This is something I wrote some time ago; I wanted to share this with you, as I think modesty and respect are tightly interlinked.
It is common knowledge that almost every little girl spends years dreaming about her wedding day, planning it long before she actually meets the man who will win her hand in marriage. She can vividly picture the guests, the ceremony, the cake and flowers and invitations and gifts; but here I would like to address the centerpiece of this girlish dream – the wedding dress.
Every woman is a princess on her wedding day, radiant and glorious. Her dress reflects the way she feels – long and white, flowing and feminine, the symbol of innocence, purity and virtue. She wears it on a holy, sacred moment when her hand and her heart are given to a man who promises to cherish and love and respect her - for the rest of their lives.
Ladies, how many of you attended weddings lately? Or perhaps went to find a wedding gown for you, or your sisters, friends, daughters? Did you, perhaps, notice something unexpected?
My best friend's wedding is looming closer and closer; I still have a long period of engagement ahead of me, but since we needed to find a dress for my friend, I decided I can as well seize the opportunity and try something on – perhaps just to get ideas about which style suits me best, and make up my mind well in advance.
"Here, this fashion is our most popular lately," – said the nice saleswoman, showing us one of the gowns. It had a long, full skirt, a flattering, not-too-tight top. But there was no trace of a sleeve. The shoulders were completely bare.
Surely she can't be supposed to wear it like this, I thought. Something should be worn on top of it; I glanced around, but all I found was a picture of a cheerful bride, who was undoubtedly wearing something similar – white clouds of skirts and a veil, combined with her bare shoulders and almost bare chest. She looked absolutely confident, as if nothing was amiss.
The other gowns we saw were little better. Those with sleeves were extremely tight or low-cut; others left the back naked; one dress had a slash right in the middle, so the bride's belly could be seen. This won't do, we decided exasperatedly. We make our best efforts to dress modestly every day. Why would we want to wear something like this at our weddings? Noticing our disappointment, the saleswoman told us that if we aren't happy with the available styles, an individual design can be made for us.
So, what's the big deal? Many women want something more special and have their wedding dress sewn exclusively for them. No doubt my friend still has enough time to obtain beautiful wedding dresses which suit her standards of looking respectful on her wedding day. Right?
But ladies, this isn't just a trivial problem we're facing. The fact is that brides are offered such provocative, immodest styles. The fact is that such styles are becoming normal and popular. Wedding dresses, which for many centuries symbolized the purity and innocence of a bride, nowadays are often anything but innocent. A couple of weeks after the previously described incident, I attended a wedding reception. The bride wore a hip-hugging dress, and everybody could see her naked back and shoulders. The dress was so tight it looked as though it's about to burst. I felt extremely uncomfortable seeing this, and I knew I'm not the only one.
Some may say I shouldn't be surprised, considering the fashion we usually see these days. And of course, it's always important to dress modestly – not only on one's wedding day. However, even if it sounds like an exaggeration, I think inappropriate and provocative wedding dresses are an extraordinarily striking example of lost respect for the woman, her chastity, the holiness of a wedding ceremony and even marriage itself.