Sunday School

Sunday School: I Love Modesty Trolls

I admit it freely: the Modesty Police crack me the fuck up. If you’ve never seen the appeal, yourself, I certainly understand (although you’re wrong). Exhibit A: this lady.

On second thought, don’t click that. I will totally take one for the team.

To drop a little mise-en-scene: Saturday morning, late summer. Lady gets dressed in the dark, thinking she’s going for a run with her husband. Lady is wearing yoga pants. Lady is a Good Christian Wife who is apparently not allowed to wear yoga pants out of the house or her husband will be Very Disappointed in her. Observe (all emphasis original):

“You know…” He said. “You are dressed a lot like those girls you always comment on at the gym.”

Inability to properly punctuate direct quotations notwithstanding, this was the point at which I knew I would love this post.

I like those pants. I like them because not only are they comfortable – as all yoga pants are – but I look trendy. I look like one of those suburban moms with a ponytail, pushing her children through the market in a twin-seat stroller. And I like that look, regardless of the consequences.

I swear I’m not trying to kinkshame, but…okay, I’m totally kinkshaming and that is a terrible thing for me to do, but holy shit I only e-met this woman 200 words ago and I already hate her.

But there are consequences.

Nevermind, I take it back. I love her.

I recently saw an article shared on Facebook written by a woman’s husband concerning modesty and the church. While the article addressed young men, it was primarily ‘shared’ on Facebook by…women. Why is that?

At a guess? Because most women don’t like being ogled. Women especially don’t like being ogled in places they consider “safe.”

In many cases, the very women offended by the negative attention of men are dressing in such a way as to earn it.

D…did shit just get real? You guys, I think shit just got real.

The issue of modesty gets heated, as fingers are pointed and hemlines discussed, but I’m going to skip all that fuss and speak woman to woman, because I think we can handle it!

#1 Myth of Modesty: ‘It’s His Job Not to Look’

No, the #1 Myth of Modesty is the Slaying of the Nemean Lion. I swear, the state of classical education in this country is absolutely deplorable.

While men are responsible to honor us with their eyes and minds, when we dishonor ourselves by what we wear, the real unfairness is to the men.


Do we really expect to wear whatever we want and then tell them not to look at us?

Does she really think that the looking part is the problem? I mean…really?

Do we really expect to fit in with the latest (often sexually promiscuous) trends and NOT be viewed as an object of sexual desire?

This is hands-down the weirdest combination of internalized misogyny and humblebragging that I’ve seen all year. Also: YES. YES WE (NOT JUST WOMEN) DO EXPECT PEOPLE (NOT JUST MEN) NOT TO TREAT US LIKE OBJECTS REGARDLESS OF WHAT WE ARE WEARING. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that this woman has never actually met another human being, but this is really basic shit!

#2 Myth of Modesty: Setting Standards is Legalistic…I realize that it is not my job to write your personal standards of modesty.

Coulda fooled me!

[A]nother friend told Mr. M that it pained and concerned him that his girlfriend would go to the gym in her yoga pants to work with her personal trainer, but he didn’t feel he could ask her to stop without being perceived as controlling.

Poor controlling asshole boyfriend, having to feel all bad and stuff about his controlling asshole tendencies. ;__;

#3 Myth of Modesty: Men Don’t Care What I Wear

Shit, if only.

Oh, they do. They care. Why else would we care so much? Why do we place such value on being told we are pretty or beautiful by a man?

Speak for yourself! \m/

While the level may differ man to man…

Said the actress to the bishop.

…the concept remains the same: extra skin, extra form, extra cleavage or extra leg will draw either subconscious or conscious attention from them. They are designed as visual creatures (we have had this taught to us many times over, have we not?) so a visual stimulant catches their eye.


#4 Myth of Modesty: Lust is HIS Problem

I’m pretty sure this woman has the saddest sex life in human history.

Manipulating a man’s attention for the purpose of affirmation is how women are tempted to lust.

Scratch that: I am absolutely certain that this woman has the saddest sex life in human history.

#5 Myth of Modesty: Modesty is Just Something I Do

Is this statement really as nonsensical as it looks, or have I just been looking at this shit too long?

When I am not walking in God’s Spirit and seeking to do what I read in His Word, I will wear whatever I want at the expense of the men around me and my own self-respect.

I see she’s moved on to the time-honored rhetorical strategy of LOL PROJECTING LIKE AN IMAX.

In those moments, I would rather be trendy, Pinterest-y, and pretty than prove to the world that I worship God.

And thus I felt a great disturbance in the internets, as if millions of milquetoast non-denominational Christian Pinterest users cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.

When we REFUSE to accept our responsibility to protect our brothers – our sister’s husbands and sons – from lust, we are creating a war and inciting unrest in the church.


Ladies, I am right here with you, dealing with this issue, struggling with it, fighting with my closet over it! I am asking you to join me in this endeavor. I want to trust Mr. M around you. I want you to trust your husbands around me…

Let me give you a little bit of friendly advice, gratis: if a marriage can’t survive another woman’s choice in pants, it ain’t exactly the pants’ problem.

Anyone can join the trends. Anyone can wear yoga pants. But the woman who chooses to change in order to obey God will be blessed in her doing.

With liberty and justice for all, amen.

I think I had a point when I started this, but now I just feel exhausted by all the nonsense. But hey, it’s not like godless kinky lesbians even exist according to her worldview, so clearly my exhaustion–like my person–is only a pale facsimile of the feelings that the average god-fearing, slut-shaming, stuck-up bore must feel when faced with the choice of whether to wear yoga pants. Really, I don’t know how she manages to get out of bed in the morning.

Actually, the fuck of it all is that I don’t think leggings should be worn as pants, either. But going the extra mile to put the imprimatur of your sky-daddy on it? Iceburn.

In closing:

Comments on this post have been disabled due to lack of respect among commenters.

Lady, you started it.

Featured image by Julia Lee from

Previous post

AI: Conventions

Next post

QUICKIES 11/25/2013



Rachel is a queer lady from Texas who currently resides in southeastern Wisconsin. She studied history at Texas A&M University and has spent more time than she cares to admit arguing social justice with junior Republicans. She volunteers with Planned Parenthood and enjoys knitting, media criticism, and comic book slash fiction.


  1. November 24, 2013 at 2:31 pm —

    Ok, I’ve seen this “Yoga pants are evil for their sexy sexiness” thing many times and I just don’t understand it. How are yoga pants considered sexy? Aren’t they basically just sweat pants and sweat pants are generally not considered sexy. Aren’t yoga pants the thing you wear when you prefer comfort over style and are having a laid back no-makeup day? They aren’t revealing. They aren’t even skin tight. I seriously do not understand what is considered immodest about yoga pants.

    • November 24, 2013 at 3:36 pm —

      I think there are yoga pants and then there are yoga pants, if you get my drift. But in my experience even the ones that are more like sweatpants and less like leggings are still pretty snug in the ass and thighs for ease of movement, hence this woman’s hilariously irrational fear that they’ll destroy the church and/or wreck everyone’s relationships.

  2. November 24, 2013 at 6:17 pm —

    I took a look at the comments that were so harsh they required the thread be closed, and with one exception that might be considered pretty insulting, they are all polite disagreement. My favorite was the woman who asked if you can wear a bathing suit to the beach and was told that that was “situationally appropriate,” but yoga pants at the gym weren’t because reasons.

    • November 24, 2013 at 6:25 pm —

      My actual favorite thing in the whole piece was the quote from her husband about how yoga pants are “designed to be appealing” or some nonsense because they CONCEAL CELLULITE AND SKIN IMPERFECTIONS, but it felt cruel to draw attention to yet another piece of evidence that her sex life is the saddest sex life 🙁

      Oh whoops I just did it \o/

  3. November 24, 2013 at 9:47 pm —

    I got a good laugh out of this, as did The Partner.
    On the flip side, it is a sad reminder though of what is so messed up about the belief that thoughts can literally be sins and that they are constantly being audited by a supernatural being – things that would otherwise be completely irrational suddenly start making sense (in context). I currently support the use of trigger warnings because I don’t want my fellow humans’ thoughts to wander where it will only cause them pain. If I believed that lust was a literal thought crime against God (as I once did) it is a sad logical consistency to advocate everyone doing their part to put a stop to it.
    Have to admit: I’m fighting the urge to make a new Sunday morning habit of visiting churches in yoga pants, so as to bring about the Atheist Revolution. 😛

  4. November 24, 2013 at 11:00 pm —

    I’d have to say I agree, with one possible exception:
    I think (I Am Not A Psychic) that she meant “object” as in “subject – verb – object” in a sentence, not “object” as in the “subject/object” dichotomy.
    For example, when I write “I agree with you”, you are the object of that sentence, but that fact is not in any way in conflict with the fact that I consider you a person (i.e. to have your own subjectivity).
    Although she may not have thought this much about her language use, I have found this (i.e. “the object of noun form of a verb“) to be a very common idiom and I have yet to see a single circumstance in which it is intended to indicate an absence of personhood, individuality, humanity, subjectivity or value of the referent in question.

    Oh, and regarding her having the saddest sex life, I would bet money that my sex life is sadder than hers (and I’m pretty sure I’m not the saddest either).

    • November 24, 2013 at 11:28 pm —

      But the two concepts are intimately–possibly inextricably–connected. By definition, an object in the accusative sense of the word is not the subject. The object does not act; it is acted upon. I mean, she’s definitely not beefing with the idea that one grown-up would look at another and think “Oh, this fellow grown-up is a sexual being, neat,” because the idea of adult sexual agency outside of the actual act of sex between heterosexual spouses likely gives her the vapors. She doesn’t believe it’s possible to be viewed with sexual desire in a positive way and she clearly thinks less of any woman who would (heh) subject herself to that, which is a pretty unambiguous value judgment if you ask me.

  5. November 25, 2013 at 12:06 am —

    I enjoyed reading this greatly. Related: I’m glad _you_ read her article and not me, because bleuch.

    That last bit you quoted makes me think of one of Reasonable Doubts’s recent podcasts on how screwed up thinking about what God wants can make you.

  6. November 30, 2013 at 7:35 pm —


Leave a reply