Have we desensitized ourselves to modesty?


have we desensitized ourselves to modesty over the centuries?

and what is the best way to look at the changes in the last 100 years?

the rising of dress hems, the shortening of sleeves, women and pants, shorts for both genders. bathing suits.

ii’m still confused as on what to do.

for me personally, dresses and skirts are usually about knee length or longer, shorts are slightly above the knee (maybe 2-3 inches at most) or longer, pants are not too tight, any shirt with or dress have shoulders mostly covered, or short sleeves or long sleeves, not much back revealing, neckline needs to be proper, bathing suit is only one piece. this is just for me personally. does anyone see problems with this? I still cn’at help but feel, I would have been told I was going to hell for immodesty, in a previous time since mostly wore floor length dresses for most of Christian history.

I guess I just have a hard time understanding how modestly is subjective. and how clothes can change from men’s clothes to women’s clothes or vice versa and not be considered cross-dressing. for example, women in pants would have been cross dressing before and men in skirts didn’t used to be cross dressing and now it pretty much would be.

why didn’t god prescribe a dress code? would make this easier (I’m partially joking)


The answer is yes. I witnessed the changes to what used to be bathing to suits becoming less than underwear, to sort skirts and women willing to expose more of the breasts by the cut of the blouses they wear. We cannot blame this on any one event but an elite group of people called “fashion designers.” I saw all the words they used to justify their “creations”: bold, avant-garde, modern (as opposed to two years ago), daring and so on. All they’ve done is degrade women - primarily. And for those who gave it a try, it led men to think “It must be OK if she’s wearing it.” This was a slow process that took place over the last 40 years.

Point is - the fashion designers decide what the perfect body type, facial features and hairstyles are. The dictators work along with cosmetics companies who are constantly making women feel they have to buy this or that to look better, even if they are naturally beautiful.


And public speech? I saw a child cussing out mom at the parking lot of a supermarket, a young man talking on his cell phone as he walked passed me, using obscene language, or people addressing each other with and liberally using profanity. That is is wrong. The Bible tells us to control our tongues.

Be modest in your speech and dress.



ok well if that’s the case, what is a person supposed to do? wera a floow length gown and that’s it? nothing today is considered modest compared to 100 years ago


I know a liiiiittle bit about fashion history so let me explain a bit.

Short sleeves aren’t a new invention. Short sleeves were very common in the Victorian era, especially during the Regency period when dresses had those cute little puffed sleeves. Arms aren’t very sexual and so short or long sleeves tend to reflect the fashions and the seasons.

As for the shortening of skirts, this came about very gradually. Dresses were generally full-length at the beginning of the 20th century, as we know. Then, however, WWI happened. Women were suddenly demanded to go to work and this called for more practical garments. Dresses shortened to ankle length or even higher to allow woman to walk and run around more easily as they filled in for men during daily life. After the war, women were already wearing dresses that were as short as mid-calf length, and they just sort of kept shortening. There were people who disapproved, but nobody was shocked to see women walking around in knee-length skirts. It was the fashion of the time. In the 1920’s, even young Catholic women didn’t wear skirts to the floor, because knee length was perfectly appropriate.

Then WWII came and suddenly short skirts were not only practical, but necessary. Fabrics were placed on strict rations and dresses needed to use as little as possible. Anybody who had a serious problem with knee length skirts would have had to hang onto dresses bought years previously, because long skirts weren’t available.

After the war years, there was really no reason to go back to floor length gowns. Our culture had been successfully desensitized the sexuality of knees and calves.

THEN, however, came the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. This revolution was different from what happened previously. Skirts began to shorten and necklines began to drop not just for practical or fashion issues, but for the express purpose of throwing away modesty and being “sexually free”. These are the kinds of garments that most of us are opposed to. “Miniskirts” basically represented a rejection of conservative thinking and all the values of purity and chastity. Knee length skirts, on the other hand, represented a basic necessity for practical garments and fabric conservation during a time of crisis. There is a HUGE difference between the two.

There may be some errors in my history, but that’s basically how I see the fashion timeline. You’re a-ok in knee length skirts because you are following a decent fashion. Miniskirts and bikinis, on the other hand, are an obscene fashion, and do not represent modesty.


But what is wrong with wearing a floor length gown? Why does American culture today assume that every woman, especially younger women, want to wear revealing clothing? If it were 100 years in the past, these same women would probably be wearing floor length clothing. The impression I get is that women wear revealing clothing simply because its “fashionable”, but at the expense of their dignity. Too many women will go outside with little on them and then proclaim boldly that they are women and that they are beautiful. But my question is that if women know that they are more than just their bodies, why are they reducing themselves to their bodies? If they are beautiful, why do they feel the need to prove it? It bothers me to see women feeling that they need to prove everything to everybody to the point where they don’t know how to just be.


Younger women are bombarded by professionally photographed models wearing obscene and immodest clothing in ads all the time in all media. Then they see the same thing in movies and TV. When parents let the media take control, they are no longer raising their kids. A very attractive relative of mine was wearing revealing clothing one day and I casually pointed out she was sending the wrong message. Her somewhat angry reply was, “But all my friends dress like this!”

Hello! Mom? Dad? Your kids? Anybody? or is it, “Once she turns 18, I’m done.”?

Kids do not get ready-made instructions. Their minds need to be directed, boundaries need to be set. This is right and this wrong. Actions have consequences. “You are my daughter and I refuse to let you out of the house dressed like that.” Anyone?

And who decides what gets put on the racks in stores? Buyers, not you. And they are ‘under the influence’ of self-proclaimed trend-setters. Immodesty is “modern.”

“Those values on which we used to rely…” (from the opening song to the totally dysfunctional, crude and at times, anti-Christian “cartoon” Family Guy).



It frightens me to see how obsessed young children have become with their appearance and that so many are allowed to dress like miniature adults (especially little girls).
Can only hope that the tide will eventually turn, as we are currently in the age of “selfies”, bullying, eating disorders and worse. Modesty has become a very old-fashioned concept.




ok, yes, I get what you’re saying.

however, you didn’t really answer my question, do the standards I have currently, regardless of what the newest fashion trend is, seem immodest to you?


yes, I guess that makes sense, but how do we know if it’s a decent fashion/ I mean you did say that people objected to it at first. and the thing I really don’t get is why calves and knees were considered so sexual in the first place. and some would say that after the time of crisis was over, shouldn’t we have gone back to the old ways? and I’m sure no one is shocked by bikinis or mini skirts anymore either. I’m really trying to understand it all. sorry if I’m slow


I agree for the most part. but are the standards I’ve come up for myself immodest in your opinion?


Yes we have desensitized ourselves, or at least the “social marketing efforts” of the media have promoted it.

My attire: dresses that are mid-shin, jeans or pants that are not tight but fit nice, no low neck lines, one piece swim suits or a two piece that looks like a one piece, longer length blouses versus the short stuff I find everywhere…even if I have to make the blouse or shirt.

I seldom, very seldom ever wear makeup and if I do it is so light you might not even know it. My hair, when long is put in braids or french buns.

I see nothing attractive about clothes that are too tight, too short, let your belly button show or reveal too much cleavage. Tatoos and mounds of makeup look terrible to me and I can’t figure out why people are so enthralled with them…


Not at all!!! I wouldn’t dream of criticising any adult’s choice of what to wear :eek:

My sole concern is with young children, especially little girls. So many are encouraged to dress like miniature adults, wear make-up and adopt suggestive postures, modelling themselves on pop stars. I take joy in their confidence in their bodies, but fear they are being innocently led into an excessive focus upon how they look, for the reasons I gave in previous post.


Yeah, this, pretty much.

Modesty does indeed vary by place and time. I think that the Catechism says something to that effect. But I don’t read that as a justification for bikinis just because you happen to live in Malibu. I read that more along the lines of tribal cultures in Africa and the Amazon, where nudity isn’t a provocation to lust or a kind of provocative sexual statement. It is just the way they dress.

In our culture clothes are used by women to look “sexy,” right? But what does that mean if it doesn’t have something to do with evoking lust? African bush women don’t talk about being sexy when they go naked. They aren’t trying to be “hot.” And that is the difference with cultures where flesh is revealed in an acceptable way and our own western culture where flesh is revealed to evoke lust and prurient desire and attention. And that is the case even if your average 17 year-old is wearing a spaghetti-strap because it is blazing hot outside and not because they want to be craved by men. Her personal intention doesn’t make her immodesty suddenly modest. Whether you’re buying into the cultural rot because you don’t want to sweat so much in the summer doesn’t take away from the fact that you’re still buying into the cultural rot. There is a sort of regression of our culture towards an almost animalistic worship of flesh. At what point will Catholics simply say, no, that’s enough, I will not go there?

It doesn’t require ballroom gowns, either, which weren’t necessarily that modest, either. I mean, you can find genuinely stylish knee-length skirts and loose-fitting tops without looking like an antiquarian. Orthodox Jewish women do this very well, at least in general.

I’ll also point out that clothing choices are about femininity as much as modesty—for women and girls, obviously. I don’t necessarily want to delve into the whole skirts/pants debate, but I’ll just point out that, as a relatively young married guy, I simply see women in skirts in a different way than women in pants. Is that mysogenistic? I don’t know, and I certainly don’t intend it that way. Femininity is an astonishingly wonderful gift that women bear, and the fact that so many are trying to cover it up in mannish pants seems to me to be a real shame. I’m not talking about attractiveness, either, although skirts are infinitely more attractive than pants on women. What I’m talking about is a woman really being a woman, and not buying into the self-hating feminism that has inked its way through our culture.

We just had a baby girl who we’ll have wear skirts until she can begin to make clothing choices guided by us, basic moral norms, and her own conscience. I won’t feel too terribly if she chooses to wear pants, but I confess that I would feel that she is somehow giving up a little bit of the incredible femininity that she’s been given by God.


I tend to think that the Barbie-fication of young girls demonstrates a tremendous amount of anxiety about one’s body–not confidence. Real confidence in your body leads you to dress stylishly, perhaps, to dress well, certainly, and also to dress in a way that does not require absurd sexual provocation.


There were older, conservative women who probably disapproved. But for the most part, folks understoond why and how the fashions were changing. Fact: The shock value of changing styles in the 1920’s was FAR less than the shock value of changing styles in the 1960’s.

Modesty varies by culture. The Catholic church states this to be true. It’s all about what we’re used to seeing. 200, 300 years ago men were not used to seeing calves and knees, and so they were sexualized. As calves and then knees were gradually exposed, people became more and more comfortable with them until finally they simply became culturally modest.
We didn’t go back to floor length gowns after the war because we were all used to seeing ankles, calves and knees. There was no reason: knee length skirts had already become culturally modest.


Two hundred years ago young children (over the age of four or five) were dressed in clothes very much like what grown-ups wore. :onpatrol: :tiphat:


A few good guides to modesty:





but that’s exactly what I mean, why is it not a problem to be desentisized to knees and calves?

and now the world wants to desentisitize us to the rest, it’s not ok. I thinkn some will argue that it started from knees and calves and kept going.


Speaking as an older man, not only have we become desensitized to the lack of modesty, but we’ve also become desensitized to the lack of morality.

And my generation had a lot to do with it. Back in the 1960’s and 70’s we wanted free sex, and then “The Pill” made it possible. Equally responsible was legalizing abortion. We were envisioning a world where everyone would live in peace and love with everyone else. And then the popular use of hallucinogenic drugs made us really believe it was possible. But it’s not possible, because human nature being what it is, we soon grew old enough to feel greedy, and become violent if we couldn’t get what we wanted. Of course God knew all this, but we also turned away from Him.

Well, this is a very brief summery of how it happened. I hope you younger people can correct our wrongs. I believe you can do it, if enough of you want it to happen.

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