on growing up in a strict modesty culture:
I grew up Pentecostal/Apostolic, and they’re really intense about their jean skirts. You can’t wear tank tops, because you don’t want to show too much skin. For my aunt, her jean skirts were all the way down to her knees. My mom was a little bit nicer, and I could wear normal-length skirts growing up. However, it was always — less skin, the better, because you don’t want to cause anybody else to stumble.
Going to church, and church functions, you could only be on the praise team or help in the nursery if you wore skirts, you didn’t wear makeup, and you didn’t have earrings. It was really ridiculous. It wasn’t until I was in middle school, when I started going to church with my best friends that I was like, ‘Hey, they’re in jeans, and nobody’s lusting.’
on wanting the church to start a dialogue:
I feel like if the church could open up about this, I feel like it would give room to talk about sexuality or let’s talk about egalitarianism. It could open up so many doors to heal a lot of wounds that the church puts a Bandaid on and says, ‘Okay, go! You’re fine! Christ redeems!’ And he does, but you need to allow the time.
I want people, especially at the Pentecostal church that I grew up in, to know that their modesty is not linked to their salvation and who they are. You can wear jeans, and you’re still going to heaven. I don’t want them to be so focused on their outward appearance. Be confident in who you are and be confident as a female in Christ and a male in Christ. Know that you’re a follower of Christ.
on questioning modesty rules:
There came a point where I was just like, ‘Why is it all on me? Why do I have to carry that burden? Shouldn’t they be the “stronger” person and help their sister out and not put everything on us?’
I hated going to church camps, because the guys could be in their swim trunks, looking cute. Girls had to wear basketball shorts and an ugly, nasty white t-shirt. I was like, ‘How is that fair?’ I was in a one-piece; it wasn’t a big deal.
on modesty and self image:
Before college, I figured I had to be modest because I wasn’t pretty enough anyway. So I was like, no big deal — if I was skinny I’d probably be wearing a bikini and flaunting that, but I’m not and it’s fine.
Then college came and I decided that I liked myself. I like my body. Why should I try to hide it? My bellybutton is not going to cause somebody to stumble. My thigh is not. Why is that such a big deal? I don’t like how society has sexualized anything and everything. It’s really sad and really horrible.
But that’s been my whole process — I’m not going to hide myself. I have a body. Guys have bodies. We have bodies. We shouldn’t hide them.