Modest Swimwear, Middle Ages, Tribal clothing


#1

I have three questions about modesty. I would like to know what traditional Catholics think about this, because I find that Catholics who are not 'traditional' are more relaxed even if they are faithful to the Church, but I'd like to see a justification of this by a conservative.

Swimwear: What is appropriate? I have read TraditioninAction.org articles, and it seems like they are very very conservative. I don't mind their stance, but are they against people swimming for competition, for example? I mean, in competitive swimming, you cannot have loose fitting attire, you must have skin-tight swimwear to reduce the drag. So is it ok to wear skintight swimwear as long as you do so for practicality, not in order to be more seductive?

Middle ages: Apparently during the middle ages, a woman exposing her ankles was more risque then if she exposed her breasts, and cleavage was common among nobles. Was this condemned by priests (the cleavage) and was it allowed in Church? If not and it was acceptable, doesnt that mean fashion is relative to the culture? So if pants or short skirts become acceptable in modern society, isn't that the same relativism which happened when society went from Middle Ages society (where cleavage was acceptable) to conservative 1950s (where cleavage was unacceptable)?

Tribes: and that brings me to the last question - if missionaries come to a foreign land and the natives are dressed 'immodestly' (like African tribe which only cover the genitals of a man and women with exposed breasts), are these tribes being immodest or is it acceptable since that is their culture?

I personally think it is wrong that miniskirts and exposing cleavage and midriffs has become acceptable in modern society, but I don't know how to refute people who say that cleavage was acceptable in the middle ages, and that there are native tribes which have women completely exposed - should they change their culture or not? I just need help refuting. And if you do argue for conservative swimwear/clothing, could you please provide an example? Don't just say 'be more modest', but maybe provide a picture - swmwear like this is ok...
Thanks


#2

See the last link below.

Covers about everything you inquired about I'd say to some degree. :)

I read once that the modesty of Catholic women for the first thirteen centuries pretty much imitated Our Lady's dress completely from head to toe. Fashion catered to modesty, not vice versa. But the Renaissance began the corruption.

Which reminds of how Christendom had its golden ages.. and then decline..

If a recreation or sport or job requires you to wear immodest clothing it is your duty to give up the recreation, sport, or job. You are not permitted to sin to gain or keep your employment, sport, or recreation.

It doesn't matter that you do not intend to be provocative, if what you wear is provocative, it's a problem and you're held accountable for it before God to some degree. It's always a bad sign spiritually if you're committing mortal sins, with 'good' intentions. Certainly there is mitigation, but, that you're doing it objectively, means there are very severe problems between God and you, because objectively you're offending and not listening to the message to stop which is definitely being sent. God's grace -does not- help you to sin. Quite the opposite. And then there's more, but that aside..

Modesty has absolute standards that cultures cannot override, and when 'bad' cultural customs are formed, they are morally required to be changed. This tends to not happen however.

Just like with all other sins, sometimes the Church hierarchy does better or worse at dealing with them than others. The Council of Trent took note of problems in religious art -- some people think if it's in a stained glass window, or old art, or famous it's OK -- it isn't. The standards all are held to do not change. Various ages and locales live up to those standards more greatly or less.

We've been in a modesty decline for a long time now.

It's time for people to rediscover that it's a virtue. And that as it is a virtue we are called not to view it as something to practice the minimum of, but to excel in, to do more of, to in fact, aim for heroic virtue in. :)

Wearing very modest clothing is not so hard. :)

"Where," says St. Gregory, "Christ is, there modesty is found."


#3

I read once that the modesty of Catholic women for the first thirteen centuries pretty much imitated Our Lady's dress completely from head to toe. Fashion catered to modesty, not vice versa. But the Renaissance began the corruption.

So in this model Catholic women only existed within Europe as the Renaissance is very much part of European history? Where did you read this? Who wrote the work? It seems a rather ludicrous assertion as even within Europe women's fashions varied considerably over the first thirteen centuries of the Christian era.

Modesty has absolute standards that cultures cannot override, and when 'bad' cultural customs are formed, they are morally required to be changed. This tends to not happen however.

Modesty indeed does have absolute standards but those are internal. What you are talking of is cultural imperialism and if adopted in force would allow one culture to change the habits of another culture merely because it dislikes them. Fairly disastrous as a policy historically speaking. Oh there have been some worthwhile results true but overall not the brightest approach in the absolutist manner suggested above.


#4

Are you saying that women should not go to swimming pools or compete in the Olympics and other competitions because of immodest dress.?what about the beautifull paintings in the Vatican and Churches where nudity is included in the artwork.I think people can have lustful thoughts regardless of exposed bodies,and I don't recall anyone I know drooling over sporting events at the competitors because of skimpy clothing.What about ice skating and Cirque 'd Solei and ballets,are these all classed as sinful and immodest .Methinks the lust is in the eye of the beholder .Many people can view these events and see the beauty determination and sacrifice behind them and not even notice the outfits they're wearing unless they are beautiful as well


#5

Maybe we should bring in the burkha for everybody ,men and women,some of the so called 'sexiest people" I have seen in my lifetime were fully clothed .the eyes ,speech and clothed body language can absolutely ooze immodesty you don't have to be naked as 99%of the population look better with clothes on anyway .I remember seeing a photo of the Pope greeting a native tribe in their traditional dress with loin cloths and naked breasts ,he didn't even flinch ,he knew they were not being immodest and were not flaunting themselves sexually,its the western culture that sexualised breasts,most women are glad they have them but do not view them any differently than their ears eyes or toes


#6

Dominicus28: No.Our culture has becomeso liberal one can dresswhatever if its proper for the occassion.Why not have everyone dressmore modestly in swim meetsand it would affect everyone the same.Yes,it would be the same.You'll notice that missionaries to these tribal areas get their people to dress more modestly once they;ve established themselves there and accepted.There is nothing in their moral conscience which persuades them to dress more modestly.Its accepted in their cultures but that still doesn't mean its not immodest.Culture has to be based on principles.If a culture is based on communism the state sets the culture or greatly influences it.Our culture is basically materialistic.Everyone should strive to be financially well off.


#7

My rule: If you question whether or not it's appropriate, don't wear it.
Simple.
I have sat in a Newman Center and seen all manner of undress.

Some of it was so appauling I blushed and could not make eye contact.
Some people would never go to a job interview undressed as they go to Mass.
Common sense should rule - but most often does not .


#8

[quote="dominikus28, post:1, topic:234215"]

Swimwear: What is appropriate? I have read TraditioninAction.org articles, and it seems like they are very very conservative. I don't mind their stance, but are they against people swimming for competition, for example? I mean, in competitive swimming, you cannot have loose fitting attire, you must have skin-tight swimwear to reduce the drag. So is it ok to wear skintight swimwear as long as you do so for practicality, not in order to be more seductive?

[/quote]

That's fine as long as they are covered. I think that speedos are immodest but a body suit like the one that Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe wears would be fine. The same would be true for women. There are swimwear on the market for women that are nice and modest. They usually incorporate a swim skirt of some sort.

Middle ages: Apparently during the middle ages, a woman exposing her ankles was more risque then if she exposed her breasts, and cleavage was common among nobles. Was this condemned by priests (the cleavage) and was it allowed in Church?

This is true. The styles during the Middle Ages did change over time. Just look at the art, especially in the 15th century. The women were wearing flowing robes but they also showed cleavage. Actually, the worst offenders of immodesty wasn't the ladies, it was the men. Not only were they wearing ridiculously tight hose that oftentimes did show EVERYTHING, but their codpieces also were very ridiculous. Just read the Parson's tale in the Canterbury tales when he talks about immodesty. You might get the idea as to how bad it was.

If not and it was acceptable, doesnt that mean fashion is relative to the culture? So if pants or short skirts become acceptable in modern society, isn't that the same relativism which happened when society went from Middle Ages society (where cleavage was acceptable) to conservative 1950s (where cleavage was unacceptable)?

This is true. Clothing styles and what is acceptable/not acceptable does change from culture to culture and year to year. The main point is to wear clothing with dignity and to respect ones self. If the woman is wearing clothing that is associated with whores or porn stars then its not a good idea to wear it. Shorts and for the most part, tank tops are not associated with those things. However, that kind of dress shouldn't be worn at Mass. There is appropriate clothing and inappropriate clothing for different occasions. The problem is that many people have forgotten that these days.

Tribes: and that brings me to the last question - if missionaries come to a foreign land and the natives are dressed 'immodestly' (like African tribe which only cover the genitals of a man and women with exposed breasts), are these tribes being immodest or is it acceptable since that is their culture?

No, I don't believe they are being immodest. They have their own standards of what constitutes modesty and immodesty. Every culture does. Too often, here in the West we believe that what our standards are should be the standards world wide and that isn't right.


#9

Ultimately, the proper standard of what is modest can be answered by asking "what will inspire lust?" Now of course, one can be lustful about another no matter how modest they are dressed if one really wants to, especially if the other person is attractive. However, I think in general most people know what clothing will be more conducive to inspiring lust because of the way it is, rather than others acting lustfully out of their own determination. With those African tribes, wearing that little simply is common, so it inspires less lust in people than it would here. Nudity inspires lust in us specifically because it is associated with sex. Usually we wear as little as those in said tribes do is either for taking a shower or something sexual. Therefore, when we see that much it will inspire lust. For them it is the normal day to day style of dress, thus it will not be anywhere near as conducive to lust as it will to us. So too throughout history what has been shown has varied quite a bit, and so what will inspire lust has varied.

In the end modest dress will come down to what will inspire lust in the surrounding people. Some who wish to be lustful cannot be helped, but I think we all have some idea of what is safe to wear.


#10

I grew up in Florida. One day while at the beach I ran into our young priest. He was wearing a Speedo.


#11

[quote="dconklin, post:10, topic:234215"]
I grew up in Florida. One day while at the beach I ran into our young priest. He was wearing a Speedo.

[/quote]

I have heard that Pope John Paul II liked to swim, and I think at that time in Poland speedos were normal (my dad wear them too and yeah, he is Polish). I have personally had nothing against speedos, but then again, I don't know if women look at men the same way men look at woman.


#12

[quote="dominikus28, post:11, topic:234215"]
I have heard that Pope John Paul II liked to swim, and I think at that time in Poland speedos were normal (my dad wear them too and yeah, he is Polish). I have personally had nothing against speedos, but then again, I don't know if women look at men the same way men look at woman.

[/quote]

They still are normal from what I've heard. Over there it's just weird if a man wears a bathing suit that looks like a pair of shorts.


#13

[quote="dconklin, post:10, topic:234215"]
I grew up in Florida. One day while at the beach I ran into our young priest. He was wearing a Speedo.

[/quote]

:eek::p:thumbsup:


#14

Personally, I think properly fitted swim briefs (with 3-5 inch sides and a proper liner) are more modest than the board shorts I've seen for years. For one, swim briefs don't fall down.

Baggy board shorts can be extremely immodest when the guys wear them extremely low on the waste and extremely loose fitting... exposing their backsides (and other things) constantly. I've seen guys constantly pulling up their swim shorts since I was a kid. I've seen more immodest behinds at beaches and public pools, then I've ever seen around professional swimmers.


#15

Rapunzel177: You'll notice that missionaries to these tribal areas ger their people to dress more modestly once they've established themselves there and are accepted.There is nothing in their mnoral consciennce which persuades them to dress mores modestly.Its accepted in their cultures but that still doesn't mean its not immodest.


#16

[quote="valentino, post:15, topic:234215"]
Rapunzel177: You'll notice that missionaries to these tribal areas ger their people to dress more modestly once they've established themselves there and are accepted.There is nothing in their mnoral consciennce which persuades them to dress mores modestly.Its accepted in their cultures but that still doesn't mean its not immodest.

[/quote]

In other words the missionaries barge in and try and force their culture onto other people in this model. Dubious. Oh it might be justifiable in some cases, if say the locals were practising Sutee or something similar but not in this instance. If there is nothing in their 'moral conscience' which persaudes them they are not dressing immodestly the are not doing so ultimately.


#17

[quote="JharekCarnelian, post:16, topic:234215"]
In other words the missionaries barge in and try and force their culture onto other people in this model. Dubious. Oh it might be justifiable in some cases, if say the locals were practising Sutee or something similar but not in this instance. If there is nothing in their 'moral conscience' which persaudes them they are not dressing immodestly the are not doing so ultimately.

[/quote]

I agree Jharek :)


#18

jharickCarnelian: Moral conscience is blurred. All have original sin.The result was a deading of moral consceince.we dont see wrong often but it still is.


#19

[quote="valentino, post:18, topic:234215"]
jharickCarnelian: Moral conscience is blurred. All have original sin.The result was a deading of moral consceince.we dont see wrong often but it still is.

[/quote]

Is wrong defined then via certain culturual definitions of modesty enforced by people on other cultures. Interesting....


#20

What if there was a culture that was completely naked? They may not see it as sexual, but I think it would be justified if the missionaries wanted to cover them up


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