The self-proclaimed “largest community of Christian teen girls on the web!” otherwise known as Project Inspired has a wealth of material for that exact cohort. With beauty tips, polls, books, and advice columns, at first glance the site seems like any other teen girl digital haven. But the site’s “Modest Is Hottest” series, in which staff highlight “modest” gowns on various red carpets as well as “makeover” a celeb lady who transgresses, make for more troublesome reads — and I’m not talking about the copy in the articles. I’m talking about all the crazy double standard, victim-blamy logic that is happening among young girls in the comment threads, all conducted behind the shield of Modesty.
While you can certainly scratch your head at the completely subjective definition of “modesty” being used in this series (it’s pretty inconsistent), the conversation among the readership has even bigger red flags. More compelling than their debates over hemlines and necklines, however, are the recurring and problematic themes of females being the innate gatekeepers of modesty, of undermining their own personal assessments of their bodies because they’re female, and of shouldering responsibility for the behavior of men and boys.
And lest you think these ladies are judging with their body shaming and slut shaming, each of the “Modest is Hottest” posts comes with a double linked disclaimer clarifying the judgey mcjudgerson tone. The site’s creator and model, Nicole Weider, writes in a piece entitled “Why God Instructs Us to Judge Unrighteous Acts”:
I sometimes get comments from readers saying that it’s not very Christian of me to judge other people’s actions — for example, what I say in my Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj article. The majority of my articles focus on positive things, but I have a responsibility as a Christian to point out negative influences and sinful behaviors in our culture. I’m writing this article to explain why and when it’s appropriate to call attention to, and in fact, judge inappropriate and sinful actions and behavior. It’s very important though that you understand that I am never judging the person or their fate, because that is God’s territory. I am judging their harmful actions.
And with that, let’s judge away these “harmful actions” — otherwise known as dresses.
2. Body-shaming! Yay! 3. “If something comes after her, she’s in trouble” 4. “OUR opinion of whether a skirt is too short or not is not what matters” 5. Who bends all the way over in skirts? 6. “The smallest things affect guys more than you’d think” 7. “Do you have any idea what’s like for the poor guy who is trying not to look at you in a lustful way?”8. “It is not wise to judge it based on what YOU as a female think”9. “Help them out a little”10. “We do have a responsibility”