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“I Am Disgusted By This Song”: Fans Slam Matthew West’s ‘Modest Is Hottest’ Video, Claiming It Shames Women

One critique of purity culture is that it overemphasized men’s struggle with lust and the importance of female modesty, downplaying or ignoring the fact that women also struggle with lust and that men can be immodest. It has been common for women in the church to hear that they should be cautious about how they dress so that they do not “cause their brother to stumble” (Romans 14). Numerous women who have grown up in the church have experienced being shamed for how their attire.

There are several false assumptions at play here, one of which is the idea that men have no power to overcome the temptation to lust after women. That contradicts multiple Scripture passages about the power the Holy Spirit gives all believers to overcome sin.

Another problem with this view that Phylicia Masonheimer points out in her podcast episode, “Modesty & the Real Weaker ‘Brother,’” is that it assumes the man is always the weaker brother and the woman is always stronger. In reality, says Masonheimer, there could be a situation where a woman is dressing immodestly because she is the “weaker brother.” The men around her who are mature believers then have the opportunity to show her grace and “accept the one whose faith is weak.”

Quite a few people believe Matthew West’s music video perpetuates these false ideas about men and women. One woman wrote on Twitter, “Want to know why people are so upset about that stupid Matthew West video? I grew up in that culture. Let me tell you about all the shame I still carry. Let me tell you about every time I’ve second guessed what I put on to go to the grocery store.”

“Stop telling women to dress modestly and instead tell men to keep their eyes and hands to themselves,” said another user who quoted Jesus’ warnings against lust in the Sermon on the Mount. In the sermon, Jesus focuses on the responsibility that those who are lusting have to take extreme measures to resist their sin.

“I have loved your music for a long time,” said another person who reiterated the same scriptural argument. “This song is wrong on so many levels. Jesus didn’t tell women how to dress. He told men to pluck out their eye if it caused them to sin. Very disappointed.”

Others pointed out that the phrase “modest is hottest” actually does not put the focus on women’s inner value, but still defines women’s worth entirely on physical appearance.

Another user observed that men will struggle with lust even when women dress modestly: “Dude, I hate to break this to you but guys will perv on your daughters even if they are in a potato sack. THEY aren’t responsible for how men treat them. Teach them self-respect.”

One woman shared that dressing modestly did nothing to protect her from a sexual predator. She said, “When my pastor began texting me after hours telling me I was sexy, I uncomfortably said I’d just wear a choir robe to office. He said it didn’t matter, he’d just imagine my naked body underneath. My pastor, my boss, my sexual abuser. I dressed modestly. He was a predator.”

Christian author Sheila Gregoire tweeted, “The ‘age-old struggle’ is actually women feeling responsible for men’s sins. I know many think this is cute and fun, but obsessing over girls’ bodies without making reference to boys’ responsibility is part of the problem. Let’s raise girls (and boys) in a healthy way instead.”

Jessica Lea
Jessica Lea
Jessica Lea is a writer for churchleaders.com. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past two years. She especially enjoys evaluating how various beliefs play out within culture. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys playing the piano, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.

Separated at Birth, Twins Who Reunited on Good Morning America Graduate as Valedictorians

Twin sisters Audrey and Gracie, separated at birth in China and adopted by different American families, reunited for the first time on "Good Morning America" in 2017. Now they're graduating high school.

Gone Without a Trace: Understanding Ghosting and Its Emotional Impact

Ghosting is the act of abruptly ending all communication with someone without any explanation, leaving the person on the receiving end feeling confused, hurt, and often questioning what went wrong.