The Challenge of Being Modest in an Immodest Culture

Sometimes Mormon parents and youth feel rather alone when dealing with the immodest standards of the world, but this is an illusion. There are many parents and many young people of other faiths who are disturbed by the trends in our culture and who are looking for ways to maintain high standards. I think many of them also feel rather alone. We ought to get together and collaborate a little more. Here’s an article from Rebecca Hagelin about her quest to help her daughter be modest. She was surprised to learn how many others share her views.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

5 thoughts on “The Challenge of Being Modest in an Immodest Culture

  1. Parents want their children to be modest. However when they take their kids shopping and have trouble finding modest clothing they figure that is what is appropriate. Therefore they buy it.

    The same is with school dances with 13 year olds. The schools allow kissing in the bleachers, slow/close dancing, in the dark gym. The music and lighting is FAR from LDS standards. The schools are right—therefore that kind of dance activity is right. I could not change the dances when I was a school administrator. When I got in the Bishopric and read the Church standards for dances I left school dances.

    Again—-parents figure it is in the schools—it must be appropriate.

    We are ruining our chidren with the conflict of standards between Church and some public school activities.

  2. I read that article by Hagelin, and one thing did appall me: her insistence that her childrens’s visitors dress the same way her children do. She will take the visitor and redress her to conform to her way of thinking.

    If I’d been a teenage girl (I was one, once) and I had been told that I needed to add more clothing by someone who was not a parent, I think I would have done it, but not visited the friend again. I think Hagelin presumes too much. And before you think I’m some sort of libertine, I was the only girl not to have her picture in the yearbook as a high school senior, because I refused to have it made in the fluffy strapless “thing” that all senior girls’ pictures were made in. I instead insisted on a cap and gown and that picture did not make it into the yearbook.

    This is not to say that I’m not shocked at what kids are wearing to high school these days. But humiliating a visitor by redressing her is not the way to go about making your point.

  3. Anon at 7:44,
    I inferred that Hagelin’s daughter’s friend was undressed to a degree such it would have necessitated sending the friend home.

    I didn’t read it as a matter of “dress like my daughter or go home.”

    I read it as a loving and diplomatic alternative to saying “rise up to somewhere near our standards of dress, because I’m not going to let my daughter sink to your standard of dress.”

    How would you have handled it? Given that Hagelin was not going to let her daughter hang out with the unacceptably undressed girl, what other alternative was there other than sending the friend home?

    Offering to loan the clothes was being inclusive, not divisive. It was “Come join us!” and not “Go away until you can dress decently.”

    Given that the only other acceptable option to Hagelin, was sending the less-dressed friend home, and forbidding her daughter to associate with girls who dress *like* sluts (Note I didn’t say *are* sluts) would then offering to loan some clothing be an acceptable alternative?

    I saw her clothing offer as one of kindness, friendly instruction, and a lifting up effect, rather than being divisive and sending the girl home.

    I see two reasons for not wanting your daughter in the company of someone who inappropriately dressed: 1) the influence on your daughter by the message that such undress is acceptable, and 2) your daughter being in the company of her would cause 3rd parties to make assumptions about her due to the undressed nature of her friend, sort of guilt by association. We are known by the company we keep.

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