36-yr old Male Blogger Scours the Net Using Pics of Young Ladies so He Can be Christian Modesty Police

Did you know there is a Christian dress code?  Evidently there is.  Modesty is a hot topic in the homeschool movement and in conservative Christian churches.   Some people have been taught or have assumed the responsibility of telling others, specifically women, how they should be dressing.   In fact, this is a hot topic I’ve previously discussed:

Homeschool Movement and Abuse? Introduction

Hyper-Modesty in the Church, Part 1

Hyper-Modesty in the Church, Part 2

Hyper Modesty in the Church, Part 3

Legalism: Do Not Expose Your Thighs!

Some rules that come to mind (from various sources as I think over my years in the homeschool movement and legalistic pastors):

  • nothing should be showing above knees
  • be careful with v-neck shirts
  • be careful with necklaces which lay on women’s chest
  • be careful with purse straps so that the strap does not go across chest and draw attention to breasts
  • top necklines must be no lower than 4 finger widths below collarbone
  • bras or bra straps must never bee seen
  • be careful with panty lines – they should never be seen
  • no form-fitting pants (Spandex-type material)
  • dresses must have 2-inch minimum sleeves (no spaghetti straps)
  • no back or strapless dresses
  • swimsuits must go to knee, must cover shoulders

The idea with modesty that we’ve been taught is that guys are visually attracted to women’s bodies and what we wear can cause men to “stumble.”  We have been told we need to be careful to not cause men to stumble by our choice of attire.  You see, it’s our fault if they stumble because we have big boobs or nice looking booty.

 

I have read in some Patriarchal circles, the father must approve his daughter’s clothes before she can wear them in public.  Sometimes the daughter will model her outfit in front of her father, turn around, so he can inspect the outfit from front to back and make sure no female body parts are too obvious to the visible eye.  I just don’t know what to do with this kind of thing.  It makes me feel uncomfortable.  In one church I attended, the pastor required that the bride’s wedding dress be approved by him before he would agree to marry the couple.

Last year when I wrote an article on swimsuits, I ran across a website which focuses on modesty.  I found it again.  Not only is modesty the primary focus, it appears that the site may earn money because it features ads, a modesty clothing store, etc.  There is a review section and that startled me then and now it has come back to haunt me.  My friend, Emily, tweeted yesterday about a situation regarding this particular website.

Here’s the scoop.  The website is called “Is This Modest?”  Here’s the bio from the site:

Screen shot 2013-01-10 at 1.01.21 PM

On this website, he yanks photos off the internet without permission (based on Twitter conversations I read) and visually tears the photos apart letting his readers know whether the young (underage minors) lady’s attire passes his modesty test.  DING, DING, DING, DING – JA’s creepo meter just went off big-time.

Check out Emily’s tweet in which she informs a Twitter friend that the Christian Modesty Police blogger, the 36-yr old man, has lifted her picture for use on his site in order to tear it apart for his personal modesty test review.

Image

Here’s one of his reviews of a senior photo:

I have no idea what she’s wearing under the blanket, but the heels aren’t high.  The top is a bit concerning.  First, it’s rather tight.  Second, the fact that the outer layer is so opened up means that it looks like we’re getting a peak at her underthings—and they aren’t very high.

Ick.  Just ick.

Screen shot 2013-01-10 at 12.44.58 PM

Here’s an actually screen shot of a tweet broadcast by the Christian Modesty Police

Dear Mr. Christian Modesty Police,

As the mother of two gorgeous daughters, I am appalled that you:

  • took pictures of young ladies off the internet to use on your site without asking permission.  That is not good netiquette and certainly not the kind of behavior we would expect from a Christian.
  • dressed down young ladies to determine if they passed your modesty test

Did you consider how the young ladies might feel knowing you have basically undressed them publicly?  Do you care about the young lady’s feelings whatsoever?

Do you allow your wife to make decisions on what clothes she wears?  Do you tell your daughters what is appropriate or inappropriate attire?  Would you want someone to take photos of your daughter to use as they see fit?  Is your pastor aware that you are doing this?  Are you allowed to give your pastor’s wife the modesty test?

Dude, you are a MAN.  This is not your responsibility to be looking at our young girls to see if their tops are hugging their breasts or if their skirts or pants are too tight for their rear ends.  This is highly inappropriate.

Please stop gazing at pictures of young ladies in this way.  Pull down the review section of your blog.  As a guy, it is inappropriate for you to be doing modesty reviews.  Turn the site over to women.  Good grief.  I need to just hit publish so I don’t get myself in trouble.

50 comments on “36-yr old Male Blogger Scours the Net Using Pics of Young Ladies so He Can be Christian Modesty Police

  1. Okay, Julie Anne, this is sick!!!! What is wrong with this guy?! I read your site all the time and have only commented once, but this article brought out my ire! There is something wrong with him, I’m telling you.

    Thank you for making us aware of spiritual abuse, etc. As a victim of spiritual abuse, I’m learning more every day and knowledge is power. We need to be aware of these crackpots so we can warn others that these kinds of things are not okay. We can question men. Oh, how I wish I would have questioned my former pastor and leaders. I was too afraid at the time, but no more!! Thank you, again.

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  2. The idea with modesty that we’ve been taught is that guys are visually attracted to women’s bodies and what we wear can cause men to “stumble.” We have been told we need to be careful to not cause men to stumble by our choice of attire. You see, it’s our fault if they stumble because we have big boobs or nice looking booty.

    Or are out of your chadoor or BURQA.

    If this guy could recite the entire Koran from memory, he’d have a place in the Saudi or Iranian Religious Police.

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  3. That’s just it. I have a hunch his 5 kids are young – since he’s 36. Wait until his daughter(s) start going through puberty and he sees boys watching them. I think he’ll change his tune.

    This is what we see all the time with legalism. This guy got hooked onto an idea because it seemed good, but then missed the boat because he’s not really looking at the full picture. He needs to take it all the way home and look at those individuals whose pictures he posted. What are his actions doing to theirs hearts? This is about his agenda to control people and how they do things (how they dress), rather than sharing basic concepts and principles and letting people have the freedom to make their choices based on their own conclusions. We don’t need a 36-yr old man deciding for the rest of the Christian world how women/girls should be dressing. Christ has set us free. He gives us His Holy Spirit who speaks to our heart.

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  4. I love your comment, Summer! Yes, you do have a voice and you do get to use it – just as you have done now. It’s good to speak up when our ire is up. It’s freeing, especially when our voices have been squelched. So glad to see your progress. It’s reassuring to know the blog has been beneficial to you. Thanks for letting me know 🙂

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  5. That’s amazing. He tried to contact me privately via Twitter, but there was a glitch. I wonder if it will be up again (and hopefully without the reviews). Thanks for letting me know, Dee.

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  6. My thoughts…

    1) Modesty – To quote “Inigo Montoya” from Princess Bride — I do not think it means what you think it means.

    The references to modesty refer to wearing jewelry, braids, etc. Modesty, as pointed out in one of the comments, is somewhat cultural. I do agree, dressing provocatively is probably not wise.

    2) Causing men to stumble – When are men going to start taking responsibility for their actions. It seems to me that saying “What (insert name her) was wearing caused me to lust after her” is somewhat like saying “I raped her because ‘she wanted it'”. Maybe not as serious but just as irresponsible.

    Once we (I am one) men start asking the Father for forgiveness for our thoughts maybe our bodies, minds and spirits will start being transformed.

    3) The pictures – So many thoughts…
    a) Just because they are on the internet doesn’t make them public domain…
    b) What you rant against tends to expose your own weaknesses. (How many pastors caught up in sex scandals were preaching against various sexual temptations prior to being caught).
    c) What ever happened to grace and love in the Christian community. I think (know) 1 John 4 refers to those that don’t love.

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  7. Funny how God didn’t make clothes for Adam and Eve until they ate some fruit. No dress code UNTIL Satan came along. No guilt trips until Satan told them to GET KNOWLEDGE. I wonder what the dress code was after they got knowledge? Dresses 6″ below knee? I don’ t think that God made a bra for Eve!!

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  8. 100% agree, Joel. When blogging, I try very hard to provide source info and only photos with granted permissions. It’s just common courtesy.

    Your other thoughts regarding men taking responsibility for their actions is spot on. I’ve known some very curvy gals whose curves would show regardless of what they wore – even wearing a sack. What’s a girl to do? Bind herself? No way. The reality is that no matter how a woman dresses, if she is a woman, a guy knows it, and his mind could wander. That’s not a woman’s responsibility. Provocative dressing – – -that’s another topic altogether.

    One other thing to mention, (it’s probably mentioned in one of my older articles) is with so much focus on modesty, I think boys become hyper-sensitive to female body parts. I’ve seen a complete switch in my boys after leaving the legalistic church. They aren’t nearly as hyper-sensitive about shows on tv where they happen to see a woman in a swimsuit. It’s just no big deal.

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  9. @joelfrederick,
    Well, I don’t agree, either. But, God did ask them, “WHO told you that you were naked?”. Ignorance is bliss. God didn’t tell them. Neither did any pastor or preacher, and there was no such thing as a modesty police. Their conscience told them after Satan enticed them to get a conscience.

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  10. I believe, that, within reason, you can link to photos and give credit for them. There is also a site (wylio.com) that will allow you to search for photos post them under a “creative commons license”. Personally the biggest issue is that the photos were not used for what the owner wanted them to be used for.

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  11. The biggest issue for me is the dude a 36-yr old father of 5 exhibiting predatory behavior by intentionally seeking out photos of minors and dressing them down. Disgusting behavior!

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  12. It now says “under construction.” I don’t have a problem with a site devoted to modesty, but I hope he takes my advice by removing the reviews and turning it over to his wife. However, I have a lot of ideas why that will probably never happen . . . . .

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  13. It’s one thing to talk about clothing, but another thing to point out what may or may not be seen on what someone is wearing. I hope this was a wake up call for this guy. I could see this leading down a very slippery slope that no one who follows him would have expected.

    And, I too agree that it’s time for the men in this movement to start taking responsibility for their own thoughts. But that would mean that they would have to admit that they have a problem. So, they choose to use “modesty” as a way to keep control on women. It’s all about maintaining power in their little world.

    My 15-year-old recently purchased a dress for her high school winter formal. When she came home my husband said, “Try it on. Let’s see.” Not because he wanted to make sure it fit a standard, but because he loves her. She looked beautiful in her dress and he had the chance to tell her that. I will admit, though, that we did request that it be at least mid-thigh. No reason to show booty!

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  14. So . . . instead of porn, they obsess on “modesty” and they can hit 2 birds with one stone – they can check out some boobs/booty AND exert control with their list of rules.

    It’s completely different to have a dad say, “let me see you wearing your new dress” and “let me see what your body parts look like in your new dress.” Good for your husband to admire his daughter for who she IS . . . while wearing a new dress. WTG, Dad!

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  15. Just like preaching in detail on sexual sins, it’s another form of Porn for the Pious. How to get a porn fix while remaining More Holy/Morally Superior than Thou. (cue Church Lady Superior Dance…)

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  16. I don’t have a problem with a site devoted to modesty, but I hope he takes my advice by removing the reviews and turning it over to his wife. However, I have a lot of ideas why that will probably never happen . . . . .

    Because of “Me Man! You Woman! Back in your place!”?

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  17. Could be his way of indulging his kink in a Church Lady-acceptable form. Like Driscoll mistaking sexual fantasies breaking through into consciousness for Visions from God.

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  18. That’s just it. I have a hunch his 5 kids are young – since he’s 36. Wait until his daughter(s) start going through puberty and he sees boys watching them. I think he’ll change his tune.

    Amazing how everybody who’s NEVER been through something is so filled with Utter Certainty about How It Should Be Done.

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  19. Yup – do things my way because I know the right way for all – – – even though I don’t have any young ladies, I’m a guy and so I know what guys are looking at (and so I’ll just go ahead and look at your young daughters in the meantime to determine if they pass my test – blech).

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  20. I was telling my husband about this kook’s site and he said that the guy has gotta be perverted! No man does that and talks like that….That’s what my husband said!!

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  21. Just FYI, the Flickr group is “no longer active”. I think he may have run afoul of a DMCA takedown order, which wouldn’t go to him, but to the sites hosting his materials. They tend to take down first, ask questions later — if at all.

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  22. “One other thing to mention, (it’s probably mentioned in one of my older articles) is with so much focus on modesty, I think boys become hyper-sensitive to female body parts.”

    Amen to this. And not just boys. I think the girls become hyper-self conscious of their own bodies. I hope this was an honest mistake on this man’s part to pick apart misappropriated photos of young women to glorify his own agenda. But it seems that you got his attention.

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  23. Oh, you are sure right about it affecting girls’ self-image. That is such a good point to mention.

    I’ve been doing some searching and found that others were equally as incensed as me, so he probably got the message loud and clear (if not by his webhost shutting him down for copyright violations). Thanks for your comment.

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  24. I have been reading the Spiritual Sounding Blog for a while, but have never commented. But this post brought me out of my comment hibernation. When I was involved with an evangelical church a friend showed me the Is This Modest website. That man is sooooo nasty. Mentally undressing little girls to see if they’re wearing modest clothing? What a creeper! Thankfully his websites are down, and hopefully they will stay that way. I left the evangelical church several years ago and have returned to the Roman Catholic Church. May the one true God bring that pedophile to justice!

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  25. Hi Stacey – I appreciate you coming out of hibernation to share your comment. Yes, this is so disturbing on so many levels. I hope he gets it. The very sad thing is that when I saw people engage him on Twitter, he was defensive about the pictures and didn’t believe he needed to get permission. That bothered me. When a mother asked him to remove her daughter’s photo, he did, but then reprimanded her for having the photo in such a public setting. That was NOT a good response, IMHO! If he apologized and indicated that he would educate himself on copyright laws, that would have worked for me.

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  26. Steve – Who knows. I seem to remember somewhere that we will be wearing “robes of light”. Personally, I don’t want to presume. Just tossing some things out, however. We (the church) are the bride of Christ. If marriage is the model, shame is supposed to be gone within that relationship. I don’t know.

    Julie Anne – Good point.

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  27. In this particular thread, we need to see the spiritual side of this, which gets missed in so much of the bible. We are naked and ashamed before God. God knows all of our thoughts, etc. Everything is exposed to God. And if we aren’t ashamed, we should be. But God, in his GRACE, and MERCY covered our sin with the BLOOD of an animal (Lamb/Jesus). Notice if you will, that God killed the First Animal to Cover Sin. It was the blood that covered the sin, and the clothes that covered their shame. Do we see the connection of the spiritual? That is what the story is really all about. It’s a prophecy of Jesus shedding his blood to cover our sin.

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  28. Thank you Julie Anne. This all ties in, believe it or not, with what you have been saying on this subject, even from your other blog site, in that ignorance is innocence. Ignorance is no shame. When these thought police, and modest police begin accusing, etc., then comes the shame, and nakedness. Then the boys will be fixated on girls body parts, etc. Before the thought/modest police, the boys were innocent, as well. They were not focusing on what they ought not. This is why these modest police are, in my opinion, dangerous behind a pulpit. Those who aren’t thinking about lust, sure will be thinking about lust after lust is taught to them by the thought/modest police. Ignorance is innocence is no shame.

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  29. What do I do with my daughter? She is 17, very tiny, except with some big parts. I would have to get all her clothes specially made in order to be modest for some. It’s no wonder she is hyper self-conscious. I’m glad I never bought into any of that purity culture crap at my former church.

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  30. I’m glad you weren’t part of that, too, VelvetVoice. I went out to lunch with a friend recently and we were talking about this subject. She said if she walked out of her house in a sack, there would be some who would lust after her. She’s absolutely right. It’s not always about the clothes.

    That said, there is a balance. I have always taught our daughters that the way we present ourselves sends a message – ie, make-up or no make-up, hair style or not styled, how we dress. Let’s not kid ourselves – young ladies know when they are dressing to attract a guy. I’ve been watching and reading a lot of blogs/videos and one underlying message I’m seeing is that guys know better than women how women should dress modestly because they are more visually stimulated. My mother or father did not need to tell me how to “work it”. I think it’s just in us. Now the key question is: how do we respond? This is the heart of the matter that we need to teach our young daughters. For those well-endowed, it is going to be more of a challenge and perhaps someone who also has the same body type can come alongside and share what works for her in a loving way.

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  31. Personally, I’d tell her to wear what fits well and makes her feel good about herself. Modesty isn’t a matter of covering up what we have and immodesty isn’t flaunting it.
    The modesty sword cuts two ways: one, the showing off all you have and two, the covering up everything. Both call attention to a woman; one says, “I’m so sexy” and the other says, “I’m so holy” but both scream, “Look at ME!”

    When she wears something, she needs to wear it for HERSELF, no one else. So when people look at her, what she wears says, “I’m confident in who I am” and “I’m comfortable in my own skin”.

    I know you have veto power over her clothes right now (as I did when my daughter was 17) so work together to find things that she likes and looks good wearing. If she’s busty and doesn’t like that, a minimizer bra might help. If she has a big derriere, then she might want an undergarment to smooth or control that. Don’t be afraid to check out websites that talk about how to dress and catalogs with different kinds of clothes. That way you and she can get an idea of what is in style and what will look best on her.

    She’s not going to be able to control what others think or say of her. She can’t control any man’s reaction (and some men will lust after a woman in a burqua, so…). She can only control what she thinks of herself. She might as well wear what makes her feel her very best.

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  32. I hadn’t read that post, thanks. There are some weird practices connected with modesty in the Homeschool Movement and I suppose ultra conservatives as well. I’ve seen this modesty thing backfire pretty badly.

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