Neither decency nor shame, modesty is the virtue that separates the inner from the outer. Through self-respect and attention to others, explains the philosopher Jeanne Larghero, modesty allows us to enter into a deep relationship with those who love us.
Modesty is doing incredibly well. It is the virtue that takes care of relationships, the virtue that soothes the eyes and heals the hearts, the virtue that turns us toward others and increases us in our own eyes. Do not see if the rules of modesty pass somewhere between the knee and the thigh, the hair and the skin, the top of the bathing suit or the bottom of the bathing suit, you will not find. Because modesty begins within: it is first and foremost a sentinel in the heart.
A line between inside and outside
What does it consist of? It consists of an ability to draw a line between what is inside and what is outside. Between the intimate and the exposed. If this line does not exist, if this boundary is ignored, it is the end of the intimacy, of the intimacy where the heart of our personality is formed. But what is friendship, love, if not this impulse to share with another what is intimate to us, to make known to the one we love, an intimate part of ourselves? This is why we need modesty: it allows us to enter into a deep relationship. It is indeed thanks to modesty that we nourish our own inner self and that we then have something to offer those who love us.
Modesty also invites us to become aware of the way we look at each other.
Concretely, it consists in not saying everything about our feelings, reactions, feelings. Not handing everything to all comers. It is e.g. the reservation of the adult, who does not show the smallest corners of his mood in front of his child: children suffer or are embarrassed when their parents spill out into confidences that do not concern them, that do not concern them … do not need to enter their childhood life. This delicacy, which consists in not breaking into another’s inner world, is an attention to the one who listens, to the one who sees, an ability to borrow the other’s gaze. She’s there when a fifteen-year-old boy admits he’s in love without saying anything more, and when his father gives him a little nudge that means “we can talk about it anytime… thanks for having me in.” in your world, I will be there when you want to open another door, I will not enter without knocking on the door”.
Of body and heart
Concretely, modesty also invites us to increase awareness of the way we look at each other: There is a gaze that scans, cuts out, weighs, undresses from top to bottom, scrutinizes spare parts. This gaze turns the body into an object, something to be consumed, to be negotiated: it is a gaze that reduces the person to an empty exterior. The denial of inner, that is immodesty. It’s not the pants that are immodest, it’s the eye glued to them until we turn the corner. In this game, unfortunately, men and women have no lessons to teach each other… On the other hand, they can educate each other.
We are so wrong when we focus the issue of modesty on choice of clothing because we often confuse it with the propriety of respecting propriety. It is also often confused with shame, which is a need to hide what is perceived as dirty, ugly, humiliating, degrading, which is not the case with our body. On the other hand, there is a modesty of the body, as there is a modesty of the things of the heart. The body has its private parts: the parts of the body that we do not display in public, especially the genitals, have an infinite price. They are the place of the relationship that touches the depth of the person, the place of the gift of oneself without reservation for the one who will be able to do the same in the same abandonment… It is then that the choice of clothes take on their full meaning. : Since the body is not an object, we do not expose it to everyone as we expose an object. To love your body, to appreciate yourself, to see sexuality as a treasure and to cultivate the value of your intimacy is a virtue that is good for everyone.