On January 5, Veronica Partridge, “Christian Blogger,” posted an article entitled, “Why I Chose To No Longer Wear Leggings.” Her essential answer was that she did not want to dress in a way that would potentially make someone other than her husband to “think lustfully about” her body (www.veronicapartridge.com). How do I know about the blog? I did not even know who she was until I was running on the treadmill this morning and Good Morning America was running a story about it. Then, in Googling “Veronica Partridge Leggings,” I saw that such websites as “Huffington Post,” “New York Daily News,” and “The Inquisitr” have written opinion pieces about her words. Just what is visible from the Google result reveals that they do not necessarily appreciate her point of view. What is her point of view?
She spoke to her husband and asked if an attractive woman in form-fitting pants was in view, did it present a potential heart struggle for him. He said it did, and at the end of her post she wrote, “And at that moment, I made a personal vow to myself and to my husband. I will no longer wear thin, form-fitting yoga pants or leggings in public….I also want to set the best example of how to dress for my daughter. I want her to know, her value is not in the way her body looks or how she dresses, but in the character and personality God has given her” (ibid.).
The commenters in response to her blog said some of the same things I’ve heard people say in response to sermons I’ve heard preached or that I’ve preached on modesty. “It’s not the woman’s fault if the man chooses to lust.” “If a guy’s going to lust, it doesn’t matter what the woman is wearing.” “Who defines modesty?” Truly, this is a difficult matter to preach or teach well. Why?
- People have different standards of what is modest and immodest.
- Some women are unaware of how revealing or provocative some items of clothing are for most men.
- Some men may pressure or persuade their wives and daughters to dress in such a way.
- Some women may like how certain men look at them when they are dressed in such a way.
- It is human nature to place what we see as our own “rights” over how our exercise of such “rights” negatively effects others.
Those not interested in pleasing God will not be moved by biblical passages and principles. For those who are, here are some things to consider.
- 1 Timothy 2:9 calls for the Christian woman to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly. In context, she violated this with ostentatious clothing that blinded people to her adornment of good works and claims of godliness. If “overdressing” does this, can “underdressing” do this?
- 1 Peter 3:2-4 ties together chaste and respectful behavior with clothing that draws attention not to the external but to “the hidden person of the heart.” Is there ever a line where one’s clothing leaves the realm of the chaste (not have sexual nature or intention) and enters the realm of the immoral?
- Matthew 5:28-32 says that a man who looks at a woman with lust for her has sinned. This is the man’s responsibility, but is it ever possible that a woman can so clothe (or not clothe) herself in such a way as create a stumbling block for him in this regard (cf. Mat. 18:7).
There are some items of clothing that are definitely chaste and modest. Surely, most everyone would say that there are some items of clothing that are definitely not. What God’s people must do is give serious thought to such things and do that which gives them the best chance to promote Christ. This is but one area, but it is one area.