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January 26, 2006


DK Jones

It is ironic to me in a time when so many people are up in arms about their right to privacy; they want to air their dirty laundry on the Internet and any other forum where the whole world can watch. We want to keep secrets and have others respect our privacy, but we post our religious, political and civic associations and ALL of our opinions on our car bumpers. We want our privacy to be respected, but like you said we want to know what every famous person is eating, wearing, thinking, believing.

My husband has an address book that has quotes through out. One of my favorite is something along the lines of live your life like everything you do will one day be known. In the past that might have slowed people down and made them consider the consequences. Today, it only seems to egg them on. Negative attention is attention nonetheless.


Nice blog, everyone. I have my own take on the modesty question at my blog, Breakfast with Pandora.


Relationships between men and women might be more natural and healthy because of the lack of rigid expectations about how they will interact. I had many, many wonderful and worthwhile friendly relationships with boys while growing up which would not have been possible in your ideal 'modest' society where my every interaction with them was 'properly' chaperoned.

The 9-5 job is antiquated because of competition and necessity, not immodesty. The shopowner who stays open till 8 will make more money than the one who goes home at 5:30. The business that fulfills orders in two days instead of a week will make more money, so they employ night shifts. The person who works a 60 hour week will get ahead as compared to the person who works 40 hour weeks. What's your point about it? Sure, we could have a society where they roll up the sidewalks after dark, but that would not be nearly as profitable. Thus are the fruits of capitalism and freedom.

When two unrelated women co-habitate, and you want to know if they're a family, I suggest... asking. Why does it bother you that you might not be able to immediately classify every group of people who live under one roof?

And where do you all live that people are shedding their clothes?

-looks around the office and out the window-

Everyone here is wearing clothes.

Honestly, I think you all are way overreacting - things aren't so bad, despite what the news says, and even when they are bad it's not like our generation invented pre-marital sex, drug use, etc. Sure, maybe out-of-wedlock births are up, but the majority of women used to be married by 20 - earlier if they got "in trouble", which they did. Frequently. Especially in the non-aristocratic scene.

The fact that I go onto a beach with my belly button showing is not to blame for the bad things that happen in this world. Not that we shouldn't work on being less superficial and materialist, but you all seem to be glorifying this virtue simply for its own sake.

Liz Neville

Karen-- while you may think that we are all are "way overreacting" here at modestlyyours, I notice that you are still reading and commenting, and I'm glad about that. I do agree with Belinda, though, about the giving way of boundaries in general. Of course this loosening up is not always bad, and often needed in many ways-- e.g. the opening up of commerce and opportunity. Maybe it's a difference in perspective that comes with age that convinces me that boundaries are useful guardrails, and while each generation may think they have invented the latest way to be naughty, they haven't. What they may have done though, is lower the bar of taste and decency and expectation. Once it is dragged lower, it's so hard to pull it back up. And we're all a little poorer for it.

Mary B.

In a secular society where religious experience and an interior life are not nurtured where do people put there passions? Are they spilling outside of themselves? When I see people fight and scream on Jerry Springer or confess deep dark secrets to Oprah, I wonder if they're feeling they've done something terribly wrong and don't want to accept responsibility for it. Are they hoping someone, anyone, will take their guilt off of their hands? Do they think if they make their bad behavior public and socially acceptable, they will no longer suffer?

I would also like to comment on karen's statement:

"I had many, many wonderful and worthwhile friendly relationships with boys while growing up which would not have been possible in your ideal 'modest' society where my every interaction with them was 'properly' chaperoned."

I had many wonderful friendships with boys when I was growing up in the during 60's when children were routinely taught to be modest and respect themselves and each other. Boys and girls were well aware of each others differences. We did not need chaperoning during our play because we were trusted to care for and respect each other and ourselves. And my parents experienced the same thing during the 30's and 40's. Modesty is a simple concept that children feel good about using because it makes them feel safe. It's not repression.


I agree to some extent with both points made by Karen and Belinda. I do think some comments on this blog are a little bit over the top but I also agree that the boudaries in our society have become blurred. I definately don't agree with a lot of the comments on clothing. I think that sometimes modesty is not really about the item of clothing but more how it is worn and on what type of body. A pair of shorts could look modest on a certain body type yet very immodest on another body type. The debate on tank tops and spaghetti straps-ditto. If you have very huge breasts and wear a revealing tank top it is going to show a lot more than on a woman with a smaller bust.

And incase anyone else was watching or reading about the Golden Globes... What did you all think about Drew Barrymore's outfit. I remember a comment on this blog about women going bra-less. In Drew's case I think it was a very bad decision because it made her breasts sag and the dress look un-attractive. Modesty did not even enter in to this opinion. The dress if worn with a bra would have been beautiful (it wasn't low cut or ultra-revealing at all)


I agree - boundaries are blurring - or erroding. Sure we all need some flexability, but what we see happening today certainly provides no structure - I agree Liz - they are guardrails for social behaviour - and we do need them. I made a recent comment to this under the post "A breath of foul air" for anyone interested.

I'd just like to comment on this from Karen:

"Honestly, I think you all are way overreacting - things aren't so bad, despite what the news says, and even when they are bad it's not like our generation invented pre-marital sex, drug use, etc...."

I'm not sure what 'etc' Karen is referring to, but I am compelled to say that some things really are 'that bad' - and most doesn't get to the news. Many people unfortunately (or fortunately perhaps) live in space in the world where they are not witnesses to 'the bad things', and in this generation with erroding boundaries and lack of good public modelling it only gets worse. People and society needs boundaries - think of a child without boundaries. Now compare that to society.

D K Jones

Things aren't so bad...

If your roof has a leak it's not so bad, I mean it could be falling on you...but if you don't take time to fix the leak the roof will eventually fall in on you!

We may not have invented the "bad" things in world, but when we allow them to be normalized and trivalized we do ourselves no favors.

Jeannine Kellogg

I always have to chuckle when people assume that being modest means having chaperones around every corner of the planet and having wardrobes that consist entirely of big dark blankets. No doubt, reverting to a Taliban society would be terrifyingly horrible. And we must be very much aware that every society must always be on guard for extremes in either direction—allowing dissension is an important element of avoiding extremes.

But, clearly, Belinda was not advocating chaperones and blankets; I understood her piece to be merely a reminder for us to consider in our life where our boundaries are, and whether or not we protect and reserve time for what is important and meaningful. She makes some valid points that in blurring so much in our lives, we can inadvertently shed a boundary that may actually have an important role. Without understanding our personal limits, we may lose or blur what is special, enduring, and what is substantive in our relationships. Thank you Belinda!

One woman, Karen, responded to Belinda;s post, “Honestly, I think you all are way overreacting - things aren't so bad.”

Perhaps in Karen’s personal world, things aren’t so bad, and I can say in my life "things aren't so bad." But even my own enormous insurance company admits that things aren't so good in our culture. As I wrote in a recent post, the company published a statistic in their newsletter, “one in three young people will contract at least one Sexually Transmitted Disease by the age of 24.” That percentage has been on the rise, and apparently continues to increase. For our culture’s young people, I don't call that a situation where "everything's good enough."

With the “good enough” view, I think there are many vulnerable young girls and boys who are fed a bunch of fibs that have at their premise a philosophy of "Who cares! The world has always had inflicted pain and screw ups." Generally, too many young girls are fed those fibs and end up pregnant, ditched by a guy who never intended to love them, or are left with diseases, etc. Karen seems to pass that off as a benign "ho hum" sort of problem. It isn't "ho hum" for the girl, the new mother or the resulting child who will be raised with a part time or entirely absentee father.

A stronger philosophy is one that admits the facts of where we're at, and doesn't brush off issues with a cavalier and insensitive world view of "whatever, it's always been that way." I hope our society advocates a more caring foundation than the latter. Also, any problems we say "ho hum" too, always, without a doubt grow. It is a constant struggle to keep our culture worthy of respect.

Mark La Roi

Boundaries are especially good for children. Kids have an innate desire for boundaries because that's how they find out the limits of their world and who they are. Without boundaries, you get a person who has no idea where to start or stop, and that's as scary for them as it is for the society which has to deal with them.

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