Is Modesty Narcissistic?

There is such a thing as narcissistic immodesty. But I think we see enough of slut-shaming and people who are obnoxiously self-serving that there’s no point discussing the difference here.

What I would like to get at is the idea of modesty defined as cloth covering socially defined bits of skin.

Perhaps my ability to remember having an LDS mindset is slipping away from me, but I can’t help but feel there’s something pretty narcissistic about assuming that God gives a toss about what you wear on your body. Presumably if some all-knowing deity decided to say to himself “Oi, I fink I’ll make some blokes and birds wot can worship meself” it seems likely that he knows what you look like naked. It seems even more likely that he isn’t too impressed with the silly getups we put on to make ourselves feel important. Really. Take a look. Do you really think an all-knowing, all-powerful deity is impressed with any of the following?

What seems more likely? That God is desperately concerned with what we put on our bodies, or that our own vanity and squeamishness about sex has produced some pretty outlandish solutions to appease this invisible false god called Modesty? Religious-based dress codes serve one of two purposes: to make some fat-headed man look important, or to keep women under control by concealing their bodies like valuables in a safe. Both stem from the same narcissistic idea: “Everyone is looking at me. If they are not, they should be so they will know I’m important.” Robes of pomp and circumstance are no less narcissistic than Islamic burqas and LDS garments, which can easily be mistaken for clothing that encourages anonymity. All non-functional ceremonial clothing serves only to identify a person as being different. Better. Chosen. In the know. Definitely not like the rest of the rabble.

“Ah, but you forgot,” the people of the book will say. “God was the first fashion designer. Those fig leaves were so last July. What’s really in for this Fall is animal skins.”

My only answer is this: do you really think God was serious? Can’t you recognise a good joke when you see one? Frankly if I had to work with two gullible gits like Adam and Eve I’d have one last go at them before they got sacked from their jobs as groundskeepers. And I know I’d do it by making them think they had to wear something silly on the way out the door.

Just . . . give it some thought.

10 thoughts on “Is Modesty Narcissistic?

  1. An interesting perspective on modesty. Many people would argue that modesty is intended to draw less attention to oneself, but some people use modesty to draw MORE attention to themselves by advertizing their virtue.

    And yeah . . . it makes little sense to hide one’s physique from a Creator who supposedly created all of us.

  2. i’d never thought of god with a british accent and/or british vernacular. that was a special kind of awesome.

    and i dunno about you, but i totally created me some kids so i could have them worship me. just sayin’

  3. I read your title and I definitely thought you were going to talk about how the idea of modesty is basically: “if I don’t cover my shoulders and boobies, men will be tempted to lust after me!” … which is basically saying that your shoulders and knees and midriff and boobies are so awfully irresistible that any many who lays his eyes upon them will instantly be lost in a torrent of lustful thoughts and will immediately go watch porn and “abuse himself.” Because your shoulders are just so damn delicious.

    Really? I just don’t have that kind of confidence in the power of my boobies.

    • There is that too. I think a lot of the chastity lessons taught in LDS chapels give girls a complex by telling them on one hand they are so desirable men can’t contain themselves at the sight of a breast, but then on the other they should be obessively proud of constantly speaking about how well they cover up their bodies and shaming those who are “immodest”.

    • :/ If I didn’t know you, I think I’d be really uncomfortable right now. As it is, *blushes* thanks! They may be small, but big things come in small packages and all that I guess?

      • Sorry about that. Didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable. I just typed the first thing that popped into my head…

        A more appropriate response would have been:
        I completely agree with you. The idea that I need to dress modestly to “help” men think pure thoughts makes me crazy angry. Especially because I’ve seen people use that same idea to blame victim’s of sexual assault.

        So, again, I’m really sorry I didn’t think that through. I wouldn’t have been okay with someone saying the same thing to me.

  4. Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: Holy Matrimony, Batman! | Main Street Plaza

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