Saturday, August 4, 2012

Let's Talk [v1.3]

I think I was supposed to talk about consumption and waste in this post, but something else has caught my attention, so will be postponing that discussion until another time.  It's still important to me, and something that weighs on my mind as the prices of goods are steadily increased, and as I'm forced to deal with recycling here in Germany.  But today, I'd like to talk about modesty instead.

Part One: Lingerie, Burka, and Somewhere In-Between

Our society has evolved drastically within the past century from clothing that basically covered the majority of the torso and legs, leaving possibly the arms and upper chest bare, to clothing that displays anything and everything.  Well, this is the case at least in Western Civilization.  Other cultures around the world have their own standards for modesty, leaving women everywhere to compare and contrast what is "right" or "wrong" and what is "tasteful" or "slutty."

While some women lament the change of clothing tastes and styles, other women feel liberated from the confines of strict guidelines.  All and sundry feel obligated to judge other groups based on their taste in clothing and levels of immodest presentation.  Do you think my viewpoint is an accurate depiction of the judgement war that occurs during everyday society?  What is your opinion of the differences between Western fashion trends versus some from other parts of the world?

Part Two: Perception is Reality

Despite your own standards for what is appropriate to wear in public, the fact of the matter is that your thoughts on others' clothing ware is an opinion.  The woman who all but but forces those ta-tas in your face?  Her choice.  The wife that wears the burka?  Okay, maybe not completely her choice, but some women do prefer the burka over other clothes, so there is a chance she wants to wear it.  Fashion is based a lot on social norms from whatever region of the world you are based in.  In the US, it is completely normal for you to walk down a street and see a mini-dressed girl with her hoo-ha hanging out and an Amish woman completely covered in the same day.  In parts of Africa, it's the norm for women to go topless.  In Europe, it's okay for men to wear speedos.  There is no set guideline for what you can or cannot wear in the majority of human civilization.  [Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule.  Please keep in mind that we are talking about everyday wear, not clothing appropriate for school/work.]

However, despite freedom of expression or freedom of opinions, people will judge and be judged by their outward appearance, and this immediate indication of what kind of person you are based on your clothes will be an basis for how you are treated.  Is it fair?  Probably not.  But it happens anyway.

Source: via English on Pinterest

Source: via English on Pinterest

There are women who try to fight these tendencies by wearing whatever they want on the basis that they have the freedom, and what is on the inside should count more than their outward appearance.  They are absolutely right.  BUT, your promiscuous appearance does not want me to let myself or my husband anywhere close enough to get to know you.  What is your opinion on all of this?  Should a woman be judged based on her choice in fashion?  Should she expect equal and fair treatment if she wears the equivalent of a stripper's outfit?  Is the mindset you hold based on your religious tendencies, social influence, or something else?

For myself, I believe there is a happy medium somewhere between burka and bikini.  I see nothing wrong with wearing flattering outfits that show off lady curves, bare the shoulders or back, and I have an absolute love for "hooker heels".  But at the same time, my girlies don't need to be bared for anyone and everyone to see.  I don't think short shorts are flattering on anyone, nor are they appropriate.  My pants are always high enough for my shirt to cover the hem, and really can't stand seeing someone else's crack.  There is a fine line between classy and tasteless, and I try my hardest to walk my version of that line.  Best part about everything I just said?  It's my opinion, and my own personal viewpoint on what is or is not modest.  What's yours?


  1. I agree with you. I think modesty is a pretty personal concept and everyone is entitled to their own opinion of what makes something modest or immodest.

    On the whole I do tend to be quite a conservative dresser, possibly because as a teacher it's not appropriate or professional for me to be showing off cleavage, a lot of leg or my butt crack etc!

    I like the quote from Emma Watson, and also this one: :)

  2. So interesting. I think perceptions in the West of the Burkha are very biased. We can't imagine at all that the Burkha itself can be a very free item of clothing for women. When they're out and about no one can judge them on any aspect of their bodies or appearance. Also, having lived in the middle east you can bet that those burkhas and hijabs are some of the most finely crafted, covered in sparkly jewels type clothing I have ever seen. And the choice? Unsurpassed.

    Also, the ladies wearing these still have the opportunity to spend hours on their hair, nails, other clothes (yes they buy jeans etc) but they only show these to the ones they love at home. When out and about int the world they are happy to remain hidden and therefore feel free to go about their day to day routine.

    I agree with you - that it's all about choice. That's important - that you can make a choice yourself. But most of these ladies would choose that anyway. They wouldn't want it any other way.

    Lovely, thought provoking stuff.


  3. A great post! I think an outfit should be flattering, and I think a lot of the impression you leave on others depends on your attitude in that outfit. For example, I've seen lots of teenage girls in hotpants who still looked rather cute than sexy. Probably a lot of women choose their clothes according to what they think society expects of them - which leads to burkas on the one hand, and hardly wearing anything on the other hand. The standard of "normal clothing" changes with the trends, too! xo Anja

  4. I will not go out of my way to befriend anyone that comes across as loose, sleazy or someone that would get the men in my life thinking thoughts that would distract them from a better purpose. That is generally a woman as they seem to have no pride in dressing anymore whereas it is few and far between that I ever see a man that is immodest. I would happily befriend an Amish woman or a woman wearing a burka. In fact, I would prefer this to most of our mainstream American culture.

    For myself, I happen to love vintage styles and they of course are far more covering than our clothing today, yet they are cut and tailored much better than what we have now and require better fabric. I would not mind wearing a burka in the Middle East as I think that would be more comfortable than the amount of sunscreen that would be required to protect my skin, but I would have major issues if anyone tried to force me into a bikini (that would be one way to try and start WWIII).

    Great post! :)


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