Friday, May 6, 2011

The Thinking Housewife on Modesty and Beauty

Laura Wood the Thinking Housewife has a post on democracy and beauty (or perhaps "democracy versus beauty").  The post itself was worthwhile but what really grabbed me by the lapels was what Laura wrote in response to commenter Bruce B (who raised a valuable distinction between "hot" and "beautiful").
Immodest dress is also a result of  a loss of privacy and of an unconscious understanding of what privacy is. Modest clothes, at their best, are not an expression of prudery or an abhorrence of sexuality. They reflect the desire for privacy, an appreciation of intimacy and a reverence for individuality, as opposed to conformity. The conformist is prone to immodesty. The individual has something of himself in reserve, not freely given away.
Laura's point about conformity and individuality is one I hadn't thought of, but I put the part that really impressed me in boldface. This was one of those mild epiphanies that recalled the way I felt reading A Return to Modesty. 

What Laura is alluding to in this sublime phrase, I think, is that when modern people have some understanding of what modesty is, it is all too often a distorted, propagandized version.  Some seem to believe that men shouldn't ogle women no matter how the women present themselves, that you violate a woman's modesty by looking at her boldly presented cleavage, etc.  This puts all the responsibility on men, and gives all the power to men. Only a feminist could believe that a woman is "empowered" by dressing like a strumpet and having all the men around her pretend not to be heterosexual, while she is "objectified" when men give her a good hard look.

Anyway, "Why Radical Democracy Punishes and Eliminates Beauty" is a good post and one of the few I've seen where the comment thread lives up to its promise.

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