8 minute read

4 Reasons Modesty Empowers Women (And Porn Does Not)

Last Updated: July 29, 2021

Kristen Clark

Kristen Clark is married to her best friend, Zack. She is the co-founder of GirlDefined Ministries and author of Girl DefinedLove Defined, and Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart. She is passionate about promoting the message of God-defined womanhood through blogging, speaking, mentoring young women, and hosting Bible studies in her living room. In the end, she’s just a fun-lovin’ Texas girl who adores all things outdoors and drinks coffee whenever possible.

The wall was plastered with images of scantily clad women. With this as the backdrop, he stood up and said, “When you feel comfortable in your own skin, come back and see me.”

Extending his hand for a handshake, she reached out while trying to conceal her disgust.

This was the first and last contact my sister had with this modeling recruiter. She had been given a recruiter’s card by this particular agency and thought it would be neat to check out. To her disgust and shock, the agency was only interested in hiring girls who were “comfortable” (a.k.a., willing) to show it all.

“There are hundreds of girls dying for this position,” the recruiter stated. “We have no interest in hiring picky girls.”

Determined to keep her dignity in tact, she kindly declined his offer to return and hasn’t looked back since.

Sadly, this scenario isn’t uncommon. Being a model is something girls and women idolize today. Young women with “model potential” are willing to do whatever it takes to sign a contract. Even if it means stripping down to nothing.

Today, this mindset stretches far beyond the walls of the modeling world. Modern women everywhere are taught that it’s perfectly normal to uncover 90% of their skin in public. Everything from bathing suits, to formal wear, to athletic clothes has been stripped down to the bare minimum.

Our culture teaches women that undressing and even going nude is empowering for our gender. We see this in the increasingly popular acceptance of female porn stars.

Sadly, though, the results have proven to be anything but empowering. If you talk to the average woman today, you will slowly uncover a defeated woman who is insecure, unhappy, and completely discontent with her body and her life.

Empowering? I don’t think so.

A study called “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness” stated, “Women are less happy nowadays despite 40 years of feminism. Despite having more opportunities than ever before, they have a lower sense of well-being and life satisfaction.”

Rather than jumping on board with our culture’s push to undress, I’m proposing a new method for empowering women. Modesty. I strongly believe that modesty empowers women far (far!) more than nudity does.

That being said, here are 4 reasons modesty empowers women while porn does the opposite:

1. Modesty places value on a woman’s body (porn doesn’t).

Women were created by God to be physically beautiful—full of soft curves and a lovely figure. However, God didn’t design the intimate parts of this beautiful body to be consumed by any passerby. When we, as women, uncover and reveal our intimate body parts, we cheapen their value.

A large diamond is considered precious and valuable because it’s rare and uncommon. Modesty works the same way. By covering our intimate parts, we boldly state that we are precious, valuable, and not available for common consumption.

2. Modesty promotes female dignity (porn makes her an object).

Pornography and immodesty have completely backfired on women. Rather than gaining more respect and dignity in the eyes of men, we have become objects to consume. By undressing, we have trained many modern men to view us as nothing more than eye candy. We have thrown our dignity down the drain at the false promise of becoming more empowered.

Putting our clothes back on is the first step to regaining some ground. Actions speak louder than words. By dressing modestly we silently proclaim that we are not purchasable objects. We are dignified women who value our bodies, and expect the same from others.

As Jessica Rey stated, “Modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves, it’s about revealing our dignity.”

3. Modesty demands respect (porn does the opposite).

Women want respect just like men do. Sadly—in my opinion—nothing has destroyed respect for women more than the porn industry. I looked up synonyms for respect, and I found words like “esteem,” “regard,” “high opinion,” admiration, reverence, and honor. Porn encourages none of those for women. Why? Because porn turns us into “objects” and objects are disposable and replaceable.

Women who dress with modest class naturally demand more respect. When we respect our own bodies, we encourage the respect, honor, and admiration from those around us.

4. Modesty draws attention to the face (porn feasts on the body).

It’s not uncommon to be out in public and see a random guy doing a “once over” on a girl. When we, as women, undress and reveal sections of our intimate body parts, we shouldn’t be surprised when strangers feast on our body. By dressing immodestly we invite everyone, including creepers, to enjoy what isn’t theirs.

The attention we receive (good or bad) is based on our physical allure, not on who we are as a person. By dressing modestly we instantly put the creepers in their place. We send the message that our face is where the focus needs to be. We encourage people to get to know “us” not our curves.

Modesty fights porn.

Project ModestyI believe one of the ways men and women can fight porn is through their choice to promote and encourage modesty. And just for the record, modesty doesn’t mean a woman is ashamed of her body…it means she is valuing what has value.

I’m passionate about the topic of modesty because I see the devastation porn and undressing has caused in the lives of girls and women everywhere.

If you’re interested in learning more about the power of modesty, I encourage you to grab of a copy of my new ebook, Project Modesty: How to Honor God With Your Wardrobe While Looking Totally Adorable in the Process.

This book was written with the goal of inspiring young women ages 12-24 to dress modestly in this modern age. If you have a daughter, or know someone who does, this book will be an invaluable resource for her. Filled with down to earth tips, insights, fashion advice, and dozens of original pictures, this ebook will give your daughter the knowledge and inspiration on the “whats,” “whys” and “hows” for dressing modestly.

Porn destroys women. Modesty empowers them.

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

  • Do you agree or disagree with the idea that dressing modestly empowers women? Why?
  • In what ways have you seen porn negatively affect the female gender?

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  • Comments on: 4 Reasons Modesty Empowers Women (And Porn Does Not)
    1. Billie Juday on

      Thank you for the insightful article.

      Reply
      • Mo on

        First of all,I would like to give you a huge round of applause for this beautiful piece of sound advice.
        I am a man who is of a different religion,but we share a lot in common. I also come from a different background which encourages women to be modest and men to be chaste,but sadly due to “feminism” and other kinds of propagnda that endlessly and tirelessly keep pushing young girls into this vicious cycle of unchecked freedom things have been going down hill for us too.
        What you had just described in your article affects both women and men alike and I can tell you this as maintaining chastity and modesty in today’s “modern world” is one seriously tough job,as you walk around and find all sorts of eccentric manners of dressing and clothing-where they barely leave anything for the imagination- as well as the general overly sexualized attitude which makes men think more of the flesh than the way of thinking or the personality of a woman.
        This results in all sorts of chaos,from one night stands to betrayals to failed relationships,which leave both men and women soundly devastated in the aftermath.
        I applaud for you for being an honest and decent woman who point at the root of evil without fear of any consequences you may face,it’s a trait only present in well raised,well mannered,God fearing folk and I wish there are many out there who would follow such a good example and for young girls to choose to have self respect before they demand for others when they show nothing for it.

        Thank you again for that brilliant piece.

      • Karen Brown on

        I recently returned from a business trip to Saudi Arabia. If you wore your “modest” clothing in Saudi, you would be arrested. What you consider modest is considered promiscuous by the (male) clothing police who are empowered to arrest women who allow their arms, legs, hair, and/or the shape of their body to be seen in public. My point is that there is a huge spectrum between a burka and nudity. Your concept of modesty is an arbitrary point on that spectrum. Furthermore, why are you so convinced that a woman’s value is based on how men see her? I know many professional women who are happy and confident, with excellent self-esteem, who dress in ways you would find immodest. I also know professional, self-assured, happy, confident women who cover up in abayas, hijabs, and niqubs. What those women have in common is an internal sense of self-worth that is not based on what men think about them. (BTW, many of the professional women in Saudi Arabia have traveled extensively in the West and have wardrobes that include Western and Eastern clothing. The world of fashion – what is considered modest from one part of the world to another – is MUCH larger than you must imagine.)

      • Kay Bruner on

        Thanks, Karen. I agree with you that modesty is a culturally-bound set of standards. I think we have to be very, very careful that our standards of “modesty” are not just another way to objectify women. If porn culture values women only because of their naked bodies, it is equally possible for modesty culture to value women only because of their covered bodies. Our value is not in how men judge us one way or another, but in the truth that women are created in the image of God. Thank you for speaking up. Blessings, Kay

      • scott on

        Modesty in dress directly causes porn addiction. If nudism were common, there would be no porn nor lust by married men over the figure of other women.

      • L Matthews on

        Thank you for such a valuable article. It’s true to the core. It’s a ashame that most women feel the need to compete for a visual response from men to feel accepted or desired. Unfortunately society has convinced us women that unless we look a certain way we have no value. Our identify is and should be in Christ. We are who GOD says we are not meir man. As for men they should want to Love their Wives as Christ loves the Church. Men just because it’s out there you doesn’t mean you dont have resposiblity to just look away and take every thought captive. That’s the reason we a a epidemic of sexual addiction today in society. It’s false intimacy which leaves you empty and only wanting more that will never satisfy your dersires. That’s found in Christ first then embrace your wife or significant other as a whole person not as a object.

    2. JOJO Walsh on

      Thank you for standing up for us girls who really do want to be pleasing to God when dressing ourselves. Putting modesty first is important, and doesn’t cheapen what God has designed. I applaud you.

      Reply
      • A follower. Of Jesus not a "fan" on

        Coming from a 25 year old single guy. I can now say that a modestly dressed girl is instantly more attractive to me. She will also gain a mans complete trust much easier. I don’t think most girls have any idea what they are really saying with the way they dress. It is especially concerning to see these poor clothing choices, carry over into Sunday morning services.

      • Zuzu72 on

        Amen…

    3. Jon on

      Kristen, I am interested in getting a copy of e-book, however I do not the funds right now. Maybe I will get it later. Jon

      Reply
    4. Abe Isaak on

      I totally agree with this. Porn puts the physical relationship first and seriously retards or destroys any chance for a healthy friendship and love between couples

      Reply
    5. Salem on

      I totally agree with you. Being modest isn’t inferring there is shame about the body, only respect, honor and sanctity for it. Thanks for writing this.

      Reply
    6. Lisa Koslosky on

      Beautiful. Thank you.

      Reply
      • Annie on

        Thank you for this! Just yesterday I went shopping for my 6 year old niece’s upcoming birthday. I could not find ANY dresses that were modest. Why must our little girls look like street walkers?

    7. Shauna on

      There is a whole wide range between modesty as you define it and porn and your arguments for modesty put just as much focus on the physical body as porn does. There is no magical amount of clothing where men are not going to give you the once over. Even women in burkas are sexually assaulted. There is no line where you are respected, but one inch more you are not.
      Women need to be empowered to make their own choices, for their own comfort, not focusing on how their clothes affect other people’s opinion of them. I would be totally happy walking sround nude, not because I am looking for attention but because I’m comfortable with my body even if everyone went screaming away at the soght of it. If they don’t respect me it’s their problem, I have better things to worry about then their uneducated opinion of me.
      That’s what we should teach girls. Their level of modesty is between them and God and nobody else’s opinion counts.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Thanks, Shauna.

      • AJ on

        Well, if the level of modesty is “between them and God”, then they need to listen to what God says about modesty. The big reason modesty is an issue is to respect others around you. It’s for their sake, not yours. If it was just God and myself, modesty is no issue. But since God asks me to respect those around me, then I need to be careful and not be a stumbling block to those around me. This sort of thinking is what gets us into trouble- our westernized, individualistic, “it’s all about God and me” approach. It certainly is not found in scripture. We need to have authority structures in our lives and listen to the wise counsel of both women and men along with reading scripture. The above comment sounds very feminist by nature- and rebellious when it’s peeled back. Women do need to make their own choices. Hopefully those choices will respect the struggles of men and not worry so much about their own comfort or what they want, but honors those who will be looking at them. I can tell you that a significant amount of what you see out there is not God-honoring, it’s just women making their own choices on what they are comfortable with. So sad that we as a society, even the church, have fallen so far away into selfish thinking.

      • Bryan on

        Shauna, I agree with you (and others) who correctly point out there is no clearly defined magic line separating modest from immodest. However, there is something to be said for how your actions affect those around you whether you mean to or not. There was a study done at Princeton, which looked at how the male brain reacted when viewing women in different states of undress. Brain scans showed when men looked at scantily-clad women, the area of the brain associated with tools lit up. Some men showed zero brain activity in the region that lights up when one ponders another’s thoughts, feelings and/or intentions. This is an area of the brain that researchers rarely see going dark, especially in this way.

        It isn’t entirely about education. Part of it is simply the way men are already wired, further reinforced by our culture.

    8. Rachel on

      Thanks for this. This is a very good article, especially since I have taken an interest in dressing modest.

      Reply
      • Sandra on

        To AJ: Sorry this is 2 years too old, I just read your comment on the modesty article someone wrote, and cannot commend you enough for your strong rebuff to some of the “rebellious” out there. Things are so bad, I admire anyone who takes a strong stand here, the softies turn me off. This is a HUGE issue with implications everywhere. Women, you will be judged one day, you can’t live/dress as you please. Obey God, or there will be consequences. There already are, you are just to blinded by rebellion/sin to see it.
        From a young woman.

    9. Barbara on

      Writing to you from the perspective of a grandmother, I appreciate and agree with what you have written here. I have also reviewed your blog. Keep up the good work!

      Reply
    10. Judith on

      Wonderful article. So true. We need this to be taught in our churches.

      Reply
    11. emily on

      do you have any pointers for those of us with only boys at home. my boys are so confused with the small amount of clothing they see in public on young ladies. they are only 8 and 11, and i know the time will come where this will be more attractive to them, but for now, they are baffled. how do we help them as they get older?

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey Emily. I think we all have to learn to think about people as people, and not simply as bodies. The porn industry sees people simply as bodies. But sometimes modesty culture does the same thing, on the opposite end of the spectrum. Porn sees value in nudity. Modesty culture sees value in being covered up. But it’s the same preoccupation with people as bodies.

        I really do think with our kids we need to start saying things like, “We respect and value people, no matter what they are wearing. We see people as people and not their clothes or their bodies. We always want to be respectful of other people, no matter what they are wearing or not wearing.”

        The way we choose to express our self-respect in our clothing is our choice. Other people make different choices. We still need to show respect to them, even when their choices are different from ours. One of the ways we can do that is by saying it openly to our kids: “Yes, that person makes choices different from ours. That is a valuable person, worthy of our respect.”

        Our family lived for many years overseas in a culture where children were commonly naked up until puberty, and adult women were commonly topless. We learned to accept that as their cultural norm. I think we can do that with different cultural norms within the US, as well. Some people in the US are covered from head to toe. Fine, valuable people. Others are uncovered. Fine, valuable people.

        Blessings, Kay

    12. MC on

      Don’t forget that modesty allows us to be valuable for what everyone really wants to find acceptance for: our personalities, our true selves. The people we will still be (even with the modifications of maturity) when the breasts are sagging, the bottom is drooping, and the abdominal muscles are no longer beautifully taut.

      At 37, after 5 pregnancies and 4 live births, after nursing 3 kids and a few years of eating whatever the kids left behind in between rounds of dishes and vacuuming, I don’t have the same breasts or backside or tummy. Even my face is older, more tired, more lined (and definitely less made up). My hair is starting to thin; even though I’ve kept it long like it was when he fell in love with me, I have 3 hairstyles nowadays: quick bun, quick braid, and quick ponytail.

      If he’d married me for my breasts, belly, and bottom, he’d be awful disappointed. They’re gone, and they’re not coming back. All the crunches in the world won’t change the fact that that skin and those muscles have been stretched, and stretched, and stretched– and I’m aging. Even my countenance is fading; night cream can help, but time stops for no one.

      OTOH, my personality is still, well, me. Tempered a little (I hope) with time and wisdom, but still me.

      Reply
    13. Rebecca Laird on

      Thank you for your article. This is a concern of my heart for the generations coming after mine. I am 43 years old, and I was taught beautifully by my parents first, and then through other mentors. I have no regrets about dressing modestly, and it has helped me in more ways than I can count. Now I have a Christian Performing Arts ministry full of young women (and a few young men!) who need to understand more about why our dress code is the way it is, to perform on stage. I am praying for a link in their understanding so that what we teach at Grace will not stay in dance class, but leak out into every girls’ real life.

      I will be looking into this book to teach to our young people.

      Reply
    14. Jennifer on

      I have a few thoughts on your article. First, I believe you are talking in extremes. There is a wide range between nude and modesty. I personally do not know anyone who ever goes out nude. Also, most women have nothing to do with porn. And many feminists would likely agree that the porn industry objectifies women. Before you object, you should know that there is also a wide range of feminists, just as there is a wide range of Christians… Also I think you need to rethink your theology of modesty. God did not create humanity to hide our body parts. That is the result of the fall. In Genesis 2:25 we can read that “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” And then further, in Genesis 3:7, after the fruit had been eaten, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Finally, I’m not sure if you are just trying to sell your book, or if you really believe there is only one way to be modest. Most women do not go around “undressed.” While it is true that I don’t wear high necked shirts and ankle length skirts (unless I find ones I like for myself), I nevertheless am covered decently. I also think undue focus on modesty rather than self respect is also objectifying to women.

      Reply
      • Sam on

        Some things to think about: 1st I think you need to research your statistics on women being involved with porn, and merely viewing supports and enables the industry. 2nd,(because you seem to see the Bible as an authority) using the words self respect in and of its self means nothing unless you look to the Bible to define what is of actual respect in a person and use that as a guideline to ensure you are not just finding an excuse to do what you will under the excuse of respecting yourself. Many people think well of themselves yet commit horrible acts and live in sin because our human heart and nature is “deceitful and desperately wicked.”God never expresses worry over whether or not we respect ourselves yet is constantly reminding us of what is of true value, the hearts attitude before Him (humility, thankfulness,, kindness, generosity, love(toGod and to others as well) along with many others…) If the way you dress isn’t acting in accordance with what the Bible says your heart (attitude) should be before Him, i believe this is wrong. Then after that, i believe you are not responsible for other people’s issues.

    15. Celestine on

      You know what’s empowering?
      CHOICE.
      A woman choosing how to dress in what she feels comfortable wearing regardless of anyone else’s standards is empowering, not you telling women what to wear to be “modest.”

      Reply
    16. Alma Gatica on

      Wonderful article not just for us like women but mothers it’s hard for our daughters to deal with the pressure that friends and media put over them ,but we know teaching them modesty is saving them ,it’s important for them to be faithful to their values and not slaves of fashion .

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        I think we have to be careful to teach our daughters that their value lies in who they ARE, not in how they dress. That’s a tough one in our world today!

    17. Pastor JoAnn Carson on

      Amen Sister, I am doing a women’s Bible Study on Modesty soon and I will be quoting your article. I will also tell the younger ladies about your ebook. Thank you for this awesome article.

      Reply
    18. LM on

      We need to be able to stand strong, even if you feel you are standing differently than your peers, etc. with your Christian beliefs. Ask God to help and guide you in your choices and stand with Him. You can make it a challenge, as well, to yourself, to become comfortable not going along with attitudes of society if they do not agree with God’s Word. Females need to work to understand how males’ brains really work. Females can naturally be thinking one way when they go along with immodesty. Males naturally tend to think another way that younger women and girls don’t really realize. Girls (at least they used to!) can be thinking of relationships and “love” and approval. Young men (and older guys) tend to only be thinking in sexual terms generally. Many times, in varying degrees, these thoughts are not even recognized as being different than the opposite sex thoughts. Females are setting up for a lot of hurt and damage. Males, unless they have learned differently with their upbringing and/or their own education on this and maturity as well, can be ruled by their “wiring” and hormones, etc. Unfortunately, the morals of our country and the world have fallen greatly and “what is wrong seems right” now. We also have a responsibility not to cause males have more trouble controlling their urges than they already have. Also, we have a responsibility to be a good example and to also not cause females to have to be concerned unnecessarily about what the males may be having thoughts of with “other” females. Consideration of and concern for others’ impressions and feelings is a way of being a loving person in general.
      I have felt sorry for some women/girls that show up in public so immodestly dressed that it is obvious they have never been taught or have never understood what is wrong with it. And, yes, it is common now for females to be more like some males in their thinking and acceptance of this more sexually loose attitude. Consequences in our out of control society and world are certainly already coming to fruition and have been for some time. Whether Christian or not, consequences come.

      Reply

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