Today’s modesty lacks clear guidelines it needs

Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

“Modesty.” The seven-letter word is scattered in the university handbook, and posted next to a full-length mirror in Mayborn gym is the phrase, “Modest is hottest.”

Modesty is relative.

Don’t believe it? Ask anyone’s grandmother what she was allowed to wear in school. Back then, girls were only allowed to wear skirts and blouses. No pants and definitely no shorts. Girls had to learn a special grace to walk like penguins on their mile walk to school because their skirts were so long.

Today, modesty has become a thin line that so many try to walk without technically crossing, and the line is ever elusive. It cannot be objectively nailed down.

Should a girl’s shorts be finger tip length or two inches above the knee? What about those with long fingers? Are they just sentenced to wear longer shorts for life because they have longer phalanges?
No two people agree.

Females are left with more questions than answers, and comical late-night discussions between girlfriends try to answer a few of them. Nobody can seem to decide what the qualifications are for the “hoochie factor.”

That’s not to say that some young women don’t obviously need instruction to keep their appearances family friendly. I’ve seen more than my share of wardrobe malfunctions.

In my summer English course, one of the requirements was to give a presentation in front of the class. Unfortunately, the girl in front of me gave “presentations” nearly every day, and not the class-appropriate kind, either.

At Wal-Mart I saw a girl wearing yellow shorts that were obviously too small. I know she probably got more than one look that day, and perhaps that was her goal. But what about those who don’t want to see that? Why should they have to suffer?

It may seem laughable that in the “olden days” grandma had to wear a skirt that fell bellow her knees and always wore a hat to church on Sunday. But the shift toward more casual dress has brought complications of its own.

Companies have to provide detailed rules for their work dress code. Baptist churches are adding to their constitutions and bylaws guidelines for what is suitable.  However, universities, such as our own, have avoided being particular.

Instead, the 2009 Student Handbook says, “Standards of dress are not minimized nor eliminated by the absence of regulations, but the university administration assumes the students shall continue to accept individual responsibility for appropriate dress as a member of a Christian academic community.”

Our “individual responsibility” is relative to each person. I don’t mind. While some may be fine sitting in class with what I deem a little bit “hoochie,” at least I will be warm when the air conditioning turns the classroom as frigid as a penguin exhibit.

Author: Kennan Neuman

Kennan Neuman is a senior mass communication/journalism major with a minor in Christian studies from the small town of Devine, Texas. She is the assistant editor and loves writing stories and designing pages. She also enjoys playing guitar for friends, the girls’ Bible study on Thursday nights and the youth at HBC in Temple. She loves reading a good Lucado book while on the back porch at home, drinking sweet tea and mastering Sudoku puzzles. She also enjoys having a “girls’ night out” and conversations at coffee shops.

Share This Post On


Commenting Policy
We welcome your comments on news and opinions articles, provided that they allowed by our Commenting Policy.