Jewish World Review Sept. 7, 2001 / 18 Elul, 5761

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

Lack of modesty stirs the troops -- THE response to a recent column I wrote on the virtue of modesty was enough to make this writer blush. Reader sentiment could best be summarized by an e-mail from Kansas City that simply said, "You go, girl."

The response was unanimous - readers are tired of watching it all hang out.

James Foltz of Indianapolis wrote that modesty is a topic "parents, teachers and the clergy have been too timid to talk about."

From a mother of three sons, the oldest turning 13: "I am embarrassed for him when I see young girls wearing shirts so tight, everything they own is visible. What can a young man do when a girl dresses that way? It has got to be extremely difficult to look her in the eyes when he speaks to her, when everything about her is shouting, "Look down here! Look what I've got down here!"

Some other responses:

"I am betting many parents have placed this article in the hands of their offspring. If not, they have lost a golden opportunity to open up conversation on a topic that has been ignored for too long. I have worked in an affluent suburban high school and have seen far more than anyone should ever see 'innocents' participating in." - NC by e-mail

"I have a 5-year-old daughter, and I dread the day when she crosses the size 6x line. When I glance at what's available in the 7-to-14 section, it all looks like slutwear to me. In spite of the women's movement, it looks like we've decided to turn our daughters into tarts. Then, when no one, including themselves, takes them seriously, we'll tell them that they can have it all." - Diana Louise Carter of Rochester, N. Y.

From Neil Smith, the father of two small daughters, of Champaign, Ill. "My wife and I are not stuffy, consider ourselves to be open and young in heart, however it is bothersome to me that today's clothing is basically underwear on the outside. It seems to me that as a society we are selling our children a broken image of sexuality, leaving nothing to imagine, and certainly opening windows of thought that shouldn't be opened."

"We all need to speak out more on this topic rather than just waiting for the tide to turn." - 7732 by e-mail

"I grew up in an era when what you wore was an indication of your 'upbringing' and what you did not wear, when custom demanded it, marked you as a 'loose woman.' There is nothing wrong with being virtuous and leaving something to be discovered with your marriage partner." - Mary H. by mail

"I've felt afraid to say anything (about the lack of modesty) because I really don't like hurting others, but what I'm seeing appears to be hurting the kids more than my clumsy way of expressing myself." - Normajean Price, Wheaton, Ill.

"I'm in my early-mid 40s . . . sticking my toe into the dating pool . . . because of my age (I am assuming), men think I've 'been around' and will freely talk about anything from sleeping habits to personal wetness. What they fail to realize is that I have become more modest with age, which is inversely proportional to society's direction. Yes, I have 'been around,' but only with the windows rolled up and the doors locked. I've seen enough, thank you." - Kathryn by e-mail

"I always thought women were the brakes on the morals of society. My Dad always used to say, 'Moderation in all things.' The world has gone long passed that." -- D. Burgess of Burlington, N. C.

From a mother of two: "I have a daughter in high school marching band and at their daily practices 98 percent of the color guard members always wear sports bras (not the substantial sports bras you see in running magazines either) and brief shorts rolled down Britney Spears style way past their hips. Yikes! Where are their moms? I bet they don't know that the color guard is often referred to by the other kids as the 'whore corps.' "

Interesting thoughts on the topic of modesty. In fact, I'd say that just about covers it.

JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

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08/24/01: The test for parents
08/17/01: Immodest proposals
08/10/01: Trying to R-r-r-re-re-relax
08/03/01: It may be shabby and chic, but it ain't cheap
07/20/01: Bride showered with sage advice
07/13/01: Baby Bear Finds Driving "Just Right"
07/06/01: Pale at the Thought of Bronze
06/29/01: A Dog's Best Friend
06/22/01: Rethinking fatherhood
06/14/01 Don't forget to lock the door
06/07/01 How grandma punishes her kids
06/01/01 Hearing voices
05/25/01 Cyborgs for Better or Worse
05/18/01 The death of Common Sense

© 2001, Lori Borgman