I don't like how these boys are singing about how modesty makes women more attractive. Maybe it's because I grew up with these standards and saw the harm they caused women. I was taught that my modesty, my virtue, my virginity were "precious gifts" that I shouldn't give away or show off. If I wore something too revealing, I was risking being "too easy", and would, eventually, end up alone.
Women who grow up in modesty cultures are taught that men's thoughts and lust are a direct result of what they wear. Show too much shoulder, and you tempt guys to have inappropriate thoughts about you. Wear a dress that's fitted, and you're showing things that should be meant for your future husband. In fact, modesty is so important, there are lessons in youth classes about it, and a section in the Church-issued statement called "For The Strength of Youth."
FTSOY is a book (or webpage now) about Mormon standards, meant for teenagers. Modesty, Sexual Purity, Dating, Agency, Gratitude, Media, and a host of others. Honestly, I hadn't read this or thought about it for a dozen years. Things really have changed since I was a teenager! For example, my version was a huge list of "do-nots". Don't masturbate, touch sexual parts of yourself or others, kiss for extended amounts of time, etc. I'm really impressed with this new version, mostly because there's a paragraph about sexual abuse victims. It says that victims aren't at fault, nor do they have to repent. I wish that little note had been in my book.
But back to the modesty section. The opening paragraph says: "Your body is sacred. Respect it and do
not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show that you know how precious our body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and that you love Him."
I thought about that. I never understood the connection between modesty and respect for self. Modesty made me feel ugly, fat, and unwanted. I thought my actions showed respect for myself and my body. Also, that idea causes a lot of people to judge others. "Oh, look at that tank top. What a slut!" or "Oooh. You can see her midriff, she clearly has no self-respect." Even today, I still struggle with my judgements of people that don't adhere to Mormon standards.
And then it hits me. They are MORMON standards. Written by old, white Mormon men, and meant to be applicable to everyone everywhere. Mormons get indignant when non-LDS girls wear trendy prom dresses. I have actually heard the comment "My sons will be looking at them! Don't they realize what they're doing to them?" It makes me want to hit my head against the wall.
Simply by underscoring the differences between LDS culture and the rest of the world makes it important. If boys are told "girls who don't dress modestly are trash", they will begin to see and treat these women as such. Trash that doesn't have feelings, matter, or "count" as a moral infraction, because "they were asking for it".
I'm not saying every Mormon boy is a rapist, or has those tendencies. I'm saying cultures that encourage strict modesty standards on women have a population with a skewed view of the outside world. They view non-LDS women as temptresses out to steal either their husbands or the chastity of their fragile sons. Women are especially judgmental. I wonder if it's because they wish they could dress like them. I know there were times and clothing styles where I would look longingly at, pick at my Mormon garments, and sigh. Then I would pat myself on the back because I was modest, and respected myself, and wasn't causing troubles with any other man. Or I would hate my garments and curse Mormonism. Depended on the day.
But back to the movie. It seems it's not enough to have Prophets, Apostles, Teachers, Bishops, and parents telling girls that their worth is tied to modesty. Mormon boys have to say the same thing. The irony is that, at least the Mormon boys I knew, LOVE looking at immodest girls. They would rather talk to them, date them, and be around them. I realize that teenagers are horny, and I'm not discounting that. I just find it irritating that while their lips are saying "Modest is hottest", their eyes are on the cleavage of a non-Mormon girl.
Which makes this movie extra ironic. Because you can bet if, during the filming of this video, a girl in a bikini walked by, 3/4 of the boys would stop singing and dancing to watch. And very few of them would be thinking "She doesn't respect herself." You can bet, though, if it were Mormon girls seeing a bikini-clad woman walk past, that would be their first thought!
It's weird how modesty is a directive from men to women. Under the guise of "This will keep you pure", modesty causes men and women to lump people into categories. Not getting into my feelings about purity, but I think that people, especially religious people, should be more engaged in fixing the state of the soul than the state of the shirt.