By: Susan Angell-Gonzalez(President/CEO ShowMakers of America / Former Texas State University Strutters Director/Choreographer)
Too often, we are controlled by what other people think, and oftentimes our youth dress in a way that they feel will be more accepted and more beautiful. We sometimes feel pressured to select costumes based on what is trending instead of modest and appropriate. And it’s easy to forget that modesty is more than just clothing. It’s a way of thought, action, and attitude in addition to dress. Modesty is related to moderated. It implies decency and propriety (in thought, language, dress, behavior). And it’s the attitude of the heart! I believe if we take the power back and choose what is best and age appropriate, we empower ourselves and set an example for others to follow.
In the world today, girls are taught that it is perfectly normal to uncover 90% of their skin in public. Everything from bathing suits, to formal wear, to athletic clothes has been stripped down to the bare minimum. Our culture teaches us that wearing less is empowering for our gender. We see this in the increasingly popular acceptance of pop stars, NFL/NBA Dance Teams, and now unfortunately, many college teams are exploiting their bodies.
Sadly, the results have proven to be anything but empowering. If you talk to the average student today, you will slowly uncover a defeated person who is insecure, unhappy, and completely discontent with her body and her life. Empowering?
Rather than jumping on board with our culture’s push to wear less, I am proposing a new method for empowering our dance industry. Modesty. I strongly believe that modesty empowers a good precision dance team far more than unflattering skimpy attire does. Moderation and appropriateness should govern our actions (not the world and what competitors are doing).
Modesty places value on a person’s body
Immodest costumes cheapen the value. Example: A large diamond is considered precious and valuable. Modesty works the same way. By costuming your team in modest attire, a bold statement is made that bodies are precious, valuable, and not available for common consumption.
Modesty promotes female dignity
By exploiting their bodies in immodest costumes, for the most part their dignity has been thrown down the drain (especially those who can’t wear their costume comfortably). And many are afraid to come forward to voice their concern of squeezing into the unflattering costume. Keep in mind, the larger your team is in numbers, it is doubtful the entire group will look good in crop tops and tight jazz pants/booty shorts.
Modesty is the first step to regaining some ground (and remember that actions speak louder than words). By dressing your team modestly, it will show how much their bodies are respected and valued. We should keep in mind that modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves, it’s about revealing our dignity.
Modesty demands respect
Everyone wants to be respected. I looked up synonyms for respect, and I found words like esteem, regard, high opinion, admiration, reverence, and honor. Those who dress with modesty naturally demand more respect. When we respect our own bodies, we encourage the respect, honor, and admiration from those around us.
Modesty draws attention to the face
Can you imagine how your team feels at contest when they are wearing a skimpy costume (especially when they don’t feel comfortable in the first place)? Unfortunately, the attention we receive (good or bad) is based on our physical allure, not on who we are as a person.
Encourage modesty. And just for the record, modesty does not mean that you as a director are ashamed of their bodies...it means you are valuing what has value. I leave you with a motto that I said every year to my team at Texas State University; “Your body is your temple. Always protect and respect it.”
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