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modesty in front of other women? what is the point?


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In some of these discussions the conversations on modesty women mentioned being modest around other women. This surprised me, and seems to be a new concept. In most societies, throughout time, nudity among ones own sex has been allowed and normal. Swimming in the nude was the norm among men at least, and even now, in areas where women could be stoned for appearing without a full veil covering everypart of their body it is normal to be nude among other women at public bath houses.(nothing gross, just actual places where women bathe). So where does this idea that you should be modest around other women come from?

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The way I understand it, only one side of the coin here is about men's carnal desires and nipping potential opposite-sex activities in the bud; the other side is about the concept of modesty that spreads above and beyond clothing only, and has more to do about how do you generally - not only in the presence of the opposite sex - hold yourself. I'm not likely to be in a miniskirt and a tank top even when I'm alone in my own house, if you get what I mean - because that's against my notion of modesty as a general principle of how do I hold myself, clothing being only one of the aspects.

 

Then there's also a personal hygiene issue at places such as pools, benches, etc. Do you go in your bed in your day clothes, or after you've showered and changed in bed clothes? Likewise, do you prefer to sit on a bench in a skirt where other women have sat in skirts, or sit naked where other women have set completely naked and thus risk the mixing of bodily fluids (from sweat to some other ones)? Even bathing suits will at least somewhat minimize the issue.

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I found it interesting in China, where traditionally women have dressed very modestly, women of all ages strip off in the changing rooms together at the pool - there isn't even the option of individual changing cubicles/showers.

Yes, there are such places. In one hand, one intellectually understands it, the diversity of the world and customs and perception of something, but on the other hand... I don't know, there's something almost innate in my to resist it so very much, that level of "familiarity" amongst other, especially if unknown, women.

 

I have a question for you regarding that. Have you, during your stays in places with such practices, ever encountered any woman that tried to "bypass" such practices? For example, there are special sheets to change modestly in case you find yourself in a situation of having to change in the physical presence of others (literally sheets: you put them on you like a sort of "tent" and then change beneath them), or did some women have other ways of ensuring they could change more "privately"?

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They might be looking at me *that* way! There are those lesbians everywhere!

This was explained to me by a lady at a pool who insisted on using the family change room (which has large private change rooms & showers) even though her child was an almost teen boy & was in the men's changeroom alone.

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They might be looking at me *that* way! There are those lesbians everywhere!

This was explained to me by a lady at a pool who insisted on using the family change room (which has large private change rooms & showers) even though her child was an almost teen boy & was in the men's changeroom alone.

:lol: I am modest about changing in front of other women, but not for that reason. :D I think our culture is all about comparison. Who has bigger booKs and bottoms. Ooh, look at those sags and wrinkles! I don't want to be *weighed* and found lacking.

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They might be looking at me *that* way! There are those lesbians everywhere!

This was explained to me by a lady at a pool who insisted on using the family change room (which has large private change rooms & showers) even though her child was an almost teen boy & was in the men's changeroom alone.

Oh good grief! I'd be more concerned about men that have an eye for young males than I would about a lesbian looking me up and down. It's not like I have anything she hasn't seen when looking in a mirror anyhow.

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Yeah. I'm with the PP. I don't especially want my entire body open for appraisal to anyone, except dh, and even there, I'm not too brazen.

 

Not very many bodies are altogether beautiful to me. I'd rather keep my ordinary details to myself.

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They might be looking at me *that* way! There are those lesbians everywhere!

This was explained to me by a lady at a pool who insisted on using the family change room (which has large private change rooms & showers) even though her child was an almost teen boy & was in the men's changeroom alone.

 

:svengo:

:lol:

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Yeah. I'm with the PP. I don't especially want my entire body open for appraisal to anyone, except dh, and even there, I'm not too brazen.

 

Not very many bodies are altogether beautiful to me. I'd rather keep my ordinary details to myself.

 

Ok, see, that speaks more to being uncomfortable with the human body in general, rather than modesty. That I understand, although I think its a sad commentary on our society. (and I sometimes feel the same way, I'm not picking on you). I can understand being unhappy with how your body looks and not wanting anyone to see it, and have felt that way myself, but I don't think it is healthy or at least I don't think it is what God has in mind for us. He made this body, wrinkles, dimples, and all, and I shouldn't be ashamed of it, you know?

 

But my question was more about those who have said it would be immodest to be in revealing clothing around other women...as a spiritual issue. that's what I am not understanding.

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Ok, see, that speaks more to being uncomfortable with the human body in general, rather than modesty. That I understand, although I think its a sad commentary on our society. (and I sometimes feel the same way, I'm not picking on you). I can understand being unhappy with how your body looks and not wanting anyone to see it, and have felt that way myself, but I don't think it is healthy or at least I don't think it is what God has in mind for us. He made this body, wrinkles, dimples, and all, and I shouldn't be ashamed of it, you know?

 

But my question was more about those who have said it would be immodest to be in revealing clothing around other women...as a spiritual issue. that's what I am not understanding.

:iagree: Not saying that this is the previous poster, but the people that I knew that did feel this way usually DID have image issues (two cases in point would be a couple with weight issues and one that was a burn victim...and even the burn victim was a "do what you have to do" woman when it came down to it, just didn't want to change in front of other women because of prior judgment she had gotten growing up by other females).

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He made this body, wrinkles, dimples, and all, and I shouldn't be ashamed of it, you know?

 

 

I don't know...I think hot fudge sundaes made my body. Not really fair to blame God. And FTR, I think He could have designed a better system for those of us who have given over our breasts to a swarm of kids. Doctors should not be designing more attractive booKs than God, nor be required to mitigate the post-bfing sorry state of things. Just one of those complaints I'm putting on my "Ask God Later" list.

 

Anyway, I am a perfectionist. Very high sense of idealism. OCD, in the vernacular. What I think a body should look like hardly ever occurs in nature. :tongue_smilie:

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I don't understand it honestly. I'm not quick to strip or anything, but my peeve, is women who think breastfeeding should be SO MODEST. I don't whip it out, but I also don't suffocate myself or child with a big blanket. It just seems weird. But I practice to each his own,although I think it reinforces the ick factor for people regarding bfing which is godly and natural.

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There is a difference, though, between being comfortable exposing some parts of your body and showing all of one's body to someone else.

 

Such as the 70s speculum-aided cervix viewing parties I've heard about. But on the other hand, many people are squeamish about some things such as even discussing colon cancer, much less being screened for it, by their doctors, because it just seems so personal.

 

I also don't think one should assume that only those who dislike their bodies don't choose to show everything to others.

 

There are things like breastfeeding, where many American women (and men) object to, even in front of other women. Other societies, which may have women who dress more conservatively, don't have this issue, or not in front of other women. Even I was surprised when a close relative of mine (who ordinarily enjoys wearing what many might call revealing clothes in public) put on one of those apron-shaped devices to breastfeed her child, when the two of us were alone in a room with our respective children.

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What's the point of maintaining one's values in front of either gender? :tongue_smilie:

 

I don't think that *being* naked in front of other women is immodest in and of itself, but none of us is naive enough to think that attitude and behavior while in the buff doesn't come in to play. There is a difference between staying naked just long enough to do what ya gotta do and the woman who hangs out in the locker room showing her body as long as possible, walking back and forth, chest leading the way and bouncing around...you know, the very unclassy "if you got it, flaunt it" attitude that is so prevalent. Oh, but she's just "comfortable in her own skin," right? Uh huh, and you'd better be comfortable with all her skin, too. LOL

 

And as one other poster said, there is a lot of comparison going on amongst women--I daresay much more than the stereotypical guys' locker room! Looking at other women's body parts with a critical eye can lead to not only self-centered pride, but an unhealthy tearing down of one's own esteem. Neither is positive OR modest, IMO.

 

Women like to throw out the phrase "confident with my own body" or call upon the cultures where it's the norm to be less clothed, when really one word says it all: pride. Not the healthy kind of pride, either. That doesn't mean wearing baggy, loose clothes or turtlenecks or huge lace collars (lol) or never take the positive aspects of your appearance into consideration when buying clothes. I think most women really do get what is modest in general and then they choose according to what *they* want the world to see and what's important in their hearts.

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What's the point of maintaining one's values in front of either gender? :tongue_smilie:

 

I don't think that *being* naked in front of other women is immodest in and of itself, but none of us is naive enough to think that attitude and behavior while in the buff doesn't come in to play. There is a difference between staying naked just long enough to do what ya gotta do and the woman who hangs out in the locker room showing her body as long as possible, walking back and forth, chest leading the way and bouncing around...you know, the very unclassy "if you got it, flaunt it" attitude that is so prevalent. Oh, but she's just "comfortable in her own skin," right? Uh huh, and you'd better be comfortable with all her skin, too. LOL

 

And as one other poster said, there is a lot of comparison going on amongst women--I daresay much more than the stereotypical guys' locker room! Looking at other women's body parts with a critical eye can lead to not only self-centered pride, but an unhealthy tearing down of one's own esteem. Neither is positive OR modest, IMO.

 

Women like to throw out the phrase "confident with my own body" or call upon the cultures where it's the norm to be less clothed, when really one word says it all: pride. Not the healthy kind of pride, either. That doesn't mean wearing baggy, loose clothes or turtlenecks or huge lace collars (lol) or never take the positive aspects of your appearance into consideration when buying clothes. I think most women really do get what is modest in general and then they choose according to what *they* want the world to see and what's important in their hearts.

:iagree:

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Thanks to our Puritan roots, the US is one of the most sexually repressed countries. We see sex in every single thing and need to ban it, demonize it and make it "dirty".

 

I see nothing wrong with same sex nudity - it is not sexual to me. And I dont believe that it will "encourage homosexual behavior" just to be nude around others.

I also believe that men and women are in fact capable of platonic relationships.

I see NOTHING sexual about breastfeeding in public - not even older nurslings, but have gotten nasty comments made about it. Heck, I have gotten nasty comments just about DS nursing "so old" - so sad.

I see nothing wrong with stripping a toddler or young child down at the beach and washing them up in the outdoor public showers - why have the sand chaff them raw?! Or even *gasp* letting them play in the yard and the kiddie pool naked. They are children! BUt I have many glares and even comments for washing the sand off child at the beach.

I personally have no issues with being nude in my own home (even if that means by kiddo seeing me nude), sleeping nude, etc. I may not run to the nude beach, but that is cuz of my own insecurities and hangups - I also feel self concious in my favorite jeans and T. I am amazed and in awe of the self-love and freedom it takes to go to a nude beach....maybe one day. LOL

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I have a question for you regarding that. Have you, during your stays in places with such practices, ever encountered any woman that tried to "bypass" such practices?

 

Having a bathroom in your house is a relatively new thing in China though: when I first lived there, in 1985/6, I only knew of one family that had retrofitted a shower into their home - everyone else went to the public bathhouse to shower, and many went to the public toilet too.

 

Laura

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What's the point of maintaining one's values in front of either gender? :tongue_smilie:

 

I don't think that *being* naked in front of other women is immodest in and of itself, but none of us is naive enough to think that attitude and behavior while in the buff doesn't come in to play. There is a difference between staying naked just long enough to do what ya gotta do and the woman who hangs out in the locker room showing her body as long as possible, walking back and forth, chest leading the way and bouncing around...you know, the very unclassy "if you got it, flaunt it" attitude that is so prevalent.

 

Ok, that makes a lot of sense!!!!! Now, granted, it never occured to me to flaunt my naked body in front of other women...I don't have that kind of body, LOL, so I guess that is why I hadn't thought of it this way. Although I imagine that someone flaunting their naked body also flaunts their clothed body, so I'm not sure what the difference there is? But I was thinking more of things like nursing in front of other women, changing clothes, swimming, etc.

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My body is private and not for public display, and that includes around females (aside from close relatives). It isn't because I'm worried about lesbians or because I have body image issues. It's a boundaries issue. I don't feel the desire to share something as personal as my private parts unless there's a compelling reason for me to do so. So, for example, I will nurse without a cover at a BF support group if I need assistance/advice from the lactation consultant and/or the other moms. That's purposeful nudity rather than gratuitous. Otherwise, though I do use a cover even in all-female settings. Sure, they know what b00ks look like- they just don't need to see *my* set, LOL!

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Having a bathroom in your house is a relatively new thing in China though: when I first lived there, in 1985/6, I only knew of one family that had retrofitted a shower into their home - everyone else went to the public bathhouse to shower, and many went to the public toilet too.

 

Laura

 

In Japan at the public bath houses, no one looks at each other's body. You look at the person's face. There is a kind of privacy that is hard to explain - sort of the kind of impersonal sort of encounter that you have in a big city. Of course, being a foreigner in that environment sort of defeats that a bit because then people do look to a certain extent. But even then I had one friend exclaim, "Oh, it's you. I thought you were Japanese." because I had that impersonal look that in turn made them gloss over me.

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Wow, I think its sad that so many of you think of your bodies as distasteful. That is the society we have grown up in. We view ourselves with so much judgement. And then we pass that on to our girls. And then we feel virtuous about it?

 

I have NO problem with a woman undressing near me, or walking across the room naked, or feeling PROUD of her feminine beauty, whether that beauty is a slim gorgeous 25 year old, OR a large woman who is comfortable in her own body, or even shy. I am not immune to self consciousness when undressing in front of others...but modesty is about excessive self consciousness- and that can go both ways....drawing an excessive amount of attention to oneself, as well as feeling shame about one's natural body.

A woman who feels natural and comfortable in her own body, naked or clothed, may at times do a naked dance of joy, or soak the sun onto her bare breasts and belly...in joy at being alive in her own skin. Thats not immodest...that's celebrating being alive. Doing it at a coffee shop...yeah, innappropriate, in our society. But amongst other women, or your own family? I think the world would be a FAR better place if we just learned to appreciate and love our own and other's divine feminine form, instead of all this excessive self conscious shame everyone has around it all.

The best place to learn to love your own unique body and form is amongst other women in ordinary circumstances. It's a freedom.

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What's the point of maintaining one's values in front of either gender? :tongue_smilie:

 

I don't think that *being* naked in front of other women is immodest in and of itself, but none of us is naive enough to think that attitude and behavior while in the buff doesn't come in to play. There is a difference between staying naked just long enough to do what ya gotta do and the woman who hangs out in the locker room showing her body as long as possible, walking back and forth, chest leading the way and bouncing around...you know, the very unclassy "if you got it, flaunt it" attitude that is so prevalent. Oh, but she's just "comfortable in her own skin," right? Uh huh, and you'd better be comfortable with all her skin, too. LOL

 

And as one other poster said, there is a lot of comparison going on amongst women--I daresay much more than the stereotypical guys' locker room! Looking at other women's body parts with a critical eye can lead to not only self-centered pride, but an unhealthy tearing down of one's own esteem. Neither is positive OR modest, IMO.

 

Women like to throw out the phrase "confident with my own body" or call upon the cultures where it's the norm to be less clothed, when really one word says it all: pride. Not the healthy kind of pride, either. That doesn't mean wearing baggy, loose clothes or turtlenecks or huge lace collars (lol) or never take the positive aspects of your appearance into consideration when buying clothes. I think most women really do get what is modest in general and then they choose according to what *they* want the world to see and what's important in their hearts.

 

:iagree: Of all the modesty threads I've read on this board, I think this is the best response I've ever seen. Thanks for writing this so clearly.

 

FTR, I think breastfeeding modesty is completely different than "regular" modesty. Maybe not in the usual, peaceful bfeeding moments when it's easy to use a blanket or well-positioned shirt, but I've known some very conservative mothers (myself included) who've lost all sense of modesty when they've had a screaming, hungry baby in their arms. I think it's a sub-conscious thing--screaming, hungry baby always trumps the need to cover up the booKs.

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Wow, I think its sad that so many of you think of your bodies as distasteful. That is the society we have grown up in. We view ourselves with so much judgement. And then we pass that on to our girls. And then we feel virtuous about it?

 

I have NO problem with a woman undressing near me, or walking across the room naked, or feeling PROUD of her feminine beauty, whether that beauty is a slim gorgeous 25 year old, OR a large woman who is comfortable in her own body, or even shy. I am not immune to self consciousness when undressing in front of others...but modesty is about excessive self consciousness- and that can go both ways....drawing an excessive amount of attention to oneself, as well as feeling shame about one's natural body.

A woman who feels natural and comfortable in her own body, naked or clothed, may at times do a naked dance of joy, or soak the sun onto her bare breasts and belly...in joy at being alive in her own skin. Thats not immodest...that's celebrating being alive. Doing it at a coffee shop...yeah, innappropriate, in our society. But amongst other women, or your own family? I think the world would be a FAR better place if we just learned to appreciate and love our own and other's divine feminine form, instead of all this excessive self conscious shame everyone has around it all.

The best place to learn to love your own unique body and form is amongst other women in ordinary circumstances. It's a freedom.

THIS! And I think our practically hiding in situations where it's not necessary (changing in a locker room) just adds to the self condemnation and the expectations of a "perfect" body. I'm parentsitting for a friend; their mother has alzheimers and so I have to help her get dressed at times. I don't look like I did at 17, or at 28, and one day I will look like this woman. People see aging bodies as "gross" and the fact is, it's part of life...we live it, we mature, we have children and then grandchildren. Age should be respected. In other cultures, young women intentionally pull on their breasts to look more like the older women, because that is who is respected and considered to have wisdom (not saying we should pull on ours :lol:). But in this society, we place a 25yr old body, that has never born or fed children, as the ideal and the utmost desired. That 25yr old body will not last, everyone will be disappointed, we will "fail" in our minds. It's twisted. I have to say, I loved the DOVE ads they had awhile back, showing women of ALL shaded, shapes, sizes, and stages of life. THAT was more real. THAT is what women need to see in a positive light. NOT some VS model.

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:iagree: Of all the modesty threads I've read on this board, I think this is the best response I've ever seen. Thanks for writing this so clearly.

 

FTR, I think breastfeeding modesty is completely different than "regular" modesty. Maybe not in the usual, peaceful bfeeding moments when it's easy to use a blanket or well-positioned shirt, but I've known some very conservative mothers (myself included) who've lost all sense of modesty when they've had a screaming, hungry baby in their arms. I think it's a sub-conscious thing--screaming, hungry baby always trumps the need to cover up the booKs.

Bingo! And yet, there are people that automatically assume these women are selfish and just doing what they want to do (as though they are flipping the finger at society around them) when really, they aren't even thinking about it; they just are in a spot that they are doing what they have to do at that moment.

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In Japan at the public bath houses, no one looks at each other's body. You look at the person's face. There is a kind of privacy that is hard to explain - sort of the kind of impersonal sort of encounter that you have in a big city. Of course, being a foreigner in that environment sort of defeats that a bit because then people do look to a certain extent. But even then I had one friend exclaim, "Oh, it's you. I thought you were Japanese." because I had that impersonal look that in turn made them gloss over me.

 

This is really interesting; it reminds me strongly of a story my friend told me. He was living in a place (I think it was in the jungle in Peru, but I'm not sure) where everyone went to the bathroom (so to speak!) in public. Just stepped over by the nearest tree, you know? And he was a bit gobsmacked, and he asked someone, "But what about privacy?" and the fellow told him, "Privacy is where you look."

 

I've never forgotten that. "Privacy is where you look." Ever since hearing that, I've tried to make sure I give others respect by not looking when they don't want to be looked at. And I've tried to assume that they do the same for me. It was a comforting concept to me when I was breastfeeding twins!

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