I originally intended this series to focus on leftist writers using their platforms to spread propaganda, but I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to cover some of the few remaining high spots of journalism. On July 1st, Lifesite News published an article on modesty from former male model and actor Austin Peck. I highly encourage you to read the article and forward it to all your friends.
He begins with a humorous recounting of participating in a warm-weather march for life, noticing how the school-age girls were dressed. “Surely they did not mean to be provocative”, you might say. The fact of the matter is, they were. Catholic men should be “desperately doing our best to take our faith seriously and truly desire to grow in holiness”, a job thwarted by sexual temptations brought about by immodesty. Peck briefly describes the environment of modeling, saying that he eventually become “numb” to the lust brought about by indecent portrayals of the human body. However, that is not restricted to the modeling world!
The way a woman dresses says a lot about how she thinks of herself and how she wants men to think of her. Those of us in warmer climates know exactly what this looks like. We also know the chain reaction that immodesty starts. Immodesty can lead to sexual temptation, which if acted upon can lead to an unexpected pregnancy, which can lead to abortion. Peck asks, “Is this rocket science?” I argue that it is rather an elephant in the room, but we are standing so close to it that we cannot see what it really is. Immodesty seems like such a small thing, relative to the other evils in the world, but a small mistake in a foundation can topple a building.
Peck speaks as no one else can. He has been on the other side of the line, viewing and partaking in the very actions he now condemns. He is in that new class of human held nowadays in either high regard or deep contempt: whistleblowers. In pointing fingers at the problem, he makes sure the finger points at him too, in a very genuine manner.
Thankfully, he realizes that modesty does not entail the extreme, “wearing curtains or dressing like we’re part of some cult that’s waiting for aliens to take us home”. Virtue is considered the mean between two extremes, and that mean is discovered through prudence and wisdom, among the other virtues. He shows that “my body, my choice” easily extends to other problematic areas, like clothing choices. It stems from both utilitarian and hedonistic philosophies, leading to other areas such as gender confusion (mental illness/insanity) and other cultural ills.
Peck poses a solution: taking responsibility. Easier said than done in today’s culture! But the solution would work. Men need to take responsibility for their actions towards women and need to learn to treat them as human beings, not just potential sex partners. Women need to be treated with respect as children of God, elevated by one of their sex being chosen to be the Theotokos. Women need to take responsibility for how their clothing choices affect men in their pursuit of purity and chastity and take responsibility for how they view themselves. The Bible and the teachings of the Church are very clear on how we should view our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit and as gifts from God that ought to be protected.
I wrote here before about modesty and used the analogy of the Ark of the Covenant. It was veiled except for the man bound by covenant to take care of it. Women too ought to be veiled except for the man who is bound to her in the covenant of marriage. Men are not at all exempt from this either. It is just as important that we dress in a masculine fashion showing our respect for ourselves and those around us.
I know I have already written about this, and I probably will again! For a young Catholic man (I just turned 20 last Sunday), modesty is one of the first things I notice about anyone my age, especially a young woman of interest. Such a seemingly little quality can go a long ways. Let’s change the culture and reclaim respect for the human body!
God love you!