Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are strictly those of the writer.
It is no hidden secret that fashion is changing daily. What once used to be viewed as unusual in the fashion community is now becoming the highlight of every fashion show. People ask me why I don’t wear shorts, skirts, or even dresses that are revealing. My answer is usually simple and to the point: because I don’t like to expose my body to the world. That is, quite simply, my choice. For me to wear revealing clothing, I would no longer be myself. I aim to be me, not to be you.
Modesty is a beautiful form of fashion. As some argue it, it helps some feel comfortable because they are not obligated to show off every single part of their body, especially the parts they feel insecure about. As a result, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with wanting to cover up your body, rather than exposing it. You were given this body, so, therefore, it is your choice with what you do with it.
Let’s use the “covering” of one’s hair, for example. People have placed such oppression on women who wear the hijab because there is an idea that women are forced to wear it, rather than choosing to wear it. Now, in some cases, women are forced, which is also not permissible in Islam. On the other hand, there are women who choose to wear the headscarf because they prefer to cover their hair, and they enjoy the way it looks on them. Now, we often find the fashion industry is creating looks with the headscarf, using models who are covered in their fashion shows, and even providing modest fashion lines.
I speak on behalf of modesty simply because it has been a term or a form of life that has been important to me. When I was a teenager, I would see models prancing around in practically nothing and most girls thought, “Oh wow, this is how I get a man to like me.” Truth is, they may like you, but they don’t like you for you, they like you for your body. Once you use your body as a way to achieve acceptance, you are basically objectifying yourself. Sadly, this happens too often, and young girls are left heartbroken when their crush doesn’t pay them any mind. Young girls see these images of models using their sex appeal and beautiful features to gain a man’s attention, or gain society’s acceptance. This is causing young girls to be hard on themselves, attempting to live up to standards that, more often than not, aren’t even entirely authentic.
I wish I could have told my young self all these things that I write about now. I would have avoided a lot of teenage heartache and self-esteem issues. There have been several occasions when I had a crush on a guy, but unfortunately, when you do not follow what the rest of the youth is doing, you get ignored. I was the girl who was never asked to go to junior formal or to prom. I just didn’t dress the way they liked their girls dressed. I did not go around showing off my assets. I respected myself way too much to be someone’s catch for the way that I dressed.
I guess I should thank my parents for not always giving in to fashion trends and being hard on what I wore as a young girl. I feel that with their guidance and dress code rules, they protected me from a lot of ill-intentioned attention from peers.
The moral of this article: Dress as you wish, but with dignity and respect for yourself. [Editor’s note: Some women find nudity empowering; some find modesty empowering. Either way, it’s not your business — stop telling women what to wear.] Modesty is not a scary thing. Dressing to cover your insecurities is no one’s business but yours. Wearing clothing that covers your cleavage and hides your curves is your prerogative. You do not owe anyone an explanation when it comes to your body, and the choice of fashion you wish to follow.
I am simply saying, whatever you do — whether it’s to reveal or conceal your body — you do it, and maintain respect for yourself. You see yourself in the mirror every day before the world does. Make sure your choice of fashion and clothing is what makes you feel your best.
Do not wear something that makes you insecure just because it follows society’s warped expectations. Trust me, you will feel more secure about yourself, and you will want to show yourself off to the world when you feel comfortable in your own skin by making your own choices.
P.S. We are all beautiful in our own way. We are all unique. Let us not forget that. Even someone’s personality could overshadow their appearance. So when you sit there, bashing yourself, and putting yourself down because you do not feel pretty or attractive enough, remember that somewhere in the world, someone is seeking a person like you. Not for what you look like, but for what beauty lies inside of you.