On the streets at NYFW this year, there were more young, modestly dressed women, ready to pose for pictures, than I had ever seen before.
Something though, seemed wrong to me. It’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with posing for a picture, it’s that doing so goes against my idea of modesty.
There’s showyness to what I thought was supposed to be humble, this religiously invoked way to go out into the world as a woman.
The shinyness of her dress, the very “on trend” Supreme fanny pack, the bracelets, the shoes, do not say modest to me.
I have always thought that modesty would include a kind of humble simplicity? If I wasn’t exactly expecting sackcloth, neither did I expect glitter, gloss, heels, and makeup, but those are all things I have seen modest dressers wearing.
Then I remember, wealth is acceptable everywhere, and women in Saudi Arabia wear Gucci and Prada beneath their burqa.
For now, I’ll just call this a paradox created by men.
In “traditional” cultures, men are the ones who purchase the Prada and diamonds,
…so the prestige that comes from ostentatious wealth shines directly on them.
Whose Got The Power?
Another paradox: the hidden can be more enticing than the exposed. We can all agree that the body need not be half-naked to be sexy and beguiling.
In different countries, and sects, the women dress differently and cover themselves more or less, depending. In some places, women even alternate between western style clothing and wearing the hijab or burqa.
From the hijab, to the niqab, to the burqa it all seems very mysterious and seductive, and seductive is the opposite of modest, isn’t it?
Who has the power to choose what’ll be hidden and what exposed?
We may want to believe that the West is more civilized and “evolved,” but recent events have also shown that women’s dress is always open to “interpretation.”
Be sexual here, modest there…
Mostly though, be invisible by blending in, “hide” in some kind of garb we approve of. In different ways, we are all being told to make ourselves invisible!
But objectification is objectification, whether young or old, covered or not.
Although, my initial reaction to modest dressers posing for pictures, was confusion, I do love that no matter what, women want to be visible. Whether in a selfie or on the street, wearing a hijab or bare shoulders, we want to be seen.