Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Modesty

I have been thinking about this topic for a while. My daughter is amazing. She is smart, beautiful, loving and kind. She is also easily influenced by things of the world. She wants a handsome boyfriend, she wants to wear clothes that make her look beautiful, she thinks that make up is what will make her beautiful, and she fears becoming fat one day. Oh! Did I mention that she is FOUR years old? Yeah.... I am sure this is my fault. There is really no one else to blame. I allowed her to watch some of those tween shows -- iCarly, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Good Luck Charlie, A.N.T.S, Wizards of Waverly Place and other shows of the same genre. These are not bad shows but they taught my four year old how to be a tween. 


Then there are the cartoons I grew up with and how they've changed to appeal to the children of today.

Strawberry Shortcake:
My Little Ponies -- 1980s:
My Little Ponies -- Today:

Do we see a constant theme? Skinnier, big and sexy eyes with long eyelashes, the hair... My childhood cartoons have been "sexified" for my daughter!! What?!

Also, I must add --- my son walked in here (6 years old) and was looking at the pictures. He made a grimace and a grossed out sound when I showed him the cartoon characters from my chlidhood. I asked what he thought was wrong with him. He then pointed out that the old Strawberry shortcake has ugly hair and shoes, her socks are funny, and she just looks old. The ponies, he said the old one's eyes were too small, her nose was too big and that he liked the hair on the new ones more. 

I have spent most of the morning reading articles, blogs and research on girls of today vs when I was a child. Then I started thinking about modesty and the way it is taught in the church. My daughter is four so she isn't in Young Women's (12-18 program for girls in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and realized I don't think I want it taught to her that way. In today's world it is harder and harder to find non-sexy clothes. 

One of the articles I read today discussed that it's the clothing that makes a girl "sexy". It's the tease. Give a man just enough and it's a turn on but once all the clothes are gone, it's a body.

So, is the body a beautiful thing given to us in the image of God. A temple that we should respect and care for or is it a sex object for us to get men to gawk over? (or the other way around and get the women to gawk over the men?) There is also a fine line you must travel. When I read this blog post, I realized that by teaching our children to be "modesty police", we are, in a way, teaching them to be judgmental. I have noticed this with my own children. My daughter constantly whispers to me, "her sleeves are not modest" or "her dress is too short." I don't want this for my daughter. I have decided that our next Family Home Evening lesson is going to be on modesty and it will be done in an entirely different way. 

Modesty: the definition according to the Merriam Webster Diction...


mod·es·ty/ˈmädəstē/

Noun:
  1. The quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one's abilities.
  2. The quality of being relatively moderate, limited, or small in amount, rate, or level.

I am going to touch on the actual definition of "modesty" and not just the common definition given today. I want my children to learn our bodies are temples and are beautiful but are to be respected. There is nothing shameful about them but out of respect for our own bodies we don't broadcast them for everyone to see. We respect what God has given us. I haven't figured out exactly how I'm going to do this yet. It will be with a lot of prayer. I feel strongly that my daughter needs to learn this soon though. I worry about her and the choices I fear she will make as she gets older. Obviously my son needs this lesson too after witnessing his reaction to the 80s cartoon characters vs today's. I want my children to dress modestly but not because they think their bodies are dirty and will arouse inappropriate feelings in others but because they respect the precious gift that God has given them. 
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