Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Christian quiz on dressing modestly

| »
Cartoon of scantily-leather-clad woman with gun
Pictured: Probably more modest in manners than most preachy Christians

Answers in Genesis has a quiz [PDF] by Revive Our Hearts, a “[w]omen’s [m]inistry” for those “[s]eeking Biblical [w]omahood”, about how we (namely, those perpetually immodest females) should all be dressing; after all, modesty is next to holiness in the eyes of the Lord, or something. Of course, these are all from a stringently God-fearing perspective, so I suppose my secular point-of-view may clash somewhat with the narrative this quiz is trying to push. Who knows.

Here’s my obligatory take on the 17-point list:

Take the following True/False quiz to discover what you really believe about clothing, and then compare your responses with the answer key below.

1. According to the Bible, the primary purpose of clothing is to cover the body.

I’m gonna have to guess “True”, seeing as I’ve never read the thing. (Fully, anyway.) Oddly enough, covering the body is also the non-Biblical reason for wearing clothes, though I suspect the motive behind this desire to envelop the body in cloth may be different than the holy book’s rationale.

2. There’s nothing right or wrong about particular clothing styles. It’s all just a matter of taste and personal opinion.

True. It’s all about individuality, after all, and if your clothes are comfortable and are allowed given any locally applicable rules (hint: no “death to Obama” shirts while in Congress!), then knock yourself out.

3. The Bible tells us what styles of clothing Christians should wear.

True. (What doesn’t the Bible dictate?)

4. Since the Bible says God looks on the heart, what we wear and how we appear aren’t that important; it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

I suppose that should be “True”, but then, God is nothing if not petty and fickle.

5. Our clothes and appearance reveal a lot about our values, our character, and beliefs.

Ambiguous. Sometimes yes, sometimes no; I’d argue that how you dress really speaks a whole lot more about your sense of fashion than anything else. That goth kid with the chains and spiky leather boots may actually be the kindest chap around, whereas your local three-piece-suit type may be the next economy-collapsing CEO. (Hey, that’s pretty evil to me.) We place way too much emphasis on how people dress.

6. What I wear is not really anyone else’s concern. I should be free to wear the kind of clothes that I like and that I feel comfortable wearing.

True. (Unless what you’re comfortable wearing is specifically judged by others’ opinions of your dressing habits, in which case you’re either lacking in individuality or are an average teenager.)

7. Modesty means dressing in a way that is outdated, dumpy, and unattractive.

False. Just means you don’t like exposing too much. (Just how much is Biblically acceptable remains to be seen.)

8. If a girl doesn’t wear trendy clothes that are at least a little revealing, guys won’t notice her.

True. Welcome to society. (Same for the reverse, I presume.)

9. Except for guys who are “over-sexed,” most men are not really affected by the way women dress. Most guys don’t even notice how women dress.

Um … False? Though, just what type of “notice” are we talking about, here? The friendly “that dress is gorgeous!” type, or the “I see your cleavage, can I drool over it?” creep?

10. I can’t help it if guys struggle morally because of what I wear. It’s up to the guys to control their minds. I shouldn’t have to change the way I dress just because they can’t control themselves.

Um … True. Duh. Unless women’s clothes, however sexy, has some sort of magical properties that wipe out men’s capacity for restraint and good manners, women (and their body-dressings) are not to be blamed for how others around them act.

11. Parents shouldn’t impose their standards or beliefs about clothing on their kids. They should let them make their own decisions, even if they don’t approve of what their kids are wearing.

True. Guidelines and suggestions are one thing, but ultimately, the kids need to learn what’s okay and not on their own.

12. Christians are free to dress as they wish, because we’re not under the law, but under grace. It’s legalistic for parents or youth leaders to establish guidelines or standards for the way young people dress.

… What? (False?)

13. Christian women should never wear clothes that are revealing or that look sexy (i.e., clothes designed to arouse sexual desire or interest).

Because, obviously, men can’t help but gawk and grope and rape whenever they see a few inches of female skin too many. We’re notoriously deficient in that respect, I suppose.

14. There are some public settings where it is okay for Christian women to wear clothing that exposes their private parts (e.g., thighs, breasts).

“Thighs”? Since when are thighs “private parts”? So most of Red Carpet starlets are guilty of public nudity, then?

15. A woman can be covered from head to toe and still be dressed immodestly.

False. Unless her clothes are see-through or something.

16. A woman can wear modest clothing and still be an immodest woman.

Because the burqa won’t help you if you’re a sex-crazed harlot, of course.

17. Most girls and women do not understand the meaning, the power, or the benefits of true modesty.

Such secrets are reserved only for those pure, True ChristianTM women.

Well, that was dumb and pointless. I wonder how I did overall?

The Style Quiz Answer Key

1. True. God designed clothing to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness, which became shameful after they sinned.

2. False. Choosing clothing styles is not just a matter of personal taste and opinion. Clothing choices should be based on biblical principles (e.g., modesty, moderation, and gender distinctiveness).

3. False. The Bible doesn't spell out specifics of “right” and “wrong” clothing choices.

4. False. You can't separate what's on the inside from what's on the outside. The external is a reflection of the heart.

5. True. A woman's clothing and appearance are powerful non-verbal communicators of what she believes.

6. False. Everything we do—including the way we dress—affects others. As believers, we have an obligation to be sensitive to others and to avoid anything that could put temptation in the path of another.

7. False. We may not be able to wear all the most popular trends, but it is possible to be fashionable and modest.

8. False. It's a matter of what kind of attention you want, and from whom. The right kind of guys will be drawn to women who are modest—inside and out!

9. False. Even godly men can be easily enticed to lust by the sight of an immodest woman.

10. False. We may not be completely responsible for how guys think, but we are responsible for modest appearance so we do not tempt them to sin.

11. False. Parents are responsible to provide guidelines, instruction, and, where necessary, restraint for children who are still in their home. (This does not mean that parents should not give their children freedom to express their own tastes, when those preference do not violate biblical principles.)

12. False. Every area of a believer's life is to be lived under the authority and lordship of Jesus Christ. Grace gives us the desire and ability to please God. Parents and spiritual leaders are responsible to provide wise, biblical leadership for those under their authority.

13. False. It is absolutely appropriate for a woman to be sexy (in private settings) with her husband!

14. False. “Place” does not determine modesty. Unfortunately, when it comes to swimwear and formal wear, many Christian women do not even consider the issue of modesty, or they are content to settle for a standard that is “relatively” modest—i.e., modest compared to what “most people wear”—rather than asking, “Is this truly modest?”

15. True. A woman can be dressed from head to toe and still be immodest, if her attire is revealing, clingy, or too tight.

16. True. Modesty involves more than just our clothing. It includes our attitudes, the way we talk, and our behavior—how we walk, use our eyes, engage with others, etc.

17. True. Unfortunately, many Christian girls and women have never taken the time to discover God’s will concerning biblical modesty. They do not realize the great rewards and blessings modesty will bring to them and to others.

Wow. Guess I flunked that test, eh?

(Which, of course, means, I passed. Yay for secular values!)

You know, for an all-knowing and all-powerful super-being with an entire Universe to deal with, this God of theirs sure does seem unduly and specifically preoccupied with how his mortal spawns take care of their aesthetics. And it’s only natural that so many “girls and women” haven’t bothered entering this archaic mindset of blame-shifting attention to dresswear, for they recognize it as the useless, misogynistic garbage that it is.

(via Pharyngula)