Monday, August 11, 2014

#ClaireMusings: Why I am not teaching my daughter "modest is hottest"

Ten months or so ago I became a father to a precious little girl. Her name is Claire Jewel, and she's been getting me to thinking a lot.  I have started to see the world in a very different way than I think I did before she was born.  It's just some of what churches and Christian based organizations are teaching girls seems to be quite flawed.  When I say the Church, I am not talking about any one church but Christian culture in America.

One of those things is teaching our daughters that "Modest is Hottest." Looking at that, it looks like a great statement, and that we should teach our daughters that being modest is appropriate, but that's not what this is saying. This is not the purpose of this "cute" little rhyme in my opinion.

We live in a very sexualized world.  Women and girls face a world where their worth is put into how "pretty" "beautiful" "sexy" the package is, and how they get what they want based on looks and appearance. We live in a culture that says if a women isn't pretty, by a photoshopped standard in the latest women's magazine or fashion brand's latest advertising,  then she isn't valuable, and even farther, she isn't worth our time.

See I believe that the teaching that modest is hottest came from a very genuinely good place.  I can see someone using the culture of the world to sell modesty to little girls who are exposed to what the world is doing to women through images of perfection.  I can see it's origins.  I can see a counter-culture trying to make sense of the current culture.

My beef with modest is hottest is that it's STILL sexualizing women!  It says, you still need to be hot, but modest at the same time. I believe that the teaching modesty is important, but based on teaching girls the VALUE of themselves.  I think my daughter is valuable because she is, not because of what she looks like.  When you say modest is hottest it's cheapening the worth of her, her intelligence, her abilities, and her as a human.

You shouldn't fight fire with fire.  You should use the current culture as an example but not in agreement.  My daughter is valuable, not because of what she looks like, but because she was created by a God full of love! We may not have control over how the world works or how it portrays women and girls, but we do have the ability to provide truth in the midst of chaos.  We have to teach our daughters from as early as possible to value themselves and to be examples; while addressing and exposing what's going on around them at the same time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Broc, thanks so much for posting this. It's so great to hear men (particularly daddies) who understand this, because this is something that I wish the men in my life understood. This is something that I had to learn on my own, and unfortunately I didn't fully understand it until I was 23. This "modest is hottest" mindset was extremely harmful to me as a teenager because it made me believe that when boys (and men as well, unfortunately) sexualized me in very inappropriate ways as a 15, 16, 17 year old girl, that it was somehow my fault. Because they were guys and they "couldn't help it," and I was "asking for it" by being attractive, even though I dressed very modestly. I used to constantly stress about what I wore because I believed I was responsible for men's thoughts and actions towards me. When "covering up" didn't stop inappropriate advances, I blamed myself. It had to be me. Somehow I was "advertising what I wasn't selling," even though, looking back, I definitely wasn't. I carried a lot of shame and guilt for years because of it. Looking back, I wish someone had told me that there's a difference between respecting your body and fearing your body. A woman's body is not a weapon of mass destruction. It doesn't render men senseless, and men can "help themselves." Also, saying "no" IS NOT MEAN. As a girl, my identity was way too wrapped up in being "sweet" and "nice" and making everybody happy, which made it really difficult for me to stand up for myself. But that's a whole other issue. Anyways, thanks again for your thoughts. Your daughter is a lucky girl to have a daddy who understands this. We need more men who think like you do.