Monday, October 02, 2006


I'm tired of boobs!

Seeing them, that is!

We're seeing them everywhere, from movie stars to the average woman at the mall, from Oprah to cooking show hosts—boobs are on display for all to see. Thank you, Rachel Ray, for not following the crowd. I don't think I could stand seeing your cleavage as you chop strawberries and saute chicken breasts.

The other day, I was trying to find a kids' program for my two little grandsons. I was flipping furiously. Disney. Nick. TV Land. It was on one of those channels that "she" surfaced. Or maybe it was a network channel. Anyway, on a kids' puppet program, the woman host who stood beside the puppet stage was showing so much cleavage, it reminded me of a joke:

A kid sees a woman with a plunging neckline at the mall and exclaims, "Mommy, that lady's got a butt in her blouse!"

This woman was on a kids' program, for crying out loud!

I'm going to be covering some topics in the upcoming days on my blog that might be sticky. They stem from topics I've spoken on many times to women's groups. My purpose in writing these posts is only to glorify God and obey what He told me to write about weeks ago. I've been putting it off, but through some circumstances and some friends' encouragement, I felt this was the time to do it.

How much cleavage do you think a Christian woman should show? What's your opinion of this subject?


By commenting on my blog or emailing me (click on Email Kristy in the "Links" column to the right), you are eligible to win a Christian love story (novel). The next giveaway novel is Robin Lee Hatcher's newly-released A Carol for Christmas.


At 11:46 AM, Blogger Patricia W. said...

I'll jump right in. How much cleavage should a Christian woman show? Very little if any. None would be appropriate. In public. At home, in her bedroom with her husband? Different answer.

Let me say that I'm not of the mindset that we should throw ashes on our face and wear sackcloth. There are many stunning women in the body of Christ and they shouldn't hide that. But neither should they flaunt body parts, on display for all the world to see.

There are so many choices in fashion today that we don't have to dress in tents with no shape or style. We do, however, have an obligation--in my opinion--to present ourselves in such a way that we don't invite untwoward attention, generate unnecessary controversy, confuse our young with contradictory messages, and most of all distract from the love of Christ that should get more attention from others than our boobs.

I know I sound really old-fashioned--I'm only 43--but I really believe this. In some areas, old-fashioned is not bad. In others? I wear shorts, sleeveless blouses and dresses, and makeup. I'm sure others might argue as vehemently against these.

In the end, we have to ask is it worth it? Is the action we choose so much of a distraction that our Christ-walk is tarnished in some way?

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Melanie Dickerson said...

Funny! Well, I have to say that I get so annoyed at the styles of clothing nowadays that make it hard for me to find a blouse that DOESN'T show my cleavage! I have to rule out most articles of clothing because of the neckline. (I'm the opposite of flat-chested, okay?) But I wish everyone was as careful as I am.
However, AS CAREFUL AS I AM, I occasionally have an uh-oh moment--like when my 4-yr-old pulls on my shirt, or I lean over to tie her shoe, or something like that, and then catch someone staring. So embarrassing! Frankly, I can't imagine WANTING to show cleavage, actually doing it ON PURPOSE. But I see it all the time.

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Great comments! Thanks for your feedback. Someone emailed me and said their comment didn't register; maybe that's happened to others.

You've both said some good things. I look forward to more of your comments this week and more discussion.

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Bonnie's comments wouldn't "take." I asked her if I could post them for her:

Married women should show cleavage... their husbands... wearing the sexiest nighties they can find.

All Christian women should dress in a flattering way because we are testimonies for God and he made our bodies and we shouldn't look like frumps or slobs. (How's that for a runon sentence!)

I love Song of Solomon. The pastor at our former church did a six week message series on it a couple of years ago.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

ROFLOL! Kristy, you are a hoot! But I do agree with you. I'm sick of seeing them, too. I'm not overly fond of having them, either. :o)

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

You are a hoot, Ane! A scream!

At 12:43 AM, Blogger GeorgianaD said...

That's the best laugh I've had all week! I agree, no cleavage in public. Like my daughter and I always say, "I didn't really want to know her that well!"

At 12:43 AM, Anonymous Eric said...

The Cleavage Issue

The Bible does not specifically address the issue of cleavage. In fact, little is said about what women should or should not wear apart from the following passage and the 1 Peter 3 passage referred to in the article below:

I Tim. 2:9-10: “… women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness – with good works.”

This concern for the early church had to do with women showing off, flaunting their wealth by their fancy hairstyles, jewelry, and expensive clothing. While this is less of a problem in most churches today, we still discriminate against those who may not be as well-groomed or well-dressed as the rest of us. One writer quoted a commentary that stated: "It does not, properly, mean modest in the sense of being opposed to that which is immodest, or which tends to excite improper passions and desires, but that which is becoming or appropriate." – Barnes If women are to “compete” with one another at all, they should do so in the area of good works, not their physical appearance. (The same should hold true for men.)

Dressing so as not to arouse the inappropriate attention of the opposite sex is an issue that probably never will go away, especially in religious contexts. At the extreme end, many Muslim cultures expect their women to be covered from head to toe, sometimes even their faces (except for the eyes) hidden by a veil. In my opinion, this has more to do with the males’ inability to resist temptation than it has to do with the comfort and desires of the women. Is this the best solution, or is this just another example of men taking freedom away from women to suit their own needs?

The standards of what is acceptable attire tend to vary from one culture (and subcultures within each culture) to the next. The community and culture in which we find ourselves will determine what constitutes acceptable attire in various settings. Even within the church there are great variations in what is acceptable – in some communities, men always wear a coat and tie to church and women all wear tailored suits or dresses. (In the church I grew up in, many women even wore hats and gloves on Sunday morning!) In other communities, men and women can wear shorts and t-shirts to church and not offend others in attendance. (I’m guessing that they might be less tolerant of bare midriffs or tube tops or miniskirts, however!) The individual community will generally have unwritten rules about what is considered acceptable attire for church, for school, for work, for errands, for informal gatherings. It may well be that what one individual considers appropriate attire may not be viewed as such by others in a given context. That doesn’t make the individual wrong (objectively), but it can result in a degree of social ostracism if others feel a breech of decorum (as they perceive it) has occurred.

In Romans 14, Paul stresses the importance of not passing judgment on each other, yet at the same time he says that we should not put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Ultimately, if we know that exercising our freedom can cause problems for another Christian, we have to make a choice. Unfortunately, the burden generally falls on the more mature Christian to voluntarily forego the exercise of their personal freedom as a courtesy to the less mature Christian.

The issue of whether to show cleavage or not is ultimately a matter of individual choice for the Christian woman, and God has given us the freedom to make that choice, much as early Christians had the freedom to choose whether to eat meat offered to idols or contemporary Christians have the freedom to choose whether to drink alcohol. However, we are called to exercise our freedom responsibly and sensitively. That means we need to consider the weaknesses of others. If you know for a fact that wearing cleavage-revealing clothing is a stumbling-block for certain people, the proper course of action is to avoid wearing such clothes in the presence of those people. If your church community considers such attire to be inappropriate, then the same guideline applies for church services or any social gatherings where others from church will be present. Outside of these contexts, wear what you want, unless the feedback you get suggests that this in some way negatively impacts your Christian witness (this feedback should come from the people to whom you are witnessing, either by what you say to them or by what they observe in watching how you live, not from other Christians who are more interested in judging you than in examining their own Christian witness).

We all have some subconscious concept of what constitutes acceptable or unacceptable attire in a given context. Give some thought to what you consider unacceptable attire and why you feel that way. What makes some attire unacceptable to you? Examine the cleavage issue in that context, and consider how important this is in the cosmic scheme of things. In my opinion, any sort of attire that draws attention to the person rather than to God, whether the attire is sexy, weird, dirty, overly fancy, obnoxious, or otherwise questionable, is probably not appropriate for church gatherings unless everyone is dressing in such a manner for whatever reason.

There are definitely certain places where cleavage is considered normal and accepted, such as the beach or swimming pools, nightclubs, formal dress events, Renaissance Faires, Las Vegas, etc. However, depending on whom you talk to, there are a goodly number of Christians who will argue vociferously that a God-fearing Christian should not be seen in such places, and certainly should not dress in a revealing manner under any circumstances. Are they wrong? I hope so, because I fear God and I don’t feel that way.

Jesus warned against lusting in one’s heart, equating that with the act of adultery. Note that his comments are aimed at the luster, not the lustee. That suggests that the problem lies with the male observer, not on the females who are the objects of their lust. Men seem quite capable of lusting no matter what manner of attire is worn by women. [I would even go so far as to suggest that it is men who are the weaker sex, since so many men seem to think with their penises, and can’t “keep it in their pants” – case in point: Bill Clinton.]

Is it possible for a man to see a woman’s cleavage and NOT lust after her? Absolutely. However, the lusting is a predictable response that one might expect at least some of the time. Some men have far less control over their “lusting” than others do. Some men prefer to blame the women rather than take responsibility for averting their gaze or avoiding lust-inducing situations. Other men can appreciate a woman’s beauty and natural attributes and thank God for such a gift rather than lusting or behaving improperly.

Rather than putting the blame on the woman as the Jewish society and so many men in general seem inclined to do, we need to honestly admit the culpability of the male who is doing the looking and lusting and stop being hypocritical about this. [Case in point: the woman taken in adultery in John 4 – if she was caught in adultery, there had to be a man with her! Why weren’t they looking to stone him as well?] Unfortunately, this will require a great deal more objectivity and honesty than most men find comfortable.

And we need to remember to “judge not, lest you be judged” (Matt. 7:1). This includes judging people whom we feel are judging us.

Internet Article (interesting reading on this topic):

A friend of mine had a fascinating conversation with a friend from an Islamic country who was visiting this country. 

The visitor had converted to Christianity about five years previously and this was his first ever visit to the UK.
His impressions were very interesting! 
Many things shocked him: the freedom which westerners just take for granted, the prosperity, the huge range of choices in just about every area of life.....and much else too. But this man was especially shocked by one particular thing. He told my friend,
'Your western women often dress in a manner in which only prostitutes would dare dress in my land! You have advertising boards erected in your cities advertising things like holidays and shampoos which - to us - would amount to what you call 'pornography' because the ladies in the pictures are almost naked!' 'On any warm summer day, your cities have many women wearing short skirts and low-cut tops. It is very shocking to somebody from my part of the world' 

The man had noticed other things about modern western women too:
'In our land when women's eyes meet the eyes of other men , they usually quickly lower them as a sign of modesty and loyalty to their own husbands, but here many women will look men challengingly in the eyes and will even talk to other women about quite shocking things when men are in their company! All of this is a shock to men from my part of the world' 
But when this man was later invited to a Christian service, he was apparently even more shocked! There he saw a few ladies wearing skirts and dresses with long and provocative slits and quite a few ladies wearing tight jumpers and tops fully revealing the shape of their bosoms. He had not expected to find this in a place of Christian worship! Now from what I was later told about this man, he was no 'prude' nor was he extremely naive, being happily married with four children, but he was genuinely shocked!! 

Now what is your reaction to this? Perhaps I should warn you right now that your reaction will be very indicative of whether you stand 'sure and fast' with Jesus Christ or whether worldliness has made inroads into your spiritual life! 

I am in sympathy with the reaction of this Asian Christian. I don't want to offend any of you ladies but I would seriously ask you to consider some of these things!
Is it decent and seemly and modest for a woman who has committed her life to Jesus Christ to try to dress herself the way that so many women do today? I speak of such things as the current trend towards very tight blouses and tops, skirts with very long slits, very short skirts, almost backless dresses and other things too. Of course, our society has been throwing off all the last vestiges of propriety, modesty, tastefulness and decorum during the last few years; television programmes (especially after a certain hour of the evening) frequently contain swearing, cursing and nudity. Certain cable television channels now openly and unashamedly specialise in pornography and, I am told, lesbian-based pornography is especially in vogue! All of this should genuinely horrify the Christian and, I am sure, it mostly does, but are we tempted to compromise our own standards?
Now I would never suggest that because a Christian woman may be occasionally a little unwise in what she wears, that means she would ever stoop to watching pornography, but we must realize that the liberal and permissive forces which have so influenced our society, are continually pushing for looser and looser standards in every area of life! 

Now the modern reaction to the objection to women wearing revealing attire is to say, 'They can wear whatever they like. If you have a problem with that, the problem only exists in your own mind!' However, I think that this is a very disingenuous and unsatisfactory response. God made men a certain way and the way that God made us means that we can be sexually influenced very easily! To deny this is just to be naive, simplistic and to bury one's head in the sand! 

Now here is the truth:
You women can actually cause a normal, well-balanced man (not some kind of pervert) to SIN if you wear provocative and revealing clothing!! 
Let us never forget that sin starts in the mind! 
For the Christian man, Jesus plainly shows that a man can commit adultery with a woman in his heart and thoughts even if he never as much as touches her hand! Matthew 5: 27-28(NIV), says this:

"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" 

We must take Jesus' comments to heart! However, I would just point out that for a man to notice that a woman is very beautiful is not a sin, nor is it even a sin to be tempted; but this sort of temptation certainly can very quickly become a sin for a man! But we should certainly realize that there is a big difference between noticing that a certain woman is beautiful and lustfully staring and leering at her, especially when 'lustfully leering' allows the imagination to become too involved. 

Throughout the Bible, we see standards of modesty and humility upheld for women who would serve God. 1 Peter 3 gives this advice to Christian women:

'Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful...'
(1 Peter 3:3-5 NIV)

We must realize that for either a man or a woman to purposely dress in order to attract undue attention to themselves is not an indication of Christian humility!
An American friend tells me of a group of ladies in a church which he once attended having an ongoing friendly competition as to who could where the most eye-catching and sexy clothes in Sunday services! After much deliberation, my friend brought the matter to the notice of his pastor - but the pastor was already aware of this and he told my friend that he was enjoying the spectacle! Moreover, he said, some of the women involved were very influential in the congregation and he backed off from taking them to task! 'Hey, if I handled this the wrong way, I could be out of a pastorate!', he frankly told my friend!! 

But it should not take too much spiritual insight to see that there was something very seriously wrong with the leadership within that congregation and I am not surprised that my friend decided to leave their fellowship! 

What I Am NOT Saying
I am not saying that our modern western Christian women should dress in only dull and drab clothes! I am saying that, as an act of worship to Christ, they should attire themselves modestly, not drawing undue attention to the shape of their bodies, avoiding tight-fitting clothes, whether worn on the upper body or lower body (I do realise that larger women have a particular problem here and I am sympathetic towards that), being very careful about the length of skirts and dresses, as well as being careful about low neck tops. Moreover I would appeal to such women to keep modesty in dress in mind as an act of consideration and Christian love toward the men within the congregation! 

At the risk of sounding very old-fashioned to a few, I would say that for an obviously attractive woman to 'play down' her beauty by wearing neat and discreet but pleasant clothes, being determined not to attract undue attention to herself, is a wonderful joy to behold! Of course, ladies should be clean and well-groomed (as you ladies invariably are). 

I sincerely hope that I am not offending anyone who is reading this, but - if you feel a little offended - why?? I am simply upholding the biblical standards of Christian womanhood!


At 2:06 PM, Anonymous karenkellock said...

I agree--no cleavage for the Christian woman.

But is a TUBE BRA ok, esp in hot desert regions--NOT FOR TOWN, but for home? A tube bra shows NO CLEAVAGE, but can be worn out. They are incredibly comfortable, cool, and tight so even if you lean over there is NO CLEAVAGE.


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