It sometimes seems pretty outrageous that this has to be said. It is even more outrageous to find out that this is something that a lot of people still do not realize! MODESTY IS FOR MEN TOO!
There is a fantastic quote out there that couldn’t have worded it more perfectly concerning Modesty for both genders:
But even then it doesn’t cover the entire issue. Men are just as called to modesty in dress, conduct as women are! (But of course they are not called to wear skirts and such; as we already know that men and women are different, yet equal.)
The Catechism wasn’t just written for women you know. A Catholic woman isn’t expected to work on modesty in all aspects while the Catholic man can sit down, shirtless, in short shorts, foul mouthed watching dirty movies!
“Modesty is a moral virtue, and a part of the virtue of temperance, by which a person brings moderation to his outward and inward actions (inasmuch as they can be reflected by certain exterior signs), in order to keep them under the control of right reason (Summa Theologica, IIa IIae Q.160, a.2). Saint Thomas Aquinas lists four kinds of modesty in ordinary matters, that are obligatory for everybody:
· One is the movement of the mind towards some excellence, and this is moderated by humility.
· The second is the desire of things pertaining to knowledge, and this is moderated by studiousness which is opposed to curiosity.
· The third regards bodily movements and actions (including words), which require to be done becomingly and honestly, whether we act seriously or in play.
· The fourth regards outward show, for instance in dress and the like. (Ibid.)
… Clearly men have an equal duty as women to avoid provocative words or actions and to avoid any kind of dress that might show off their person or their body, leading to vanity. Like women, they are hence forbidden to display their bodies in public in an unseemly manner, or in a way that might produce a disordered attraction in the opposite sex. Men should always wear a shirt for gymnastics, and shorts should not be worn in public, but only be used for athletics, and should not be too brief or too tight. Likewise, men should dress modestly for Sunday Mass, with shirt, tie, jacket, trousers, all of which symbolize a man’s sense of responsibility, leading his family by the orderly self-discipline of modest dress, and doing his duty in the true worship of God.
However, there are two important differences in the application of these principles to men, as compared to women, and which are the reason why the Church’s documents on the subject refer to modesty in women. The first is that the nature of a woman makes her much more prone to the temptation of vanity, to show off her body, and the nature of a man makes him much more tempted by seeing this. (Thanks to Original Sin & Concupiscence we must battle with these temptations)
But every man is tempted by his own concupiscence, being drawn away and allured. Then, when concupiscence hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin. But sin, when it is completed, begetteth death.
It is for this reason that the Church has been so much more adamant about women’s dress, as in the following quote from a decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Council of January 18, 1930:
His Holiness, Pius XI, has never ceased to inculcate in word and writing that precept of Saint Paul (I Tim 2:5, 10) “Women also in decent apparel; adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety “as it becometh women professing godliness with good works.”
And on many occasions the same Supreme Pontiff has reproved and sharply condemned the immodesty in dress which today is everywhere in vogue; even among women and girls who are Catholics; a practice which does grave injury to the crowning virtue and glory of women, and moreover unfortunately leads not merely to their temporal disadvantage, but, what is worse, to their eternal ruin and that of other souls.
It is no wonder, then, that Bishops and other Ordinaries of places, as becomes ministers of Christ, have in their respective diocese unanimously resisted in every way this licentious and shameless fashion and in doing so have cheerfully and courageously borne the derision and ridicule sometimes directed at them by the ill-disposed”. “
Although it is known that men have more temptations concerning physical attraction because of biology, and how they are put together, the entire story is never told.
“In a Web site design study, researchers at the Nielsen/Norman Group showed 255 men and women pictures of different people, including Brett and ballet dancers. Technology called “heat maps” helped reveal that men fixate on private parts more than women.”
This is a large reason why many Christians promote modesty in dress for women; to not be “stumbling block” for their brothers in Christ. One in particular was a courageous woman named, “Veronica Partridge” who just decided to stop wearing yoga pants, because she asked her husband if he struggled when other women wore them. After he answered yes, she decided to stop wearing them;
“If it is difficult for my husband who loves, honors, and respects me to keep his eyes focused ahead, then how much more difficult could it be for a man that may not have the same self-control? Sure, if a man wants to look, they are going to look, but why entice them? Is it possible that the thin, form-fitting yoga pants or leggings could make a married (or single) man look at a woman in a way he should only look at his wife?”
Oh! how many are lost by indulging their sight! – St. Alphonsus de Ligouri
Now, this has been used as the reason for women to dress up. Its a good reason, but using it as the only reason can cause problems, which will be talked about later.
Because of this information, women have been dressing up, but on the flip side, it seems that men have been given the easy side. Shirtless, tight pants, short shorts and such should be avoided by men. Contrary to common belief, women are not all completely preserved from temptations concerning the flesh.
A study suggests: “For women, other new eye-tracking data suggest that a female’s glance might be dictated by her hormones. When viewing sexual photographs, women using hormonal contraceptives looked more at the (private parts) while women who were not using hormonal contraceptives paid more attention to contextual elements of photographs, according to a study in the journal Hormones and Behavior.”
Men’s shoulders, back, and so on are often quite tempting. As it is with men concerning which is most tempting, it is different for everyone. The point is that we are called to be modest in dress, not only in word, actions, example… and not just women, but men as well! The second point is that we are stained with original sin, and ever since the Fall of Adam and Eve, we must fight something called concupiscence.
(CCC 2514 St. John distinguishes three kinds of covetousness or concupiscence: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life.301 In the Catholic catechetical tradition, the ninth commandment forbids carnal concupiscence; the tenth forbids coveting another’s goods.
CCC 2515 Etymologically, “concupiscence” can refer to any intense form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. The apostle St. Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the “flesh” against the “spirit.”302 Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man’s moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins.303)
The Catechism has not circled off the “modesty” part for women and left men to do what they want.
In one of Saint John Bosco’s prophetic dreams, (this one in particular was a vision of Hell), his guide told him, “Always preach against immodesty. A generic warning will suffice. Bear in mind that even if you did admonish them individually, they would promise, but not always in earnest. For a firm resolution, one needs God’s grace which will not be denied to your boys if they pray. God manifests His power especially by being merciful and forgiving. On your part, pray and make sacrifices. As for the boys, let them listen to your admonitions and consult their conscience. It will tell them what to do.”
The Canadian bishops made this statement in May of 1946: “Man himself does not escape from the inclination of exhibiting his flesh: some go in public, stripped to the waist, or in very tight pants or in very scanty bathing suits. They thus commit offenses against the virtue of modesty. They may also be an occasion of sin (in thought or desire) for our neighbor.”
The Catholic Gentleman has an excellent article concerning Men & Dressing For Mass!
Also read Rita Davidson’s article concerning Catholic boys & men and modesty.
An interesting little story.