My son made a quick trip back to his high school a couple weeks ago when his senior year annual arrived. Bailey and I took the time to look through every picture, page, and caption together.
I’ve opened my own senior year annual many times over the past 23 years. Wow! That was some unbelievably big hair!
There is a picture in Bailey’s yearbook that has become quite the controversy. The picture calls into question the amount of skin one should reveal. I truly believe, for three very specific reasons, that Modesty (regardless of age or gender) Really Does Matter.
The question is not about confidence in one’s body. My husband and I have taught our children that healthy bodies come in lots of shapes and sizes and that we’re all beautiful and unique. I also believe that our bodies, as beautiful gifts from God, are meant to be shared between a husband and wife.
For me, the amount of skin one should cover depends on one’s audience, the distribution of images (should pictures or video be taken), and the affect of exposure on others in the American culture.
While I might believe something to be appropriate for myself, my husband, my own backyard, my girlfriends at a spa, etcetera, I must think beyond myself to the entire gambit of possible viewers. While the yearbook in question is a student production, it’s a given that a wide populous will see it. It was produced using resources purchased with public money, will remain in several public collections for decades, and was likely paid for by parents.
In the weeks that have followed the release of this yearbook, the picture in question has circulated without any possibility of control on social media. While I thought my 1992 big hair was “totally awesome,” I am less thrilled 20+ years later that several pictures of my hairdo fopa have popped up on social media. The picture in this year’s annual has now been in local, national, and international news. While I live in this moment, I have to acknowledge that my images, actions, and words will take on a digital, public life of their own and may live independent of my control for decades to come.
Most importantly (particularly for me as a 40 year old wife and mother) is the affect of exposure on others. We do not live in a culture where nudity is the standard.
If I were to see a naked man ordering coffee at McDonalds or a naked woman shopping at Wal-Mart, I’d be shocked. I’d wrestle with a mental replay of the image for the rest of the day. My mind wouldn’t do the same thing if I was in Zambia, Africa on a mission trip or in an art museum.
While nudity is neither here nor there in many cultures, many of us (myself included) don’t know what to do with nudity in unexpected places. Granted, the pictures were not full exposure but they did cause my eyes, and the eyes of my eighteen year old, to do a double take.
I have to acknowledge that immodest dress will cause others’ eyes and minds to wander, and those wandering minds may travel to a place I would never intentionally want them to go.
Do you intentionally teach your children about modesty? If you’ve stumbled upon a fantastic way to address modesty with your children, please share!
Before you leave the site, follow my blog (top, right of this post). It’s quick and easy!
For more from Marea, check out Me and Thee Studios’ faith based leveled readers for 1st-2nd graders at http://www.meandtheestudios.com/early-reader-collection.html