Sunday, 4 August 2013

Immodest dress

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Immodest dress is all-but universal in England today. It has been a fact of life since I was a child - but has increased in scope so that it is now near-universal among the married as well as the unmarried, the middle aged and elderly as well as the young.

This exceptionally hot British summer has provided a display arena for grossly immodest dress. It really is hard to exaggerate the strength of this phenomenon.

That hot weather is an excuse not a reason for immodest dress is seen by the fact that among the few significant exceptions to the immodest rule are some recent immigrants, especially among those from some of the hottest countries where they know that the best way to deal with sun and warmth is coverage by large swathes of loose clothing, and not by the minimum legal area of extremely tight fabric.

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An added factor this year has been the combination of gross immodesty with the by-now near ubiquity of tattooing, and of an extremity that until recently ago would have been seen only in the seediest kind of circuses and fun fairs or among weird and narcissistic cults.

Another novelty suddenly grown to be normal is those men, of all ages and classes, who will - at every opportunity - blatantly display the consequences of their steroid-amped body building - apparently to intimidate other males, to attract females, and vice versa.

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The combination of extreme ubiquitous immodesty with extreme tattooing and chemically-chiseled bodies, demonstrate that we are in new cultural territory - where signals of sexual availability are used aggressively to grab casual attention in public space; then cutaneous self-defacement serves to transfix this attention.

This assault on the senses, the combination of hyper-psuedo-sexualization with graffiti vandalism of the human form, would provoke either catatonic stupor or violent riots in most of the world  - yet in modern secular England it has been normalised into everyday reality on the streets, in the media, in shops and entertainments, almost everywhere... with terrifying swiftness and ease and near-zero opposition.

The pathetic weakness of secular common sense is here shown with graphic reality - common decency has been utterly powerless in the face of a decades long, cumulative orgy of the sexual revolution among successive me-generations.

Only devout religious adherents have, as a group, held their ground.  

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Seriously, what can be expected of a populace whose individuals, en masse, present themselves in such a way?

Who eagerly embrace and advertise and boast of every next incremental step in their own public degradation; whose personal existence and form has been self-engineered into a permanent assault on common sense and religious sensibility?

And where this whole process is gloatingly documented and promoted by the mass media, perhaps most especially and most deviously in the highbrow mass media and among the intellectuals. 

What does a society of such persons deserve?

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The group exceptions to this proudly-displayed-degeneration are all-but confined to the highly religious, and immigrant communities.

Indeed the contrast between the public presentation of religious immigrants and the mainstream secular Britons is overwhelming obvious; almost a parodic confirmation of the correctness of accusations of gross Western decadence (and a powerful, probably conclusive, refutation of anybody's nationalist, or even patriotic, hopes for regeneration and renewal of the UK culture and politics).

Any slender basis for avoiding the gathering self-destructive mass-suicide of the West is confined to Christian individuals and groups who shun this mainstream culture of attention-seeking-self-defacement.

And this group are a tiny minority, and not powerful, and increasingly despised and persecuted.

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Having seen the rapidity and extremity of self-degradation of the past decades,  it would be a brave man who assumed that we have reached rock bottom: presumably the next step is that immodest behaviour in the public arena will move-on from where immodest dress leaves-off...

Best not to think about it: why try to anticipate? Sufficient unto this day are the evils thereof.

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22 comments:

dearieme said...

Having well-turned calves I have always been happy to show them off in kilt or shorts. Mind you, shorts In My Day were khaki Eighth Army jobs - but you can still buy the like if you try. Proper shorts also go well with knee socks and shoes (as Ozzie postmen demonstrate so well). As we all age, more and more often the shoes will be trainers, which often suit the ancient foot better - they are what my GP recommends. It's mildly surprising that nobody seems to produce unflashy trainers suited to the comfort of widening feet and the sense of style of geezers. I dare say that they should fasten with velcro rather than laces.

All this, though, takes us some distance from your point.

Bruce Charlton said...

@d - I think you are straying into the realms of style rather than modesty, and (given the way I dress) that is a place I don't want to go. wrt trainers, due to my arthritic knees I wear the most sole-padded and unbelievably comfortable shoes I can find, which also happen to look utterly ridiculous (search Google images for: Hoka Bondi B)

Wm Jas said...

Reminds me of Alma 3 in the Book of Mormon. Enemies of the good voluntarily mark themselves as such.

The combination of sexually aggressive dress with deliberate uglification (tattoos, hair dye, facial piercings, etc.) is telling. The goal is specifically sexual attractiveness without beauty -- attraction stripped of its aesthetic, spiritual, human aspects and reduced to raw animal lust.

JP said...

I am in the American South at the moment. All the phenomena you describe are on display here, in the buckle of the Bible Belt. And indeed, they are all regular Church-goers in this area. One wonders if great expanses of flabby flesh covered in tattoos may also be seen in Church on Sunday. Probably!

I was particularly intrigued yesterday by a man whose place of business was decorated with all manner of Christian "stuff" - not just crosses but framed Bible verses and flyers for his Church and its youth group. He himself was covered in what I can only describe as "prison tattoos" that covered his arms and lower legs in dark ink. But all the tattoos were in a Christian theme... so not to worry (?).

I have no reason to believe he is not a devout Christian. He just looks like a primitive pagan weirdo...

Luqman said...

Sounds like a weekend in Newcastle. Add the consumption of extreme amounts of alcohol for the full effect. It will only get worse, this is well past the point of any recovery. The only solution is disaster and there is a long way down to go yet before that. Not quite Sodom but getting there.

The worst of it for me personally is people who dont engage in such behaviour (and never would), but when this behaviour is brought up with them in conversation say `nothing wrong with that`.

Bruce Charlton said...

@WmJas - "The goal is specifically sexual attractiveness without beauty -- attraction stripped of its aesthetic, spiritual, human aspects and reduced to raw animal lust."

Yes! That's it exactly.

@JP - "I have no reason to believe he is not a devout Christian"

But it sounds very much as if he is an unrepentant sinner - a proud, self-advertising sinner; so it is not clear how much good all the conspicuous consumption of Christianity will do him...

@Luq - Every day of the week in Newcastle - workdays and weekends, morning, noon and night - but also exactly the same everywhere else to the north, south and west too - even in rural areas.

Anonymous said...

Well articulated. Thank you. Unfortunately I do not believe the Christian community stands as much of a beacon. I sit here on a summer Sunday before church services and am reminded by your article that due to the dress of "christian" young women I will need to keep my eyes up and on the pastor or screen above him during service. Even the worship team is suspect at times. I attend a very conservative church here in Seattle and the number tatoos that will be on display in the rows in front of me lead me to believe that the Christians are just one step behind their hell-bound comtemporaries.

Bruce Charlton said...

"I do not believe the Christian community stands as much of a beacon."

Not as a whole, but modesty is becoming a sign by which those who *do* potentially stand as a beacon may be recognized.

(Or, more exactly, the immodest self-identified Christians are marking themselves out as part of the problem - not the solution.)

Bruce Charlton said...

Adam G. has left a new comment on your post "Immodest dress":

**Having seen the rapidity and extremity of self-degradation of the past decades, it would be a brave man who assumed that we have reached rock bottom: presumably the next step is that immodest behaviour in the public arena will move-on from where immodest dress leaves-off... **

[... "pride"] parades are occasions for public displays of sexual behavior because it is considered a salubrious rebuke to the prejudices of the retrograde.

The first steps in making public displays of sexual behavior common and accepted are public displays that have a 'righteous' political bent, and they are already happening.

Bruce Charlton said...

@AG - A non-Western example would be 'Pussy Riot' in Russia - and the same happened in the sixties in the West (Love Ins etc) - but they never went mainstream and became normal in the way that grossly immodest dress and wholesale self-mutilation are now mainstream and normal.

Bruce Charlton said...

Imnobody has left a new comment on your post "Immodest dress":

"The combination of extreme ubiquitous immodesty with extreme tattooing and chemically-chiseled bodies, demonstrate that we are in new cultural territory"

Yes, in the territory of the Decline of Western Civilization.
...[although against it] some days I can't wait for [a non-Christian monotheism] to destroy this so-called "culture" we have today.

Alban said...

Would you say this immodesty is endemic to the lower strata (or mainly to )?

What are we as Christians to do besides pointing out the failures of the present times?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Alban - There are class differentials, but smaller than they were, and the whole curve has shifted and continues to shift upwards. The upper classes (defined by education or occupation) are lagging the lower, by a significant - but narrowing - gap.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Alban - "What are we as Christians to do besides pointing out the failures of the present times?"

First of all, 'Christians' (self-identified) are not doing this, neither are they standing apart from this behaviour - so these are the first things to do.

What else? *Evangelism* is the only strategy - i.e. try to make more (and better) Christians.

It was secularism got us here, and secularism cannot get us out.

Imnobody said...

Thank you, Bruce, to post my comment. I knew it would be difficult to render but I see you made your best effort.

Maximo Macaroni said...

"What does a society of such persons deserve?"

They deserve the treatment that Sodom and Gomorrah received. And what are they asking, pleading for, by such behavior? Some sign that a Higher Power cares enough to publicly rebuke them. Unfortunately, they've got the idea that God can be provoked when he doesn't agree to be.

C. said...

How did you make the jump from "man has Christian tattoos" to "man is unrepentant sinner"? Christian tattoos are ubiquitous in some parts of the world. That doesn't give most people in England an excuse because obviously the culture is different, but I don't understand this attitude that tattoos are somehow *inherently* ugly/evil.

Several people in my church approached our bishop about getting Orthodox cross tattoos; he gave his ok, and they got them. I always saw it as a conveniently identifying mark or a mark of commitment. I'm confused that there are other Christians who think that this potentially makes them 'unrepentant sinners'.

(this is coming from someone who doesn't generally care for tattoos.)

Bruce Charlton said...

@C - It is interesting that you are making this 'all about me' - so that *I* must justify something which, until not many years ago, all decent people knew without having specifically to be told.

You are, indeed, using the 'why not?' argument - to which there is no answer, since its premises make it unanswerable. Any sin could be taken this way - after all it could be argued that a thief, a rapist, murderer is not *necessarily* evil, there are exceptions... and so on. But do exceptions imply that theft, rape and murder are thereby not evil? Of course not!

This is the secular modern way of reasoning which is killing our very souls.

This is, indeed, simply a natural law matter; but it has now become apparent that natural law is powerless in the absence of religion.

LadyLydia said...

I see the men do not dress as immodestly, leaving me to ask, if the excuse of warm weather is the reason to dress immodestly, then why dont the men bare everything too?

Artisanal Toad said...

Bruce, your response to C is disturbing. Leviticus 19:28 is the text that informs us on this matter. Where God has spoken, His people should be silent. Servant-hood and discipleship imply a desire to be obedient to the master. This was long recognized within the church.

I don't see the question C asked as an attempt to force you to justify why you perceive an unrepentant attitude, rather more likely it is simple ignorance of what Scripture actually says. God's Word is no longer taught in the church. God's people no longer study His Word.

Bruce Charlton said...

@AT - Leviticus 19:28

King James Version (KJV)

28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.

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Fair enough. But presumably many Christians do not feel themselves bound by Leviticus, on a line by line basis - or interpret it in some different way.

This is actually not really a specifically Christian matter - indeed it is the non-Christians who most obviously resist the current trend. It is indeed a typical bit of 'why not' reasoning

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/why-not-argument-for-going-with-flow.html

Mrs.White said...

Clothing is a language.It says something about the wearer. Feminism is largely responsible for the near-nakedness of many women. It has a uniform and the uniform of feminism is immodest, provocative and unladylike. Of course,feminism does not recognise the concept of ladylike dress or behaviour. Some women in public are so shamefully attired that they deserve to be arrested. I also believe that immodest dress can threaten marriages because such dress can turn a man's thoughts to lust, and, unrestrained passions can lead to adultery and pre-marital sexual relations.