The Power of a Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Modesty
This is a book review series of The Power of a Transformed Wife by Lori Alexander. If you are just joining us, you may click on previous chapter reviews if you’d like to catch up.
Chapter 13 – How are You Dressing?
We have finally come to the chapter in which women are temptresses in their yoga pants and swimsuits. Yes, I admit to having read some of this chapter whilst wearing tight-fitting exercise pants. In order to not offend some readers, I shall wear loose-fitted pajama pants while writing this out.
Let’s start with the very first paragraph:
As believers in Jesus Christ who want to please Him in every area of our life, modest should be something we take a deep interest in since the Lord has called us to be modest. Anything that is important to him should be important to us as well.
Where does Jesus talk about modesty – specifically, the type of modesty that Lori addresses with how women should dress? Matthew 5:28 does not count because Jesus addresses men specifically and how they look at women. So, that leaves us nowhere in the Bible where Jesus addresses how women should dress. (Although, Lori uses Matthew 5:28 later in the book as an argument for why women should dress modestly so as to not tempt men.)
Lori then attempts an argument about how women need to intentionally dress differently than men because of Deuteronomy 22:5. With the same breath she states that we are not bound to live under Mosaic law. I think it’s pretty easy to tell the difference between men and women who wear jeans, t-shirts, or shorts. However, Lori tells us that she purposely does not dress to look like Ken to follow the intent of the verse, then jumps right into 1 Timothy 2:9:
I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,
Hold on a minute! Lori doesn’t even take into account the fact that all of 1 Timothy, Chapter 2 focuses on worship. There are instructions for men as well as women in this chapter. The way that Lori addresses dressing modestly is based solely on one verse that is taken out of context. She states:
Most important to this discussion is 1 Timothy 2:9, which teaches that we are to adorn ourselves in “modesty,” which I believe [emphasis added] means we’re not to dress in an alluring and seductive manner. In other words, we should avoid sheer and clingy material, plunging necklines, short shorts, skimpy dresses, and so forth. We shouldn’t wear low-cut tops or dresses that expose half our breasts or offer guys a clear view. Modesty is an act of obedience to the Lord and an act of kindness to men by helping them to reign in their natural impulse to take long looks – which can lead to inappropriate thoughts.
Lori takes out of 1 Timothy 2:9 “women dress modestly,” and turns it into what she thinks it means. Men’s lack of power over their sexual urges, and women’s inability to stop men from having sexual urges, is one of the more frustrating arguments that modesty culture perpetuates. How do men manage to walk around all day without having sex with any or every women he sees? Also, what one man views as modest, another man views as a “stumbling block.” How is a woman supposed to keep up with the rules?
Lori then targets the dreaded yoga pants and talks about how Ken asked her not to wear leggings in the 80’s; therefore, she has no problem wearing yoga pants that “shape the derrière in ways that are like a push-bra for your bottom.” She is very specific about this.
Swimsuits then become the dreaded target. Bikinis are not modest! Because Lori lives in Southern California, she has lots of thoughts about swimsuits, as this is a common topic on her blogs. I know everyone has their own views of swimsuits, and I do understand why people might feel uncomfortable seeing a woman in a bikini, but for goodness sake! You can still look a woman in the eye and treat her like a human being. Here is my thought….get over it!
I have spent many years at the pool with my kids either in swim lessons, swim team, water polo, or water aerobic classes for myself. I have seen all types of swim suits and all shapes and sizes of people. Allow me to let you in on a little secret….I have found the pool to be one of the least judgmental places for people who wear swimsuits (unless you’re a part of the modesty police like Lori).
For example, women’s competitive swimsuits are not designed to stay put over the bottom. During competition, or even casual swimming, suits move because people move. At the last water polo tournament many of the girls were walking around with their suits riding up their butts. I talked to my 16-year-old son about this. I asked him what the boys think about girls walking around in their swimsuits or seeing their butt cheeks exposed. He stated that they don’t really notice. They see each other every day at practice and they don’t view the girls in a sexual way. It’s simply how it is. Speaking of boys, let’s talk about boy’s competitive swimsuits. If they’re not wearing jammers, they’re wearing briefs, basically walking around in super short, very tight, underwear. It’s simply how it is.
Allow me to finish with another quote from Lori:
Whenever I teach on this touchy subject (women wearing a bikini), I’ve heard some women retort, “Some men will lust if a woman is wearing a garbage bag. It’s their problem!”
Regardless, you are responsible to do everything in your power to not cause men to lust. The majority of men will not lust after women wearing garbage bags. They lust when a woman shows a lot of flesh or tightly fitted clothes.
When God directed us to dress modestly, He did that not only for our protection but for the men around us.
Here’s the thing….men will lust over women no matter what they are wearing. The problem isn’t with how women dress, the problem is with lust. Women could be covered head to toe, and men will lust. The onus of the problem of lust is always placed on the woman, and there is rarely talk about how men should view women as human beings created by God.
“Modesty” is also a problem. Women are to honor men, but there is no specific definition on how to do that given that individual men find different things attractive. Ken prefers Lori to wear skirts to her knees, but another man might find her knees sexy and she would be leading him to lust after her. Women are always reminded how to dress, but men are not reminded how to view women. Women are shamed that men can see their boobs, but they can see the shape of their boobs in anything they wear. Women have boobs! There is no getting around that!
Lori would probably have a fit knowing that I work (yes, first issue is that she would have a problem with the fact that I work) at a very prominent athletic company. We are all encouraged to wear products by this company, which means that women (and men) often come to work in tight-fitting athletic pants. We once even had on our screen saver a woman wearing one of our new line athletic bras. Guess what? I never heard any men mention that they had a problem with this. (She looked fantastic, by the way!) I work at an athletic company that makes athletic clothing. It’s simply how it is.
Lori ends this chapter with an old blog post about how she and Ken once took the grandchildren to the beach for the day. Ken decided they had to pack up and leave because “the view had changed.” Apparently, close by was a woman laying on a towel wearing a thong and her butt cheeks were showing. Instead of carrying on with their day and ignoring “the view,” they felt like this woman ruined their day, because:
Turning men on has to be an ego thing for them. They like showing off their sexy bodies because they feel pride knowing men are looking at them.
The half-nude women on the beach showed no discretion. I’m going to go strong here and say they were practically naked and unashamed when they were only supposed to show their bodies like this to their husbands.
Yes, men are commanded to flee sexual immorality, and this is why Ken informed us that we were taking off from the beach that day. It’s too bad that this young woman didn’t know she was causing great disappointment to our grandchildren when we had to pack up and leave due to her indiscretion.
Yes, I’m sure this woman wasn’t thinking of Ken and Lori when she went the beach on that fateful day. I’m sure she was simply thinking about enjoying a day on the beach. Why would she even think that she had that much power to destroy a child’s fun-filled day on the beach while she took a nap? I’m sure the children didn’t even notice until Ken and Lori decided to make such a fuss.
Women, wear what you want to wear. Wear what is appropriate for work or for play. If you’re not breaking the law, then you’re good. It’s simply how it should be.
Photo courtesy of Photopin.