "costly apparel" and setting oneself above others with fancy clothing. There is condemnation of those who would reject people from places of worship because they aren't dressed right for it.

      I don't think we're using that word right.

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    12. Runesong is absolutely right. The real definition of modesty is "freedom from vanity," which is why the BoM discusses it they way it does in terms of costly apparel. We've totally distorted the meaning of the word.

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  4. Thank you for articulating this in such a thoughtful manner.

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  5. Shared it! Thanks so much for writing this.

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  6. I like your perspective, but there's one thing in this conversation that's missing: an actual link to the study. It seems everyone is willing to say what the study did/did not mean yet never actually links to the study itself. Major bummer.

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    1. Here is a link to another article I read about this issue. http://blog.referralcandy.com/2013/06/17/power-ranger-sells-modesty/

      And here is the link to the original study that was posted at the bottom of this other article. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/02/090216-bikinis-women-men-objects.html

      Hope that helps.

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    2. Thanks Bree. I just posted another link as well.

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    3. Here you go, the abstract:

      http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/jocn.2010.21497?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed&


      Here is a good write up

      http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2009/02/17/22773/

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    4. Studies seem to reveal the intentions of the person doing the study. Take for example Paleo vs. Forks over Knives. They each prove how unhealthy the other is by studies that have been done.

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  7. You said this SO MUCH BETTER than I ever could! Thank you a million times. My thoughts exactly. I'm sharing this with everyone, because all the videos popping up in my newsfeed are pissing me off.

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  8. I guess I should actually post a link, seeing how I said no-one does (and neither did I); irony at it's finest.
    http://www.learningace.com/doc/2821510/243ab2338520f4e674515fe2e41113f2/cikara2011jocn

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    1. BTW, this is a link to the actual study, not an article about the study.

      Delete
  9. Interesting perspective, and there's much to agree with.

    Perhaps instead of announcing, "Here's the truth," you'd be more accurate to say, "Here's what I think."

    If you want the "truth," You're much more likely to find it in the Lord's counsel for our day:

    https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth/dress-and-appearance?lang=eng

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    1. "You have the right to be treated with respect... no matter what you’re wearing."

      I think even more important than the right (entitlement) to be treated with respect, is the responsibility (choice and accountability) to treat others with respect. What I choose to wear, or not wear, indicates my level of respect for others around me, and in great measure myself.

      I can not control what anyone else wears, nor do I want to. I also do not have (nor want) the right to judge (think less or more of) someone based on what they wear, but that does not mean I go out and wear whatever I want, regardless of how it may make others feel. That would show my lack of respect for them.

      I love For the Strength of Youth on this. Clear and concise :)

      https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth/dress-and-appearance?lang=eng

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    2. I agree, Sara and Marie Clark. We don't live in an idealistic vacuum--our choices do affect others, and it is distracting for anyone--"good" or "bad," male or female--to speak to someone who is scantily clad. It's biology and social norms and all sorts of things that are part of who we are rolled up into one.

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    3. It sounds like it's time to change social norms, then. If scantily-clad people are distracting, it's because we put too much emphasis on the human form and not enough on human worth and conduct.

      The only reason I could have for not being comfortable having a perfectly reasonable and polite conversation with a naked person is my own hangups about the naked form. Where do those hangups come from? That's where the real problem lies, and that's what we need to address.

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    4. This is the exact behavior that the Savior condemned. Why shame another person when you can love them instead?

      Look at the beam in your eye before complaining about the mote in another's eye.

      Modesty is subjective. It is pure and simple a social construct. Ask yourself why you're not wearing a one piece, wrist to ankle temple garment if you doubt that.

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    5. It sounds like a lot of people are irritated with the video. I hope we don't make the mistake of letting our irritation cause us to run the other direction in defiance of a few statements we didn't like. Let's not fog up the basic issues.

      Well put Sara! Its fine to say "I'm free to wear what I want" but we do not live in a vacuum and our actions DO affect others. Perhaps we don't care about respecting others. Clearly there's a lot of this mentality out there. Respect for others is lacking greatly in our society. Respect for self tends to be more private, however I think we are sending a message about self respect when you choose to wear less. We can choose what we wear but the consequences of how we present ourselves is no longer within our control once we've chosen.

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    6. Others still have their own responsibility as to how they interpret and respond to it. Let's not forget that very important part of the conversation.

      Objectification is not a law of nature. It is a choice, a cultural more, and it can be un-chosen.

      Let's not avoid that conversation by blaming women for reaping "natural consequences" when men objectify them. It is not a natural consequence, and we can talk about why certain men are viewing women that way, and what we can do to change it, rather than walking on eggshells around the ones that do.

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  10. Very good. Will now be posting a link to this blog entry every time I see that video pop up on Facebook. Thank you.

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  11. "The better message is this: wear what you want, like, and feel comfortable in, not for its effect on other people, but so that you can be happy and free as you go about doing many good things in the world."

    And what is "good" then?

    If you go about doing whatever you want, like, and feel comfortable with, regardless of its effect on other people, is that good? If a person goes about taking your possessions because they want them, like them, and they feel comfortable doing so, is this good to you?

    Or what if you invite a friend over to go swimming, and they show up in what they want, like, and feel comfortable with, which just so happens to be stark naked. Maybe they read your article and decided to add a little "good" to the world. Your parents happen to be home, your younger brother is there, but it's ok, this is all in the name of good.

    And you can't say this is example is extreme, how would your naked friend feel about that?

    If anything goes there is no good.

    And all you are left with is to criticize the people who do have standards.

    ( Which, by the way, doesn't make sense. These people with standards are doing what they want, like, and feel comfortable with just like you are )

    What we do effects people. And if you go about telling people to do whatever they want regardless of how it effects people, telling them this will make them happy and free and somehow capable of doing this illusive "good" you are promising them, don't be surprised when the effected people hold you accountable.

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    1. You know what effects people? Strangers coming up and telling people they are immodest for what they are wearing. THAT effects people.

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    2. Cabobean, your analogy is extreme in terms of the context of this blog post. Of course what we wear, what we say, and what we do affects other people. But there's a fine line between being considerate of others and basing everything you do on what others think. I haven't watched the entire video, but it sounds like the sentiment was that women shouldn't dress immodestly because it affects men's brain wave patterns in such a way that will result in them objectifying the woman. In other words, "You shouldn't dress like that, because what will the men think?" That's no different than telling a young child that he shouldn't try so hard in school because it will cause others to feel bad about themselves and they won't be able to control their desire to pick on him."

      There needs to be a happy medium. When you make a choice, don't rub it in other people's faces, and don't force them to confront their own reaction to those choices. Just be who you are. The student shouldn't brag every time he gets the right answer and tell the other kids that one day they'll be washing his mercedes, but he shouldn't stop doing so well in school based on what they might think or how it might discourage them to the point that they do end up working at a car wash.

      To bring this back to what women wear (and what men wear), you should base what you choose to wear on how you feel about it and what you think it says about you. I have enough faith in humanity that most people are intelligent enough to know which of their choices set reasonable vs. unreasonable expectations for others. But we can't base every decision on what others might think, especially when those thoughts are often not uncontrollable. They just choose not to control them.

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    3. Thank you for sharing this. I do believe in women wearing what makes them feel good about themselves BUT the idea of what "good" is does differ from person to person.
      Being from Europe where going topless or even naked on the beach is considered normal I don´t see the comparison mentioned above as being extreme but very important to address.
      Even though a women is not responsible for how she is treated or judged, every person should dress in a manner that shows respect for themselves and people around them.
      There are swimwear that I wouldn't want my son (or husband for that matter) to be exposed to. And yes, men are responsible for the way they think and react to people, but young boys have a much harder time controlling that part of their brain and are influenced in a much grater way by what they see.

      Bottom line, the understanding of what is "good" in terms of activities and exposure differs too much for people to agree on this topic. (e.g. porn).

      What are the reasons for wearing skimpy swimwear anyways? improving self worth or catching the attention of men?

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    4. The original quote, said to *wear* what you want, like and feel comfortable in.

      But then you said "If you go about *doing* whatever you want, like, and feel comfortable with" (emphasis mine).

      You have changed the argument into something you feel that you are more capable of attacking, which is a classic example of a strawman argument. And it's unacceptable.

      Furthermore, you assume that being naked is something that is not OK. If someone is uncomfortable with people being naked, that is their problem. It is deeply ingrained in our American culture that being naked is dirty, shameful, or inappropriate, and that's a real problem.

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    5. Cabobean, I think your post is spot on and your analogy of the nude visitor is great. Clearly everyone has different opinions and that's totally fine. Share them. Anyone who thinks we all have the think, act and behave the same is going to struggle immensely through life.

      My thoughts ... What of lots of people seem to be harping on is "don't judge my choices -- you have no right!" There are natural consequences to every choice. You can blog all you want about the evils of "judgment", but call it what you want -- you will be viewed, evaluated, and 'decided on' by others based on things like actions, behaviors, presentation... this is reality... like a resume, like a job interview. Presentation does matter in the real world. whatever that presentation may be.

      My hairdresser is tattooed from head to toe. She has chosen to present herself and her body to the world this way. I like her as a hairdresser and a person, but I perceive the way she treats her body with private sadness and disappointment on her behalf. I think she has made her "like it or go away" statement very clearly. And people will .. .they will "like it" or they will go away.

      And YES, its her choice. No ones arguing that.

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  12. This is incredible and articulate. THANK YOU, for so much that you've said here to point out the fallacy of the presenter's logic on several levels. I really dislike the message of "be modest because men will..." or "be modest because men think..." ...why is this the driving reason for a girl's choice in what she wears? It makes me crazy. I love this part of the article you posted: "The better message is this: wear what you want, like, and feel comfortable in, not for its effect on other people, but so that you can be happy and free as you go about doing many good things in the world." Amen, amen and amen. If a girl chooses to be modest, it should be between her and God -- not between her and "what men think." Thank you, again, for this.

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  13. I read the original research article and I think it is important to keep in mind what the goal of the study was to begin with. Some things that were not mentioned in either media (youtube video or this blog post) was that the study included both male and female participants, that both male and female participants objectified the scantily clad females (associated the first person verb). That was not reported though because the aim of the study was looking at Response Time and the group that performed at a statistically significant level were the men who scored high on a hostile sexist survey.

    Further, the heads were not digitally removed on this portion of the study. In the second part of the study, face recognition and body recognition were looked at and that is where a face-only and body-only images were presented.

    For me, the thing that stood out to me was that the results of the study indicate that an unclothed female produces a biological response in the brain (a mechanism to ensure survival of the human race?) which of course, can and is inhibited by executive function processes (agency).

    I am in no way stating that men can't control/inhibit their biological response to an attractive female.

    But. I do think it's important for us to understand that various stages of undress may elicit a biological response, that sexualized females are objectified by both men and women. And when making your clothing choices, make an informed decision. For myself, when I go for a job interview, I'll likely opt for something conservative. At night when I come home to my husband, I'll choose something that uses his biologic response according to whatever my goal is.

    ULTIMATELY, I think that as a society, it's up to us to start young and teach our children that men and women are equals and how to respect one another. In the meantime, thank you to all the mothers (and young women) who purchase modest (notice I did not say one-piece) swimsuits for their daughters while my boys are young and impressionable. I am working like mad to teach them to respect their equal counterparts.

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    1. Perfect!

      And yes, one piece does NOT always equal modest -- I've sorted through enough plunging necklines to know!

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  14. wow, the original study, the video by the modest swimwear girl, and this blog have given caused me to think a lot about it. Mainly because one day I will have daughters whose attitudes about themselves, their bodies, other peoples bodies, their dress, and others' dress will be shaped a lot by what I think and what I say to them and how I answer their questions.
    One thing I have learned from this article is that I definitely want to help my daughters have a strong sense of self worth. I think this modesty thing goes deeper than the individual though. I think that self worth comes more from just what we feel about ourselves. It does also include how we relate to others and how others do see us. I think there are more lessons to learn from how we dress than just what we ourselves feel comfortable with. I think how we dress serves to teach other really valuable character traits, such as inner confidence, compassion for others, meekness, humility, selflessness. I am excited to explore this with my future wife (whom i find modestly dressed woman far more attractive, bathing suits included) and with my future children. I think that the studies done are not perfect studies, but if we dismiss the points that are being made because each study has some flaws then maybe we miss the bigger picture.
    Another thought I had is that the proof of what is good in society is always in the pudding. Consider how a man or a woman becomes addicted to something. They may have a small taste of something to start, but the stimuli needs to be stronger in subsequent encounters to elicit the same feeling or reaction in the body. Men and women don't get hooked to pornography looking at women in one piece bathing suits. They need more, they will seek out more. Lots of good men and women get addicted to porn, and they aren't all the hostile sexist survey people. As immodesty grows, pornography addiction grows, sex addiction grows, devaluing of the roles of men and women are increasing, apathy for holiness and religion are growing. If we dismiss these as only coincidences and not cause and effect then history will laugh at us one day when it opens its pages to us and asks us if we were just to afraid to try and be right about something and instead acquiesced to coincidence to avoid current societal scrutiny. It is funny to me that I hear all the time from women around me that they just cant find the good men out their. Even good men have hormones and brains that function on chemistry, and if you take off the clothing and choose to reveal more flesh, the pleasure centers of those good men are firing away and they are getting a whole different experience from the women in their life and wha-la, a whole lot of men addicted to pornography out their. So now all the good men are walking around out their with their pleasure centers being fired up by those blessed women showing what they got and all the covered up women and getting know attention because the men don't get any pleasure from their association. Truly those men all have to be altruistic as well and love women much more for what is on the inside. There are men like that, but we are not inviting more of them into society's cool places to be and cool places to find a partner. Which came first, the chicken or the egg. I think it is evident. So, if all the altruistic women out their want men to just be awesome and in control, but also want to have complete control over what they want to wear, just ask yourself if their has ever been such a society that has past the test of time in those conditions. It doesn't exist. Societies have existed of great valor in the past and stood for long periods of time, but each were taken down by pride and then followed by vanity and selfishness, loosening of moral values, and a decay of time honored principles. My point isn't to pull this back to.. "we all have to dress to please some one else". My point is that I think this issue is bigger than the individual.

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    1. Very, VERY well said. I could not have said it any better. I hope those on this blog read your comments.

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    2. Thank for sharing your male perspective. Very helpful and poignant.

      I particularly liked the angle of "where are all the good men?". Single women may say they appreciate a man who loves their insides, but they may or may not be feeding that type of love in the relationship. (I'm talking more than just swimwear - how we present ourselves matters).

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    3. Stu: I applaud you for using the materials you are reading and viewing to think about how your future daughters may be influenced by the modesty issue. I hope that you may keep the following in mind, as well.

      You are right in noting that one of the ways addiction is diagnosed comes from observing an ever-increasing consumption of a particular substance or behavior. However, this is only a part of what constitutes addiction.

      Many people consume alcohol without becoming addicted. Many people view pornography (either by accident or by choice) without becoming addicted. Speaking for myself, as I began to understand addiction's role in my own life, this was at first a very difficult concept for me to understand. As a Mormon, I have been taught a pretty strict "abstinence" standpoint when it comes to addictive substances, and so I first had to learn that addiction is NOT simply consumption (while also realizing that those who are addicts, too, have to abstain completely from consuming, because their brains process consumption differently).

      Certainly some substances have such a powerful reaction on brain wiring that it takes only a little exposure to the substance in order to cause a chemical dependency. I am not going to argue that porn addiction isn't real or that it isn't problematic. However, I do not agree with your premise that it originates with looking at people who are dressed immodestly.

      We have two groups of people--those who consume (and by "consume" I mean partake of a chemical substance/drug or who participate in a behavior, such as gambling or viewing pornography) because from time to time they enjoy it; and, those who consume because their brains compel them to consume. The second group are the addicts, and they consume in ever bigger quantities in order to keep their brains in balance.

      While I have no idea if you are familiar with addiction and recovery programs, for the sake of argument here I'm going to assume you don't, just so that I can talk from bare-bones basics. Forgive me if I am telling you stuff about which you already have close, personal experience.

      The first of the 12 steps says that we don't have power over alcohol/drugs/food/porn/compulsive behavior of choice. By extension, that means there is nothing I do, walking along the beach in beach-appropriate attire (or if I'm hiking in shorts and a tank top, or if I'm a the grocery store in shorts and a lightweight blouse), to control whether or not somebody becomes addicted to pornography. I do not cause anyone's addiction, I can't control anyone's addiction, and I cannot cure anyone's addiction. Whatever pornography problem you think we have because women are dressing immodestly, this is not the cause of a pornography addiction.

      So what is the source of pornography addiction, if it's not all that immodesty? Based on everything *I* have learned about addiction (though I'll admit I have more to go), I would argue that it is first and foremost, because addiction is a brain disease--it originates in the brain. By the time we get to choice about whether we'll be partaking of any particular substance or behavior, there are some deep, neurological things that are already in place. Some of them may have come from the wiring we came with, some may have come because of the various environments in which we grew.

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    4. Second, since learning to manage thought patterns is one of the best ways to manage an addiction, I would also argue that a pornography addiction may originate from particular maladaptive patterns in thought to start. For purposes of this bikini/pornography debate, I would say one of the ingredients to the pornography addiction comes from the intense shame that some carry around sexuality, such that we are unable to view a naked/partially dressed/fully dressed person without saying, "Yup. There's a beautiful body. And I'm attracted to that body. I even have a physical response to seeing that body. That is normal. That's the way God made me, and it's good. What I do with that thought, well, now, that's up to me. Maybe I'll find another spot on the beach. Or call my sponsor."

      Third (although I'm sure there are still more reasons to go), addiction comes from, in general, a need to escape pain. The easiest example of this would be our vets who struggle with PTSD (though there are many people who carry many different types of trauma (big- or little-T trauma) who are also trying to numb their pain). Any substance that provides respite from this daily pain will bring relief and can put the user at risk for addiction. But again, that doesn't mean it's the woman walking along the beach in a bikini. It has way more to do with the addict and what's going on with him or her.

      I apologize for the sort-of threadjack, but I really do believe that when having a discussion about whether immodesty is contributing to an addiction problem, it is critical to understand the nature of addiction. I believe that if more of us understood it, then there wouldn't be as much fear of "immodesty" and, in fact, without this fear we could deal with whatever pornography problem we seem to be having in church in the first place a lot more effectively. Normalizing healthy sexuality will be far more important and beneficial than policing swimsuits.

      P.S. No idea why my name is so funky above. My name is Kari

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    5. Kari - so you do or do not think that women wearing less clothes 99.9 percent of the time turns mens sexual thinking on and greatly diminishes their thoughts about what you're thinking, saying, or are concerned about? Any men choose to comment on this natural phenomenon?

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    6. Heartmusic: Are you using these statistics to be hypothetical or do you have valid research to suggest that 99.9% of the time that a woman wears less clothing, the consequences will be that a man will treat her differently? I'm intending to answer your question, but I'm hoping for some clarification.

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  15. Great Article! I think women should be proud of their bodies, whatever their size, and wear what they feel cute and comfortable in to the beach or pool. I love to wear a bikini although hypocritically don't want my daughter to wear one (she's 7), because I feel better in that than some of the tankini's or one pieces I own. I try to keep all the proper bits covered and always hope that people don't think less of me for wearing it because it may come across as "immodest". I'm all for the cute uber-modest swimsuits and have many friends who love them. I feel like I'm a very religious person who grew up in an overly conservative town, but since I've moved away, I find the most judgmental people are the ones who are the least secure about who THEY are.

    I do have to say that for the sake of my own children, I pray that people do cover their "bits" in public family friendly areas! But I also believe in the beauty of breast-feeding, but disagree that women have the right to show off their boob in public while doing it!

    I think in the end, people should wear what they feel is right and regardless of what that is, someone is going to fight that they are wrong.

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    1. Women aren't "showing off" their boob by breastfeeding in public. They are feeding their child. This is irrelevant to the article but as a public breastfeeding mom myself, this statement bothered me.

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  16. Furthermore, it is not the responsibility of women to manage men’s sexual desires. Full stop. It is not women's job. FINALLY!!!!!
    I have 5 daughters who love God and want to please him. I am so tired of hearing people fuss over this issue. I want my girls to celebrate their femininity, not look at it as a curse.

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  17. Wow-- beautifully stated. I completely agree.

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  18. "stop judging people". Whoever wrote this wasn't very intelligent and missed the point all together. Her whole article was a judgmental rant about the viral video.

    Women: when you wear hot sexy bikinis, all i do is think naughty things. When you don't, I don't. Talk about POWER. You have the power to control a man's mind which in turn controls the man's actions. That's true power.

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    1. How about you just control your own actions and thoughts and don't depend on the actions of those around you to determine what you think/feel/do?

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    2. Wow, Martin, you're a sicko. How's that for judging.

      Learn to keep your penis in your pants and control your thoughts.

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    3. There is a clearly a difference between criticizing a blog/video for perpetuating Rape Culture and judging someone on what that person is wearing. Not all "judging" is equal. But I get the feeling that you already know that.

      Martin, you insinuate that you cannot control your actions because of your thoughts. This is false. All the naughty things you think are your problem and no one else's--no woman (or person, for that matter) needs to change how they dress or act because of that. You control your own behavior.

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    4. You might benefit from reading this: http://bycommonconsent.com/2013/06/18/men-sex-and-modesty/

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    5. Dude, you are responsible for your own boner.

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  19. Very well put. It is so nice to see that as a human race we can love and accept everyone for who they are and what choices they make. If we have negative feelings for someone because of what they wear, act like or do than that only affects us, because we are the ones harboring that negative energy. If you want to be Christ like then BE Christ like, love and accept with out Judging. If you want to be Buddha like be Buddha like, love and accept with out Judging. It doesn't matter the religion. Its so simple, just enjoy life, be happy, and don't judge!!!

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  20. I love everything about this article! Thank you!

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  21. Thank you for this. I've recently gotten really frustrated by modesty culture, mainly because it tells me as a man that I am a dirty rotten sex-crazed sinner who can't control myself (see a few comments up). My thoughts are mine to take captive to Christ (2 Cor 10:5) if I have an objectification problem, not every woman's in my life.

    More to the point, though, the part about how she misrepresented the study was huge. Specifically the fact that the bikini women were shown without heads. Seeing facial expressions elicit mirror neuron reactions which is essentially what we call empathy. No face = very little potential for empathy.

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  22. I'm a person who appreciates that my husband is faithful, who wants others' husbands and significant others to be faithful, who wishes there were more successful families and less cheating and pain in the world. Why in the world would I not be willing to do a small thing that would contribute to that? Supporting healthy and happy and appropriate relationships between the sexes is more important to me than fashion or "wearing whatever I want to wear." They don't even come close.

    It's not easy, even for the best of men, to shut out unwanted thoughts that arise from seeing scantily clad women. It's not a question of them being devoid of self-control and respect. Their brains and sexual response and hard-wired visually and that's a biological fact. Are they still responsible for their thoughts, actions, and choices? Of course! But why do women insist on the best behavior from men but then specifically do things that make it difficult for them? We can be so hypocritical in that way.

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    1. Your statements still blame women for the actions of men, and that is wrong. Men are responsible for their own actions, period.

      Women don't insist on men's best behavior. They just insist on not being judged because their behavior elicits, beyond their control, responses from the men around them. They insist on not being raped and not being objectified.

      Men can think whatever they want. They cannot do whatever they want.

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    2. How about we, culturally, do some big things that actually have an effect on respect and faithfulness for all of us, like actually teaching men and women how to interact with each other as human beings, and see each other as people, and foster communication, regardless of whether there is sexual attraction or arousal in the picture?

      Basing "appropriate relationships" between the sexes around the need for something so arbitrary and subjective as the presence or lack of fabric in a certain fashion; and making excuses for those who cannot relate respectfully with any and all individuals, (whether or not they are attracted to/aroused by them,) might as well be a literal fig-leaf on the problem. And it's keeping us from talking about and addressing the real problems.

      And it's also keeping us from talking about modesty in a non-sexualized way, but people seem much more eager to condemn women for wearing too little fabric than we are to talk about the problems to having too much expensive stuff and setting oneself above others because of your own clothing choices.

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  23. I think your post is well intentioned, and I agree with you about women learning to appreciate their self worth regardless of what others say. However, I don't agree that anything goes. In that regard, I agree with some of these other commenters, that the church issues standards for a reason. True, there may not have been a guideline to be modest back in the time that Christ was on the earth, but the world wasn't so rampant with pornography then. However, the message "Whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already in his heart," definitely was around then. No, total responsibility is not on women to help men. Men must help themselves to and avoid temptation. But pornography is addicting, and difficult to break away from, and if I can help men by dressing modestly, then I sure will!! Now do I go out and judge others for what they wear? No!! But I sure appreciate it when they respect themselves and others enough to dress modestly. You can still be sexy without being revealing! Keep in mind, women have pornography problems too! So again, no, the blame is never all on men. But I agree with Elder Oaks whole heartedly when he says "young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you." I have dealt with several others close to me being addicted to pornography. And I will tell you there is almost nothing I wouldn't do to prevent it. It is heartbreaking to watch your family and others' fall apart because of it. Your whole world changes to a darkness you can never fully escape. You might escape for awhile, but it almost always returns. I would give anything to prevent others from having to go through it, and I think our Savior would too. Thus the loving instructions from a Heavenly Father to help us find peace and happiness in this life, and in the life to come. Commandments really aren't a set of rules to keep or a checklist, as many people perceive them to be. Rather, in my perspective, it is a loving Father saying "This is how I achieved perfection and true happiness. I want you to have that too. Here is the way." In behalf of all those that do dress modestly, I say "THANK YOU!!" I truly do appreciate it more than you'll ever know!

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    1. Such a good comment. Thank you!

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    2. "The church issues standards for a reason."

      What's the reason?

      Also, a church's reasons aren't applicable to anyone who isn't a member of a church, meaning that anyone within the church has no right to judge anyone outside that church for not following that church's standards.

      I don't think you can demonstrate a correlation between modest dress and a decrease in porn addiction. Moreover, porn--unlike, say, heroin--is only addicting to those who are pre-disposed to be addicted. (Alcohol is also addicting, but most people are not alcoholics.)

      You assume too many false truths associated with pornography, and you define pornography too broadly, making the use of the term largely immaterial except for emotional response. I urge you to read some scientific, non-religious writings on the subject.

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    3. Addicts often look for a scapegoat to pass their addiction onto. "I wouldn't drink if it wasn't for my crapy job." "I wouldn't shoot up if I didn't need to forget the pain I was in." By telling the entire church that women bear responsibility to cover up because "you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you" gives men an out to live in their sin.

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    4. Wonderfully said. It seems the other commentators are having a hard time understanding the fundamentals of the LDS church. How we all try to work together. Help each other. We don't see each other as individuals at war with each other, but as a larger community, a Church family. We try to contribute good to the world but in fact, aren't trying to force our views on others. We share our views because we count, just like anyone else. We share and you share. Its all good for the global conversation.

      Evan Paul, I have been reviewing your comments and I'm curious what your hot button is on this issue? You don't seem to share the background of a lot of LDS folks, which is fine... but your statements about not judging are really broad too. I'm wondering if view "judging" as 100% hateful...or do you also view judgment as analytical? Like, I'm going to choose to date between these 2 individuals and based on their presentation, it may affect the choice I make. To me, that is analytical judgment, but not hate.

      PORN: Yes, Porn is extremely addictive and some will be pre-disposed to it faster, quicker, but anyone has the potential to be an addict and its very easy to fall into. I can say that with confidence because it is my professional background.

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    5. I have appreciated all of your comments on this article. I find it frustrating that sticking up for modesty or moral values gets attacked as being judgmental. I'm not condemning anyone when I choose not to participate in or support something, but somehow someone always throws out an angry rebuttal that I need to stop judging. Which just means they're judging me for "judging". Accusing someone of judging is removing any feelings of condemnation, real or imagined, from yourself and putting them on someone else. But I'm not condemning. I don't wear a bikini, never have, never will. But 2 of my best LDS friends do, and I love them the same whether they do or don't. People are often careless with the way they throw around the judgment word and too often judge me when they accuse me of judging them.

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    6. "young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you."

      I'm not going to lie: there are few things I hate in this world more than this statement.

      My bust size is 28G. Do you think there is anything I could possibly wear that would hide my figure? No matter what I wear or where I go, men notice me. I'm probably "walking pornography" to a lot of men. And you know what? I don't care. Because I am not ashamed of my body, and I realize that unless I walk around in a burqa men will know exactly what I look like.

      Speaking of the burqa-- where is the line drawn of how a woman could be "walking pornography" or not? For you it appears that the line is at tankinis, knee length shorts, and covered shoulders. For many Muslims, that line is at covering the entire body and face. They use the exact same reasoning you do. What makes your requirements of modesty any better of different?

      Back to the quote that I despise, "walking pornography." The definition of pornography is media that has little or no artistic merit. As a human being, I have a lot of worth. I have a lot of "artistic merit," if you will. I am more than my sexual form. For someone to reduce me to pornography is absolutely ridiculous, it doesn't matter what I wear-- I should always be seen as a human being.

      If someone views me as "walking pornography" they are the one who needs to change-- not me.

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    7. I'm confused when you offer the consolation "You can still be sexy without being revealing!" I thought the whole point of dressing in a modest bathing suit, according to the church, is to NOT be sexy, because being sexy is what "causes" men to have sexual thoughts. Sexy by definition is "sexually attractive or exciting." So what you're telling girls is that they should still be sexually exciting (because after all, why would you wear a bathing suit at all if you're not trying to attract a man, right?? /sarcasm), but you should be sexually exciting while wearing some extra fabric on your midriff, because you don't want to be overtly sexually exciting. That's some mental madness in my opinion.

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  24. ps I like this video better http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=WtzIcz7MOkc&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DWtzIcz7MOkc

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  25. great article ! I am so glad that more then a few people feel this way. I also think it is interesting that so many harp on modestly as if how much clothing you wear is the only aspect to it. The word its self says more then that . I personally think it is more about not being flashy or showy because that isn't what is important in Gods eyes . Even in the scriptures when he talks about immodesty he mentions fancy apparel , Jewry , hair etc. Basically I think every one has their own choice and shouldn't be judged for who they are by what they wear. besides being judgmental is more damaging then immodestly.

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  26. I think context of the situation is very important. When talking about swimsuits you are talking about a very specific situation. Men or women who struggle with lust should avoid places that will have an increase of temptation for them. A swimming pool would definitely be one of these places. But what about church?

    If there is one place that men and women should go out of their way to dress in a way to not be a temptation to others it should be at church. Many pornography addicts, both men and women, attend church to gain strength as they fight the temptations that they personally struggle with. Church is one place they should be able to come without having to worry about extra "eye candy" around them. Yes, these people are responsible for their own thoughts, but we can help them. What we wear does affect those around us and at least at church we should be willing to forgo are ideals of fashion or style in an effort to help someone else.

    And yes, we need to not judge people who are being "immodest" in our eyes, just as we shouldn't judge people who struggle with sins different then are own. People who struggle with lust should be treated like the sons and daughters of God that they are, not like perverts. We all sin differently and we all need to be less judgmental of each other from both sides of the coin.

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    1. I agree that church is a place not to tempt others. Why, then, don't we completely cover ourselves, head to toe, such as with a burka, for instance?

      I'm not trying to be sarcastic or absurd here. Wouldn't that be the best course of action? Even being fully-clothed can be tempting to people. And what about hair? Facial hair? Facial features? Some men and women are even sexually excited by shoes, for instance. Why have we decided that we have to protect ourselves against certain types of attractions, but not others?

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    2. Temptations can be found everywhere. Fully clothed or not. Modesty isn't about eliminating temptation it's about decreasing it in my opinion. So we will never be able to completely prevent someone from being tempted. That's just reality. But just because it can't be completely prevented doesn't mean it's not worth the effort to lessen it to a respectful level instead of just abandoning to attempt to all together...I hope that makes sense. Do what we reasonably can. That's all that can be expected.

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  27. I don't normally post comments on strangers' blogs (and I don't normally read strangers' blogs) but this issue is near and dear to my heart. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this out. You articulately expressed sentiments that I struggle to put into words when explaining how I feel about modesty. Its wonderful! I'm going to bookmark this post so that I can reread and memorize it so that I can teach my own daughters (and friends and everyone I come into contact with) what modesty really means.

    Thanks again!

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  28. While I understand your argument and the point you are trying to make, I think you are WRONG. If Heavenly Father agreed with you, the prophet would not be telling us to dress modestly. He would, instead, be saying, "Wear whatever makes you most comfortable. If that's nothing, so be it." pffft. And you yourself said that you go to BYU, where they have a very strict dress code. Why do you think that is? Because religion is meant to be stifling and teach us that our bodies are bad and we must keep OTHERS from having impure thoughts? That is ridiculous.

    The point is that we need to have respect for OURSELVES!! We need not to be slaves to society's sexualization of women! And that is definitely what the creation of the bikini was intended as-- another way to objectify and sexualize women. Oh, but if we make them think they like it and that they "feel more comfortable" this way, then it's totally fine. What a dumb argument! The prophet (and later our temple covenants) do(es) not ask us to dress modestly in order to control the hormones of men... although that is often how it is presented to people so that they can understand it. I see the same misunderstandings with the rule against coffee... "Oh because it has caffeine." Well, then why can we have Mt. Dew? Because caffeine is not the answer. It is because God said coffee is bad for us. Same thing goes with dressing immodestly. It is bad for us. Be it because it shows off what should be sacred, it sends a message about us that isn't good, it makes men have the wrong kinds of thoughts about us, or it makes us valued for the wrong things. Whatever. The point is that God has asked us to dress modestly. Give it whatever reasoning that you want if that makes you feel better or gives you a purpose to follow the commandment.

    The reason I liked the 'Swimsuit Lady's' arguments about it, is that it gave a slightly more secular reason to do what we all innately know we SHOULD be doing--covering up the more private parts of our bodies. She was trying to say that we should value ourselves enough that we present ourselves as dignified women, not sex toys. I like that, and I happen to agree with it. After all, you are much more likely to be used as a tool if you present yourself as one. No one can tell me that they wear a bikini because it is "just more comfortable." That's bullcrap. I've seen how frustrating they are to keep up, keep bodies covered, keep on. Now, if they say that it makes them "feel better" to wear a bikini, I won't argue. That feeling is probably due to the fact that they get more attention when they wear one. And why do they get more attention? Because what should be their most sacred, private parts are out on display for everyone to gawk at. The old saying, to me, is true: "Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?"

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    1. So, no, we shouldn't buy a swimsuit just because someone says, "This will make men value you more," or "This will help you help the men to have control over their hormones." But we should definitely cover up what God made most sacred, simply because he has asked us to do it, because He doesn't want us to be identified and given attention because of what is on the outside. It is our SOULS that he wants others to see. How can they when we never give them the chance? And how can we justify doing that just because we, "Like how we feel?" Liking how we feel has never been a good enough argument to do anything. A lot of people like how they feel when they get drunk, others like how they feel when they masturbate. Does that give us license to do those things freely? Are we supposed to just let the world tell us what is right or wrong?

      Let me end with a scripture, just as you did in your article. Jesus did not say, "Be whatever you want to be, whatever makes you feel good and comfortable." He said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," and "...Ye shall observe to do the things which ye have seen me do, and bear record of me even unto the end." You need a reason to dress modestly and keep your body sacred? There it is. Because that is what He did... and that is what he has asked us to do.

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    2. Yes, he did say "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect".

      He also said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

      Don't judge. It's not very Christian of you.

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    3. "The reason I liked the 'Swimsuit Lady's' arguments about it, is that it gave a slightly more secular reason to do what we all innately know we SHOULD be doing--covering up the more private parts of our bodies."

      You say that this blog is wrong because of religion and God's will, but then say you liked the original because of its secular applications. That is confusing.

      I don't innately know that I shouldn't be naked. How do you know that?

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    4. Liberty lady, thank you for you for your thoughts, I agree with so much of what you said...I have never once heard the prophets tell us to to do whatever we want or please..can you imagine the chaos that would ensue in a family if everyone were to do exactly what they want all the time? My feeling is they would become extremely selfish. I know the reason our Father in Heaven has asked us to keep certain commandments and standards..it is out of obedience and love to him, it is how we reverence him as our Father.

      My life has been blessed more than I can say by doing being obedient and I end up being the one who is truly happy and at peace with myself as well as others. They can do as they please for they have their agency as well...but that does not mean that I support them it it.

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    5. that, my friends, is the heart of a Christ follower... Beautiful! thank you for articulating so well... God clothed Adam and Eve... go back and read why in Genesis... it's foundational to this argument, though i don't think it's even received air time so far... i have 2 sons and 1 daughter... honoring/obeying God is the first reason we try to dress modestly, self-respect is the second, concern for our fellow planet-dwellers is the third... and can you imagine the chaos and Bedlam if we all started doing what seems good in our own eyes, bevause it feels good and we like it?!... God help us all if that's what our world is coming to!

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    6. Technically they clothed themselves first with the fig leaves. They followed Satan's advice and covered their nakedness. Then the Lord gave them clothes.

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  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. David, you can't speak for women. I wear a bikini because I feel empowered when I do. It's not for vain reasons at all.

      Just like the author stated in different cultures different fashions are acceptable. In Brazil there are nude beaches everywhere and no one thinks twice about it. It's not a "oh my gosh she's naked now I can't control my thoughts." No, it's totally normal and common. (I would know I've lived there for years.)

      For you to say that women dress in a certain manner is all about vanity is a blanket statement that has no validation.

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    2. Hailey, What do you mean by "empowered"? Genuinely curious about that.

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    3. I see nothing wrong with the world finally getting to the point that we stop shaming our naked bodies to the point that we comfortably walk around naked again. You seem to assume that we should wear clothing to cover ourselves up, but offer no actual reason why.

      Many people in our society assume that being naked is bad somehow, and they take it as self-evident. This is logically faulty.

      If we all get to the point that we can walk around naked freely (and in many places, such as Oregon, where I live, you can), then we will have progressed to the point where that is acceptable and no longer raises an eyebrow.

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    4. Evan, you have very interesting arguments. It seems that you are saying that there really is no right or wrong. I don't think you care so much about the bikini being right or wrong, but your comments give me the impression that you believe we should eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. And that doesn't warrant any judgment from me if you do think that, but that way of thinking is certainly not for me. In my anthropology class last semester I studied a culture that forces their young men to live with their older men and ingest the sperm of these older men to make these young boys stronger. Now, socially, that would not be acceptable here. But it could be if we all decided to change what we accept as normal. However, though I don't feel like our society is a highly moral one, I'm grateful that thus far no such practices are acceptable in our society. If you are searching for a "why" some of us cover our bodies up, unfortunately the only one that many of us can give is that we do things simply because God asked us to, and for me that's enough. I can't give you a scientific fact as to why we must, but I can tell you that I'm happy to follow the commandments of my Heavenly Father who really knows the key to joy and wants what's best for me. I respect the fact that you might not believe the same thing as me, but please don't accuse me of being judgmental.

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    5. Beautifully said Rachel :)

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  30. "In fact, there is no point at which a woman would be sufficiently clothed to negate a man’s sexual desire."
    Excellent point. I think you some up the core mistake modesty culture makes.

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    1. I agree that a man can be "turned on" by a woman who is fully clothed and completely modest. Nobody argues that point. They argue that while a man "can" get turned on by anything, that he is more likely too if a woman is wearing less clothes. It's not an argument of modesty eliminates all temptations, it's simply that it decreases them. That being said, a man is still responsible for controlling himself and not acting on temptation. Temptation by itself isn't sin.

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  31. I have to disagree, I do believe that you should dress in a way that the Holy Ghost can be your constant companion. Our bodies were made in the image of our God. I personally don't see Mary the Mother of Jesus showing parts of her body like the midriff, upper thighs, etc. I do believe that modesty is ALWAYS the best policy. Your also a women so your opinions of it not affecting boys brains can be dismissed in a way. If you had conducted psychological experiments showing that men are in fact not influenced by the way we woman dress I'd love to hear it, because the boom in Porn sales and the fact there is sex trades of young girls going on says otherwise.

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    1. @ Amber, unless you are two thousand years old you have never seen Mary the Mother of Jesus at all. AND just for the record religious art work featuring a bare breasted Mary feeding the infant Jesus is or at least was, actually quite common up until a hundred or so years ago.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Aveiro_March_2012-21a.jpg

      http://www.examiner.com/slideshow/artwork-showing-the-virgin-mary-breastfeeding-jesus

      http://catholicbreastfeeding.blogspot.com/2013/03/images-of-mary-nursing-baby-jesus.html

      https://www.google.com/search?q=mary+breastfeeding+jesus&client=firefox-a&hs=oI6&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=nYjEUfHmOMn2iQKk2YGYAg&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1600&bih=771

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    2. It wasn't God who told Eve to cover up, you know?

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    3. To B,

      I don't know of any scripture that specifically states that God commanded Adam and Eve to clothe themselves, but I think this scripture shows that God intended for them to wear clothes of some kind.

      27 Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them. Moses 4:27

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    4. I don't think "coats of skins" means anything other than "he put skin on their skeletons and organs."

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    5. But we do see Adam and Eve walk around stark naked in the presence of God, and it was Satan that told them to cover their nakedness. I don't know exactly what that says about modesty, and I'm not advocating that we all become nudists but I think it's clear that God is not concerned about our physical appearances and that the holy ghost is not offended by clothing that some would deem immodest.

      And, I don't know how being a woman would disqualify someone from voicing an opinion on this matter. Women have both mental and physical reaction to men when they go shirtless or wear other revealing clothing, yet no one is making videos shaming them to change their appearance, demonstrate more self respect and dignity for the benefit of women. Women have been singled out in this video and countless other messages like it. And if women don't stand up for themselves, no one will.

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    6. I am not looking to argue, but Satan didn't tell Adam and Eve to cover their bodies. They partook of the forbidden fruit and gained a knowledge of good and evil. Then they(Adam and Eve) realized that they were naked and clothed themselves with fig leaves. Satan only convinced them to partake of the fruit, he never told them to cover up.

      And yes, God was not bothered by their nakedness. And in a perfect world we wouldn't be either. But we don't live in a perfect world and we are affected by what we see. If God didn't want them to wear clothing then He wouldn't have made them some.

      Now I am not giving a reason for why God did so. I think we could speculate on the matter, but that's all it would be. How much clothing was provided we don't know. Certainly it's not immodest for a husband and wife to see each other naked and they were the only ones alive at the time. So were the clothes provided for modesty sake, or for protection from the sun, or some other reason. I don't know, I just know that scripture says they were provided by God to Adam and Eve.

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  32. This is an excellent deconstruction of the video. Thank you so much!

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  33. Also I have to say that that's sad the reason you condone putting a young girl in a swimsuit is so you don't have to do more work to take it off so she can relieve herself? We should protect our daughters, and teach them that being HUMBlE is knowing your beautiful but not needing to show it off. And being aware that there are CREEPY men out there that you do need to protect them from. I hate when I see little girls in bikini's.... it's just sooooo sad :( :(

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    1. I'm sorry that you judge people that way. Instead of protecting our daughters, maybe we should reprimand our sons.

      You'll find that most women who are raped and molested are not those who are scantily-clad. Dress and rape instance have no correlation.

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    2. It makes me sad too that parents willingly dress little girls in bikinis ... its not cute at all -- I'm with you!

      Tankinis are an easy answer to that -- and the article doesn't even mention them

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  34. Thank you! This is exactly what I was thinking.

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  35. "Furthermore, it is not the responsibility of women to manage men’s sexual desires. Full stop. It is not women's job."

    Thank you! I would like it much better if the focus shifted toward treating everyone (men and women) like individual human beings with the ability to think and restrain inappropriate desires (whatever than means to your particular morality), rather than pressuring women and infantilizing men through insisting that the way women are dressed is the only thing that matters.

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  36. "But whatever you wear, wear it because it makes you comfortable, because you like the way your body looks and what it can do. Don’t wear it because a stranger—or a loved one—has convinced you it’s the only way to get respect, or the only way to be attractive, or that your body is a dangerous minefield of potential temptation for all the men who lay eyes on you and it’s your responsibility to remove that temptation, you irresistibly sexy woman, you."

    Yes! This whole post is great. People should wear stuff because THEY THEMSELVES like it, it makes them feel good about themselves, etc. So if I want to wear a bikini, a "modest" swimsuit, a t-shirt, dress, whatever, that's great.

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    1. Does anyone feel good in a bikini because they just love bikinis or do women wear bikinis because they think it will attract male attention? Let's get honest here.

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    2. I believe what you're doing is called projecting, Megan.

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  37. Incredibly well said. I am literally agog.

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  38. Looks like you and I were on the same blogging wavelength this week!

    https://lizboltzranfeld.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/on-modesty-swimwear/

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  39. That was awesome! Thanks for writing that. I always feel insulted when girls are told to cover up for the sake of men. I'm not some animal! I'm not going to go into some crazy sex riot just because a girl isn't "modest." Men are just as capable of controlling themselves as women.

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  40. A few discrete points:

    • You're right. Jessical Rey makes some odd assumptions about what is natural.
    • Your article does a good job tracking down the study that Rey relied on. As for the study, I'd say it reflects more poorly on Dr. Susan Fiske of Princeton than it does on Rey's rhetoric. For Rey, it is not a strong argument by itself, but it does call into question some mainstream assumptions, and in doing that it is both effective and appropriate for her presentation.
    • I don't recall in the video where she claimed it was a woman's burden to be modest for the sake of men. She only said that, from a psychological standpoint, men will tend to treat women a certain way if women present themselves a certain way. She didn't claim anything about men's purity. Rather, she said that women should closely examine the power they wield, because not all powers are equivalent. I'm not sure why you decided to bring men's purity into this when it is clearly about the conscience of women.

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    1. You're right on your last point. I only bring it up because (as you can see in the comments), it's discussed A LOT in Christian/Mormon purity/modesty culture, and I thought it dovetailed nicely into the issue.

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  41. There are so many reasons to be modest. Whenever I hear the keeping boys and men morally clean reason it is always in conjunction with the respecting ourselves as sons and daughters of God reason. http://meganmneedham.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/on-modesty/

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  42. If it's a matter of protecting women from men, as some have suggested, then you absolutely cannot ignore the correlation between a tendency to objectify, and holding sexist views.

    Putting the onus on women to dress a certain way in order to keep men from thinking a certain way not only doesn't work, but it's a distraction that keeps us from ever addressing the real core of the issue. And that real core is not "biology."

    It's sexism.

    Sexism is why men in heavily patriarchal cultures can enforce head-to-toe shapeless swathing of the women among them, and STILL sexualize them. Can still sexualize them, blame them for having "sensual eyes," and demand they cover even those in order to prevent indecency. Why those same men can demand that women not even run the air conditioner when they're at home alone, because then the men will know there is a woman in the house, and that will cause immorality. The only way those men will ever be happy and "indecency free" is if women are invisible completely, because to them, visible women are indecent. Because of sexism.

    I'll say it again. Those women are considered indecent, not because of some universal standard of indecency, but because the sexism of the culture deems them indecent.

    Putting the onus on women to avoid being thought of badly within their culture is an excuse, and an impediment to actually examining the culture that is the real problem. To make life easier for the men (who are affected by the culture,) by putting the responsibility on women for avoiding triggering conditioned responses. And remember, we're talking objectification here, not just experiencing sexual attraction. It's dangerous to conflate the two.

    Ignoring completely that those conditioned responses don't have to be there in the first place. We can do better in how we teach men and women to relate to each other AS PEOPLE. Regardless of whether there is sexual attraction in the picture or not. We can do SO much better than we do.

    It's uncomfortable to recognize, let alone face, your own culture's sexism, especially when you've got so much rubric floating around that flat-out denies that we have any.

    But we do. And it has harmful effects on both men and women. Just covering up the problem isn't going to make it go away, and insisting that female coverage is the solution just makes the real problem worse. Sexism is a cultural stumbling block. Blaming women for tripping over the block placed in their path is sexism. (Or blaming them for men near them tripping over it.) And on and on it goes.

    Until we wise up and realize the stumbling block doesn't even have to be there in the first place. Until we realize that we're calling daughters of God evil, problems, disrespectful, and asking to be objectified, for NO GOOD REASON. Until we stop conflating sexual attraction with base objectification, and stop making one an excuse for the other. Until we pack up the "boys will be boys" excuse that has been used to justify controlling, shaming, and abusing women for far, far too long already.

    Until we say to sexist men, NO. It doesn't matter HOW sexually attractive you find her. You see her as a PERSON first. ALWAYS. And if you don't, it's YOUR problem. YOU need to figure out how to experience attraction without reducing a PERSON to an object. Not demand that the person you find attractive get out of your sight so you never have to wrestle with that bit of "personal growth" at all.

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  43. Interesting I have mixed feelings about this article I think that she makes some valid and invalid arguments. I think the most important thing is that es there are appropriate attires for any activity but the intent with which you were that attire is the big thing. and i really don't see bikinis as practical swimwear and I feel that when a girl wheres a bikini it is because she is trying to show off her body and therefore she is being immodest. just as if back in the day if a women were trying to show off her body by showing ankle then it was immodest.

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    1. For women with long torsos and large breasts, a two-piece suit can, indeed, be more comfortable, and even modest, than a one-piece, because you don't have a clingy panel of elastic fabric over your stomach pulling the bra section down off of your breasts.

      How you see bikinis (or Victorian ankles. Seriously, you're implying that the only reason a Victorian woman would have had to sport bare ankles is to show them off...?) is not reality for all women, and you would do well not to judge intent.

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  44. Runesong, your comment is beautiful to me.

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  45. I'm going to slightly and respectfully disagree with some of this. I'm raising teenage boys. They are respectful to women. I've taught them that, but I also know they are wired a little differently that we are. Temptations are everywhere now. It frustrates me when I see my son's friends (girls) and even some of my nieces posting pictures of themselves in revealing clothing on fb and other places. I want to tell them, "do you know how difficult you're making it for my sons?" We are responsible for the message we portray to the world. Yes, guys are responsible for their own thoughts and actions, but aren't we showing respect for them and ourselves when we dress respectfully? My son recently went to a dance with a group of friends. His date was beautifully and modestly dressed which I was SO grateful for. Another girl was wearing a dress with a big cut-out revealing her cleavage. If you looked at her sideways there wasn't much left to the imagination. I felt sorry for her date and all the guys in the group. How do they keep their thoughts pure with that in their face the whole night? Food for thought ladies. Wait until you're trying to raise your little boys to be gentlemen.

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    1. My teen boys can look at cleavage and be just fine. Maybe they'll be sexually aroused. Maybe I'll be sexually aroused. We are sexual beings, after all. Being sexually aroused isn't a bad thing, is it? It doesn't mean they can't act appropriately, nor does it mean they'll see that woman only as an object. Our kids are better than that.

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    2. No Jennifer, absolutely NOT! My daughters, and any other young women (or older women for that matter), are NOT making it "difficult" for your sons. No matter what my daughters are wearing they are NOT responsible for your sons thoughts or hormonal reactions.

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    3. Furthermore, why is it the young woman's job to "show respect" for the young men through what they wear? Why isn't it the young man's job to respect the young woman by controlling his thoughts and quite frankly his anatomy?

      Little boys need to be gentlemen no matter how their dates or surrounding young women are dressed.

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    4. As the mother of three sons, I profoundly disagree with Jennifer. I will raise my boys to understand that how they respond to the female body is natural (and CONTROLLABLE) not the female's fault. I will *NEVER* let them get away with believing that a girl is "making it difficult for them". That, right there, is the foundation of rape culture and I will have none of that for my sons.

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    5. Jennifer! You got this. I agree with your sentiments and thanks for sharing :)

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  46. I need to tell you how much I appreciate this response. I have watched in dismay as many friends reposted Rey's video these last few weeks, touting her incorrect synapsis of this study as eternal truth and proof to cover our girls head to toe. I also watched as a nine year old girl in my primary class listened to a story about modesty during sharing time, "The Orange Shirt". I watched this vivacious girl, dressed in a cute tank top sundress, sink in her seat with shame while tears rolled down her cheeks. (Just an aside: this was the bishop's daughter.) You can't tell me that modesty rhetoric is harmless , or even helpful. It hurt me growing up, and it is continuing to hurt our girls. It's got to stop.

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    1. modesty rhetoric? "We believe in being modest..."

      But families will do their best to teach their kids what that means. Like your bishops family.

      So do you feel we should just stop talking about modesty? Katie, is that the point you are getting at?

      Trying to understand why you would rather us not teach modesty in our church... How could someone prepare for the temple if they did not first learn about modesty? Please share your thoughts...

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    2. "We believe in being modest..." where did this come from? Are you quoting some article of faith I've never heard? The problem is modesty has very little to do with clothing at all. I think if as a church we taught the true definition of modesty, we'd all be better for it.

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    3. I'd also like to know where "We believe in being modest..." came from. But then I want to point out that the definition of modesty is "freedom from vanity" and actually has very little to do with being covered head to toe. Sure, modest is something we should teach our families. I just don't think it means what you think it means.

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    4. You guys are right about "We Believe..." LOL.I must've pulled that one out of the tired side of my brain. But back to the core topic -- if we are talking about the LDS Church, it certainly DOES urge modesty, do you truly desire to do away with teaching it? Do you feel it doesn't add value? please share

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  47. Than you, thank you for this post! I am finding it harder and harder to raise kids in a culture that wants to shame women for their bodies, to make women responsible for the thoughts and actions of men. I find that demeaning and limiting for both sexes. The extreme self-consciousness I've felt about my own body has been limiting and I don't want my kids to waste time and energy worrying about something so superficial as appearance. We've got life to be living!

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  48. "[H]ave you ever seen sex offender get off by saying, 'She was wearing a bikini. I couldn't resist'?"

    Obviously not. Our hypothetical perpetrator would still go to prison, but the hypothetical victim would also still have been raped. I don't believe anyone is saying that it is ever a woman's fault if she has been raped or that it is her responsibility not to sexually arouse men by the way she dresses. But women also can't expect to dress intentionally in a sexually provocative way without being, well, sexually provocative.

    Whether it's in a bikini or a one-piece, I think it's unrealistic to say that women can dress however they want and men shouldn't notice. I'm a heterosexual female and even I notice sometimes. Yes, our rhetoric about modesty can and should change to give a lot more credit to both men and women, their hormones, their bodies, and their self-control. But we are, on a biological level, sexual beings, and no amount of culture or Sunday School teachings can -- or should -- change that.

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    1. "Sexual provocation" is not the same as provoking violence or objectification. Provoking sexual response is not provoking abuse or mistreatment of any kind, even objectification.

      We have a huge cultural problem in that those things are assumed to come part-and-parcel together.

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  49. To bad us as women, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmas, etc can't all band together to help our male counterparts in living a virtuous life while teaching them how to treat women. Although I agree with the statement "...it is not the responsibility of women to manage men’s sexual desires...It is not women's job," why when knowing how strong their urges are and how they are aroused, can't we be thinking of our own sons, fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers etc when making modest choices in what we wear, say and do? Isn't helping another individual live a virtuous life something to be modest for? The world and satan say NO of course, but has us as women, Christian women, having this knowledge and "power" adopted this attitude of "it’s none of your business and it’s not about you" or "wear what you want, like, and feel comfortable in, not for its effect on other people, but so that you can be happy and free as you go about doing many good things in the world?" Believe me, I am one that has struggled with modesty and should not be looked at as the modesty poster child, but I do know the Lord's standards and would feel uncomfortable trying to rationalize it as I have when making those immodest choices. But I guess I shouldn't be caring about what other people think right? Or is the Lord not considered one of "the others?'

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    1. Why is women avoiding provoking men's "urges" a more important consideration than men avoiding interfering with women going about their lives? Why should women make the concession?

      I don't ask this facetiously. I think it's important to get to the root of the matter.

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    2. Runesong, the same reason you wouldn't stick a bottle of alcohol in front of a alcoholic. We should both make the concession, male and female. We are all in this together right? It is something they have to bear and why not help them with that? I want my husband to help me with my struggles. Why not the other way around especially when virtuous living is a good thing? I love the men in my life and want them to succeed and be happy. And besides being modest also had benefits for me.

      Sophia

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    3. A bottle of alcohol does not have a life of its own to live. Women do not exist to be consumed by men; we are not objects, and that comparison is extremely objectifying. Nor are all men sex addicts, which would be a more proper comparison to alcoholics.

      My question was why it was -more- important for women to hide themselves from men than for men to avoid interfering with women's choices. Your response seems to be that women are objects that exist for men, and that our choices should be primarily concerned with how men are affected, what men think, and what men's struggles are, (and that our own lives will be simpler if we do. Because of men.)

      If that is not what you mean or believe, perhaps you can reframe your answer.

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    4. It's not more important for women to hide themselves from men than for men to avoid interfering with women's choices. I am a Libertarian. I believe women and men should have the freedom to do what they want, when they want. But we can't choose the consequences for our actions and that is the main point. People say do what you want and then complain about the after math. I WANT my husband, nephews, brother-in-laws, sisters, daughters, everyone, to live a virtuous life and if that means I need to teach them what that is and choose to live it myself, I can do that because I want too. My husband wants that for me and himself too and in turn it helps me live a virtuous life as well. It's not just for men its for women too. Hoping I'm making some sense.

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    5. Natural consequences are very different from what other people choose to because of how they view us. That other person is making a choice. Casting male reactions entirely as natural consequences is part of the problem. It excuses the male reaction and choice without further examination, and blames the individual they are reacting to for their reaction, regardless of what that reaction is.

      Men objectifying women is not a natural consequence of skin. It is cultural, and it is mutable.

      Is it more important for women to make concessions to culture than for culture to make concessions to women's freedom?

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    6. I agree. In the end it is entirely the man's fault if he acts on those feelings. I guess for me, I would feel awful if it was because of me and what I was wearing, saying or doing. I would feel awful even though I was free to do it. And its not about other people for me, it's about what I want for the people in my own life and the Lord, and that makes me want this for others aswell. If you don't want this for yourself, then fine there is nothing I can do about it and will do about it except voice my opinion and respect theirs.

      No one should force anyone not to wear or wear something just because they feel a certain way. But I am a nurse and I know all about how women and men built and I cannot ignore how the "natural man" works. I will teach my sons to respect women and themselves and teach my daughters to respect men and themselves.

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    7. Do you think that experiencing arousal is in and of itself a problem or a sin? Because the capacity to experience arousal of one's sexuality is certainly biological.

      But that biology does not exist in a vacuum.

      I think it's wonderful to teach respect.

      I think it's also very, very important to parse down and get granular about what respect actually means and actually looks like, because there are a LOT of bad arguments and deep-rooted cultural assumptions around the matter. Whatever her intentions, Rey's video unfortunately propagated a few of them.

      It may be that, in an unquestioned culture, things will go more smoothly for individual participants within that culture if they play by particular cultural rules. That includes coverage-modesty culture in all its forms, interacting with the broader culture that it is reacting to.

      But if the culture itself can be challenged, the need for the "rules" to navigate it might not even be needed in the first place, and all individuals benefit from not having to work around them. And in cases where one set of people is disproportionately singled out by the rules and condemned for not following them, it's worth looking into why. That goes for both the demands to dress, and the demands to undress.

      Both sides need to do better about seeing women as people worthy of respect regardless of clothing. Both sides need to root out the bad cultural assumptions and develop a healthier approach to sexuality.

      Men (and women) can experience attraction and arousal without it being a sin. It's not something to be afraid of.

      Men (and women) can learn to treat all people with respect and see them as people first, regardless of their clothing choices, and regardless of what mores from which culture the individual is basing their choices on.

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    8. I agree. And No I do not see arousal as the problem or a sin. Just natural reactions men and women have and that I do not want to elicit in anybody except for my husband. It's true that " things will go more smoothly for individual participants within that culture if they play by particular cultural rules" but a lot of the culture norms these days are not something I want to follow so I would rather they follow the Lord's standards. I agree with where you said "in cases where one set of people is disproportionately singled out by the rules and condemned for not following them." I choose to have a group of friends that did not have the same standards as me and was made fun of a lot for not drinking and being a virgin. And I also agree with the last three paragraphs of your statement. Being a nurse, I have become very numbed to nudity and sexual functions. I have so many stories of arousing men just from doing a procedure on them. I wish more people had a "healthier approach to sexuality." And most importantly I agree "men and women can learn to treat all people with respect and see them as people first." My sister always tells her children that "people are more important then ______________ (fill in the blank). I plan to say that to my children when they get older too.

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    9. I do not think that a certain level of coverage IS the Lord's standard. I think that's cultural as much as any other dress standard, and there is plenty of evidence around the world to back that up, literally everything from head-to-toe swathing with a veil so not even eyes are visible, all the way to complete nakedness. There is not an objective standard of clothing modesty, and modesty culture is also a culture.

      I think it's more important to bend the culture to reflect the greatest rule, to love others and treat them with human respect, than it is for everyone to adopt a particular cultural more as a hedge around that law.

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    10. There definitely needs to be more love and respect in this world. But wouldn't that include ourselves?

      And I believe that the Lord has set His standards through modern day prophets:

      "If we are unsure about whether our dress or grooming is modest, we should ask ourselves, “Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord's presence?” We might ask ourselves a similar question about our language and behavior: “Would I say these words or participate in these activities if the Lord were present?” Our honest answers to these questions may lead us to make important changes in our lives. Prophets have always counseled us to dress modestly. This counsel is founded on the truth that the human body is God's sacred creation. We must respect our bodies as a gift from God. Through our dress and appearance, we can show the Lord that we know how precious our bodies are.

      Our clothing expresses who we are. It sends messages about us, and it influences the way we and others act. When we are well groomed and modestly dressed, we can invite the companionship of the Spirit and exercise a good influence on those around us.

      Central to the command to be modest is an understanding of the sacred power of procreation, the ability to bring children into the world. This power is to be used only between husband and wife. Revealing and sexually suggestive clothing, which includes short shorts and skirts, tight clothing, and shirts that do not cover the stomach, can stimulate desires and actions that violate the Lord's law of chastity."

      http://www.lds.org/topics/modesty?lang=eng

      My Dad, who is not LDS nor believes in God, had similar expectations (and some).

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    11. Why do "certain styles of clothing" incite desire?

      The point is, it's not universal. It's cultural.

      Stating that certain clothing choices do not have to be sexualized and objectified is not the same as decrying chastity. In fact, I believe that it would be a boon to chastity to stop making so many arbitrary things into pitfalls.

      To stop looking at "the world" saying, "This is sexualized, show me more of it," and instead of saying, "Yes, that's sexualized, show less of it!" instead say, "No, that's not sexualized. Knock it off and look at women as people rather than parts to be shown off or not."

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  50. I disagree, first off, little girls can wear very modest bathing suits that are easy to pee in. I managed! Second, the comfort level of our society is too, well, sexy! We are hurting the hearts and future sex lives of our children by insisting that the view themselves only in a physical way, the way their body is shaped and how to exploit it. Sex is more than just an physical act of pleasure, it is an opportunity to become emotionally and spiritually connected with your partner. There needs to be mutual respect, I want my daughter to dress modestly because she recognizes who she is demands the respect of those around her in every way possible, one of which is the way she dresses.

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    1. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I totally agree!!

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    2. Why do you think bikinis have anything to do with sex? Bikinis are just something comfortable (for many, not for all) to wear to the beach. Maybe you should be getting YOUR mind out of the gutter.

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  51. I find it interesting how critical the pro modesty women are of the pro bikini women. I find it interesting how people that I am assuming are of my own faith are so incredibly critical of people, most of whom are not of the same religious conviction. I find it interesting that of all the solutions and faults and negatives discussed in this thead, men having bare chests has never been brought up - a fashion standard that became acceptable over time and which has remained unchallenged in spite of some men having bigger breasts than women. I find it interesting that so many jumped to the conclusion that the author was saying that all of life was anything and everything goes because she said she believed people should wear what they want while swimming - this is an article about swimming attire. I find it interesting that so many are "so sad" about women and girls wearing bikinis at the beach when there are millions around the world suffering from hunger and thirst and disease, which truly is sad. I find it interesting that bikinis have been around longer than probably everyone who posted on this blog and people are still so angered by them, when its clear they aren't going anywhere, so the question is why (there are soooo many causes out there). I find it interesting that modest swimsuits still show off the body, including indentations and protrusions, and ruffles around the bottom and decolletage, which a large majority of modest swimwear brands use to make their suits "cute") draw the eyes - of women AND men- to those areas. Are they really as different as you choose to believe? I find it interesting that instead of coming up with a solution, like getting your own pool, advocating for a segregated beach where men, who are clearly are not sentient beings, are not allowed, or just never going swimming publicly, posters on this blog have to sentence bikini wearers as supporters of the porn industry who desperately want to show up in their underwear, or worse naked, to work everyday because bikini wearers clearly have no boundaries or morals whatsoever. Again, the bikini is not going anywhere, and you came after, so buy your modest swimming suit, as will I, be an example of what you believe, and know that you will never change anyone's beliefs if you yell, demean, shout scripture at, or talk down to ("oh, that's so sad") people who think differently. You do it by showing, and loving in spite of differences, the person. I will continue to search for a swim suit I think is modest and empowers me to not be ashamed of my imperfections, but will spend more time enjoying the sun on my face, the sound of the surf, and the taste of salty air on my lips than getting angry at those who aren't dressed like me.

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    1. YES! THANK YOU! I LOVE THIS!!! SO MUCH AGREEMENT!

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  52. I like some of the things you're saying. It's true that we can't be held responsible for other people's choices to be sexually aroused by us. "We believe that man will be punished for their own sins..." But I don't agree that people should wear "whatever they want." We should wear what Heavenly Father wants us to wear. That's the whole point of modesty. Modesty is a principle of obedience, and sacrifice. We sacrifice the ways of the world for the ways of God. We sacrifice what WE WANT to wear for what our Heavenly Father wants us to wear. Just as LDS parents should not wait to teach principles of tithing, honesty, temple marriage, etc., we should not postpone teaching principles of modesty to our children. Modesty should be a principle we practice our entire lives. That's why children should not wear bikinis, not because they're "too sexy" but because we want them to know that their bodies are sacred and we obey God's principles. (we manage to change diapers/go potty with wet one piece suits). Modesty should not begin when one enters the temple. God wants us to honor and protect the gift of our bodies. Modesty is only 1 way that He asks us to do this (among others, like: chastity, word of wisdom, etc.) We can't pretend to know all the reasons Heavenly Father wants us to be modest. But I don't believe some of it is, in fact, to help those around us in their goals of keeping pure and virtuous thoughts. As a student at Ricks College, Sister Bednar have a special talk at a fireside just for the sister students. When referring to the clothes she'd seen worn on campus (remember there's already a dress code in place) she said the sisters were wearing too tight of clothes and that it was "not fair for the young men to have to hum their favorite hymn all day long." Modesty is not about hiding our "shameful" bodies. It is about protecting, honoring, and reverencing our divinely gifted bodies, in the way God asks us to. Satan is working hard to make this a grey and confusing area. It shouldn't be. Even when it comes to swimsuits and children. It's one of the few principles that we can actually live perfectly in this life.

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    1. Looks like we posted the same idea at the same time. I couldn't agree more: "We sacrifice the ways of the world for the ways of God."

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    2. Love this:

      If we are unsure about whether our dress or grooming is modest, we should ask ourselves, “Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord's presence?” We might ask ourselves a similar question about our language and behavior: “Would I say these words or participate in these activities if the Lord were present?” Our honest answers to these questions may lead us to make important changes in our lives. Prophets have always counseled us to dress modestly. This counsel is founded on the truth that the human body is God's sacred creation. We must respect our bodies as a gift from God. Through our dress and appearance, we can show the Lord that we know how precious our bodies are.

      Our clothing expresses who we are. It sends messages about us, and it influences the way we and others act. When we are well groomed and modestly dressed, we can invite the companionship of the Spirit and exercise a good influence on those around us.

      Central to the command to be modest is an understanding of the sacred power of procreation, the ability to bring children into the world. This power is to be used only between husband and wife. Revealing and sexually suggestive clothing, which includes short shorts and skirts, tight clothing, and shirts that do not cover the stomach, can stimulate desires and actions that violate the Lord's law of chastity.

      http://www.lds.org/topics/modesty?lang=eng

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    3. Along with your first thought I'll pose two questions. First, Would you feel comfortable in front of the Lord in from of a one-piece swimsuit? I know that I wouldn't feel comfortable in front of the Lord in nearly everything I wear, all of which is modest.

      Second, What if there is someone who can honestly answer they would feel comfortable in front of the Lord in a bikini? What would you say to them?

      One snarky question.

      Since when was the bellybutton a sexual organ or in any way used in procreation, with the exception of the umbilical cord?

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    4. 1st Question: Well if I was with the Lord at the pool, yes. If I was at church, no.

      2nd Question: I wouldn't say anything to them. I believe these questions were to be asked to yourself as a self-evaluation between you and God.

      And to your last question, you would have to ask the person that made the quote. I just copied and pasted. No credit here, just thought it was a good guideline.

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  53. You make some fabulous points regarding how Jessica Rey wrested conclusions from the study and used them to support her business. You are very articulate in conveying several valid viewpoints.

    Certainly, "it is not the responsibility of women to manage men’s sexual desires." But, regardless of where responsibility does and does not lie, please do not--in the context of dress and appearance--preach the adage, "do whatever works for you," that President Monson warned us about (http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/stand-in-holy-places?lang=eng).

    The "For the Strength of Youth" material is pretty clear on this subject.

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    1. However, the For the Strength of Youth is from some specific belief system. Most of the world does not share your same LDS beliefs. Nor do they have to. You should be respecting their individual belief systems and not trying to push your beliefs onto them through modesty lessons. Especially if you want them to think well of you and your belief system (which I know LDS people/church does).

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    2. This is something that I find frustrating. This blog is written by a Latter Day Saint. The video was not presented from an LDS perspective (I mean, shoulders! What?!)

      However, this post is not written for an LDS audience. To assume such is to pigeonhole this post.

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  54. If I felt like running around naked, why wouldn't I be able to do that? Am I not entitled to wear (or not wear) what I want? The rest of you can just look away then.

    I understand the idea behind this, but there is a limit to it that we should not forget and I still agree moreso with Jessica Rey. Wear what you want, but let's keep it all in perspective.

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    1. Because of culture. If we're keeping things in perspective, let's be accurate about what we're looking at. It's not biology, it's culture. There are cultures where everyone -does- run around naked, and it's no big deal.

      So let's not pin enculturated mores and responses on immutable biology while we're talking about it.

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  55. WOW!!!! I totally disagree!! I'm so glad at least a few of the women commenting feel the same way. Yes, it is up to each individual person what they think about and it is a man's fault if he is checking women out, especially if he is married to another. But, it isn't helping them at all if we are showing almost every single inch of us that is supposed to be held sacred and special. It's not about shaming our bodies, ladies. It's about respecting them. And, I'm not just saying this because I don't have a bikini body, as some people think that those who oppose bikini's are just fat and jealous. On the contrary, I have been told many times that I have a great body. However, I do not think that I have to flaunt that to every friend and stranger that I come in contact with. What is wrong with society where we have to compete with our bodies? Why else would women be so strong willed about wearing a bikini? Because they love getting a sunburn on their boobs and everywhere else? I don't think so.

    So, because I have seen too many good men fall to the horrible addiction of porn, I think it is our duty as women to help our men by respecting our own bodies, and thus respecting our men too. It is their responsibility to keep their minds pure, but if women are not holding up their responsibility as daughters of God to keep themselves pure, it makes it a lot more difficult. We've all had that lesson about the frog and the boiling pot of water. Satan gets in any way he can, and it usually starts off with little things. Noticing other attractive women in bikinis, then looking for those women, etc. It's a slippery slope. Would you want your husband checking out other women in bikinis? I don't think most of you would be very happy about that!

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    1. If I wasn't happy about my husband checking other women out, it would be because my husband is actively checking other women out in a lewd and objectifying manner, not that other attractive women exist and are visible. Because he is demonstrating disrespect for those other women, and for me.

      I don't -care- if he finds other women attractive. I don't even care if he experiences sexual arousal. I do care if he turns it into leering objectification and demonstrates an inability to relate to women as people and make good choices while aroused.

      If there are other problems, then there are other problems.

      And I find a willingness to demonize other women for their clothing choices is also a problem, and not Christlike. There are plenty who wear bikinis with no desire to compete with you for your husband's attention and arousal, even if they -are- choosing bikinis because they think they look good in them,and like that they look good in them.

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  56. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. That's a ridiculous example. I think a more accurate one would've been so say "What if men walked around half-naked all the time? Is it the woman's problem if she is turned on by the half-naked men?" Because women also are allowed to have sexual desires and be attracted to a man's physical appearance.
      In which case, the answer is yes. A woman is responsible for her own thoughts. It would be objectifying and disrespectful if a woman asked a man to change his clothing so that she didn't have to think sexual thoughts about him. It would also be laughable. That should tell us something about the sexism that exists when we try to shame women out of bikinis or any other clothing.
      Men and women are different, but do not experience sexual temptation differently because of their genders. If they do, it is because society has conditioned them that way by saying men are more visual and sexual, even though various psychological and sociological studies have proven those misconceptions are wrong.
      Let's respect everyone as human beings with agency and allow them to make their own choices without pushing our individual beliefs systems on them.

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    2. I agree. This analogy is really really poor and marginalizes women. It is offensive and reaks of false stereotyping.

      But yes, if a woman is having impure thoughts about anyone, then it is her fault.

      There is a wonderful sociological theory that may or may not be true (as of any theory). It states that men and women are biologically different because of thousands of years of socialization. Essentially, this means that because men started objectifying women since we crawled out of primordial ooze it means that our brains are naturally that way.

      However, and this is a huge however, brains can be reprogramed. The past 1few years I've worked really hard at not objectifying women, no matter what they're wearing. Yes, I catch myself slipping occasionally, but I own up to that mistake and keep working on it. I've found with effort we can overcome our "natural man" and raise myself to a higher level of emotion and thinking.

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  57. I really liked your blog post. In the modesty discussion, I think there is one point that bears discussing that is often missed. It is actually a major point of the discussion on modesty that I have with my three daughters...

    While women are not in control of a man's (or woman's) thoughts and a woman's clothing choice should be for herself to decide, she must remember that how she chooses to dress IS sending a message. How we do our hair, what make-up we use, what clothes we wear, what earrings we choose, even what tattoos we select, send messages. And other people receiving those messages are not necessarily "judging" you as they interpret those messages.

    I want my children to understand that they are unconditionally wonderful just as they are and just as they choose to be. BUT that there IS an element of how we choose to act (and dress) that IS a choice. As we interact with people all around us we must evaluate and assess the messages we are receiving from each other. Assessing the world we live in, and the PEOPLE around us, is a necessary social skill we gain and develop. Passing moral judgement and assigning motives for actions of others is "judging" and we should strive not to fall into that trap because we will never have enough information to do so justly. But we will always have need to assess. It's how we discover danger. It's how we discover what kind of things, people, and focuses we are after in life. It's how we know when someone isn't treating us well. It's how we determine who matters most to us. Assessment is inevitable. And important.

    So understanding THAT, no matter what we do, people will be assessing us (and probably even judging unfortunately). And though we are not in control of what other people may or may not read about our message, we can be conscious and deliberate about the messages we ARE sending.

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    1. Believe 100% with your statement of "other people receiving those messages are not necessarily "judging" you as they interpret those messages." If someone is wearing a swimsuit then you interpret they are going swimming. If someone is in a suit and tie you might interpret they are going to work or church. If someone shows up to a activity in PJ's you would find that inappropriate. You can find something someone is wearing inappropriate without judging or loving them less. I know, my mother loved me all the times I made immodest choices.

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    2. Well said.

      I don't recall Rey mentioning anything about the purity of men whether it be their thoughts, actions, or behaviors. It seems the point she was trying to make by bringing up the study (argument on its validity aside) was to say that a woman's (or man's) appearance and dress will have a subliminal mental/physiological/social/etc. effect on others around her. It wasn't to put responsibility on the woman for the choices of others, but so she could make a more informed choice about what message she would be sending about herself and how that message may be perceived.

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    3. Do you really spend all of your time trying to interpret the "messages" that other people are sending by their appearance? Maybe people don't CARE about their appearances. Maybe they are spending their time and money thinking about more substantial things than what is physically on their bodies. Your lifestyle sounds EXHAUSTING and I'm certainly glad I'm not one of your children. If someone is "assessing" me, that's their own problem. And if you're "assessing" someone, maybe you should retrain your brain not to care so much about some random stranger's outfit.

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    4. I agree! Thanks for sharing your thoughts

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  58. Thank you dear writer for you have put into words my exact discomfort with that ridiculous video. I grew up in a country where women and little girls had to cover their hair for modesty. These issues are so culturally bound. The other things the speaker didn't mention is that when women were wearing houses to the beach, they also couldn't vote, hold property, work, etc. We've come a long way. No need to fantasize about the distant modest past.

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  59. As a devote Christian I completely agree with this article. We should never be dressing for others. We should be dressing for (1) ourselves and (2) Heavenly Father. Growing up with a very judgmental mother it was easier to just wear things that pleased her without thinking of taking the situation to God. Once I got married I realized that wearing things just to please my mother was the wrong choice to make.
    I know (for myself) that God DOES NOT frown upon bikinis. I'm going swimming/tanning/hanging out on the beach, I'm not in church or intentionally trying to get sexual attention. (Except for from my husband (; )

    While I believe in being modest, and have made covenants with God to do so, I do not believe that I am in charge of keeping the men of planet Earth from lust. THEY are the ones that choose to look at me with promiscuous desires, and THEY will be held accountable for such thoughts. There is no way to know what someone else is thinking in their head. While one man might be turned on by my bikini another might be just as turned on just seeing me in a Summer dress. There is no way to please everyone and THAT'S NOT THE PLAN.

    Focus on yourselves and focus on your relationship with God. I think bikini's are adorable and most importantly I feel CONFIDENT in them. After battling an eating disorder for years it feels good to be able to put on a bikini and not feel the need to cover up and be ashamed of my "fat" body, but to be proud of who I am. I am proud to be a woman. I am proud to have dignity. And I am proud to wear what I feel is beautiful in the eyes of God.

    Boys, if you really have issues with the BELLY BUTTON showing, then please do us all a favor and DON'T GO TO PLACES WHERE YOU'LL SEE THEM! And don't complain about how hard your life is HAVING to see women in bikinis. I mean my hell, train yourselves to see the goodness in a woman. NOT just the clothes she wears. And if you really can't: TAKE YOUR PROBLEM TO THE SAVIOR! That's what the atonement is for!

    I think the problem with the way people dress today is that it's not something they "discuss" with God. Today beauty and fashion are all about flaunting yourself and making others look. Dress how you truly believe He wants you to dress, and then RUN with it! I promise you'll be so much happier! (:

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  60. Fashion is a form of communication. When talking about the outcomes of communication, some responsibility is on the speaker and some responsibility is on the listener. The balance is not 50/50, but as a whole there times when a speaker is responsible for outcomes and there are times when a listener is responsible. In the case of fashion, it is the fashion wearer and the fashion observer who share responsibility for any outcomes of the communication.

    When analyzing fashion-communication outcomes it is often not very complicated, for example blaming rape on American women who wear common American fashions strikes me as completely wrong. But, on the other hand, a more complicated case would be blaming an observer for having certain thoughts after passively observing a second person wearing a certain fashion. The analysis would need to consider when or if the thought transformed from involuntary to voluntary, which is not an easy judgment. Another challenge in fashion-communication analysis is that fashion does not have communication standards that are defined easily by dictionaries or other objective references. However fashion still often contains communicative content that is unified by mainstream American culture. Messages are successfully communicated from fashion wearer to observer. For example, as loosely defined by mainstream American culture, revealing certain parts of the body in certain situations may communicate a message about sexual attitudes.

    Some people have asserted that their fashion choices should be beyond the realm of anyone else's judgment. Because fashion is a form of communication, such assertions are similar to saying "I can say whatever I want without any blame. Because it should have no effect on you, you shouldn't pass judgment on anything I say and cannot blame me for any negative outcomes." In some circumstances this is an extreme position by a speaker because it completely ignores the responsibility that lies with one party of the communication.

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  61. Although it was interesting to see the complete information about the actual study including how poorly the study was conducted in Jessica Reys video, I disagree with many of the points this blog post makes about it, most particularly that we should just go ahead and do whatever we want as long as it makes us comfortable, which is a purely selfish viewpoint; and that it is only men who are responsible for their choices when it comes to thoughts and actions. Most of the arguments present a double standard. Does the author support revealing attire for men if that makes them feel comfortable? Should men go around in clothing that shows it all? I sort of doubt that women would find this any more appropriate, than many in our society find the lack of clothing on women appropriate. Yes it is a cultural norm, (which is eroding), but that doesn't mean that such norms are necessarily a bad thing. Many cultural norms come about as a result of decency standards that most people hold as being mutually valuable and appropriate to provide the best possible experience for the majority of people living in the society. And, yes, these often get misinterpreted and can be taken to extremes, but this does not make the underlying principle wrong.

    I have thought a lot about this issue over the past many months and feel that it has become very distorted. Many women have almost come to the point where they are fighting more for their right to be immodest, than being champions of the Lord's standards. (Probably because this issue can often be taken to extremes that are beyond the principle itself). However, if we are going to use a scripture about men needing to control their thoughts, it is only fair to use the scriptures, both old and new about the need for modesty as well. This is cherry picking. Using only those parts of the gospel that support your personal ideas. The gospel is not a buffet from which you can pick and choose only those precepts you agree with, although of course, you are free to believe whatever you choose.

    Although modesty has changed over the years as the author points out, the principle is still an important one and has to do with respect and consideration for ourselves and others more than anything else. Both men and women are equally responsible for their thoughts and actions, it is not a one sided issue as this article implies. Men and women are both responsible for how they dress and act, and they are both responsible for their own thoughts and what they do with them.

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  62. Like it or not, our choices can affect and influence other people in negative ways, positive too. If we want to go about doing good in the world as the author suggests, perhaps part of this should be to minimize our potential negative impact on those around us too.

    The simple truth is that immodesty can lead to curiosity, especially in young teenage boys who have not yet developed the skills to control arousal, which can lead to exploration of pornography as an outlet for that arousal, which can turn into an addiction, which in time can contribute to objectifying of and violence against women, so why would any women want to start this chain of events in the lives of young teens and boys? I am sure it is because they do not fully understand. Even though this is not always the course of things, and not all men are affected this way, it does happen often and is getting worse. There are many studies to back this up and they are not like the study used by Jessica in her video. I personally appreciate efforts by people like Jessica Rey who are trying to make a difference in a positive way. Looking at the flaws in the study she used and in her presentation, does not take away from the ideas in it that are valid and helpful.

    For most people, I do not believe that this issue is prompted by sexist attitudes, although I know they still exist to some degree in parts of our society. However, most people try to live decent and good lives, and sexism has been in decline for years. We need to give the men in our lives more credit than this. Husbands are much more willing to help out with child rearing responsibilities, housework, etc. and treat their wives much more as equal partners than in the past. I think it is more an issue of selfishness and lack of respect for others that is fueling this argument. If we genuinely care about others we will not treat them as objects, we will not create undo temptation in other people's lives, and we will treat others the way we want to be treated. These are principles that we can teach to all of our children, male and female alike. Modesty is really about respect for ourselves and others and it is not really that difficult of a principle to grasp.

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    1. Aurora, I was a teenage boy. I was aroused any time I saw something remotely feminine. I couldn't look at a woman's face without getting turned on.

      But I think it's wrong for me to ask women to cover up their faces so I don't have bad thoughts.

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  63. THANK YOU! Beautifully written, I couldn't agree more.

    Growing up in Utah and LDS I have always dressed very conservatively, and wearing a bikini is liberating for me. Tankini's never looked right on me, and they never gave my breasts the support they deserve (lul).

    The bikini is empowering for me, because it is allowing me to own my body and to be unashamed. I don't wear it for anyone other than myself. I feel free and at peace with my swimwear choices this summer.

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  64. Thank-you. I have been so bugged by that video. There will be a lot of ways to interpret the particular study, but making females responsible for male behavior is wrong. It shouldn't still be happening. It's not ok. Modesty has many interpretations, but one interpretation should not be "If I dress a certain way, I will "make" the boys think bad things." It's unhealthy and takes accountability and choice out of boys' and men's hands.

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  65. Love your ground rules and this article! Thank you so much!

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  66. I would encourage you to check out Leah Darrow's perspective. It is not about controlling what others wear. It is about our own dignity as human persons and our capacity to love purely.

    http://www.leahdarrow.com/work-with-me/

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  67. Well said!!
    I think people are naturally sexually attracted to other people. Different cultures feel differently about this, and come up with standards of beauty and sometimes standards of modesty to control behavior. It doesn't work, so they try harder to control behavior. Repeat ad nauseum. Sadly, our church was created during the Victorian Era and we are pretty resistant to letting go of that perspective.

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  68. I disagree, modest is always best in my opinion! I think if you are wearing more revealing clothes rather than covering up a little more, you are probably doing it only to get appreciation or attention from others. If you are really a secure woman, you don't find the need to dress more immodest just to make yourself feel better. Sometimes it is just culture but I think most the time if you are decidedly choosing the immodest option, that is why. :)

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    1. I have to laugh every time I read a comment that says "oh, but I don't just others, those are just my standards." Comments like Kristen's are fully judgmental, ascribing motives to women who dress differently than they do.

      And this discussion is full of judgmental comments from holier-than-thou LDS who argue they don't judge the way others dress. Sheesh!

      I remember years ago watching a piece on TV showing middle aged and old women sunning themselves along the Moscow River in the old USSR. They were all wearing bikinis and it wasn't a pretty sight. Know why they wore bikinis? Because of the long winters; they were hungry for sun on their skins. Nothing to do with self-esteem or men. Not a thing.

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    2. I feel really uncomfortable when we judge a person by what they're wearing.

      First of all, a person could be wearing "revealing clothing" because it's hot outside.

      Second of all, if somebody does want sexual attention, that doesn't make them insecure.

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  69. I think the comment were well said. I agreed with most of what the authored said,especially her comments on men controlling their thoughts. As a man I think we should never objectify woman and who they are as objects. We should see them as they are, daughters of God.

    The only thing I would recommend is that as we are studying the standards by which we should dress, that we bring our Heavenly Father into the decision process as to what clothes we should wear. Instead of thinking of what others think of my clothing choices, we should consider what the Lord thinks. If you think what you wear is acceptable to the Lord than don't worry about it. If you feel that you might want to change some things about your wardrobe after thinking about that question, then ask your Heavenly Father where and how you can change to better bring your will to His. Essentially if we do that, than we can stand assured that we will be presented in the way the Lord wants. That in the end is the best way in my opinion.

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  70. Well done!!! This was beautifully written. As a mom of both a daughter and boys I love this. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

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