While this might not be what critics of the modesty movement say outright, they surely imply it by their smirks, jeers, and op-eds that poke fun at the idea of a modest woman. I always wondered why our critics equate a return to modesty as a step backward and, even more horrific, a step toward religious fanaticism and theocracy. Perhaps they assume that modesty is merely a religious form of submission; submerging women in shame by making them cover themselves and denying them an opportunity to “know” themselves. “Know thyself” now being translated into “Explore thy sexuality,” that is.
And this is the problem. Our critics single-handedly equate modesty to suppressing female sexuality. Of course, we know that modesty involves an entire way of life-- one that strives in all action and thought to preserve the innermost part of a woman’s being. In fact, we also know that a woman is much more than her sexuality (contrary to what many postmodern feminists think--just take a look at the writings of some who support the Vagina Monologues to see what I mean). Nevertheless, for those of us who try to live modestly, we are thought to be extremists or, God forbid, religious extremists--religion being the enemy of women’s liberation and expression, according to modern feminist thought.
I suppose then that, to be a true feminist one cannot be religious or modest. That is, one cannot believe in a loving and just Creator and believe in an innate dignity worth preserving in order to advocate for the betterment of women? Hmm, that doesn't make much sense. We in the modesty movement are criticized for being regressive, fanatic, and anti-woman. But, judging from our critics’ litmus test, I wonder which movement truly works in the interest of all women.
Indeed, the modesty movement is a truly feminist movement and it’s about time it be recognized as such.