My school, like many other schools I’m sure, has a school newspaper. Reading the newspaper is a dying art but I love it. This past year, I came across an article, around Halloween, advocating the student population to not hate on those who chose to dress, shall we say, scandalously. This article has been much on my mind since. I believe in freedom of expression. I don’t think dressing immodestly inherently makes you a “bad person.” And I certainly don’t think that a woman dressed without every inch of skin covered is asking to be raped. That is a terrible, awful lie.
However, I do believe how you dress reflects how you feel about yourself.
You see, I am a firm believer in showing myself respect by the way I dress. My self-worth does not come from what other people think of me, but rather, what I think about myself. Because I value myself and my body, I dress modestly. I don’t need to show a lot of skin to catch others’ attention. I don’t want to catch others’ attention that way. I want to make an impression on others because I am kind or thoughtful or funny, not because I look “hot” or “sexy” in a thigh-high skirt or plunging v neckline.
A person’s value is not – and should never be – determined by the amount of skin they are showing. I stand by the age-old expression, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I don’t want to be judged based on my appearance, no one does, but the more skin someone shows, the harder time I have respecting them. How am I supposed to respect someone who can’t or won’t respect themselves? And why should I expect someone to respect me if I’m not showing respect to myself?
I think too often, in our progressively self-absorbed world, we want to place the blame on others. Everyone else should respect me. It’s their fault if their mind wanders inappropriately. Everyone else should change, but me? I do what I want.
Modestly is not about others. It’s not about what is in everyone else’s minds, how others perceive you. It’s about your own respect and perception of yourself.
Again – and I want to stress this – this isn’t to say that I think that women who dress immodestly or scandalously necessarily want to be hit on, nor do I think that girls who get raped “deserve it” because they are dressing in a certain way. Not at all. No one deserves something like that. What I am proposing, though, is that instead of advocating letting it all “hang out,” dress like you realize your worth. You are unique. You are beautiful. You are precious. You are loved. Dress like you realize that, like you respect yourself, and you’ll be amazed at how many others respect you as well.