Emma Watson on Modesty

Emma Watson, the actor who plays Hermione in the all-too-popular Harry Potter films, is on record as an advocate for modesty. Here’s the quote:

I find the whole concept of being ‘sexy’ embarrassing and confusing. If I do an interview with photographs people desperately want to change me – dye my hair blonder, pluck my eyebrows, give me a fringe. Then there’s the choice of clothes. I know everyone wants a picture of me in a mini-skirt. But that’s not me. I feel uncomfortable. I’d never go out in a mini-skirt. It’s nothing to do with protecting the Hermione image. I wouldn’t do that. Personally, I don’t actually think it’s even that sexy. What’s sexy about saying, ‘I’m here with my boobs out and a short skirt, have a look at everything I’ve got?’ My idea of sexy is that less is more. The less you reveal the more people can wonder.

Of course, Emma Watson’s attire wouldn’t always be modeled in the New Era, and she hasn’t always been a good example of modesty, but she is often more modest than Hollywood actors typically are.

Thoughts on Emma’s approach to modesty?

160 thoughts on “Emma Watson on Modesty

  1. I think it is wonderful that she, with no real religious reasons, recognizes the dynamics of women turning themselves into objects.

    That being said, I think in reality it is VERY hard to fight against the current. It’s not even just about modesty in dress. It’s also modesty in behavior, in speech, in attitude. And while it is easy to say that it is better to be modest and refuse the objectification of women, it is a lot harder for women, especially as girls, to look around and see who is getting praised, who is getting attention, and see that it is those who put themselves forward as objects.

    Everyone wants to be loved. And for women, it is painfully clear that love is often given to those who are willing to be objects. But I suspect it is often the same for men, just different in the details.

  2. I agree with SilverRain, and would like to learn more about what she has to say on behavior. Hollywood is notorious for its raunchiness and lack of morals no matter how they might dress. She hasn’t been the only one to have stated one thing about the objectification of women one minute, and become that very thing the next. We will see, but I try not to listen to the Hollywood denizens for any advice or opinions.

    As an aside, I do find her more down-to-Earth than her co-actors who have made some sleazy career choices.

  3. I wouldn’t say she’s been a bad example of modesty. Mature, classy people will look the other way when a lady’s dress is blown up by the wind, or she’s while getting out of a car wearing a skirt. Only the paparazzi (and the media who purchase their photos) put on the zoom lens.

  4. I’m glad to see that a few young actresses to speak out on the importance of modesty. It shows she is a classy young woman, who does not have to act like a trollop to be noticed, liked, or appreciated.

    I’d like to see more people like her speak out on modesty. Perhaps it could catch on, and give the youth of the world a better role model than Lady Gaga….

  5. It seems that a lot of the debates and conversation on modesty focus on how revealing attire affects men. I’ve been pretty well convinced by all the debate and discussion that this shouldn’t be our focus. Women are not entirely responsible for what men think about, and men need to take responsibility for their thoughts. (Although, I don’t think it’s wrong to address the effects of immodesty on others, as Dallin H. Oaks and others among the Lord’s spokesmen have boldly done so.)

    Rather, modesty should be an issue of self-respect. I’m curious, does Emma’s approach do this? She claims that to her, modest is “sexy.” Would it be appropriate to teach young women modesty in these terms? I’m curious about your thoughts on this.

  6. I think she is a good girl. I’d much rather have her as a ‘roll model’ than many of the other pop-tarts that dot the headlines today.

  7. Jettboy—I could elaborate on immodest behavior, especially immodest behavior in LDS singles, but I might get my girl card taken away and alienate the majority of my peers. Not that THAT would be anything new.

    Bro. Jones—That’s a good point, too. I think being classy is often seen as stuffy.

    ldsphilosopher—”Would it be appropriate to teach young women modesty in these terms?”

    I don’t know. On the one hand, it reinforces the “women as objects” aspect of it all. It’s like “sexy” is not only a GOOD thing, but the BEST thing for a woman to be. And this applies even to women and girls in the church. If you’re not sexy, you’re frumpy, dowdy, uninteresting, without value. And that goes waaay beyond Strength of Youth modesty standards.

    On the other hand, being “sexy” IS seen as the primary good thing for a woman to be. Therefore, you will get the girls’ attention* more if you teach them they can be sexy while being modest, and even BECAUSE of being modest. That is, if they don’t detect the lie to your words in the eyes of those they most want to impress.

    * I focus on girls because sexy for a woman = revealing, open, flamboyant.
    Sexy for a man = concealing, restrained, aloof.

  8. I think lds-philospher nailed it pretty well, and I’ll add my thoughts on that. In avoiding one of the snares of the adversary she (and often we) get caught in another one. Reject revealing clothes because you don’t need it to be “sexy”. Which implies the goal is to be sexy to begin with. Which is the antithesis of modesty in my book. The focus of modesty is and should be that while our appearance is important, we shouldn’t obsess or focus too much on it. Rather, wear clothes that fit and are functional and not distracting, obscene, etc.

    Shifting the focus from revealing-sexy to non-revealing-sexy is just swallowing a worm baited hook instead of a spinning lure. The worm may be real and tasty (for a fish) as compared to the fake shinny spinner, but at the core, you’re still biting into a hook. So what we have is her saying to not wear revealing clothes and respect yourself (the truth -ie. real worm) buried beneath it is a “this is more sexy” (the hidden hook) argument. Once you bite into the hook it’s only a matter of time and degrees how far away you are lead…

    So, while I sincerely hope she can stay true to the fine line she’s established, I think once you’ve put the emphasis on sexy, it’s only a matter of time (or desperation in the case of movie stars) before your position starts to regress toward the principles you establish — which is “sexy” is important in your every day dress.

    And I’m not bashing her by any means, so please don’t think I am. I think this type of thinking is so pervasive it’s hard to really hold someone responsible for parroting it. I just think that in one sense, she has stepped outside of the box, and is looking in at the false consciousness adopted by many in the world and criticizing… not realizing she is still inside of another box by framing it under “sexy”.

    When we realize where we come from, and what our ultimate destiny can become, we don’t have to look at life, relationships, and our bodies through the framework of sexy, but can embrace respectful, functional, and even attractive — in as much as the focus is just to have something we wear that we don’t look too strange, out of place, etc. But that I mean, I’m not suggesting we just wear comfortable, tailored potato sacks, but we can find things that are beautiful without making it a focus on ourselves.

  9. Shifting the focus from revealing-sexy to non-revealing-sexy is just swallowing a worm baited hook instead of a spinning lure.

    Chris, I agree 100%. That is the kind of response I was hoping to get. Thank you!

    I think it is important to teach children to be valued not for their sexual appeal, but for their themselves. I personally think that Emma is right: modest clothing is more sexually appealing to me. I’m honestly more attracted to girls who are modest. But that shouldn’t be the reason we are modest either. Rather, we should teach girls to not concern themselves as much with looking sexually attractive.

    In other LDS discussions on this issue, a common complaint is that modest outfits aren’t as attractive, and that teaching children to be less attractive in order to avoid sparking bad thoughts in men is disrespectful to them. However, the implication is that we should value being sexually appealing as the highest good. And Emma Watson’s approach doesn’t necessarily avoid this trap either. It simply redefines what it means to be sexy.

  10. I think there is a difference between being sexy and slutty. I agree with her that wearing nice, modest clothing can be sexy. I think OTOH that Britney Spears and others often dress trashy. It isn’t sexy.

    To me, “sexy” means to highlight modest and beautiful physical, emotional, intellectual and social charms.

    The difference between the statue of David and a Playgirl centerfold is not in the nudity, but in the context and the intent. The centerfold seeks to titillate and stimulate only the sex glands. David’s nude provokes thought and discussion on much more than his being nude.

    Why do so many actresses dress like they do? It isn’t to be David-like statues, but to titillate and entice sexually. THAT is not sexy. It is lust, a poor derivative of sexy.

    I think a woman can look very sexy while fully clothed. It is not so much in the clothing, but in how she holds herself and expresses herself.

    What Emma Watson suggests as allowing for the hidden to stimulate the imagination is not just limited to skin that is covered up. The world loves Emma Watson not for her skin, but for her persona (both onscreen and off). She is a sexy woman because she is graceful, intelligent (studied at Brown U), and is talented (as we’ve seen through a decade of Hermione).

  11. Rameumpton,

    We’re operating under a different definition of “sexy.” To me (and, I think, to most others), “sexy” implies the ability to make me want to pursue her as a sexual object. I do think that someone can be sexy without being slutty… but that doesn’t mean it should be our goal. The word “sexy” itself implies a sexual component to our looks, i.e., the ability to entice others sexually.

    There’s a difference between “attractive” and “sexy.” Someone can be attractive without making me want to pursue her sexually. That is what I think you are trying to say. To me, to be “attractive” means to “highlight modest and beautiful physical, emotional, intellectual and social charms,” as you put it. I think attractive is a better word than sexy.

  12. But even “attractive” can be used as a code word. It still assumes that women’s primary asset is to attract a man.

    And this discussion is interesting, especially in light of something I posted this morning in my blog. I think this assumption that women’s value is in her attractiveness carries through into marriage. I can’t tell you how many times women tell women in church gospel discussions about their huge responsibility to be attractive to their husbands.

  13. think it is important to teach children to be valued not for their sexual appeal, but for their themselves.

    I don’t see that they are exclusive. Sexual attraction is not wrong–in fact, its good–and women will be valued by themselves and by the men in their lives in part for the sexual appeal no matter what anyone says against it.

    So, in short: inveighing against modest sexiness is unMormon and impractical.

    But I’m sure you’re all good folk despite being heretic daydreamers. ;)

  14. Also, SilverRain, you may hate me for saying this, but I don’t think it’s wrong to believe that one ought to look good for their spouse. We try to prettify and handsomize ourselves in order to attract a mate, and it’s kind of selfish to let our physical appearance degrade once we’ve found one. Of course, I shouldn’t value my spouse solely for her looks. And it’s equally selfish for me to make feel like she has to look good in order for me to love her, or to put any pressure on her to do so. But I plan on combing my hair, shaving, wearing attractive clothing for my future spouse. It’s a way of showing her that she matters to me, and I don’t think I’m objectifying myself by doing so.

  15. Of course it’s good to want to look good for a spouse. That’s a perfect example of what I mean. It’s almost like when someone says, “women shouldn’t be objects” the mind goes immediately to, “they shouldn’t look good.”

    Imagine a world where a woman was first empowered, attractive because she was empowered. Where it mattered less how she looked to men and more what she could do to make her life and the lives of others in this world better. What if THAT is what gave her value (and, as a side note, attracted men) rather than how she looked? That doesn’t mean she wouldn’t look good, it means that looking good would be peripheral to who she was and what good she could accomplish.

    What if she took care of herself physically so she could feel clean, neat and more able to accomplish her tasks for the day rather than so she could be viewed with approval by those around her? What if taking care of her body was like maintaining her car or washing dishes or taking out the trash? Something to do to take care of her physical stewardship, but not something to do to be valuable?

    It seems like such a subtle difference, but it is a difference that could change the lives of so many people.

  16. Ok, that I can agree with perfectly. I think it’s selfish of men to make women feel like they need to look good in order to valuable. Their value comes from something else, other than their looks. I think comparing taking care of one’s looks to cleaning the dishes is a good one. Something that perhaps ought to be done, but our value doesn’t depend on it.

  17. Thank you, ldsphilosopher. It’s a very hard thing to try to explain.

    Unfortunately, I think Adam in #17 is right: there is little to no hope for the average woman to feel good about being valued for something other than how she looks. Generally, when a person compliments a woman on something other than looks (i.e. intelligence or “sweet spirit”) it comes with an unspoken commentary on her appearance.

    And, even in an eternal LDS marriage, it gives women a feeling of responsibility to take extreme measures, including invasive surgery, to hold the attention of their husbands.

    Because face it, in the absence of extreme measures, we generally all become little old wrinkled people.

  18. The world tries to take useful words an preempt their usage. At one time, sexy did not mean slutty. It did not necessarily mean solely a sexual attraction, but a general attraction.
    In the past, watching my wife give public speeches with confidence was a very sexy thing for me. It didn’t make me want to have sex right there on the spot, but I was generally attracted to her and proud to be her husband. To me, that is sexy.
    The term “attractive” points towards physical attributes. Beautiful tends to also nowadays. We need to re-appropriate terms. Love is another term that needs to be re-appropriated. For many, the term “love” now just means sex.

    As we cheapen and degrade the language into solely physical terms, we lose the richness of the language, and with it the ability to have rich relationships and intimacy.

  19. I don’t know what you are talking about, Rameumptom. When has “sexy” ever referred to something other than sexual desirability? At what point of time was “sexy” generally understood and used to reference a whole person, rather than just their physical appearance?

    I feel like you’re the one trying to preempt the word with a new meaning.

    Of all the words you mentioned (attractive, love, beautiful, etc), “sexy” is the one most likely to refer solely to physical appearance, and I don’t know if there ever was a time when it was otherwise.

  20. I agree that “sexy” isn’t the most important thing for a woman (or man, for that matter) to be, but I really really really really don’t think we should make it out like being sexy is a bad thing. It is most definitely not. It just shouldn’t be overriding more important things like self worth and divine nature. But if you try to tell me that my wife being sexy is a bad thing, I will punch you square in the mouth. hahahaha.

  21. Again, Jake, I’m not saying that “sexy” is a bad thing. Believe you me, when I meet a man who is willing to do what it takes to build a relationship of trust with me, he’ll have absolutely nothing to complain about.

    I’m saying that it’s bad when “sexy” is the most important thing a woman can be, whatever word is used to substitute for “sexy”. And nearly every bit of feedback in an average woman’s life points to that being the case.

  22. Unfortunately, I think Adam in #17 is right: there is little to no hope for the average woman to feel good about being valued for something other than how she looks. Generally, when a person compliments a woman on something other than looks (i.e. intelligence or “sweet spirit”) it comes with an unspoken commentary on her appearance.

    Well, actually, I disagree. The average woman is valued and feels valued for lots of things other than her looks or her sexiness (the two intersect, but aren’t quite the same thing). However, looks/sexiness is *also* part of what women are valued for and always will be. So I see no problem with encouraging a ‘sexy’ understanding of modesty. The problem would be telling people that modesty is valuable only to the degree its sexy.

    That “wrinkled little people” remark is hilarious. It made me think. One way of looking at it is the affection old married couples have for each other is more meaningful if we acknowledge that looks really do matter and that the continuance of affection after the looks have faded is therefore more meaningful.

  23. *And nearly every bit of feedback in an average woman’s life points to that being the case.
    *

    With respect, I think you may be suffering from a severe case of confirmation bias.

  24. I’m a bit concerned that I’m seeing here something that is a problem (replacing a problem with another problem) in mormon culture at large. Namely teaching them enmity toward their own sexuality. Instead of teaching them to reign it in and control it, we teach them to crush it, strangle it and repress it. I don’t think this is a solution, and is merely shifting the problems into their future, adult lives. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard of disastrous mormon wedding nights, and it’s always caused by this kind of mindset. The result of countless parents and YW leaders taking the easy route and essentially saying, “sexuality, sexual desire, and sexiness are all BAD.” This kind of carpet-bombing approach to teaching moderation and limits is not only lazy but both dangerous and damaging.

    Our sexuality is an essential characteristic of who we are as human beings. To act like it’s some shameful, embarrassing thing that we need to hide and pretend doesn’t exist is a dangerous path that leads people into unsatisfied, unhappy marriages. And to act like that is a separate issue from saying that people shouldn’t try to look sexually attractive is immensely naive. The bottom line is that sexuality and sexual desire are part of my god-given nature, and while I shouldn’t indulge it at all times or let it control me (just like I shouldn’t constantly indulge or be controlled by my desire to eat), I refuse to let anyone tell me that it isn’t or shouldn’t be a part of my daily life. That includes wanting to be sexually attractive.

    It is very very dangerous when we start telling ourselves and those around us that sexuality is a bad thing. Yes, the media and mainstream culture place sexuality too high on the totem pole, but mormon culture (I stress: the culture, not the religion) places it far too LOW. No offense intended, but this comment thread kind of demonstrates that.

  25. Look, God gave me the privilege of procreation, which requires sex. One of the main reasons behind marriage is to create new life, which means having sex. If one is to find a spouse with which to create new life, one must present her/himself in a sexually appealing light. Yes, there are other factors. Yes, there are more important factors. However, sex (and everything it entails, including sexiness) is part of that. A woman can be “tastefully sexy” and should not be condemned for it. This includes the time before and after marriage.

    Also, why are we holding Emma Watson to the same standard as Latter-Day Saints? As far as Hollywood is concerned, she is VERY modest, and I applaud her for it.

  26. Regarding the old couples comments:
    You are forgetting the lurking variable. Those bonds of affection and love were first germinated in their younger years, when sex and sexiness were still a part of their lives. Not to mention that they were most likely sexually attracted to one another if they got married…

  27. Adam G—pick up any magazine marketed to women and look through it. Or watch any show, any advertisement involving women. Or eavesdrop almost any conversation that discusses a woman. Then try to support your point that I’m seeing more into things than is really there.

    Frankly, I wonder if claiming I have confirmation bias is an attempt to avoid reality by automatically discounting what I’m saying rather than trying to see if what I’m saying is true.

    Jake—Did you even read my comment #25? You’re tilting at windmills.

    But this conversation demonstrates exactly what I was saying in #19.

  28. #30. Wow. Just, wow. And I berate myself for sometimes despairing of ever finding a man worth marrying in my venerable post-baby 32-year-old body.

    I think it’s time for me to bow out of this conversation. It’s becoming too personal for me.

  29. Silver Rain — You assume that I’m aiming my comment directly at you. I am not. I’m responding to the entire thread in general.

  30. Also, is everybody really scrolling through and counting all the posts? How are people coming up with these numbers (e.g. #25, #30)?

  31. Jake, I imagine it hurts to be told that even in old age, when people have lost their sexual appeal, the only way for them to have companionship is to have earned it through sexual appeal earlier in life. Many women, through no fault of their own, have a hard time meeting society’s typical standards for sexual appeal.

  32. I’ll be honest– I’m no Harry Potter fan. I’ve only seen part of the first movie and haven’t seen any of the others. But even apart from her leading female role in the films, I’m completely unfamiliar with Emma Watson, other roles she may have played and I’m not one to buy People Magazine or the other publications that focus on hollywood stars and musicians. So I admit right up front that I have no idea how Ms. Watson dresses.

    That said, and giving her the benefit of a doubt and assuming she actually meant what she said, I’m very impressed that she’s set a higher standard for herself than the general Hollywood styles would dictate. I’m even more impressed that she has the conviction and confidance to say it publically when it’s possible she could draw some criticism from her peers.

    Way to go, Emma!

  33. ldsphilosopher — As do many men. I’m not saying that it’s the only way, it’s just USUALLY the way.

  34. Also, why are we holding Emma Watson to the same standard as Latter-Day Saints? As far as Hollywood is concerned, she is VERY modest, and I applaud her for it.

    I have no interest in criticizing Emma. Rather, I just wanted to start a conversation on how best to discuss this topic with youth, and if her approach is a good or bad way to do that.

  35. nstead of teaching them to reign it in and control it, we teach them to crush it, strangle it and repress it.

    Pet peeve time. Its “rein,” as in controlling a horse, not “reign,” as in presiding over a kingdom. “Reining in” your passions is the same as “bridling” them.

  36. The first thing that comes to mind when I read her quote on modesty is the flack that went around about the nude scene she did in the first installment of the Deathly Hallows movie. Granted, she wasn’t revealing anything but shoulders in the actual scene, but if I remember correctly she shot that scene in the nude. Reminds me of the quote “What you’re doing is so loud I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

  37. Wait – I stand corrected. Should have double-checked my facts before posting. She wasn’t *really* naked during the shoot – wearing a strapless bra. Someone got upset and started reporting incorrectly.

  38. Jake—And by responding to the entire thread in general, you prove my point that women are constantly told that looks are their most important attribute.

    I don’t think I’m unattractive, but I have no interest in a man who thinks how I look is my prime draw. I’ve had MORE than my fill of that sort. I don’t care what you look like, eventually it will fade. Who I am becomes better every day, and THAT is what the man I give my heart to will value.

    If I can find one like that. Sometimes it seems like I’m holding out for a unicorn.

  39. Adam G—pick up any magazine marketed to women and look through it. Or watch any show, any advertisement involving women.

    OK, you have a point. :)

    Actually, leafing through the women’s magazines and ads, I get a mix of messages. There is clearly a message that ‘you must be sexy’ but also that you must be glamorous, that you must be s successful homemaker, that you must be good with kids, that you must have status (not the same thing as sexy or even attractive), that you must be creative and inventive and sensible, that you must ‘have it all’, that you must have a ‘meaningful’ relationship with a man, where meaningful is defined in a somewhat new agey/pop psychology sort of way, and that you need to have meaningful inner needs and act on them, again where meaningful is new agey/pop psychology.

    Or eavesdrop almost any conversation that discusses a woman.

    At least in my neck of the woods, those conversations tend to involve a woman’s character, her reliability, and her personal habits much more than her ‘sexiness’. To be fair, the conversations I overhear are usually between Mormons.

    Frankly, I wonder if claiming I have confirmation bias is an attempt to avoid reality by automatically discounting what I’m saying rather than trying to see if what I’m saying is true.

    Cognitive bias strikes everyone, no arguments there. Any particular reason to think that I’m strongly motivated to avoid this particular version of reality? I hope you don’t have some basis for thinking that in my personal life I treat women solely or mainly as valuable based on their personal appearance. My wife, as it happens, is classically lovely, but she is also spiritually attune, a hard worker, shares a community of tastes with me, devout, good with symbolism, a deft conversationalist, a marvelous canner, etc., and she knows I esteem her for all of it.

    this conversation demonstrates exactly what I was saying in #19.

    Well, that may be. But in fact, this conversation is actually a pretty poor example of women being valued primarily on their looks. You are being taken seriously and responded to on the basis of your arguments, not on your looks (which I assume are striking, but don’t know and don’t really care). Further, as best I can tell, people are approving or disapproving of Emma Watson based on what she has said and done, not based on an estimate of the attractions of her person.

  40. What YW and even adult women need to be taught is how to love and appreciate themselves, have healthy self esteem, know their worth, be encouraged to strengthen their minds as well as their bodies, and accomplish their goals and dreams. If a YW knows all of these things it will be easy for her to want to be modest in behavior and dress.

  41. Also, is everybody really scrolling through and counting all the posts? How are people coming up with these numbers (e.g. #25, #30)?

    They are in large but inconspicuous font at the upper right of each comment.

    Many women, through no fault of their own, have a hard time meeting society’s typical standards for sexual appeal.

    This is absolutely true, but it tells us little to nothing about whether being sexually appealing is a good thing or not or manufactured by society or not or anything of the kind. The world I live in is a broken one where some women are tragically ugly through no fault of their own, some men are tragically weak or uncompetitive or obese through no fault of their own, some people are tragically quite stupid through no fault of their own, and etc.

    This shouldn’t be turned into a competitive pity party, but given the tighter bell curves that women have on most traits, there will be more men who are born with no real prospects for mating and companionship than women.

    I don’t think I’m unattractive, but I have no interest in a man who thinks how I look is my prime draw. I’ve had MORE than my fill of that sort. I don’t care what you look like, eventually it will fade. Who I am becomes better every day, and THAT is what the man I give my heart to will value.

    If I can find one like that. Sometimes it seems like I’m holding out for a unicorn.

    Hmm. At least in the abstract, I think you are stating or implying a principle here that is deeply mistaken, a sort of rejection of or anger at corporeality. But its impossible to tell without much more discussion, which would be more profitable in a less public format. I will say that there’s nothing like dating to sour one on the opposite sex and to make one feel a visceral loathing for the hoops that have to be jumped through. One of the great and wonderful surprises of marriage for me, however, was discovering that marriage did not mean that I could stop jumping through hoops, as I imagined it would. It meant that I no longer experienced them as hoops.

  42. As I mentioned in an other recent modesty post I think we err by focusing on modesty purely in terms of sex. It seems to me that the Church manuals are much, much more careful. They see modesty not just in terms of sexually revealing clothing but also in clothing that attempts to distinguish people too much or call too much attention to itself. Thus some of the more extreme styles of dress by youth might be “sexually modest” but quite immodest in a broader sense. (Say some Goth dress or a pair of baggy pants hanging far down but showing a pair of covering boxers)

    Even wearing very expensive clothing to show off how expensive it is can be immodest. (Honestly I don’t have problems with nice clothes – when I was single I had a $2000 suit I used to wear to Church. But I don’t think it called attention to itself beyond looking nice. And I don’t think spending that $2000 on the suit was worse than paying say an extra $2000 on a car instead)

    As for “sexy” I think we err if we see being sexy as inherently objectifying. (I made more comments on this point on Silver Rain’s blog) Back when I was single (and dressed much better and was in much better shape) I fully admit to asking women out because of how sexy they were. And was hit on hopefully because women thought the same of me. Trying to make myself attractive so women would hit on me (because frankly I was shy and incompetent enough that was much more successful for me than hitting on them) seems completely defensible. Was that objectifying? Only if that was all I cared about. (Heck, back in my 20′s I fully admit it was probably what in the initial dates I valued the most – but it doesn’t mean I wasn’t concerned with the rest)

    When you are older admittedly you worry about that less. But that’s partially because with kids you sacrifice a lot.

    So to me there’s nothing wrong with being sexy so long as one is modest and sexy.

    I sometimes worry that too many Mormons tend almost towards a gnosticism or platonism where the things of our body are devalued. I remember a friend who told a “horrible” story about a guy who was dating two women – both of whom were spiritual, intelligent and nice. His decision about who to date seriously consisted of asking them out on a formal date where they had to dress up nice and go dancing. The one he found most attractive he continued dating. This was told with horror as if he’d done something completely inappropriate. Yet, had he done something similar like asked about art or science or some other “intellectual” quality why would that have been appropriate? I think it’s purely because for some it’s dangerous and evil if we value our bodies highly.

    Of course it’s wrong to put too much focus on it — a focus to the detriment of other qualities. But but he same token it’s wrong to devalue it too much. And honestly I think we’re more guilty of the former than the later (IMO) even if I suspect most young hormonal youth go too far the other way. (Honestly most guys and girls with hormones araging are caught up in the biological drives of what makes someone attractive and it’s our job as parents and teachers to emphasize the other characteristics they should worry about)

  43. Many women, through no fault of their own, have a hard time meeting society’s typical standards for sexual appeal.

    Not to make a big point of it but many men and women also have a hard time meeting society’s standards for intelligence, communication skills, being outgoing, or a slew of other characteristics highly valued. Why is physical attractiveness singled out?

    I fully admit it’s overemphasized by the popular media. (As is being an athlete, a musician or rich)

  44. Clark,

    I see we’re thinking along the same lines. I totally agree with what you say about platonism and gnosticism–look at the proud story at SilverRain’s blog about someone falling in love with their wife solely based on texting without any taint of physicality. Except that I don’t think these are purely Mormon temptations. They are American temptations, or even Western temptations. I’m betting that they actually go hand in hand with our culture’s debased gutter approach to sexuality. The natural reaction is to reject physicality altogether.

    Apropos of nothing, this reminds me of what the fellow said, that you could always tell the books that were supposed to be high-minded and literary, because in them the characters still have lots and lots of sex but sorta don’t enjoy it plus the women have small breasts.

  45. Clark — you’re dead on.
    Silver Rain — you apparently only read one or two sentences out of the many i wrote, because I can’t think of any other way that you could have so tragically misinterpreted what i’m saying as you appear to have done.

  46. Clark — As to what you’re dead-on about: The gnosticism/platonism thing is the perfect parallel, and I thank you for mentioning it. As Latter-day Saints, we are different from the rest of the theological world in that we believe that not only is the spirit eternally important but so is the body. To act like the physical doesn’t matter isn’t just a practical or social error, but a theological one.

  47. Jake,
    many Christians officially believe in the immortality of the body and there is actually some fine Christian writing on the Incarnation and what it tells us about the value of the created world.

  48. Adam, that’s true. But there’s also a strong view that sees bodies as evil even while accepting the dual natures of Christ and the resurrection of humans. The can often find extreme forms and one needn’t look far within Catholicism or many varieties of Protestantism for it. Not all do this of course. But it is a major thread in historic Christianity.

  49. Major thread, sure. Only thread, or even dominant thread? Not so fast. I believe it is incorrect to state “As Latter-day Saints, we are different from the rest of the theological world in that we believe that not only is the spirit eternally important but so is the body.”

  50. It’s a hard thing to guess if it is the dominant thread. I guess it depends upon what you mean by that. (And how on earth could we measure it?) I’ll say it’s much more common among our other Christian friends than it is within Mormonism (IMO). Indeed I think to the degree it’s found among Mormons it’s typically a teaching people bring into Mormonism with them. That is there’s just not a basis for it – despite people trying to find it within Pres. Kimball’s Miracle of Forgiveness.

    But I certainly agree we shouldn’t, as some Mormons do, treat our non-Mormon Christian friends as gnostics anymore than they should treat us as gnostics.

  51. I remember some years ago introducing one of the most intelligent and classy women I had ever met to a business partner of mine who tended to objectify women. He was struck dumb by her chaste and demure femininity. She was total class. Bright, engaging, articulate and etc. Etc. Later on he reproached me for not warning him of her beauty. I believe I had spoken very highly of her but he was unprepared and I am not exaggerating when I said he was dumbstruck. She demonstrated a rare degree of breeding and class. Would that it were not so rare.

  52. Interesting post brought up in the hermetic discussion that I was frankly surprised by.

    Some 1,007 adults were interviewed by phone from Feb. 19 to Mar. 3 by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University and asked the question, “Do you believe that, after you die, your physical body will be resurrected someday?” Results indicate that out of those interviewed only 36 percent replied “yes” to the question while 54 percent said they do not believe in the statement and 10 percent remained undecided.

    [...]

    According to the poll, 90 percent of Americans believe in God or a Supreme Being, with 65 percent indicating that they were “absolutely certain” that God exists. Seventy-two percent replied they believe in an afterlife with “some sort of consciousness” with 47 percent of being absolutely certain of this.

    So I think that’s a pretty strong argument for the anti-body view being dominant in contemporary mainstream Christianity.

  53. I think that’s a pretty weak argument. Its a poll that appears not even to filter folks by whether they self-identify as Christians or not, let alone how actively religious they are. In any case, any Mormon who has ever said that something was just a folk doctrine or not official doctrine should know better than to try to establish a group’s beliefs by calling up random members of the group and asking them.

  54. One more thing: you often get this default anti-body view from lifelong Mormons, so I think its a mistake to say its something people bring with them.

  55. About 76% of Americans self-identify as Christian. I agree the study is somewhat limited though. However when only 36% say they do believe in the resurrection and 76% of the population are Christian it doesn’t take much imagination to read between the lines…

  56. I love how stating that a woman’s physical appearance should not be her primary attraction gets twisted into body hatred.

  57. Well, it’s good that she’s at least trying. Emma Watson has a good head on her shoulders, and I commend her for not being the same as most actresses in her appearance.

  58. I am glad the writer made a side not that Emma is not the perfect example of modesty, especially after just seeing her last week on Regis & Kelly. I commend her though on her approach to modesty. It must be really difficult to be a famous actress and not follow the paths of her colleagues. Taking a stand to defend modesty is a big risk in Hollywood, and I am happy to see that her choices have not affected her career.

  59. Love Jake’s comments at 28. A couple of years ago, Segullah did a series of posts about sexuality and Mormonism. It was illuminating and fascinating. Sexuality (different than pop cultural definitions of ‘sexiness’) and spirituality are NOT mutually exclusive. To believe so is to deny part of our nature–the part that allows us to have children, be bound as spouses (the biology is very real, not merely a societal construct), and find deep personal and physical fulfillment. How often to we tout the phrase to our young women, “Sex is sacred.” Well, to say so indicates a level of spirituality in that lovely act. There is no sex without human sexuality.

    In an unrelated note, are any Harry Potter fans here bothered by the author’s judgment call of “all too popular” in regards to the films? :)

  60. I recently spoke to a group of youth about modesty and gave this advice. Please don’t allow your choice of clothing to be the thing that people remember about you. Let them get to know the Spirit that radiates from within. I related a story from my youth. A few years ago I was asked whether I remember a name from my high school years. I attended high school in the 70′s. I did not recall the name. But, when I was reminded of the girl who wore micro mini skirts to school I knew exactly who he was talking about. I remember nothing else about this girl. I didn’t remember her name or anything else about her except her legs. I asked my young friends whether they wanted to be remembered for who they are inside or do they want to be the girl or boy that nobody looks in the eye because their own eyes are drawn someplace else. The old saying that “clothes make the man (or woman)” are a falsehood. What makes a man or a woman emenates from within.

  61. Can someone give us the original source for this quotation from Emma Watson?

    I first saw it (or part of it) in an email that led me to ldsliving.com. The LDS Living article led me to millenialstar.org. Millenial Star quotes it without attribution.

    I’d love to believe EW actually said this. I’d love to repeat it (giving a nod to Millenial Star, of course) on my own blog. But I’m not going to repeat it until I can confirm for myself that she really said it.

  62. She is much more modest than 98% of the other Hollywood ladies that are out there. She also has tremendous style sense, of course everyone makes mistakes and although she is not perfect I feel she does a pretty good job. “Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.”

  63. Well, if it wasn’t official before, it is now: Emma Watson is awesome. No, she hasn’t always dressed to an LDS standard of modesty, but upwards of 75% of the outfits I’ve seen her in have been pretty darn close, if not conforming with our standards. We’ve got to pay attention to the principle that “to whom much is given, much is required.” Emma is obviously not LDS, so we shouldn’t judge her by LDS standards. She’s grown up among Hollywood stars, many of whom seem to think that the more skin they show, the better they look. I commend her on keeping her standards so high.

    I think the comments that were made earlier about the “problem” of Emma still referring to dressing modestly as a different, and preferable, type of “sexy.” Some people seem to be going with the assumption that looking “sexy” is a bad thing, and I’m not sure I agree with that. I think that what Emma probably means when she says modesty is sexy is that being modest is actually much more attractive to the opposite sex, and I seriously don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

    Anyway, I’m so glad that she’s found a way to go through the life of a child star and grow up into a beautiful, self-respecting, and values-centered young woman. She is definitely a wonderful example for girls to look up to. Go Emma!!

  64. Well, if it wasn’t official before, it is now: Emma Watson is awesome. No, she hasn’t always dressed to an LDS standard of modesty, but upwards of 75% of the outfits I’ve seen her in have been pretty darn close, if not conforming with our standards. We’ve got to pay attention to the principle that “to whom much is given, much is required.” Emma is obviously not LDS, so we shouldn’t judge her by LDS standards. She’s grown up among Hollywood stars, many of whom seem to think that the more skin they show, the better they look. I commend her on keeping her standards so high.

    I think the comments that were made earlier (about the “problem” of Emma still referring to dressing modestly as a different, and preferable, type of “sexy”) were interesting, but not quite correct. Some people seem to be going with the assumption that looking “sexy” is a bad thing, and I’m not sure I agree with that. I think that what Emma probably means when she says modesty is sexy is that being modest is actually much more attractive to the opposite sex, and I seriously don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

    Anyway, I’m so glad that she’s found a way to go through the life of a child star and grow up into a beautiful, self-respecting, and values-centered young woman. She is definitely a wonderful example for girls to look up to. Go Emma!!

  65. Ray, I found the quote on dozens of blogs online. After much searching, I finally found an online magazine that included the entire interview, and which looked somewhat reputable. However, the site was sleazy enough I don’t have any desire to link it, particularly since the article seemed to be mocking her position as outdated and puritan.

  66. Something I was thinking as I was reading this article was – “sure Emma, until it comes time for you to strip down for your art…” I have no issues with Emma, but I’m not so sure that this comment of hers is really relevant to true modesty. It’s not really taking a stand against immodesty nor immorality. It’s simply stating a preference of comfort. It’s nice and all that she feels more comfortable keeping it in than letting it all hang out for the world to see, but I bet that many young women feel the same way, but succumb to the pressure she spoke about. Again – not really taking a stand.

    For the rest of the conversation found here in the comments – it is interesting to see all of the different points of view. I tend to stand with the females in saying that there is and should be more focus on character and inner beauty. That said, I am married with 3 children and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy comments from my husband about my outer appearance from time to time. Honesty here. I feel that love begets more beauty, and a man (or woman for that matter) that passes on someone because they are not initially attracted to their outward appearance is only selling themselves short. A man that marries only because his appetite for flesh is overpowering will definitely find himself lacking when nature, age, and time takes it toll on the body.
    Anyway, this is a very interesting conversation, thanks.

  67. While I praise Emma Watson’s ideas, I think Latter-day Saints take the concept of “what modesty is” to an unhealthy extreme. For example, wearing a tank top where the shoulders are showing doesn’t exactly classify as “baring it all.” I feel like a lot of non-Christlike judging is going on…

  68. While I praise Emma Watson’s ideas, I think Latter-day Saints take the concept of “what modesty is” to an unhealthy extreme. For example, wearing a tank top where the shoulders are showing doesn’t exactly classify as “baring it all.” I feel like a lot of non-Christlike judging is going on in all levels of the church.

  69. I love all the politeness and and respect for others on this thread – so refreshing. It seems to me that many of the posts on here are from fairly young people – young being less than fifty. As a woman in a very happy, longstanding temple marriage, with strong gospel roots and a great deal of experience with both mens’ and womens’ perspectives and experiences regarding love, relationships, sex, modesty and the gospel, and as a mother to grown girls and sister to seven intelligent, beautiful, modest, fashionable, accomplished and gospel centered women both married and unmarried, I would like to say that time and understanding very much blur the boundaries between sexy, love, attractiveness, etc in a relationship. Sexy will always be important, and should be. Attractiveness is very connected to looks – but I can look my worst and yet look my best to the one who loves me and vice versa. Please do not ‘hold out’ for a man is not first attracted to you by your looks. Sexual attraction is a healthy and god given way to bring men and women together. Value, experience, intelligence, love, respect, sexy, sex, attractiveness, accomplishments, looks, are all essential and integral to a happy and loving relationship. There is no dissecting and separating them. Emma Watsons comments are simply a young persons expressions of early thoughts in life regarding whom she is and what she ought to be. Good on Emma Watson for taking a first step on a lifetime road to understanding her value as a woman.

  70. Natalie—Of course I’m not holding out for a man who is first attracted to my looks. That is the first thing (usually) you know about someone, so of course it is the first bit of information you’re going to process. I’m holding out for a man who isn’t PRIMARILY attracted by my looks.

    There has been a whole lot of misinterpretation in this thread, and reading back to what I said, I can’t see how it is a problem with my phrasing. I have no idea how I could make it more clear.

    But I do think that cultural conditioning has introduced an element of fear into the way people think about this. As I have said before, I think that a romantic relationship without sex as the central focus has become inconceivable to most people.

    But I have decided that it is better not to have a romantic relationship than to be loved only for “sexiness,” for how effective I am at visually stimulating his hormones. And I still think it is unfortunate that modesty is discussed in terms of sexiness by Emma Watson rather than in terms of self-respect. But unsurprising. As this thread demonstrates, there is hardly any cultural room for anything but the idolization of sexuality.

  71. Sorry . . . man who ISN’T first attracted by my looks.

    I think that people think that if sex isn’t the CENTRAL focus, it has no importance at all.

  72. To be an example of what she believes, she should have made a stand on her nude clip in the last movie. It seems rather contradictory to have her express those words, but show up nude. Or even it was “special effects” she should still should object to that portrayal. Not impressed with her words, if she can’t live by them.

  73. Wow, Jeff T, it looks like this went viral! 183 “likes” on Facebook so far. This is probably an M* record. Good job.

  74. A better example are the words in the Strength of Youth to share with our youth, not movie stars that speak one thing and show the opposite view.

  75. This is twice in a week, that the Brits have shown us how we should dress. Did you see the article regarding Kate Middleton and the trend she’s started toward wearing panty hose? It’s one of my pet peeves, that women have dropped wearing hose “because it’s too uncomfortable”. So along with too tight, too short and too much cleavage popping up at church, we had the “half dressed” look appear. Somehow we’ve come to associate the barely there look with being sexy. Has anyone else noticed how much better our men look when dressed for church, than the women these days?
    Why does it matter if we look sexy or not? Having been through an inactive phase when I was younger, I found out the hard way that you will get treated the way you dress. When I dressed modestly and with some class I had men falling all over themselves to protect my virtue and lady like behavior. No, I’m no babe, but it was funny how many big brothers I would end up with willing to defend my honor if necessary. When I wore something low cut, I often found men talking to my frontal anatomy instead of looking me in the eye.
    What may be even more important for us as women is to value ourselves as human beings who can stand alone if necessary and don’t need a man to “make” us a whole person. Don’t get me wrong, I am in full agreement that we are meant to have a mate and be happy in that way, but too often we as women let how we are perceived by men dictate our actions in all aspects of our lives in order to be attractive to them. We lose sight of who we are, and what we can become.

  76. CHRIS: You hit the nail on the head. We are not to ever to focus/think on being “sexy” – unless you’re in your bedroom, with your spouse, door locked, and about to become ‘one’. Even then, keep it under control. There, it is said.

    How easily satan grabs at our minds and emotions and desires!!!

  77. NaB: I agree with you 100%. But I can also understand how she would not see that as real nudity or immodesty – especially seeing that she’s not making this stand to (1) be “not-sexy” (2) from a religious/moral standpoint and (3) in a world where showing your back, your shoulders and “some” leg is not considered immodest. I HAVE seen pics of her in bikini (immodest), short-shorts (immodest), cleavage-showing dress (immodest) and short “mini-skirt” dresses (immodest)… and she doesn’t call those immodest. I’m afraid when she says “mini-skirt” she means the skirts that are so short that her…. well, let’s leave it at SHORT!

    If we follow For The Strength of Youth, and we wear clothes, and TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO WEAR CLOTHES (FROM BIRTH!!!) that COVER the garment (regardless whether we’re wearing garments yet or not), and we do it to show respect for our bodies and our Heavenly Father who has to look at us, then we are being modest.

    Modesty is NOT about covering up in order to not be sexy!!! What does the world, and LDS Ladies, not get about that? MODESTY IS ABOUT BEING RESPECTFUL OF OUR BODIES AND THOSE WHO MUST LOOK AT THEM. If you were to go visit the Queen of England in her Palace, you would most likely think of wearing a SUIT!!! Not a bikini, frayed mini-skirt where you have to shave the bikini are, and sleevless tanks with flip-flops. YOU WEAR THE BEST YOU HAVE AND IN RESPECTFUL COVER-UP FASHION!

    THAT is what modesty is. Is about RESPECT.

  78. A couple of thoughts:
    1. It’s interesting how there are so many different forms of beauty. Things that are attractive to me include a guileless personality, a healthy figure (not any particular shape or form), and a cheerful look. But the one thing that seems to make even the ugliest of people attractive (and even sexy) is how they treat me. It’s amazing how a sneer can so totally overwhelm even the most beautiful of people.

    2. I think it’s been touched on in these comments, but it’s important to recognize the different ways that men & women view sexuality and the term “sexy” in general. Things that are provocative to one gender may not be so to another. (Speaking in general terms that of course have exceptions.)

  79. … P.S. – and as Marv pointed out so well… that “respect” includes attitude, behavior, personality, etc. The whole way we carry ourselves and behave. And, it begins in the home, and how we behave at home. Like my father taught me, and I never believed nor understood him until I was grown and had children of my own: How you behave at home is how you will behave outside the home. So true! Yes, we can all “act” outside the home, but eventually we all go back to behaving outside the home, exactly as we behave inside the home. Modesty is respect – all aspects of it, not just ‘dress’. :)

  80. SilverRain,

    I see a lot of misunderstanding of what you are saying, and I see you misunderstanding a lot of what others are saying, starting with Miss Watson.

    One common rhetorical figure is to uphold a standard by arguing that the reason people violate the standard is best achieved by keeping the standard. Think of a life insurance salesman telling you “You say you can’t afford to buy life insurance? You can’t afford not to!” Or consider a bishop telling his young men that they can have more fun if they stay sober. Or a modesty advocate saying that modest clothing is sexy.

    The rhetorical figure does not and is not meant to imply that the only reason to keep the standard is to achieve whatever it is that people hope to achieve when they break it. So when a bishop tells his youth that they’ll have more fun if they stay sober, he is not saying that having fun is the most important thing in life or even that its the most important reason to stay sober.

    Similarly, Miss Watson nowhere says that sexiness is the most important thing in a woman’s life or even the most important thing about being modest. It would be uncharitable to insist that she implies it.

  81. Sexy. If I look at the word in a cerebral way, to me it means gender (sex) and of a qualifying nature (-y). So I’m venturing to propose that sexy can mean the opposite of androgynous. In other words, by how we act and dress we clearly identify ourselves as male or female… here is where one can start to willfully misunderstand what I’m saying, so hold out on making those knee-jerk reactions.

    I don’t mean females wear dresses, clean the house, are soft-spoken and men wear trousers, do the heavy lifting, make the rules. When we get into the topic of gender modesty in a cultural way, there are scores and scores of societal customs that vary depending on the point in history, the country or region, the terrain or activity… the context! Comparing the different settings, to name a very few… the temple (tons of coverage and narrow degree of self-expression), church meetings (conspicuous scanning of those whose hemlines don’t reach one’s knees when seated and men without ties – tsk, tsk… where self-expression optimally is couched closely within the direction of the Holy Ghost), church activities (talk about some personalities coming out!), sleeping (might be considered slovenly dress elsewhere… by the way, leisure wear doubling as pajamas now gets me disapproving looks when I wear leisure wear outside of the bedroom – thanks a lot Trend!), swimming (even a “modest” swimsuit can cover less than a bath towel… somehow seeing someone in the former is more acceptable than seeing the later), playing a football game (loud whoops and hollers, yelling, tackling), the way some of the actors dress at temple pageants or some of the BYU ballroom dancers’ outfits (um, not okay for non-performance occasions), etc. The specifics of what one does and wears in one context can be immodest in another. Modesty doesn’t necessarily seem to be dependent so much on an arbitrary template, but rather on one’s tone; and how others judge another person’s modesty doesn’t seem to be dependent on some universal standard of good taste as much as expectation. There are societies and cultures that are comparatively more conservative, look at you and think ‘There’s a sign of the current times and slipping standards.’ Your degree of modesty would doubtless manifest itself in a different ‘look’ and decorum in the 1860’s, in the 1700’s, in 2111.

    Emma states, “I find the whole concept of being ‘sexy’ embarrassing and confusing.” It’s no wonder! Isn’t that really the case for most, if not all, of us? What made the difference between the time of nudity in the garden of Eden pre- and post- snake? Why did the former state hold no embarrassment to Our Maker? At what age does how a child dresses become a matter of modesty? When do a brother and sister stop rooming together? Why are public changing rooms somewhat innocuous, but in mixed company, not so much. Why does a unisex bathroom hold no impropriety in some cultures? Why would me changing outfits in public at a beach shock or stimulate a stranger and yet do neither to an intimate spouse if I changed in our bedroom? Because the way we THINK about it has changed and the way we THINK others should/are THINKING about it dictates perceived modesty…. which can legitimately differ from person to person and context to context. Remember in the 90’s when more than one earring hole in each ear was deemed immodest by the Brethren? Our leaders sometimes come out with modesty codes of conduct, dress, behavior that reflect waves of perception at current times or at other times, principles that are timeless but can vary in visual appearance.

    So getting back to my initial idea that sexy can mean indicative of gender. Looking at the Family Proclamation, gender matters. Dressing and acting according to divine definition and boundaries of gender is a whole other level of sexy than the colloquial definitions akin to ’hot’ that lead to urges of being uncontrollably enticed, stimulated, covetous, primal. I contend that sexy, like most words, can legitimately be used in a gospel sense and can be corrupted into a carnal definition. Within church language, we have a different definition of words and concepts. Tolerance, charity, truth, meekness, loyalty are examples of words that can be perverted and used in a way that misdirects God’s principles that go by the same names. Why not redefine sexy in an appropriate way, perhaps meaning showing gender without showing us your gender?! I agree that it is not a worthwhile goal to have the colloquial use of the word applied to us. But if sexy is understood to be synonymous with desirable, then teaching our youth the difference between God’s definition of desirable and man’s is paramount in conveying the idea of modesty so that the principle can be followed while navigating various cultures, times, and settings.

  82. Thank you for all the good comments.
    In answer to what should we teach our youth. I think the truth is best. The church literature is a perfect guide. We do notice what the opposite sex is wearing and so we should be aware of what we wear and what kind of impression our clothes give. When I was in HS my prom date thanked me for wearing a modest dress. My mother and I had quite a challenge finding it so I was impressed that he thought to mention it. My date was attractive, popular even though he didn’t know it, talented, kind, and one of the best examples of a great young man I have ever known. I cared about what he thought.
    When I think of how I should dress I reflect on the teaching that our bodies are sacred like the temple. I love to look at the temple! It is beautiful. The architecture and landscape accentuate its beauty. When I see the temple I want to become more acquainted with what goes on inside. I want to be near the temple. Does the way I present myself have the same effect? Does what you wear compliment you, your body and virtue or detract from it? I feel it is OK to dress to attract the opposite sex. The question is who do you want to attract? The tear free jeans, hiking boots or tennis shoes, and conservative tops I wore in college seemed to have sent a clear message. I married a man who loves the outdoors and thinks I look good in camo. He’s also a good husband, father and worthy priesthood holder. Just the kind of man I was looking for. I still choose my clothes with him in mind. Women have a lot of power and how we dress reflects how we use that power. Look at any store magazine and compare what the women are wearing to a church magazine or even an article with the newlywed royals. The way a woman dresses shows how she uses her influence. So the question we can put to our youth what kind of influence do you want your appearance to have?

    Thanks Natalie for the great comments.

    Science Teacher Mommy- I am a Harry Potter fan and any book or movie that illustrates good friendships, values a person’s life and soul, is brilliantly creative, encourages positive family relationships and is as fun as Harry Potter deserves to be popular. Plus I love the overall fact that Lily Potter’s goodness and her love for her son and friends ultimately conquers evil.

  83. Thanks for the pointers. A little googling helped me find the original interview. When I taught seminary, I heard way too much stuff like this without attribution, and when I tried to get to the bottom of it, there was no bottom to it. (You know, “generals in heaven,” “nine inch nails,” that sort of thing.). I’m glad to know that this one is for real.

  84. I don’t think Emma Watson is a good example of modesty. She says she’s uncomfortable in a mini-skirt, but she had no problem filming that scene in HP7 part 1 where she was wearing no shirt at all. Why didn’t she give this speech to the director? It is Emma Watson’s immodesty in that scene that made the movie inappropriate for my son who is a fan of the books.

  85. Adam, if you can point to where I said EMMA is implying that is a woman’s most important feature, I’ll try to find where else I might be misunderstanding what others are saying.

    Because from what I remember, I said it was unfortunate she couched modesty in terms of sexiness, and that a down side of that is that it reinforces the prevailing view of women as objects. Not at all what you are saying.

  86. HI Silver rain, ( great name) I wholeheartedly agree with you that we want to be loved for many things, our looks being only one of them, and not the primary one. However, it is important to realize that sex and physical attractiveness are equally as important as any of the other things, not secondary to them, and that loving you for your looks is going to be and should be important for any and EVERY man. This does not mean that we have to look a certain way, a way someone else dictates. We only need to be beautiful to that man, just like he needs to be beautiful to us. Most interest from any good man is going to include AT LEAST as much sexual interest in you as in anything else about you.Certainly a romantic relationship can blossom in the absence of a sexual element, especially in circumstances where it were not possible,and can last for a lifetime without it. But admiring your appearance and sexuality IS one of MANY CENTRAL PARTS of a romantic relationship when it is at its most perfect and will be in the eternities.Without that it is by definition not a romantic relationship. Sometimes women underestimate the connection a man makes between the intellectual, emotional and physical aspects of a relationship. I am simply saying that you CANNOT SEPARATE THEM, nor should we try. If he really likes you he is going to think about your lips or your hair, and work to not think about more intimate things even while he is enjoying your clever wit, thoughtful comment, spiritual insight or inherently modest nature. Later in your marriage, you giving a great talk, or telling him about some intellectual book you read, or resolving a problem together or you landing a high profile job is going to make him want to have sex with you right away!I am neither making excuses for a mans focus on sexuality or suggesting it is a weakness. It is simply a biological fact, a divine part of a perfect plan that when it is at its best works beautifully well. Give a guy who loves your legs a chance. It may take him longer than you would like to notice anything else, but that is not seeing women as objects, not a comment on his potential as a mate, his worthiness as a priesthood holder or anything else. Just a biological predisposition. He is not like you and that is a very good thing. A propensity for males to objectify women in general society does not mean that sexual interest from a good man in wholesome ways and circumstances is always objectivication ( did I make up that word?). I am of course not talking here about inappropriate or excess focus on sexuality, which some people obviously struggle with and which I hope you have not experienced from a date.But he can be a good priesthood holder and worthy and interesting companion and still be struggling not to focus on that first kiss on every date you go on until it happens. It is meant to be that way.

  87. Natalie: Just a biological predisposition.

    I’m going to have to disagree. As a psychological constructivist, I believe that we, as men, set the temperature of our own thoughts, desires, and temptations. We can choose to see non-physical qualities first, and legs second. Biological fatalism, the idea that men honestly can’t help but notice looks first because it is genetically hardwired is quite a dangerous idea.

    But he can be a good priesthood holder and worthy and interesting companion and still be struggling not to focus on that first kiss on every date you go on until it happens. It is meant to be that way.

    I also disagree with this. Men aren’t mean’t to be preoccupied with physical affection, or to make that their focus when initiating a relationship.

  88. Thank you, ldsphilosopher! Beautifully said. (And gives me hope that I’m not seeking the unattainable.)

    Natalie, you, like so many others on this thread, are arguing against something I never said, never implied. In fact, I’ve explicitly stated that physicality is something I recognize as important, and my relationships won’t suffer from neglect in THAT realm if I can do anything about it.

    Saying that sex shouldn’t be a woman’s greatest defining characteristic, or physical attractiveness her primary concern, in no way means that sex is dirty, or unimportant. It means that we, as a society, have inflated its importance WAY beyond propriety. I begin to believe that even in the church, we elevate it beyond divine intent. It is to ease relationship building, not cause it!

    And when we do so, we doom both women and men to unhealthy relationship expectations.

    Being objectified is something I have experienced in all my romantic male relationships. Especially my ex-husband. It has caused scars that I battle solely on the merits of a few good men I know and their relationships with their wives. This is how I know it is possible, and why I keep faith in men despite no personal experience as yet.

    These men have taught me that it is worthwhile not to settle for being some man’s gratification, but to wait for one who wants me as his partner. In EVERY sense of the word.

  89. Like it or not, the first impression made on a new acquaintance is based on physical appearance. If a woman is clean, groomed, and modestly dressed, she is much more appealing to *most* other people than if she is unkempt, pierced and/or tattooed, or sluttily dressed – regardless of the seeming paparazzi-fed popularity of most of the “stars and celebrities” who display the latter example. Think Lindsay Lohan. On the other hand, I think the actress Nicole Kidman is a prime example of being well-groomed and modest. I’ve never seen her act in a part where nudity was displayed, and I know I’ve never seen her wear anything that – while not necessarily up to LDS standards – was not classy and modest.

    In fact, I think that the word “classy” is what everybody on this blog site is trying to describe. Classy is sexy, but modestly so. Classy provides a positive first impression, while also providing others an incentive to want to get to know that person better. Classy implies having and being more than meets the eye, so to speak.

  90. To follow up on Jeff T’s #97, we must think about how the most perfect man, the Savior, acted when he was alive. Do we imagine him as being biologically predisposed to having certain thoughts? Well, it is possible that before he learned complete self-control (he did learn grace upon grace after all) that there was a short period when he could not control his thoughts as well as he would have liked. But by the time of his ministry, this was clearly not the case. His biology was not in control of him, he was in control of his biology. So to hold up our hands and say, “there’s nothing we can do, it’s just biology” is, it seems exactly the wrong lesson to learn. A better lesson is: “I know what my biology is urging me to do, but I can learn to control it.” I’m not saying it is easy, but this should nevertheless be the goal.

  91. Holy cow has this thread veered into strange territory.

    So along with too tight, too short and too much cleavage popping up at church, we had the “half dressed” look appear. Somehow we’ve come to associate the barely there look with being sexy. Has anyone else noticed how much better our men look when dressed for church, than the women these days?

    How depressing.

    If we follow For The Strength of Youth, and we wear clothes, and TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO WEAR CLOTHES (FROM BIRTH!!!) that COVER the garment

    Wow. No where in For The Strength of Youth does it say our children should only wear clothing that would cover garments. Please stop trying to make children sexual objects by treating them as adults.

    Emma Watson is not LDS, any of you that are disappointed because she is not holding up some standard that I’m guessing she has never heard of are coming off as a little bit out there. She has a standard of modesty that she feels she is keeping. Period. If you don’t like some actress that has probably never heard of Mormons not acting like a Mormon, then stop watching her movies.

    It is Emma Watson’s immodesty in that scene that made the movie inappropriate for my son who is a fan of the books.

    How old is your son, because I’m shocked it was one scene and not the extreme violence in some of these films that made it inappropriate.

  92. Adam, if you can point to where I said EMMA is implying that is a woman’s most important feature, I’ll try to find where else I might be misunderstanding what others are saying.

    Because from what I remember, I said it was unfortunate she couched modesty in terms of sexiness, and that a down side of that is that it reinforces the prevailing view of women as objects.

    If she’s not implying this, then there’s no particular reason to think that her comments are unfortunate. Unless you take the view that sexiness is inherently bad and objectifying, which I understand that you aren’t.

    I’m going to have to disagree. As a psychological constructivist, I believe that we, as men, set the temperature of our own thoughts, desires, and temptations. We can choose to see non-physical qualities first, and legs second. Biological fatalism, the idea that men honestly can’t help but notice looks first because it is genetically hardwired is quite a dangerous idea.

    I strongly disagree, both from experience and because the idea that the body is just a tool for the spirit is theologically wrong, even dangerous.

    I also disagree with this. Men aren’t mean’t to be preoccupied with physical affection, or to make that their focus when initiating a relationship.

    Preoccupied is your term, not hers. You are distorting the view you are opposing in describing it, which is more sophistical than philosophical. You also don’t supply any argument. Why is it wrong that physical attraction starts relationships? I see no compelling reason.

  93. I strongly disagree, both from experience and because the idea that the body is just a tool for the spirit is theologically wrong, even dangerous.

    When did I say that? Saying that we have the power to choose what we first notice about others, and rejecting biological determinism, doesn’t in any way make the body less significant or “just a tool.”

  94. It seems to me that the medium of a chat room facilitates talking in circles and seeing differences where few exist. Misunderstood nuances that would be corrected in a moment in real conversation become a focus that is not intended. The more the thread goes on the more I realize that Silver Rain and Idsphilosopher have much more in common with what I am trying to express than otherwise. You are of course both correct that men are not meant to focus on physical affection when initiating a relationship, and that sex should not be a defining characteristic. Neither of which I intended to argue otherwise. Simply acknowledging the hardwired difference in brain chemistry, not insinuating that spiritually mature males do not desire or cannot or do not choose to focus instead on other things much of the time. The complete, balanced and sacred relationships that both you and I describe are attainable, many good men who understand the beautiful balance of partnership are out there, I am married to one who is in every way a partner, and I am sorry that you have not as yet, Silver Rain, met one. I hope that is a reality for you sooner than later. I am sure Emma Watson has not given the subject half as much thought – which is why maybe we all should not have really cared what she thought or said!:) Have a good day!

  95. Silver Rain (63) I love how stating that a woman’s physical appearance should not be her primary attraction gets twisted into body hatred.

    I was more extending it into a general trend I’ve noticed in the Church. There really is a lot of disparaging of the body. Also while I fully agree attractiveness shouldn’t be the primary attraction I think for younger people we shouldn’t be surprised it is a very important part of attraction. (I think biology pretty well guarantees that) What I think happens is people move from “shouldn’t be primary” to “shouldn’t be important.” Note that I’m not saying you believe that. But I think the rhetoric people use often moves in that direction even if when pressed people will say they don’t believe it. (Much as people sometimes use misogynist rhetoric even though they don’t think women are unequal)

  96. In fact, after briefly going back, there are so many great posts that reinforce my faith that what the gospel teaches about love, marriage, partnership and sexuality is generally understood by many people in ways that contribute to healthy and happy relationships, and that we disagree largely only in semantics. Thanks folks.

  97. Adam G.—Sure there is. Because I believe there is a prevailing cultural pressure for women to make their appearance a primary concern which her comment subconsciously supports.

    As I said originally, I think framing modesty in terms of potential to attract men can be good because it is something most teenaged girls want to do, but bad because it reflects the assumption that girls SHOULD be focused on attracting men. I think there is a plethora of other things more worthy for a girl to focus on, especially at an age when she is developing her personality, than attracting men.

    I’m beginning to think you’re just pot-stirring.

    Natalie—I don’t think that it is “hardwired” into men’s brains any more than it is “hardwired” into women’s brains to use men for financial gain. I just can’t believe that half of the human population has a biological drive to use the other half primarily to further their own purposes. I think that “hardwiring” is actually an archaic operating system created to function in a feudalistic world where women had to be property in order to align inheritance of power with biology, and in order to gain some protection from being raped.

  98. Silver Rain (98) Saying that sex shouldn’t be a woman’s greatest defining characteristic, or physical attractiveness her primary concern, in no way means that sex is dirty, or unimportant. It means that we, as a society, have inflated its importance WAY beyond propriety. I begin to believe that even in the church, we elevate it beyond divine intent. It is to ease relationship building, not cause it!

    I suspect that in generalities most of us commenting actually agree with each other, despite appearances. I also suspect that where we disagree is in applying ideas to actual situations. So I don’t think anyone here is arguing sexual attraction should be the primary importance. However what does that mean in practice? It’s those judgments that I suspect divide us.

    For instance when you say, “it is to ease relationship building, not cause it”, that sounds a little like people shouldn’t ask others out because of an initial physical attraction.

  99. Saying that we have the power to choose what we first notice about others, and rejecting biological determinism, doesn’t in any way make the body less significant or “just a tool.”

    If our decisions and drives are purely a matter of choice and social construction, then the body is an afterthought. The body is a horse, the spirit is the rider.

    Sure there is. Because I believe there is a prevailing cultural pressure for women to make their appearance a primary concern which her comment subconsciously supports.

    How? She said nothing of the kind.

    I think framing modesty in terms of potential to attract men can be . . . bad because it reflects the assumption that girls SHOULD be focused on attracting men.

    I don’t see how. As I noted above, reframing a standard in terms of the reasons for breaking the standard is a common rhetorical move. It neither implies that girls should *focus* on attracting men nor even that they *should* want to attract men. Merely that the girls that are dressing immodestly are probably doing it because they *want* to attract men.

  100. I did not mean for you to interpret a mention of chemical difference in biology which increases sexual desire as a need to use, manipulate or dominate. Neither were my comments intended to strike at things personal to you. You and I have obviously had very different experiences with men, and I cannot relate to your standpoint from personal experience. I have felt valued and respected by most men I meet in my romantic, family, community, business and church affairs. Outside of romantic relationships, where acknowledgement of appreciating my looks is I feel entirely appropriate, I have never felt in any serious interaction with a male whos opinion I valued that my looks or sexuality were being inappropriately noticed or connected in any way to who I am as a person.I am sorry that that is not your experience with more men and hope that it is better in the future. I probably won’t comment any more since I need to return to my focus on my life in order to keep a balanced relationship:) Thanks again.

  101. Silver Rain (107) it reflects the assumption that girls SHOULD be focused on attracting men.

    I don’t see why that’s a bad assumption. Ditto for men attracting women. Indeed I think a lot of people would be better off if they were a bit more mature in this regard in their early 20′s. Once again they shouldn’t do it to the detriment of other important things to develop such as education, more general social skills, charity, hobbies etc.

    Now if you are simply noting that many girls, even within the Church, seem to have few interests other than boys then I’m not sure I’d agree. If you mean girls within even the Church don’t focus enough on charity, on developing hobbies, sports and the like then I’d probably agree wholeheartedly. I think too many girls seem to just deal with superficial things. For some reason this is less prevalent among boys, although heaven knows there are plenty of those that seem to care about nothing but TV, movies and video games. Part of our Church education is ideally about developing more “whole spectrum” people for both boys and girls. Although honestly the most important factor in that development are parents.

  102. I have to agree with most of you. Modesty is big. Women get away with being immodest although it makes them look dirtier or unkept. Men just look stupid withan open shirt cleavage showing short hot pants shorts. Men look foolish if they were to dress the way some women dress. but the media does say a lot. for a while men didn’t pluck their eyebrows and wear base now more do they even polish their fingernails. The lines betwenn gender is being emeshed like in Greek Roman days when the world was about to be destroyed tatoos are big. Yes permanent makeup is just a tatto. polical correctness is such a joke on this to validate and cosmetic surgery for vanity and age is vain too. fake baking even dying gray out. dying hair and tinting for fun is vanity and what is given to us whether we regognize it r nt is by Hoolywood. they say gray is out. Youthism is in and everyone with gray hair that dyes it has a low self esteem, low self worth. they feel they are not good enough or their partners are not good enough if they have grey hair. Vanity comes before toxins on the skin and breathed in, vanity becomes a time sponge buying product or time to get it down gas, transportation, vanity come beofre that money going to the poor or dontions to schools, fam vacation budget, education budget, helping a neighborhood senior couple or any couple. nails pure vanity with all the colors adding on smells crziness. who made people feel so inadequate that anthing other than natural is ugly. We are talking beyond grooming. people shave it’s hygiene. But adding toxins and paying someone to graffti our bodies is hollywood. these crazy hair colors and haircuts, surgeries. people get eye lifts while the rest of the face is going down get a whole lift and there is no plumpness in the skin. They actually look like modern day frankesteins. some even use dead peoples parts to make plumpness to their face. Vanity has become sick. since when was torn up clothes attractive. Who told MEDIA. why doew anyone want to imitate the people who have the most corrupt, mixed lives people in the world. EXPOSURE, Vise seen to often is embraced. Turn the TV and CABLE off Don’t buy the gossip and cosmos and hair mags. Don’t buy the influence of those that are having you pay to look a certain way they need to make people think that is how they look and feel better so they can empty our pocket of money. It is the emperors New Clothes game. don’t buy into it. the sales pitch comes to right through the media. just turn it off and getout of the brainwashing and grooming.People do these things to feel better and they feel worse. More people need more meds prescribed are self medicating then ever, more people are seeing therapist more than ever. These media prescriptions for feeling IN or beautiful or empowered arent the way

  103. Oh, if only she had stopped talking after she gave such an awesome quote regarding modesty. Later on in the same article she said, “I might be willing to take my clothes off for a Bernardo Bertolucci film, if it was a part that really made sense as part of my character. But I wouldn’t do it just to make a point, to move on from Hermione.” Epic Fail, Emma. She’s just another Hollywood actress that will get Ames for art’s sake.

  104. To Ana: “Everyone with gray hair that dyes it has a low self esteem, low self worth, etc.”? That’s just one of the extremes that you are ranting about. The first thought that came to mind was even the prophet stated that one pair of earrings (money spent on “vanity” as you call it) was okay. They didn’t come out and go on about low-self esteem if you wear more than one, etc. There are a lot of generalizations in your post. Not all men and women have these problems. Be more positive about the world in general and you’ll be a lot happier!

  105. While I disagree with her, I think Emma Watson’s point is that there is fundamentally a difference between acting to be sexy versus acting to portray a person. Just as we might agree there’s a big difference between a model being nude within a medical photo to teach doctors. Now I disagree with Watson on this point because I don’t think we can divorce our sexual nature that much. That is I think all film is basically entertainment – even films attempting to be more meaningful.

    So I think it important when critiquing her to at least realize that she can be consistent in her views about modesty while thinking there are situations where nudity is appropriate. As an actress she unsurprisingly puts a huge value on “communicating the human condition” which frankly most of us probably don’t value that highly.

  106. to the 2nd ana. I see you have strong feelings about vanity. I recall one of the Bretheren in regards to makeup saying that even a barn door looks better painted. I’ve always taken that to mean that a bit of upkeep ( a little makeup maybe some hair color enhancement) is fine to do.
    As for Emma, I hope her sense of modesty continues to grow. I hope that her statement, which I understand is that she feels wearing styles with more skin coverage is better than many of the less covering clothes that are popular, encourages young women, and even young men, to think modesty is cool!! (or whatever word youth say today.) I sincerely hope we never see her in a role that is less than she is. I have been dissapointed in the past with young actresses who previously had very modest roles then they get a little older and bare it on the big screen or play roles with low morals. She seems to be smart enough to figure it out.

  107. This topic has hit a cord with me. As a woman and a mother of daughters I have often struggled with the ideas of beauty, modesty and sexuality.

    I do not believe that the lord intends for women to display themselves as objects of lust. Clothes that reveal too much skin or curves are worn to attract lustful and covetous behavior. Neither true love nor true admiration can or will result.

    The word “sexy” is the adult version of beautiful these days. If you are a beautiful woman that must mean that you are sexy. it is almost impossible to separate the two terms.

    Emma Watson is a celebrity with more pressure to fit a particular stereotype than most. I appreciate her desire to be modest and hope that other young women will do the same.

    True beauty is more than appearance. It is a character trait that comes from within and does not change with styles and trends. It is the result of refinement, dedication and endurance that are expressed subtly in a modest wardrobe.

  108. Please, I think this topic has been hounded to death.

    We all recognize, I think, that in today’s world “sexy” means “SEXy”, not “beautiful or classy” for a great many/majority of people (notice I said a great many/majority, not ALL.) Let’s not get into splitting hairs and getting philosophical about the interpretation of each word. That reminds me of the Supreme Court and how they have taken the Constitution and trampled all over it the past 100 years because they took it upon themselves to interpret specific words until the words have become virtually unrecognizable now. As the founders stated, we should accept the common and general meaning of the word, and not interpret and reinterpret.

    Fact is – men and women are different, men are attracted to sexy, men are influenced by sexy, and so are women. We each have our agency as to whether or not we control that within ourselves.

    It IS refreshing to see a YOUNG, MODERN, ACTRESS stand up for modesty (to any degree really) and I am happy that Emma Watson has done so. Is it perfect LDS standards? No. But then again, she’s not LDS. And as LDS ourselves, we have a greater responsibility to teach higher standards than Emma’s to our children, and exemplify them as well. There are a few others who have stood up for modesty as well, and not just young women. Hurray for them! Good still exists in this world when people listen to their inner heart. :)

  109. I liked seeing this statement by Emma Watson.

    I do wish she’d take it a step further and not actually *pose* for the types of photos and dress in the types of clothes that she says make her uncomfortable and confused.

    This is really less about Emma, though, and just more about my feelings about how too often men and their focus on sex are blamed for the sexualization of women. The reality is that women are the ones saying yes to the photos that continue to sexualize and objectify women. I wish more models, stars, etc. would see the power they have to make an impact and just. say. no.

  110. @jjohnsen: I find it sad that you equate teaching our children to cover those ‘garment areas’ of their bodies to treating them as adults and as sex objects. I’ve rarely seen a more twisted thinking pattern. We HAVE been taught that we need to teach our children modesty from birth, and we have been taught to teach them to cover the “garment areas” from their youth, so that when they finally do enter the temple, they will be accustomed to covering their bodies in the way they should. Research the subject further. I can’t tell you how many times mothers go into the temple here and IN the temple they show their daughters how to “tuck” or “pin” or otherwise “hide” the garment, so that they can wear the immodest wedding dress (immodest according to the Lord’s terms, not ours). And the temple matron has had to each time come and have a little talk with them about it. Now THAT is sad. Trying to make the garment fit their wardrobe, instead of making their wardrobe fit the garment. I think that teaching my daughters to cover their ‘garment areas’ from birth is teaching them modesty, and the place where I got the idea from in the first place was general conference. And no, I’m not going to quote it, because it would take forever to find which one. If you are that interested in finding out, then you can do the looking up.

  111. michelle—Do you think most of the women realize they have a choice? The culture of catering to men’s sexuality is so ingrained, I’ll bet most of them don’t even think to question it. Or if they do, they think THEY are the ones who are aberrant.

    Especially in absence of something like the Church giving them another message.

  112. I had an eye opening experience…a night and day experience…when I was in college about 15 years ago. I started out going to BYU Idaho (then called Ricks) and followed the dress code of modesty while I went there. I am not trying to brag about myself but rather make a point, that while I was there, I was asked on lots of dates with different guys. When you’re modest, people get to know the real YOU. Well, later I came home and finished college in my home state (which was not a church school and had no modesty standards). I continued to dress modestly, and no one noticed me. All eyes went on the girls with the immodest clothing. It helped me appreciate crossing the street and going to Institute where I knew I would be respected for who I was. Now I have 4 kids (3 of them are daughters), and although we live in a community where there are not many LDS, they still where modest clothes and don’t think twice about it. It helps them feel comfortable and they can just be themselves. I think it’s important for women to not SEEK the attention of others based on their appearance but to realize that the opinions who matter most are a) Heavenly Father and Jesus, b) themselves, and c) people who actually hold a high respect for others.

  113. This whole discussion is a lesson in semantics; “sexy” vs. “attractive”. I was watching a cooking show the other day and the chef added some special garnish to make the finished creation “sexy”. Huh?!?

    I hope Emma did say this, and I would like to know the source as well. I really wish her the best, and hope that she can continue to strive to be attractive instead of sexy.

  114. Especially when it comes to publicity shots like parties, photocalls, and premieres Emma has worn some sketchy outfits but she is all around a good person. She seems to have a lot of manners unlike some of the young stars that people model themselves after. As to the comment on her co-stars, Daniel Radcliffe has actually made a good decision in his life. He confronted an issue with alcohol and with the help of his family/friends was able to stop drinking all together. As far as I’ve watched and read he doesn’t plan on drinking anymore and he has mentioned getting help to stop smoking. I think that’s great. Steps like these are more welcome to me than someone who just doesn’t care to have any standards at all.

  115. SilverRain,

    I think Emma’s comment shows that women have gut feelings about this. I can recall another interview I read that was similar. But at some point, imo, the words to me are half-cocked if the actions don’t follow. We need a few strong, high-profile women in our culture (outside of the Church) who are willing to say no to show that it’s ok to do so. I think she can get there. It’s a great first step to actually say something. I know it’d be hard, but I have to believe that there are women strong enough to do this. Otherwise, I think the assumption is that women are stuck, helpless victims — and it’s all the men’s fault. I cannot believe that is truth. Women are part of this culture and part of who is feeding the culture.

    That said, it makes me all the more grateful for the Church and its standards. (And all the more frustrated that our own people criticize the standards of modesty that we have.)

  116. I think that could be cool if it’s possible.

    I think writing blog posts is a good way, too. Maybe she’ll see the buzz she’s created and feel some strength to do/say more.

  117. I really like this! It’s so refreshing to have someone like Emma Watson stand up for something that is good when so many people are stressing to do the opposite. I am thankful for a proper roll model for my girls, especially when there are so few in the media and Hollywood.

  118. I’m LDS and I personally feel really uncomfortable when girls dress immodestly. Nothing makes me feel better than when i see my friends that are girls dress modestly. I went to EFY last year and this year and both years we did this thing called the virtue tunnel where the young men lined the halls and waited for the young women to get out of the class they were in and once they came out and started walking down the halls, we started clapping for them, and i had several young women come up to me. this was what our conversation was like. “thanks for clapping for me. it made me feel really good.” “I should be the one thanking you.”why?” “for dressing modestly. It’s so nice to know that girls can be beautiful but modest at the same time.”

    Thanks Emma(aka Hermione)

  119. I am actually glad to see this article because I am Mormon. Yesterday, I watched the last Harry Potter movie and the only part that I did not like was the scene where Emma Watson is showing immodesty as everyone stopped in mid air. I won’t say anything more for those who may not have seen it yet.

  120. Well not that it means any less, good for her, but where was this quote in HP 7pt1? Haha she is really pretty though.

  121. YES! I was so happy to read a lot of these remarks, (Silverrain, Mooali, and others) however, what I was most happy about was Jake’s:

    He said “I’m a bit concerned that I’m seeing here something that is a problem (replacing a problem with another problem) in mormon culture at large. Namely teaching them enmity toward their own sexuality. Instead of teaching them to reign it in and control it, we teach them to crush it, strangle it and repress it. I don’t think this is a solution, and is merely shifting the problems into their future, adult lives. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard of disastrous mormon wedding nights, and it’s always caused by this kind of mindset. The result of countless parents and YW leaders taking the easy route and essentially saying, “sexuality, sexual desire, and sexiness are all BAD.” This kind of carpet-bombing approach to teaching moderation and limits is not only lazy but both dangerous and damaging.

    Our sexuality is an essential characteristic of who we are as human beings.”

    As a family therapist, I have been asked to speak at 2 wards re: Intimacy and the “Good Girl Syndrome” (See Laura Brotherson’s book “And they were not ashamed”). This is a serious issue which can be destructive to many marriages. Please, lets be sure to teach our youth about ALL THE GOOD plus all the GREAT about sexuality and how modesty plays into that, ALONG with the fact that to get all that greatness, one must have sex in the right circumstances, which our beliefs are as married individuals.

    There is such discomfort with the “sexual” part of ourselves, that there are even divorces occurring because the wife says “I am done having kids, so I am done having sex”. Surely this is NOT what the Lord has planned for families.

  122. One thing that most people here have overlooked in this discussion of modesty/sexiness is that Emma discusses in this quote (which I first heard on NPR) her discomfort with the media’s push for her to change her image. It’s not just about sexuality (though that is right at the core) the constant push is for her to look more “trendy” or to better fit that Hollywood mold that sells so well on the supermarket magazine stand. We know that we need to teach our children (and train ourselves) to dress modestly and keep our behavior within reasonable and acceptable bounds. We must also develop (and help our children to develop)the self-confidence, self-love and self-control to stick to those standards and we should be prepared to maintain them in times of duress or extreme temptation.

    Folks are gnashing their teeth at the fact that Ms. Watson has said that there might be circumstances where a nude scene might be acceptable to her. I say Kudos to her for thinking things through and giving this problem some serious consideration early in her career. I would tend to agree with her that there are situations in art where nudity or more revealing costuming can be valuable in art. (And I do consider some film Art) Without going into details that some may scoff at or jump to inappropriate conclusions about, I was helped through a very difficult and dangerous time in my life when I enrolled in a paired series of dance & drawing classes. We used live, nude models for drawing class and attended many dance performances, some of which used costuming that was not “modest” according to temple standards. The truths I learned about the beauty and balance and strength inherent in the divinely created human body were essential to my healing process and I would not have been able to see what our teachers were trying to show us with draped or spandex covered models. My testimony of our divine parentage was strengthened and my commitment to and understanding of the law of chastity was deepened.

    Yes. Healthy sexuality and self-image for boys and girls is constantly under attack. A good question we could ask ourselves is how can we learn and teach the appropriate joy in and respect for our beautiful bodies in this hostile environment? Prudery is not the best answer, especially in a society where we literally need a bag over our heads if we don’t want to see cleavage. Ms. Watson’s thoughts and actions may not live up to all of our standards but she gives us an interesting place to start the conversation in our own homes.

  123. To Mrs. Beorning, thank you souch for your post!!! Art has ways of bypassing defenses. I am so glad you were able to have those experiences and share them here.

  124. Good quote! I thought that it was really inspirational. That should be published in a magazine.
    Don’t know which one but, I think that was a real statment to all women not to expose
    yourself to make you and other people happy. You shouldn’t relay on other people to
    choose what to wear. That is always good for people who do relay on other people and
    that will help lead them in the right direction.

  125. Modesty means not showing it off, whether its good looks, money or whatever.

    Modesty is a way of showing gratitude and humility, knowing it’s not because we’re “All that” but because it is a gift from a loving heavenly father that can help us relate to those who may be attacted by nothing else at first and giving us a chance to break down the barriers which might bring someone closer to Christ.

    Being LDS clearly means being more than just a pretty face.

    “there is no beauty that we should desire Him” Mosiah 14:2

    Yet there is no one we desire more

  126. Lindz, That is a great point. I briefly forgot about the full meaning of modesty. Emma Watson is modest to the full extent. She went to a public university, doesn’t wear expensive clothing (that I am aware of), and she isn’t into herself.

  127. Thanx. Being a big Harry Potter fan I feel really close to Emma (and Hermione…just read about her being knocked unconscious at the ministry of magic when they went to try to save Sirius. Poor thing.). I wouldn’t say she was a perfect example of modesty but she does seem to want to stand for causes other than just herself (am I talking about Emma or Hermione?).

    I think the best way to attract someone who is modest, humble and meek is to be that way yourself and the best way to become like that is to pattern your life after The Savior.

    He who humbleth himself shall be exalted and he who exalteth himself shall be abased.

    The Lord said not to hide ourselves under a bushel but he said we were candles not blaring spotlights.

    Not that I don’t want someone who’s all that, just that she shouldn’t feel the need to have to prove it to everyone. Heavenly Father already knows all of my strengths, my job is to focus on getting rid of my weaknesses.

  128. Y’all realize this is an utter hoax, right? Sure, she says one thing, but have you seen the red-carpet pictures?

  129. Such scepticism queuno.

    I feel the same though prettymuch whenever I see someone famous doing something good for society. Like are they doing it out of the goodness of their hearts or just to be seen of men.

    Just have to give them the benefit of the doubt I guess.

    Maybe Emma will be a poster girl for modesty from now on.

  130. When did Emma say this? I am just curious, there has been a bit of back lash about this. I think that this is an awesoem statement for modesty in an age where woman allow them selves to be objectified. and even in her immoddesty she is MUCH more modest than most

  131. The most important part of Miss Watson’s statement is that it is not sexy to bare all. When women walk around like that it cheapens it and makes it common place, not special. Men and women were made by God to be attracted to each other. Proper restraint, control should be used. Women should dress modestly, femininely, and attractively (ie. makeup applied with good taste) Call it sexy if you must, but a woman who is dressed modestly does have an allure.

  132. I think that the word “sexy” needs to be substituted all together. Wanting to be “sexy” means wanting the opposite gender to notice you, to want you. In ways that are not pure. I think “sexy” has become confused with “attractive.” And attractiveness comes not only from physical appearance and dress, but more so from CONFIDENCE in one’s self. Knowing who you are, where you come from, what you believe and where you want to go. THAT’S what makes “attractiveness” exude from your very being. When we find that confidence, we will get the positive attention necessary for finding our celestial partner. And we’ll find friends and other companions in this life that will only help sustain and support that confidence in ourselves through their own examples.

  133. In case you a wondering, this is a very old news article on Emma Watson. She doesn’t practice what she preaches. You can see all kinds of pictures of her wearing almost nothing all over the internet. She should not be used in any way as a role model for anyone. Her skimpy clad body shouts volumes.

  134. Emma’s clothes aren’t that bad, and for someone outside of the gospel, I still think it’s cool for her to have said that. We can’t hold her to the same standards as someone in the church, and it seems like most people here are. I applaud her for speaking up about this. She’s not perfect, but no one is. And, as a side note, she still wears a lot more fabric than most celebrities these days.

  135. Mek, you are completely right. I was one of those people who held her at the same standards as me. I’m sorry to you and to Emma. It means a lot when someone outside of the church is declaring modesty. Thank you for showing me the error of my ways.

  136. I really like what she says. It makes it more important to feel that what a woman wears feels right to her, looks right, and fits properly. If clothes do those things, she will, indeed, feel beautiful and confident. And hey, she needs to feel that way for herself anyhow, not for the men. Since when is the world a meat market? When a woman feels beautiful for herself, she can feel confident enough to decide with whom to favor her time and interest.

  137. So after reading many and skimming many more comments it is obvious that men and women have mostly differing views on the subject, and for some reason women tend to perceive the world as only valuing their appearance and ability to be sexy and men tend to downplay it as part of life, so obviously there are some issues that need to be resolved between genders and in a woman’s perception of their bodies and how men perceive them, and what men really do perceive and how this all fits into an eternal perspective, etc…

    And Satan has a way of twisting everything in this life to make two almost agreeing views seem to be against each other and not reach an understanding to keep the downward spiral and animosity. He will do everything he can to make women feel devalued and men feel like they shouldn’t be attracted to the opposite gender or to be too attracted, etc…To perpetuate the opinion that men should do the desiring and women be desired only…Make the media appear to control self esteem and standards and individual worth, etc…make men unhappy with what is “normal” and seek something that is airbrushed and unnatural (at least in a woman’s mind), etc…Make it seem that anyone who looks nice is actually trying to draw attention, and so to go the opposite extreme by avoiding anything “nice” like makeup or well fitted clothes, shaving altogether, etc…The list can go on and on, on the way things get twisted and distorted in both genders’ minds and attitudes.

    Sorry if that was confusing…I wish I could consolidate the ideas. Mainstream of the church is the best policy, bridling your passions, and dressing in a way that brings out the best in you and others following FSOY (not just for youth but new version out!) and leadership of the church guidelines. And not making being attractive such a horrible thing. Hard to teach our youth and ourselves in our relationships and form afar for sure!

  138. Its good to see Emma speak out on Modesty…A postive role model to be sure for girls. Its too bad that there aren’t more like her..then they would put the lady gaga’s of the world intoa box to be forgotten by time.

  139. I haven’t read all of the comments, but a thought came to me that I think should sum this all up. The problem with modesty/immodesty philosophies in my opinion lies in the question of how a girl wants to get the attention of men for friendship and dating purposes. It is so simple. If she wants to attract a man who has sex on his mind, she will dress for that purpose. There is an abundance of men that look for bodies – in which case it is unlikely that friendship and genuine love will develop, and very likely that dissapointment and sorrow will develop.

    On the other hand, if she wants to attract men with desires for friendship and good relationships on their minds, she is better off NOT looking like she is ready for the bedroom. There are plenty of ways to look great without flaunting that which puts a body and sex on the minds of the men that see her. Dressing modestly will significantly reduce the risk of getting men with the wrong thing on their minds. Doing so will show that she respects herself in other ways beyond her body. Doing so will instill more confidence in herself as an attractive person in ways that really matter – ways that overwhelmingly outlast the ability to give temporary moments of pleasure.

    I believe that all women want a lasting and loving relationship. They just too often go about it the wrong way because of today’s worldly influences that are everywhere. Every woman is way better off showing her sexuality ONLY in a committed relationship akin to a marriage contract. I just wish every woman could understand that reality.

    And as a “PS”: I am so happy to be a member of the Church under the guidance of men and women who receive inspiration from God to know what is really right in this matter. It is so worth it to wait however long it takes to have a solid, respectful relationship. I am blessed to have had this privilege now for almost 40 years with 9 children to show for it! I my only attraction when I met her was her good nature and smile and ways of friendship with not even a hint of body or sex from her. But all that came along very well later as you might guess – after marriage.

  140. I commend all of you on your statements here on this subject of Emma Watson and her views of “sexy”. Being in the public eye myself, I find it hard to find something modest to wear at 50ish, let alone for my granddaughters. In my ward alone, 50% of the women coming to church wear leggings under dresses that are not completely modest. It is hard to find modest clothing to begin with. Emma is a young woman that, of her own admission and desire, has an idea of what modesty is in her world. Because of her status, she is put into a position many times where she cannot live what she believes. She is expected to still honor a contract that was made 10+ years ago, which at times, in public, puts her in a position against her wishes for publicity venues. She is placed at a table by a makeup artist and expected to be changed into what the studio, producers, etc. expect her to look like in public when representing THEIR enterprise.
    Judging her is not our right, even in a forum like this online. Not trying to hurt feelings, but it sounds like some need to repent where that is concerned.
    It is great to see a young woman, on her own, and non-LDS make such a stand on such a contraversal subject to begin with. I recall when I was growing up being told that if I wore clothes that practically showed all that I had or left nothing to the imagination as a lot of performers do today, there was nothing for the young man to entice him or think of me as “SEXY”. In other words, he had seen the whole package and would tire of it quickly because there was nothing left for the imagination. A woman, young or old, more modestly has a better chance at looking “sexy” for several reasons. The man will not be put into a position of distraction and actually pay attention to other attributes that make a woman sexy to a man. The woman will have a better and quicker ability to discern who is real and more suited to her. A relationship based on just looks and not other things that make a woman sexy will not last, especially when it becomes a marriage. Most marriages where modesty and virtue were observed before marriage have an 87% chance of lasting and not ending up in divorce.
    LDSphilosopher – you brought up a clear subject. Most of your commenters don’t come from the world of acting and thought less of her when most of the world around her wouldn’t have such a conviction as she does. I’d like to know who has the courage to send her the booklet, “For the Strength of Youth”? And who would have the courage to write her and let her know how brave and courageous she was to voice her opinion like that. For her to be in the world, she sure has an opinion that shows she is not of this world, just as we LDS are supposed to be doing as well as an example.

  141. A woman, young or old, more modestly dressed has a better chance at looking “sexy” for several reasons.

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