Modesty means more than apparel

Published: Tuesday, June 3 2014 4:20 p.m. MDT

Updated: Thursday, June 5 2014 8:59 p.m. MDT

Screenshot, My Life as a Craig

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Ever since Jessica Rey launched an Audrey Hepburn-inspired swimwear company, many bloggers have taken the topic of modesty and turned it viral.

Last summer, Rey's Q Ideas speech sparked a debate about whether modesty sent a positive or negative message to women.

Natasha Craig, author of "Confessions of a Teenage Bride," recently joined the discussion in a June 1 blog post titled "Modest is NOT Hottest."

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Craig recalls the first time she heard the phrase "Modest is Hottest" in a church meeting.

"The idea that I could be modest AND hot was pretty appealing," Craig said.

But as she got older, she came to believe that modesty was not the equivalent of being "hot" or "sexy."

"Seductive eyes and enhanced body parts are 'hot.' Exposed stomachs and push up bras are 'hot.' The teeny tiny bikini your mom would not let you buy is 'hot,’ ” Craig continues. "The idea that we can be virtuous and walk around looking 'hot' at the same time does not add up."

Craig explains that she is in favor of modesty because she knows what it means to be loved for more than just her body.

"I know what it's like to be in love with my best friend. I know what it is like to have someone love every silly little part of me, even the ones that may annoy him at times," Craig said.

Although she is a proponent of modesty, Craig relates to more than one audience by expressing her previous desire to get a boy's attention through her apparel.

"I once found pleasure in being wanted, in being told I was hot. I once was willing to lower my standards a little bit every now and then to get approval from a cute boy," Craig admitted. "I regret those moments with my whole soul."

Craig concludes by pleading with women to dress modestly for themselves, the man they will marry and the other wives around them.

"A beautiful girl, one that is physically a mystery, is much more appealing in the long run than the girl who bares it all," Craig said.

Craig's blog post received some positive feedback on social media.

"Girls, modest is NOT hottest. Modest is virtuous. You can feed the 'hot' craze of our society, or you choose righteousness. Choose wisely," said Twitter user @_southern classy.

Other Twitter users didn't like the message Craig was conveying.

"I hate how this whole post feels superior like if you make the decision to show off your body you're inferior," said @harrygallavich.

Matt Walsh also shared his opinion on modesty.

In his April 10 post titled "Good news, fellas! Only women are required to be modest, apparently," Walsh defines modesty as being more than the way someone dresses.

One of his definitions of immodesty is acting arrogant and dishonest.

He illustrates this definition by talking about a Facebook friend who posted a picture of his expensive new boat, claiming that he had the best wife in the world because she let him buy it.

"It calls attention to him, while saying nothing of value about him as a person, a unique entity of spirit and flesh. It turns him into an object — an object of jealousy," Walsh wrote.

Walsh states that although he believes women should dress modestly, men shouldn't be exempt.

"We speak as though modesty were a feminine virtue, when in fact, all virtues are universal. The discussion about a woman’s outfit only touches on one solitary aspect of modesty. It doesn’t define the issue," Walsh said.

Walsh then shares an excerpt from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

"Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person."

Walsh then reiterates a similar message to Craig's.

"Modesty isn’t virtuous because it’s ‘hot,’ it’s virtuous because it’s concerned with something far greater than being hot."

Megan Marsden Christensen is a writer for the Faith & Family section of the Deseret News website. She recently graduated from BYU-Idaho with a bachelor's degree in communications.

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