Why “Modesty” May Be Just Be Slut Shaming

modesty club

Is the Modesty Club just a coverup for glorified slut shaming? | Source: ModestyClub.com

Okay, so here’s something somewhat cool on the surface. A 15-year-old girl from California named Saige Hatch started a Modesty Club at her school because she wanted to dress conservatively, and it grew to an international sensation. Fair enough. But here’s what we have a slight issue with: Saige and her brother, who founded a “No Cussing” club, are implying that anyone dresses in a way that they don’t consider modest simply doesn’t respect herself.

What do they consider immodest? If you show your shoulders, wear short skirts, or show cleavage, the Modesty Club will not hand you over a card or a handshake. Instead, they’ll glance disapprovingly or maybe recite one of the worst raps we’ve ever heard since Soulja Boy was almost relevant. Seriously, we really hope they’re in on the joke here, otherwise there’s a lack of self-respect here in releasing this thing:

How you dress is an expression of who you are and what you’re feeling. But maybe someone who wears a short skirt has a lot of self-respect–but also knows that she has great legs and wants to show them off. Why not? Have strong shoulders and want to show them off in a halter or strapless dress? More power to you, but be forewarned: That may, according to the Modesty Club, mean you don’t respect yourself. If you’re like me and have an ample chest, almost anything short of a turtleneck–which I find uncomfortable because they make me feel like I’m choking (same reason I don’t tie scarves too tightly)–will show cleavage, whether I like it or not. It doesn’t mean I have no self-respect. It means, hey! I have big boobs and I’m supporting them with proper undergarments, and that’s what happens.

If you want to dress modestly, dude–that’s awesome for you. Congrats, high fives, fist-pounds for you, and we bet you look great! But just because someone doesn’t cover up head to toe every day doesn’t mean it’s okay to make assumptions about or judge them. By implying that a girl in a v-neck sweater has no self-respect and that a girl who wears shorts in public when it’s 90 degrees outside isn’t “dressed for success,” that’s kind of a sexist, prejudiced, and borderline slut-shaming judgment to make. And those same judgments are often what leads to the low self-esteem that the Modesty Club seems to be so earnestly trying to prevent.

Do you dress modestly? Do you think the Modesty Club has the right idea? Do you think dressing immodestly shows a lack of self-respect? Do you think the Modesty Club is sort of slut shaming girls who don’t abide by its dress code? Tell us in the comments!

Your cleavage isn’t offensive.

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12 Comments

  1. avatar LB says:

    I personally know these people. They go to my school and live in my city. Their whole family (the girl who started this club is a freshman at my school and her older brother started the no cussing club, plus they have a ton more siblings) are a bit notorious for bagging on others in out community. They even have a big family bus with all of their faces on it. They are Mormons, and like to preach their beliefs and shame those who don’t agree with devoting their whole lives to wearing floor length skirts and t-shirts under tank tops, praying often, and never cursing or drinking coffee or alcohol. It’s actually quite hurtful to members of our community.

  2. avatar LB says:

    Okay, these people go to my school. I’m totally serious. They invited me to join this club, and I totally would have if they hadn’t shunned me for wearing shorts in the 85 degree southern California weather. I mean, come on. I find their whole approach to this “issue” very disrespectful to the general public and the students of our school. I’m a member of our school’s Academic Decathlon team, and I don’t think that wearing a blazer, pencil skirt, button down shirt (with a few buttons unbuttoned, God forbid), nude tights, and heels for competitions is “scandalous” and I definitely think that it is “dressing for success” more than the Modesty Club’s floor length denim skirts and t-shirts under tank tops. If they want to express their ideas personally, at home, or at church, then they can go right ahead. But I don’t think it’s right to look down upon others because they are a bit different than you. They shouldn’t preach their Mormonism onto us at school.

  3. avatar Artemis95 says:

    I think this depends a lot on how people promoting modesty approach the subject. I go ballroom dancing regularly, and the dances are held at a Catholic church. One of the requirements is a modest dress code, which is as follows: “We are sponsored by a church organization. Modest attire is expected: no low hanging dresses in the front, no large areas of the back exposed, no short dresses/skirts. This means that dresses that are tight fitting, show any cleavage, have spaghetti straps/bare backs, or ones that are hemmed too far above the knee, are NOT ACCEPTABLE.To assure that modesty prevails at all Ballroom dances, we will ask those who do not follow these guidelines to come back with appropriate clothing.”

  4. avatar Sam says:

    Members in South Africa…are you sure? I haven’t met any…

  5. avatar ellegen1@gmail.com says:

    I do believe in dressing modestly. I wear shorts, skirts and bikinis in the summer and consider myself modest so everyone’s standards are a little different. I do think girls shouldn’t be dressing to show off their bodies to guys, because u shouldn’t be dressing for anybody but YOU! I think the Modesty club isn’t a bad idea if these girls want to encourage themselves, but they should make sur they are not engaging in slut shaming or bringing other people down for how they dress.

  6. avatar insert name here says:

    AAAAAAAHHHHHH HIS SHIRT ISN’T BUTTONED UP ALL THE WAY OMGEEEEEEEE!!!! MY EYES, HOW THEY BURN!!!!!!!

    • avatar Viv says:

      don’t be stupid! what a stupid comment!

      • avatar Viv says:

        A Modesty Club! What a great idea! They should have one of these clubs at every School, from middle school to College, what with all the hot pants and bootie shorts these young girls wear to school nowadays is disgusting!

  7. avatar LittleRedWolf says:

    Wow, this club is, I think totally just a way for them to basically say they think they’re better than those who don’t meet their dress standards. You want to dress modestly, fine, but there is no need to start a freaking school club over it (same with the ‘no cussing’ club), especially when your standards are so high, there will be a lot of people who won’t be allowed to join, even if they think they’re dressed modestly. Personally, unless you’re basically dressed as a hooker, I’m not going to judge the way you dress. I wear shorter shorts, tank tops and halters when it’s hot. I don’t like the heat, and shouldn’t have to suffer a t-shirt or pants. I have broad shoulders and a small chest, I often like to wear a bit of a v-neck to make my body look a bit more feminine. I don’t think I’ve got low respect for myself. I’m not dressing like a slut.
    I remember once I went to a church dance with a friend (her church, not mine), and it was a hot summer night, so I wore a sleeveless t-shirt (not even a tank top, just a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off). My friend didn’t say anything, I didn’t think anything of it, but when we got to the dance (which was about a 30-minute drive from where we lived, and her mom had already dropped us off and left), they wouldn’t let me in because my shoulders were showing. My shoulders. I couldn’t believe it. No, really, I was stunned. Shoulders? What on earth was wrong with shoulders? I didn’t know what I was going to do. Was I supposed to just sit outside for the 2 or 3 hours while the dance was going on? Well, they found a couple old t-shirts somewhere. I was able to fit into a plain black one. It smelled funny, and wasn’t flattering at all, but at least I was allowed in. My friend felt bad, because she hadn’t thought about it before we left, since she wasn’t used to ever worrying about the dress code herself. I really wish girls would realize that just because we don’t all dress like nuns doesn’t mean we’re slutty or have no self-respect.

  8. avatar Anonymous says:

    I think people should dress modestly (although my personal beliefs about modesty are a little less strict) to show respect to themselves and other people.
    However, it’s very, very, very wrong to shame people who don’t dress “modestly,” and this club is certainly slut-shaming I mean, how someone dresses has nothing to do with what kind of person they are!!! Disapproving of someone’s actions and hating someone are two very different things, and I think people (conservatives, liberals, and everyone in between) need to learn that. Saying that people who have certain morals about sex and modesty are “prude” or “slut-shaming” is petty and offensive because some women in other parts of the world are slut-shamed much, much worse than most of the things you consider slut-shaming are (i.e. having stricter morals). Slut-shaming is harassing (physically or verbally) or insulting those who dress or act a certain way. Some women are even tortured for dressing immodestly! Harassing people is different than disapproving of their actions.
    In other words, you don’t need to go on about how modesty isn’t important and how women can have sex with whoever they want. You can go on about that on another topic, but slut-shaming is wrong in itself, no matter what your morals about modesty and sex are.

  9. avatar Nia says:

    “Ever since I was I small, I would turn on the TV. I’d have to close my eyes ‘cuz YOU know what I would see!”

    ohhhemmmgee! It’s just something about that line that sends me into a violent fit of chuckles.

    But yah, I definitely agree with this article. I am support women wanting to dress modestly, that’s fine. I just hope these girls one day realize that all women have the right to choose how they want to dress, and they should be judged or shamed because of that.

  10. avatar DaynaMarie says:

    I think that with some changes, this club is a good idea. No, I don’t always dress to their standards. I love to show off my shoulders and wear the occasional miniskirt, but I always dressed appropriately for school and that is something kids and teens need to learn. There is a time to wear more revealing clothes, and their is a time (like at school) to cover up. I must say I love the line on their page “revealing lines are warning signs.” XD

    But I absolutely hate the mention of religion in the rap. “It didn’t come from her, it came from heaven above.” Dressing appropriately when needed is good for all people, religious or not, and I hate the whole implication of ‘do it because my God says so.’

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