The Modesty Movement

Several years ago, while I was jogging around the old village of Wittenberg, Germany, I glanced over at a house and was surprised to see a man standing in his front lawn hosing himself off after yard work.  He was stark naked.  Later, in Berlin, I passed by a whole section of the main city park that was set aside for those wishing to wear the same costume.

To say that our age is immodest is an understatement.  Nudity may not be as common in America as in Germany, but it’s no longer uncommon.  Television and movies are worse than the burlesque shows of an earlier era, and even in church we’re sometimes disturbed by the unseemly styles of our age. 

But a new “Modesty Movement” is sweeping the country, and many young men and women are resisting the urge to wear provocative and racy clothes. 

In 2004, an eleven-year-old girl named Ella Gunderson wrote a letter to Nordstrom, the famous department-store chain, complaining that its denim jeans were too revealing.  Apparently Nordstrom was getting similar input from other young people, because it issued an apology and eventually started a “Modern and Modest” line of clothing for young ladies. 

Other department stores are following the trend.  Someone called it, “a rebellion of modest proportions.”  One writer, Wendy Shalit, calls it a “youth led rebellion,” and news of this new Modesty Movement is hitting the newspapers and television programs.  It’s encouraging to know that many people today, motivated by their faith, want to affirm their testimony through their appearance.

If you look up “modesty movement” on Google, you’ll find many liberal pundits and feminists attacking it with sarcasm and criticism.  Why?  Just because it represents a more conservative viewpoint.  The devil doesn’t like modesty.  In Luke 8, Jesus encountered a demon-possessed man in the hills of the Gadarenes.  This man’s appearance was shocking, for he wore no clothes.  Later, after Jesus had cast out the demons, the man was seen sitting at the feet of Jesus, “clothed and in his right mind” (Luke 8:35). 

We’re past due for a little modesty.

PS – I’m not necessarily endorsing this website, but is an example of this new and welcome trend.