I’m a 20-almost-21 year old college student, making her way through studies and work, paying her own rent, buying her own groceries, enjoying life, and trekking her way through adulthood through much trial and error.
I’m fairly independent, 100% my own person… and yet I’ve found one thing interesting; the older I get, the more opinionated people get on what I wear and how I present myself to the public.
Ever since I turned 18, I’ve noticed that (mostly) well meaning people have took it upon themselves to tell me how I dress. And the even more interesting thing is that most of them aren’t even close to me nor know me well or at all.
There are a few phrases that I am guaranteed to hear when I step out my house or post a photo online:
“You don’t need to wear so much makeup!”
“You should really cover up more… you’re too pretty to show that much skin.”
“Aren’t you worried that you’ll cause someone to struggle?”
“A Christian girl doesn’t need to dress that way.”
“Do you just dress that way to get attention or something?”
And believe it or not, my own parents have been asked questions about the way I dress/present myself from those who don’t want to confront me face to face.
Oh… I have so many thoughts on that, and many things I would like to share with you on why I don’t let these comments phase me, and why I choose to be who I am.
First, it frustrates me that those who dress one way are more judged than those who dress another way. While first impressions and the way we present ourselves is important, it’s unfair to me that my relationship with Jesus is judged by the things that I wear.
Doesn’t that seem unfair? Why should my relationship with Jesus be put under more scrutiny than a girl’s who dresses in a different way than I choose to? It shouldn’t. It’s all about the heart.
Now, I grew up with a younger brother and a lot of my closest friends are young men. I know that men struggle and lust. I know that. But I also know that this idea that boys cannot control themselves around girls should not be accepted as the norm.
This idea that boys are mindless robots always thinking about sex should not be brushed off as a normality. We should instead focus on the idea that women are valuable for who they are as people. We should instead promote a healthy idea of women in society, and not as just an object that is “impossible for males not to lust over.”
I do not dress for male attraction, and I do not dress for male protection.
Let me say that again: I do not dress to gain male attraction or to get them to notice me. But I also do not dress to protect the male eye and further normalize idea that men cannot control their urges or their fleshly desires.
What I wear doesn’t define who I am as a human being. The material things that I clothe myself with does not determine my ability to be or not be clothed in strength and dignity.
Instead, I seek to be defined by the way that I love the Lord and others. I choose to find my own value in things that aren’t material or temporary. Rather, I put my time and my focus and my efforts in becoming someone who is earning for herself eternal riches.
And you know what I’d like to say to those who have commented negative things about me or who may judge me based solely on the outside? Yes, I do wear a bikini swimsuit. And you know what? I rock it. I rock it because just a few years ago I was absolutely crippled by the negative way I viewed my body and the obsessive relationship I had with food.
Some people aren’t comfortable wearing two pieces, that’s okay. But I am, and I am proud to have a positive relationship with my body after fighting so hard to overcome a crippling eating disorder.
What my hope is in this post is for you to reconsider why you might judge someone based upon what they wear. I am not any better than the girl next to me who dresses in the way that makes HER comfortable. Because ultimately, she is dressing for herself and no other person.
Christian ladies, why are we putting ourselves on platforms and condemning our sisters in Christ because they wear different clothes? Why are we so intimidated by girls who are comfortable with their God given bodies? Why are we so quick to judge rather than try to understand? Why do we focus so much on the outside that we too often forget about what’s within?
I know there are many who might not agree with me, and that’s okay. But I am not afraid of any negative backlash because I think that these words will open up positive conversation and encourage others who might be searching.
At the end of the day, if you are in Christ, His love will pour out of you and your heart through your fruit. And that it is what truly matters.