Modest, prude, naive… I’ve been called it all.
I suppose, like most of us, I’m a product of my upbringing and I was raised in an environment where, despite what the rest of the world was doing, we were living a modest life. I think it’s because of this that I’ve always kind of been “in my own little world” compared to that of my peers.
I was a “good” kid, even when I had every opportunity not to be. I graduated high school having kissed a boy, and nothing more. I never tried alcohol or any other “substance”. I was uncomfortable in bathing suits in front of other people and, outside of sports, didn’t even like to wear shorts in public.
I grew into an adult who still believes that modesty in classy, who still loses at “Cards Against Humanity” because I have no idea what most of those cards mean and I generally don’t laugh at dirty jokes because… I don’t get them. And I don’t need to!
So where am I going with this?
I have been a high school senior photographer for a few years now, and I have gotten to meet so many beautiful young women in this time. They are kind, they are smart, they are driven… and they are products of their environments. Their outfits include shorts that are so, so short. And dresses that I would think were shirts if I saw them in the store. And tops that leave very little to the imagination.
And yet we all wonder why there are men who do not feel the need to be respectful of women. What are we giving them to respect? Posting selfies online that make our bodies look like sex objects? Wearing clothing in public that doesn’t cover much more than a bathing suit? Using the argument “it’s the same as wearing a bathing suit” as we change our clothing in front of the opposite sex?
Beyond that, what about what we are teaching ourselves? We are training our minds to trick ourselves into thinking our worth is tied to our outward image, to our sex appeal, to our appearance.
Gosh, we live in a scary time.
So yes, I may be modest and prude and naive. But I will continue to wear these labels proudly and hope to be an example to other young women who are maybe looking around at their peers and thinking, “it’s okay to be different.”
Seek respect, not attention. It lasts longer.