Some Modest Thoughts on the Impact of Fashion

A truly beautiful woman is lovely both inside and out—and it’s the outer part that should cause parents some concern regarding the wonderful young women in our culture. The popular fashions many young women wear suggest that they’re being guided by a lie, which says: Girls should be able to show whatever body parts they want to show, and no male person should admit being affected by this display. If one spends just a short while observing girls wherever they may be—at the mall, in school hallways or at sporting events—it’s obvious that many of them are wearing fashions that send out a provocative use me message. 

Today, many young women struggle with their parents for their right to dress in troubling styles, some of which, not that long ago, would have been seen only on women in prostitution. Sometimes these styles seem to be the only ones available—even for 4-yearolds! Sadly, many of these fashions degrade God’s crowning creation—women—and the real Madonna—the Virgin Mary—and put our beautiful young girls in harm’s way spiritually, morally and physically. Evil is real, and the devil enjoys nothing better than disfiguring the human person as an image of God any way he can—and what better way than to attack chastity through a lack of modesty? 

Even girls who have no intention of having pre-marital sex, but who dress as though their bodies were somehow disconnected from their good moral convictions, are sending a confused message: Don’t get excited by the body parts I’m showing because they are only for my future husband. But why, then, display them? A boy has no right to use a girl’s body for sexual gratification, and a girl has no right to use a boy’s fantasies and natural circuitry as a means to get male approval. In effect, many girls harass their male peers by wearing fashions that invite the wrong kind of attention. Such girls are saying, Look, but don’t touch! Which leaves boys to wonder: Why do you want me to look then? Cover yourself up and help me to think about you as a person, rather than as an object. 

To misuse one’s body and then act surprised at the response such behavior generates is dishonest. Too many girls have learned too well the message of false feminism: It’s my body and I can do what I want with it. But Jesus said, This is my body and I give it up for you. He came to show us the right order of things, which is self-donation. In self-donation I sacrifice what I want—a boy’s approving looks and comments—for his greater good: the invitation to communicate with me as a whole (from holy, meaning deserving reverence) person, not just a part (or parts) of me. 

Young women need to hear about the impact fashions have and the language fashions speak. They need to be encouraged to think about the role that fashion plays in expressing who they are and what they stand for. They need help to weed out the use me fashions from their wardrobes. And they need to be affirmed in the truth—that they are daughters of the King, and as such are whole persons meant for holiness and respect, not parts to be misused for pleasure and ridicule. 

By Celeste Thomas
Celeste Thomas works as a speech and language therapist in Aurora, Colorado Public Schools. She also has a 20-year history giving chastity talks to teens.

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