Like a lot of things, I find that my opinion on this has changed lately. In the past, I've seen modesty differently. I used to think, "well, if she's got it, she can flaunt it," ...as long as it's at least tasteful. However, I've taken a step back, and thought about the direction this is going. I've thought about the past compared to how we see things today. I've also thought about religions and modesty.
I think a lot of our ideas on modesty comes from religion. When we think about covering ourselves because of religion, most people think about Muslims. However, this view is not at all accurate. My history class is in European history, from 1450-1789. Prior to learning about this, we learned a general overview of the history of the Church, as life in this time period centered heavily around the Church and Christianity in Europe. There was no separation of Church and State in those times, and many laws were built around what was or was not acceptable in the Christian faith. Covering one's hair was also a Christian value. In fact, if a woman was a prostitute, she was *not* allowed to cover her hair, and in some areas this was regulated by law.
The reason a woman was required to cover herself was because women were thought to be unclean creatures, sub-human compared to men, and that the general nature of women was to be wanton and overtly sexual, devious creatures. In order to "save face," a woman was required to cover herself to show that she was not an unclean woman.
I do not believe in this harsh, strict view of women, that we are sexually devious or unclean, simply because of the religious connotations. I do, however, think that women should show some respect for themselves. I think that with the rise of feminism, women have started to think that we are all-powerful, strong women and we can wear whatever we want simply because we can (yes, I am generalizing..). I think that with this mindset, we have gotten away from valuing ourselves as human beings; that we sexualize ourselves in a manner that is unbecoming.
Don't get me wrong, I used to appreciate the view of some cleavage, and I used to sometimes show a little myself. But honestly, it just disgusts me now. I see people out in public with their boobs hanging out and I literally feel disgusted. And really, I don't know what's worse: the fact that a woman does it, or the fact that a man values it. Our bodies are something that is to be valued, and what does that say about us if we value half naked women? I believe that there's something to being modest. Not that we have to wear turtle necks, but we shouldn't have our boobs popping out of our shirts.
Part of the reason I was inspired to write this post was because I walked downstairs the other day, and my dad and sister were watching The Voice. I swear, every time I see that show, Christina Aguilera's boobs are popping out (to be fair, when I searched for photos for this post, there have been times she's properly covered), and I felt really disgusted. I called her a skank, and my dad goes, "well I like it!" Yes, I'm sure you do...because men these days idolize immodesty.
To me, this is just gross. It's not feminine, and it's not beautiful. I think in properly covering oneself, it adds mystery and wonder. I've never done this, but I think there's something truly beautiful in the hijab:
This is feminine. I'm not saying that people should dress this way..but there should be more coverage, and more respect of oneself. Dressing skanky because you have the body to, because you think you can, doesn't mean you respect yourself. I think it says the opposite. You're objectifying your body because you're lacking something else in your mind...whatever it may be.
Also, I believe there is a difference between art and dressing slutty, just have to clarify that.
The reason I don't think this direction is good is because...what is it teaching the next generation? The kids of today? They see Christina on The Voice and they think that dressing like this is okay. It takes a parent to step in and say, no, this is not how people with values dress. It's teaching kids that seeing their body as an object of sexual persuasion is okay, which I don't believe it is. I think it's the wrong direction to go in, and I think it's gone too far. This is only part of the reason I no longer value anything pop culture.
Anyhow, these are just my thoughts on the subject. I'd be interested in hearing yours.