Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How is "modest" defined?

Posting comments on this blog has taken a back seat to other activities of this winter season.
I have been perusing sites on modesty due to a question from a family member as to how to broach the subject of what is appropriate wear for a young lady--a girl in her early teens, caught up in the prowess of that ever present standard of peer pressure in the social setting of the public school, by which many evils are engendered in the minds of the so-susceptible subconscious of youth. The stigma of the public school culture lasts a lifetime for some and for others, it becomes a starting point for further life-building character. For a few it tends to breed stagnation and apathy towards developing the best of oneself.
Yet amidst all of this, there arise challenges whereby one can gain insight into what is really important in life. However, I would assume that there are few who are actually taught to look for these and to use them to gain a better understanding of their purpose in life.
At any rate, I have been intrigued with some of the sites that try to explain "modest" in light of their life styles rather than using a dictionary to get an accurate meaning and then be able to use it in light of the actual meaning and contrast it to their perceived definition.
Modest is a word that has a definitive standard. Period. If it is judged by today's cultural norms, one can assess it using behavioral modifications to suit whatever fits. It's the thought that says I can define it whichever way it suits me. We have allowed definitions to meet our standards of self-indulgence.
Religious groups are mocked as well as followers of various beliefs for having a standard of modest dressing. Within each of these there are examples of inconsistency or hypocrisy. However, the consensus is that the women (this is definitely not a male thing!) in these groups have shown a respect for a standard of dressing that dominates their presence in society as saying they have a reason for dressing that way. Their worldview tends to lean towards the definitions that have come down through the ages rather than the inconclusive situational "modest" claims. Perhaps the question should be--by what standard do you judge modest--is it your own definition or are you willing to acknowledge the aged wisdom passed down. History is full of various examples of clothing or lack of clothing, yet the definition seems to stay the same for "modest."
We have become so self-centered and indulgent to our senses that we often lose sight of the true meaning of words. What is important is that our standards should adhere to what we accept as true definitions.
My personal take is that I prefer to use the dictionary for clarifying meanings and keeping that straight in my mind.
So what does "modest" mean? Check out the dictionary! There are many online sources.

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