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Modesty for Men: Quit Checking Yourselves Out

April 24th, 2019
Joel Feldpausch
By Joel Feldpausch read
Posted in Culture

We’ve all seen it. That bro lifting in the gym with the cut-off tank top spending quite a bit of time looking in the mirror. Even calling their article of clothing a “cut-off tank top” is generous. The shirt has been cut all the way down to their waist-line, so that the top couple inches of their boxers is visible. I’m not even sure that qualifies as a shirt anymore, and I’m someone who has had that look before. Ask me if my approach to my body was modest. You know the answer. This verse from Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians did not apply to my life:

‘Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh.’

I did not bother to think about how my dress may be impacting others. I was only familiar with that conversation regarding women, which is unfortunate, because struggling with body image is not something that pertains only to women. I was insecure, and I thought that the more time I could spend revealing my six pack the more I would feel secure about myself. I was only concerned with myself and how I was benefitting from the clothes (or lack thereof) I was wearing. I’m not saying people who do not display modesty are insecure, I’m just saying my reasons for immodesty were insecurity and attention.

Things have changed since those days. I realize now that what I wear and how I carry myself impacts those around me in multiple ways. The days of wearing a rag to the gym and calling it a shirt are over. Even the days of insisting it is so warm out I need to take off my shirt – those days are over. I do not know exactly what my immodesty does to the minds and hearts of the people around me. That’s not an easy question to ask someone, “Hey how does me not wearing a shirt impact you?” However, studies have shown how revealing clothing on women impacts the brains of men, and studies have also shown that issues we incorrectly assumed only affected men, like pornography, do affect women. It is safe to say that revealing clothing on men DOES have an impact on women’s brains.

This is an issue that goes beyond impact on others, though. We deserve better, men. We deserve a world where our opinion of ourselves isn’t impacted by our appearance. We deserve a world where people look at us and want to get to know us, not use us. We deserve a world where we love the man looking back at us in the mirror because he is GOOD, not because he’s in good shape. To all the men who have lost weight or gained muscle: that is impressive, and congratulations! But your dignity is unchanged. Your dignity is not tied to your physical appearance. So, let’s set an example for everyone around us by wearing looser clothing and showing that we love how we look no matter what kind of shape we are in. Let’s quit checking ourselves out.

Joel Feldpausch
Joel Feldpausch

About the Author

Joel grew up in Dewitt, Michigan, and met the Culture Project at a Theology of the Body retreat with Christopher West. He decided to join as a missionary when God dropkicked him through the Culture Project's open door. Joel rediscovered Christ's love by running as far from it as he could throughout high school and most of college, a route Joel does not recommend. Thanks to the campus ministry program at Michigan State University, he finally gave God a chance to bring him peace, and God overwhelmed him (unsurprisingly). Nowadays, Joel loves spending time with friends and family, playing sports, and watching movies. Through Theology of the Body, he rediscovered what it means to live a life of joy, and he hopes to help others discover that life as well.

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