Dignifying the Body: Respecting Ourselves First

Olivia Wieseler, Assistant Opinion Editor

Some friends and I were having a nice conversation one day, when one of my friends said, “I don’t understand how people can wear leggings.  It’s basically another layer of skin that is colored differently.  They do not show a woman’s body the respect it deserves.”  Even though I love leggings and was getting prepared to defend them, it got me thinking.  Is what I wear immodest?  This one comment made me realize how far away women have strayed from wanting to respect our bodies.  “When a woman veils her body in modest clothing, she is not hiding herself from men.  On the contrary, she is revealing her dignity to them.”  Jason Evert, a famous public speaker on chastity and modesty, said this in one of his many talks he gives with his wife, Crystalina Evert.  He points out that as women, we must show our bodies respect in order to gain respect.  In today’s society, many people, especially young women, have become more and more willing to expose their bodies through more revealing clothes.  And although there is nothing wrong with having your own unique style and following some of the fashion trends of today, we must keep in mind the importance of our bodies and the respect and dignity that they deserve.

In just about every major religion on earth, the body is a part of our being that must be respected and protected for one reason or another.  In the Christian faith, our bodies are considered a temple that hosts the Holy Spirit, which is one of the most important reasons for treating our bodies as sacred and with respect.  In the Hindu belief, our bodies must be taken care of because they are divine and host the Self, the spiritual part of our being.  In the Muslim religion, the body is the servant to the soul, making it important to respect as it must respect the soul.  The Jewish belief is similar to the Christian in that the body is holy because it houses the soul and does the sacred work on earth through God.  In the Buddhist faith, our bodies are the path to concentration, mindfulness, and reflection, and must be taken care of in order to have a good path to travel on.  In all these major religions of the world, the body is viewed as something important and worth taking care of and respecting.  In reality, no matter what you believe, our bodies are one of the most important parts of our being.  It deserves to be respected.

However, all too often we have this desire to expose our bodies, especially as young women.  What is the reason for this?  Why do we want to reveal so much of ourselves?  Maybe it is to attract young men.  But as Jason Evert stated earlier, exposing our bodies does not attract men for the right reasons.  We want to show them dignity.  They need to earn our hearts, not wait to be flung at.  Or maybe we are just following the new fashion trends.  But what makes revealing outfits so popular?  As women we seem to be competing against each other, trying to be the cuter one, the hotter one, the sexier one.  Why is that so important?  In my opinion, it is not.  What is important is that we give our bodies the respect they deserve, if not for the reason that they are sacred, then for the reason that they are the one thing that we can fully share with someone else in the ultimate act of love.  Wouldn’t you want to save the beauty of your body for “the one”?  It would be something only the two of you would share, making it that much more special.

Now, I’m not saying that all women need to now go out and buy long dresses and cover up every inch of their body.  I’m not saying that men don’t need to learn how to better control their desires, thoughts, and actions.  But I am saying that we all need to become more aware of just how important our bodies are, how beautiful they are.  There is no other creature on this planet, (or probably in this universe) that rivals the beauty and complexity of the human being.  Our bodies are special, and we need to start treating them as such.  Ladies if you want guys to respect you, try to respect yourself first.  Realize that your body is sacred and deserves to be protected until the right one comes along.

I know it can be extremely hard.  Even I have a hard time reminding myself the importance of protecting my body.  It is hard because it seems like in being attentive to the protection of our bodies, we compromise looking “nice” or even being comfy.  But in reality, that does not have to be the case.  There are plenty of clothes out there that are pleasing to the eye or are extremely comfortable but are also modest too.  And there are also plenty of occasions when certain kinds of clothing are more appropriate, like wearing leggings under a long blouse or short dress and wearing a bathing suit for swimming.

I do not write this article to condemn all the people who wear revealing clothes.  I know I am just as guilty of wearing such clothing sometimes.  And I understand that our fashion choices are a part of who we are as people.  All I am trying to do is raise awareness of the importance of our bodies, because ladies, if we can’t respect our own bodies, how can we expect anyone else to?