I wrote my monthly piece on Catholic Stand about the virtue of modesty:
I get frustrated when I see this seemingly endless discussion in certain Catholic circles about how women should dress. How long should the skirt be? Are skinny jeans appropriate? How much cleavage is allowed?
I also remember my sisters describing shopping for wedding dresses and the saleswoman assuming they were Mormons because they didn’t want a strapless gown or too much cleavage. They were really annoyed when only shown dresses with tiny sleeves that looked more like extended shoulder pads because that was the Mormon minimum but looked horrendous on them due to their shoulder shape.
On Twitter I get sent a lot of “ask a priest” questions and about once a week the theme is modesty: is jogging as a date modest? Does listening to this song go against modesty? What about this hand gesture?
Problems with the modesty line
Unfortunately so much of the discussion I hear or the phrasing of the questions I read is based on a misunderstanding of what modesty is. Modesty is not a line where your skirt can’t be more than 13.5 inches above your ankle and your cleavage can’t be more than 0.25 inches. If we impose such legalism and exacting standards, no wonder people are stressed out about it: no wonder it’s one of the top questions I receive.
Having a line for modesty creates several other problems…