Modesty Is Bullshit

I don’t know if the internet is conspiring against me or there has been an upsurge in discussions about modesty as of late, but find these debates about modesty to be beyond frustrating.

This post [now removed] is one of several, all of which more or less say the same thing. Basically, dudes can’t help but be stimulated by the site of your body, women, so if you don’t want to be objectified, you best cover up. Leaving alone, for now, the heteronormativity and misogyny seeped into that argument, I have another problem with the argument.

What is modest?

That particular author refers to being naked and wearing a bikini as immodest yet offers no standards for what modesty entails. If I think my bikini is modest, does that make his argument null and void?

Modesty has changed drastically over the course of generations. The blue jeans that were deemed immodest for my grandmother are a staple of wardrobe of my generation.


Full calf is ok for 4 year olds but only half calf is ok for 12 year olds?

It changes across cultures. While saris may reveal some midriff, midriff baring shirts are often viewed as immodest. Even within similar cultures, a clear definition doesn’t exist. Thong bikinis, while popular on Miami’s beaches, rarely show up on beaches of the East Coast.

Modesty is such a socially constructed concept that developing any sort of objective definition is impossible. So, rather than argue for modesty, let’s argue for what people are really after: covering up the parts of a woman’s body they (or their society) have arbitrarily sexualized.

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