Youth Apostles Online
Newsletter for Catholic Teens : June 2002
I have a challenge for all of you.
With the warmer weather comes short shorts, bathing suits, tank tops and mini skirts. Clothes are see through, low cut, and tight... all in the name of "fun" and "flirty" self-expression. The fashion industry has successfully convinced young women that the sexier we look, the more beautiful we are.
In the wake of this immodesty tidal wave, the true dignity and Beauty of the female body is reduced to a visual sex object. And men, who were made by God to be more visually oriented, are drowning in a sea of tempting images which cause lustful thoughts.
As we walked across campus, I remember overhearing two of my guy friends in college talking about how much they hated the onset of spring and summer. It was because of the way that girls dressed during these seasons. These guys were faithful followers of Jesus and wanted to be pure in their thoughts. They humbly admitted how totally difficult it was to keep their thoughts pure with hundreds of scantily clad girls around them.
A lot of times girls just don't get it. It's not just "the guy's problem!" I remember falling prey to the fashion of the times when I was in school. One of my best Christian guy friends approached me one day about something I was wearing. He said to me, "Michele, I am your friend and I totally respect you, but when you are wearing that it's difficult for me to look at you with respect. I know plenty of other guys out there that aren't TRYING to respect women and I don't want them looking at you like that. Can you please not wear that anymore?" I was enraged at first that he dared to tell me what I should and should not wear, but after prayer and the grace of humility, that incident became a building block for my efforts to dress modestly--out of respect for myself, and for the men I encountered each day.
Here's my summer challenge for you:
Girls, be sensitive to your brothers in Christ. Modesty can definitely be fashionable, though it may take some work on your part. Pray before you go shopping and don't compromise if you don't find the right thing right away. Look at yourself in the mirror before you go out and ask honestly: "When guys see me dressed like this, will they be more likely to see me as an object or to respect me as a whole person?" Take the Blessed Mother shopping with you and ask her to help you pick out your outfits. Seriously! I have some really cool stories about that one :).
Guys, unless we have a major mass-societal modesty conversion, you're not going to be able to totally avoid immodestly dressed women. You've got to train yourself to "guard your eyes." Don't oogle and drool over a revealingly dressed woman and don't let your thoughts wander to lust. Turn your eyes away RIGHT AWAY and give your thoughts to Jesus right away. Pray to St. Joseph for strength. Also, don't be afraid to lovingly tell the girls you hang out with that the way they dress is not respectful to themselves or the guys they are with. I'm sure glad my guy friend cared enough about me to say something. Finally, it's imperative that you admit any fault you might have in your struggle to look at woman respectfully. If you're watching movies or looking at magazines, or visiting websites that show women immodestly dressed or not dressed at all, stop. Be a REAL man! Don't be wimpy dork-butt loser-boy. Fess up, get to confession, and cut it out!
All it takes is a few courageous people to set a new trend - a trend of modesty, respect, and self-control. Be a witness of what it means to truly respect yourself and others. Girls, show other girls that true beauty is about dignity and respect. While you may get attention from guys by dressing immodestly, it's not respectful attention. Guys, be examples of strong, self-disciplined, manhood. I guarantee it will pay off in the long run. With prayer, we can do this!
Until next month, I remain...
Your Eucharist loving, Blessed Mother petitioning, rockin' Catholic Church obeying, Pope John Paul II devotee and fellow sinner in need of God's grace and mercy,
Youth Apostles Online
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Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.
Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.
There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.
- from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2521-2523