Modesty Survey no image

Published on April 20th, 2007 | by Alex and Brett Harris

Taking Heat for The Modesty Survey's Modesty Survey: RevisitedWhen we agreed to facilitate a co-ed discussion on the subject of modesty, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Hundreds of high school and college age girls submitted questions and over 1,600 guys responded. What was originally intended to be a low-key discussion on Forum became a widely-publicized event — receiving over 500,000 hits in just the first twelve hours of its launch.

Taking Heat for the Modesty Survey

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, but there has also been criticism. The Modesty Survey has made appearances on many prominent feminist blogs and hundreds of their readers have taken the time to visit our website and express their indignation at what they see as sexually-repressed, fundie teens. Andrew Sullivan called the survey “a pale shadow of the kind of strictures in most Islamic countries,” and expletive-laced emails have not been uncommon.

Many people are concerned that the survey focused on female modesty and not male modesty also. For this the survey is accused of being hateful towards women and displaying excessive, biased patriotism towards the male gender. This is, of course, not true. The survey was requested by women, and we have repeatedly expressed our openness to conducting a follow-up survey for guys.

Why We Can’t Do This Every Day

To be perfectly honest, we feel like we just had a baby and are being criticized for having a boy, not a girl, being told we should have had twins, and being asked how soon we’re going to have another (and by golly it had better be a girl this time)!

Just like people don’t have babies every few months (or every nine months), we don’t have time to invest in multiple surveys in a single year. It was an enormous and time-consuming project, just like writing a book. If God wills, we’ll be releasing the results of another survey on St. Valentine’s Day 2008. If we don’t, it won’t be because we didn’t want to, it will because God has something else for us to do.

In the Meantime, Some Clarifications

Alex and I are so glad we facilitated The Modesty Survey. It was (and still is) a great idea that we hope will continue to be a blessing for years to come. For those who actually look at the survey, examine the results, browse the Open Questions, and read our two-part series, The Responsibility of Modesty, the Survey can only come across as a humble plea, not an edict or list of rules.

However, whenever you address a controversial subject like modesty you should expect misinterpretation and offense. For that reason we have prepared a short list of clarifications that address some of the primary objections to the survey:

OBJECTION #1: Men scrutinizing every detail of female dress.

RESPONSE: The survey questions were submitted by Christian teenage and college age women. The guys did not decide to scrutinize every little detail of female dress and design a survey about them. In fact, if guys had written the survey questions you can be sure it would have been much, much shorter. As it was, we cut the 148-question survey down from over 360 submitted questions. It should also be noted that we (and 99% of the guys) had no idea what gauchos, sheer sleeves, or empire waists were before this survey. The items and terms were appropriately photo-illustrated or defined throughout the survey to avoid confusion.

OBJECTION #2: Alex and Brett Harris telling women how to dress.

RESPONSE: Alex and I merely facilitated this conversation. I didn’t even take the survey. We had no control over the results. Our two-part series, The Responsibility of Modesty, and this three-part series, The Modesty Survey Revisited reflect our personal view on the topic. We strongly promote and appreciate modesty, but we do not presume to define it specifically for everyone. There is liberty in Christ for different convictions. The Modesty Survey is not a Rebelution dress code.

OBJECTION #3: Strange men telling women how to dress.

RESPONSE: The way we explain it to our readers is that the results are accurate of what the respondents think, but are not necessarily true of what God desires for men and women in their interaction with one another. It is a resource—a glimpse into the minds of a group of 1,600 men—not a list of rules. There are inaccuracies (on both extremes), but there are also many balanced and reasonable answers. If it is viewed as a resource, not a dress code, you have the freedom to keep the good and disregard the bad.

OBJECTION #4: Placing all the blame on women.

RESPONSE: If you read the responses to the question, “As a guy, what is your responsibility in this area? What is your role in guarding your eyes and mind (as opposed to the women’s role of dressing modestly)?” you will find that 99% of the respondents identify themselves as primarily/entirely responsible for their own lust. And if you read our series, The Responsibility of Modesty, you will see that blaming women is the exact opposite of what the survey is all about.

The Modesty Survey Revisited

As we’ve watched the blogosphere erupt (both positively and negatively) over The Modesty Survey, we’ve recognized the need to clarify the nature and purpose of the project. This three-part series is our attempt at doing that. Over the next few days we will be posting short commentary from our older brother, Joshua Harris, best-selling author of Sex Isn’t The Problem, Lust Is, as well as from Fred Stoeker, best-selling author of Every Man’s Battle and Every Young Man’s Battle.

These men are not 100% enthusiastic about The Modesty Survey — no one should be — rather they bring balanced counsel which warns against the survey’s dangers without discarding the benefits. We hope they will serve you.

Read: From Alex and Brett / From Fred Stoeker / From Joshua Harris

About the Author

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.

  • Cool…very nicely put. I had now idea how far the word of survey had traveled!

    Don’t all those feminist sites realize how superficial us Christians would be if we changed our values all the time to be accepted and respected by others? How superficial we would be if we took their opinion over God’s regarding modesty?

    I’m modest because I don’t want to be a hypocrite…

  • Joshua

    Excellent response. I’m praying for you guys.

  • MegKay

    I was personally very glad to read the results of the survey. Of course, any great cause is bound to upset some people. I think this is a sign that you are doing something right. I am so glad that you had it.

    You are doing an amazing thing, here. Keep it up!

  • Corrie Anna

    I really appreciated the modesty survey. Most of the questions I had never had any problem with, and others I had never even thought of. It’s really caused me to seek the Lord’s opinion of this in my life.

    May God bless you guys, and you’re in my prayers.

  • Mercy joy

    Ahhh, this website is too amazing. :-) I think it’s ridiculous that people are mad about the Survey-I love it-keep up the wonderful work!

  • I just want to encourage y’all in what you do.
    The entire Rebelution project has been such a blessing to me and many of my friends – The Modesty Survey included.

    I agree with what your saying and I disagree with the flack you’ve been getting.

    So, thank you for what you do, and keep it up – it’s awesome.

  • Hey this is awesome. Glad that you all feel this way. There are not many good guys left.

  • Annaka

    God is really doing GREAT and mighty things through you guys! Keep up the good fight, never give. Your in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless=)


  • The Happy Feminist

    Hi, I am one of the feminist bloggers who criticized the modesty survey. [Admin Note: Your criticism was not on the same level of crudity like a few of the other feminist blogs, but some of the comments remain inappropriate for our younger readers, so I have removed the link. Thanks for understanding.]

    I fully appreciate that women and girls requested the survey and asked the questions. But that fact does not change feminist criticisms of the assumptions underlying the survey, nor does it change the unfair burdens and limitations that those assumptions place on the female half of the human race. The REASON girls and women initiated the survey and asked the questions is that the obligations of modesty are widely believed to fall more heavily on girls and women and that it is widely believed to be appropriate for men and boys to weigh in (in minute detail) on how we dress. These beliefs are precisely what I am criticizing. I understand that lip service is paid to male modesty but most conservative Christian blogs, sermons, radio addresses and articles seem to extoll female modesty above all else. The Modesty Surve itself, by its very natyre and regardless of who asked what questions or made what statements, is based on the idea that women have to be excruciatingly conscious of every aspect of their dress and demeanor as we go about their daily lives.

    Girls and women are the ones who are supposed to be worrying all the time about modesty. Of course, they are the ones asking all the questions! What I am criticizing is a belief system that compels girls and women to carry this burden around with them constantly.

    As a feminist, I have no quarrel with the notion of modest dress (although I see it more as a matter of courtesy than morality). I myself choose to dress modestly. But I don\’t agonize over it. I also do not allow men in my life to tell me what they think I should wear. My decisions on what to put on my body seem like a basic matter of self-determination. In addition, if there is a conflict between modesty and my ability to fully and comfortably participate in an activity (such as dance, swimming, and sports), I will always favor full participation in the joys life has to offer.

  • Becky

    Alex and Brett,

    I’m sorry to hear of the flack you’ve been taking, but it’s not unexpected. Satan is not one to stand idle when Christians are laying aside mediocrity and actively seeking the glory of God. Be encouraged – and stand fast in the Lord’s approval!

    – Rebekah

  • I stumbled upon one such blog flaming the Survey. Yikes! The author, as I read further down in the comments, did not adequetely read the Survey questions. Gut-reactions without actually checking the facts.

    I sympathize with you both on the criticism aspect of raising the issue of modesty. Try being a modest and head covering Christian lady who works in an academic environment! You’d think I’d get some much touted “tolerance”.

  • Happy Feminist: Thank you for your comment. I don’t imagine that we shall ever fully agree on this matter, however, I would like to point out that the reason why there is a greater emphasis on modesty for women among Christians is because the Bible specifically commands women to be modest. Men, on the other hand, are commanded to treat the women around them as sisters, with all purity. Both are equally responsible before God for their obedience.

    Again, both for you and for any other ladies who might read or draw from the Modesty Survey, we are not attempting to govern the minute details of dress. We do not seek to govern at all. It is a resource, not a list of rules. And I think the future posts in this series will help clarify that. Thanks again.

  • I was so blessed to read through the survey that it is difficult to believe that anyone would disagree with the proven facts! Even some of my profoundly “liberated” friends couldn’t argue with the immense volume of male voices rising to the call.
    I think, perhaps, that these people who disagree with the survey do not understand God’s calling for men and women as equals in His kingdom, yet equals with honorable, different roles.
    Thank you for rising to the need – this very much real need – in our culture today. May God bless you & continue using you to further His kingdom.

  • Sarah Elizabeth: Thank you so much for your encouragement and support. However, let me remind you (and everyone) that we shouldn’t represent the survey as “proven facts.” It is the honest answers of 1,600 real Christian men—an incredible resource—but as we said in our post, it doesn’t create a “law” or the “facts” of modesty. It is a resource, which allows us to learn and benefit from the good, but also to discard the bad. And the counsel of parents and godly friends is an excellent way to discern that. :)

  • Phoebe

    This is a thank you note to all involved with creating the Modesty Survey. I didn’t have as much to say when the project was new, but I’d like to thank everyone involved for your work.

    To Alex and Brett in particular:

    I am grateful to you guys for your willingness to revisit this topic (which I imagine you’re sick of) and reexplain, ….*reiterate*, ….. RECLARIFY yet again!

    From the beginning, I personally had no doubt that the careful reader of the survey and your accompanying posts would see how hard you worked to be balanced. You have made an effort in every way to “speak the truth in love”

    SPEAK: you saw that this issue needed to be addressed, and you courageously did so.

    THE TRUTH: the truth which you proclaimed and reiterated is that clothing guidelines are NOT a list of rules, but a way to honor God. .. .You continue to proclaim truth about this topic in your post above.

    IN LOVE: always you tried to show that we should love one another regardless of dress, and not judge by the outward appearance. You tried to be encouraging, courteous, and kind, and you were.

    God bless your efforts to (sigh) reclarify!!! Thank you again.


  • To the Happy Feminist,

    I don’t want you to thing this is a big burden for us! We Christians have the Holy Spirit in us that makes us GLAD to obey the word of God. I speak from experience. I don’t think very many Christian girls stress very much about being excruciatingly conscious about what they wear.

    It might seem a bit silly to you, it sure does to most of society, but God gives us a joy in following His way. If God told me to dress like a Muslim, head cover, the whole deal, I would do it gladly just because it is the will of my God.

    Modesty is NOT a burden for us, it’s a privilege…It is one of the many ways we show that we are God’s children and that we love Him over all else.

  • Abigail

    “Never mind who frowns, if God smiles.” (Catherine Booth)

    Dittos to Becky. Praise God for giving you both another wonderful (albiet unpleasant) opportunity to grow as you once again choose to respond to criticism with gentleness and maturity. I’m grateful for you, proud of you, and praying for you.

    ~Abigail 😉

  • Wow. I want to thank you guys for your humble spirit toward this matter, but also for continuing to stand by something the Lord led you to do. I know I’m grateful for the survey, and all of the girls that I’ve showed it to found it very interesting. My advice to you concerning the negative emails that you seem to receive so often is to exercise Jesus’ attitude, “Pray for them which spitefully use you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my name’s sake.” I’m glad that you put it up, and I encourage you to keep on in the way that Christ is leading you.

    If you do put together a survey for the guys, I’d be more than willing to submit some questions.

    Keep up the good work, guys!

  • Jordan Diann

    I too ran into quite a bit of heat and criticism as I helped promote the survey in February. This surprised me at first, because to me the Modesty Survey was like a gift handed to me straight from God. It was what I have been looking for since I first had to start thinking about modesty. As I received critical comments on forums and sites (where I had permission to promote) from both men and women, but mainly women, I began to notice a pattern of “what right do these guys have to tell women how to dress?!”

    What I didn’t get and still don’t get is why these people are seeing it that way. What I love about the survey is, it seems to me, as I read it, that these men aren’t looking at what I’m wearing and saying “take it off!” Instead, I am receiving the opinion, straight from the hearts of 1,600 men on the clothes I wear. The survey isn’t set up to say “yes” and “no” because most articles of clothing aren’t that simply categorized. The survey simple is telling us women what men think when we wear a certain outfit. They are telling us what goes through there mind. Nothing more!

    No matter how much it is the guy’s part to keep himself from lusting, Paul tells us in Romans not to be stumbling blocks for our brothers in Christ. The survey is simply trying to aid us in that calling.

    Thanks Team, once again for spending so many hours putting it together! It is changing the lives and hearts of hundreds, no matter how much criticism it receives.

  • Brittany

    Thanks guys for doing this and obeying God even in the midst of opposition. It was very helpful.

  • A number of scriptures come to mind that indicate you are indeed pursuing a godly life and as a result…it would be ABNORMAL for you not to receive persecution and criticism for doing so!

    Thank you SO much for conducting this survey and keep up the good work. I appreciate your unrelenting pursuit of God and His ways.

  • I just want to say thanks for the Modesty Survey…its been very helpful to have everything laid out in one place. Keep up the good work guys!

  • Very Thankful

    Guys, great response to everything. Thank you soooo much for doing the survey for us girls. It is such a wonderful blessing to be able to serve God and guys in the area of modesty. Praying for you guys! Thank you for keeping Christ at the center of everything you do! God will bless you as you seek to glorify His name! Thanks again! God bless!

  • “a woman’s body is only for her husband”
    What I really meant to say was “a woman’s body is only for sex for her husband”

    Also, where in Scripture does it say that there are certain parts of a woman’s body only her husband should see? That’s another thing many who took the survey seem to think. And when I say many, I mean 70-80% of survey takers. There is Scripture that supports the idea that sex is something that should be reserved for marriage, but not that the sight of certain parts is reserved for marriage.

    Also, “It is a resource—a glimpse into the minds of a group of 1,600 men—not a list of rules. There are inaccuracies (on both extremes), but there are also many balanced and reasonable answers. If it is viewed as a resource, not a dress code, you have the freedom to keep the good and disregard the bad.
    And how do we discern what is good from what is bad? If this is a resource to help our girls help guys, then it should be as correct and godly as possible, right? And this survey has more bad than good as I see it. 75& agree or strongly agree that they have less respect for an immodest girl than a modest one, for instance.

  • Michael Adkins

    Yeah I’ve seen the sort of things you guys probably get. I’ve gotten a bit of it too for posting it on my blog. It seems like some people just get really irrational about the topic and don’t even bother to think it through. Kinda sad really. When I took the survey, I wasn’t thinking of blaming women for my actions. Rather I was just giving an honest response, but it seems that many people count honesty less important than telling people what they want to hear.

  • Margaret: Great questions. Thank you for asking. There are many examples in the Bible about the proper “shame” of public nakedness. One verse about certain parts of the body requiring greater modesty is 1 Corinthians 12:22-24, speaking about the church (the body of Christ) by analogy:

    “On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require.”

    In regards to the Modesty Survey as a resource, let me just tweak a comment I made earlier:

    We shouldn’t represent the survey as being perfect. It is the honest answers of 1,600 real Christian men—an incredible resource—but as we said in the post, it doesn’t create a “law” or the “facts” of modesty. As long as we remember that, we’re free to learn and benefit from the good, but also to discard the bad. And the counsel of parents and godly friends is an excellent way to discern that. :)

  • Margaret: You referred to the question about “respecting an immodest girl less” and we admit that we made a mistake in the way that was phrased. The question should have been, “Do you respect a modest girl more than an immodest girl?” Fortunately, from what we can tell, the overwhelming majority of guys understood the question the latter way.

    Also, we should have used the word “admire” rather than “respect” because the politically correct view is that respect is a universal right. However, the fact remains that the guys weren’t saying that they valued immodest girls less or thought they were less precious in the sight of God, but simple that their admiration for girls who strove to obey God by dressing modestly was much, much higher.

  • I see my other comment was seen as not entirely appropriate–I understand that (I was actually thinking about that; I was just a bit too quick to hit that submit button, sorry). But I would like to address that the Bible seems to get misinterpreted to promote this sort of modesty.

    The 1 Timothy passage addressing modesty says NOTHING of ‘helping guys not to lust.’ That passage seems to be warning women against focusing more on their appearance than godly character. Paul seems to be saying that godly character is proper attire, not overly flashy fancy clothing. Vanity is the problem here that Paul is addressing.

    Passages that warn against not being a stumbling block speak of someone doing the same action–but with a sinful motivation and ignorance of a non-sinful motivation. It may not be a sin to eat food offered to idols, as you are not worshipping the idol when you eat it, but bcause you do that, someone else (who may have worshipped idols in the past) sees that and thinks it’s okay to eat in worship to the idols. That person’s faith is weak because he only sees offered-to-idol food as something you can only eat in worship to idols. This passage is NOT about helping people not to REACT sinfully to you. Obviously we should never intentionally cause people to sin, and we should avoid needlessly offending people, but the ‘stumbling block’ passages speak of neither.

    Also, when “stumbling block” is used the way the Modesty Survey promotes, you inevitably come to the conclusion that the female body is a stumbling block. Why else would wearing outfits that show too much skin and clothes that draw attention to the figure be considered a “stumbling block”?

  • Margaret: There is a difference between explicitly saying something and implicitly saying something. As you said, the purpose of 1 Timothy 2 is to instruct the Christian woman not to adorn herself so as to draw attention to herself. Just as Paul commands the men to not be a distraction through anger and quarreling, so he commands the women not be a distraction through their dress. It is not just vanity (concern for the individual), but also distraction (concern for the congregation) that Paul is addressing.

    I’m going to skip your middle paragraph for a moment and address your final concern, which was that we imply that the female body is a stumbling block (or sinful) in itself. Let me just say a few things: First, the female body, as designed by God, is a very good thing. We do not believe that being female is sinful. Never. We do believe that it is powerful and mysterious and beautiful.

    This brings me to your thoughts on the “stumbling block” passages, the primary one of which is in Romans 14: “It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.” Paul does not limit his application to things like eating food sacrificed to idols, but instead includes all things. Thus, not only are women commanded to adorn themselves in modest attire, but we are all called to, in love, give up our rights for the sake of the weaker brother.

    That is why the Modesty Survey is not a list of rules or commands. Provided girls are not dressing to incite lust or to draw attention to themselves, they are free in Christ to wear whatever they want. But because of the culture in which we live today, many of the options can be real problems for guys who are pursuing purity. The Modesty Survey was created by and for Christian girls who have chosen to help their brothers in Christ in this pursuit.

    In conclusion, it’s been great discussing this issues with you, Margaret. Brett and I have appreciated your thoughtful comments and concerns. I doubt we’ll ever fully agree on all the issues, but I hope our conversation has helped clarify where we are coming from. God bless you!

  • Emmy M

    I only found this site a few weeks ago, but I just read the thread of repsonses to this article, and I had a thought for you. You talked earlier about a woman’s body being for sex only with her husband. The verse that came to mind for me was Matthew 5:28, where Christ says, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” I choose to dress modestly because I believe that the heart is even more important than the body. If by dressing immodestly I cause a man to look at me with lust in his heart, I am seducing his heart (even though I may not have done so purposefully), and in this way, yes, my body is a stumbling block to him, because I am drawing his heart away from both his wife (or his future wife) and Christ. I feel that it is my responsibility to both my brothers in Christ and – even more importantly – to my future husband to dress modestly, and in so doing, to save both my body and my heart for my husband alone. Just a thought for you. . . God bless!

  • Kate

    As a Christian teen who tries very hard to be modest, this survey made me sad. The ease with which men are sexually aroused is astonishing and disappointing. I do not think that men realize that, while it is possible to wear extremely modest clothing, some Christian girls want to embrace the body that the Lord gave them! This is not in a sexual way, but in a way where your natural form is shown. Also, the extremes to which men and boys were aroused by bathing suits is disappointing. I tend to wear two piece bathing suits because they are much more comfortable. However, it seems that even the one piece suits and tankinis worn by my more strictly modest friends can cause sin. I agree with the Happy Feminist when she says that if men cannot restrain themselves even when women try to be modest, then perhaps they should avoid places where their will be swimming woman. A man with will power will be able to control his thoughts and actions, and I do not believe that I need to take responsibility for them.

    Another issue I agree with many of the feminist blogs about is the importance of male modesty, an issue overlooked, not necessarily by you guys, but by the church as a whole! As a woman and a feminist, I am disgusted by this common practice. While a woman’s chastity and modesty are usually very important in day to day life, men’s chastity and modesty is often over looked. If women in bikinis are bad, men in swimsuits may be worse! Though I am able to restrain myself from impure thoughts, if I let my guard down and a particularly well formed man in a swim suit walks by, I do admire him. If a guy is wearing well fitting jeans that fit his backside, I am often taken by surprise and tend to look. While I applaud you for having this idea, I think that the church as a whole need to stop putting the blame of impurity on woman alone. While the Bible talks to woman specifically, the Bible was written by (by the will of God) men, who were more aware of men’s needs sexually.

    All in all, this is a good survey for what Christian men find sexual. However, I think that they should work on their own problems with inability to see an innocent girl dressed with less clothes than normal because it is a hot day before criticizing others (Matthew 7:4).

    PS- I found the woman on the top of the page for the survey very distracting and overtly sexual, despite her lack of cleavage.

  • Adrienne Gilbert

    Hey guys!

    I’m glad to hear about all the heat coming in from the modesty survey (Matt 5:12), because when you’ve got strong enemies, it’s a great confirmation that you’re on the right track. When I first came to this site, the modesty survey was the first thing that really caught my eye and made me come back. I came back and was able to read the “about the rebelution” and “about Alex and Brett” to figure out what was actually going on here, but I’ll say that Modesty box is what set you apart in my mind from every other Christian teen this or that. While it is very anoying to get unedifying e-mails, thanks for putting yourselves out to get this stuff to all of us rebelutionaries and rebelutionary wanna-bes.

    The opportunity to find out from the guys just what they’re thinking is great. I haven’t run across many guys who will give me that info face-to-face, so the survey is a great method to create such a huge resource of that kind of information. And it applies to more things than just clothes. I’ve applied stuff the guys said on the survey to a bunch of other areas in life, whether it be spiritual or physical.

    Again, I can’t say thank you enough, and I’ll see you and a bunch of others at the Indianapolis conference.


  • Re: 1 Corinthians. I was trying to say that Paul was not talking about reactions, but actions. If we apply this passage to skimpy outfits, I’d only be a “stumbling block” to another girl. I may wear a skimpy outfit without a sinful motivation, but wearing such an outfit may cause my sister (as in sister in Christ) to think it’s okay to try to entice people with skimpy clothing. Then, and only then, would I actually be a stumbling block. Hey, now that I think about it, that’s really not a bad way to promote modesty. As long as it’s not the only way because there’s a little more to modesty than that.

    I am all for modesty. I really am. But, like the Happy Feminist, I believe it’s about manners and being considerate. Some outfits are considered inappropriate, and out of consideration for others, I’ll avoid such. If I can easily avoid needlessly offending people, I will avoid such. I adhere to a standard of modesty, but I will never choose outfits based on whether it will make a boy lust after me or not.

    I really think we need to focus FAR FAR FAR FAR FAR more on helping the boys (and girls!) deal with their desires appropriately. I mean, we tell them, “Don’t lust” but that’s not enough. Helping the boys (and girls!) deal with their desires, and to unlearn our culture’s drilling into their heads that women are mere objects. I do believe that many Christian guys (and girls) have bought the idea that women are objects, and many guys have problems because they don’t realize they have this view underlying their thoughts (and our culture’s objectification leads girls to hate their bodies). It is the guy’s mind that makes him stumble first and foremost, and we must address that before anything else. I firmly believe this will benefit our guys so much more! I do think modesty is desirable, and we should promote that, but promoting it solely as a ‘help guys not lust’ kind of misses the point of modesty.

    Okay. I promise this is my last comment on the issue! 😛 I imagine we’ll have to agree to disagree, and that’s all right I s’pose.

  • Naomi

    I really appriciated the modesty survey,it answered alot of questions I have!
    God bless you!

  • Thanks for the great work you all have done. God bless you guys! – JN.14:27 Rom.5:8

  • Charlie Albright

    Another one saying good job on the survey. The ways of Christ will always seem foolish to the unbelieving world. I believe this clip from John Piper gets to the main reason of the hostilities and what solves them.

  • Kristen Stoltzfus

    A missionary preached at our church this past Sunday, and his topic was courage. He said that we must have courage to help others and not to compromise your principles by remaining silent, no matter what public opinion is. I just realized all over again how brave you are to bear the brunt of the criticism and anger without backing down. Thank you!

  • as an 18-year-old Christian girl who tends toward an egalitarian perspective, I really appreciated hearing from guys in the Modesty Survey… even the guys I disagreed with. I appreciated the honesty, and the open discussion. Some of the guys’ answers were very helpful to a friend of mine as well.

    It does trouble me that in the evangelical church, so much emphasis is placed on women (what we wear, what we can and can’t do, etc.) This adds to the burdens of our society (what we wear, how sexy we are, what we do, etc.) So I’m glad to hear there may be a survey focusing on guys in future.

    I think it’s great to have positive discussion about these sorts of issues. I guess it’s hard to keep conversations from becoming arguments because people tend to hold their views so strongly. I disagree with much of what John Piper has to say about men and women, for instance, though many Christian teens on this site agree with him. But even so… thanks for having this discussion!

  • Kate: Both men and women can be selfish and/or lazy, wanting the other gender to change so they don’t have to. There are ditches on both sides of the road. Men can want women to completely hide their figure so they don’t have to control their thoughts. That’s wrong. But women can want men to completely stifle their sexuality so they don’t have to control their wardrobe. That’s also wrong.

    As we wrote in the post, virtually all of the guys who participated in the Modesty Survey take full responsibility for their thoughts and actions. Shame on those who do not. They don’t deserve your help or consideration. But for those who are fighting, let the Modesty Survey help you understand what a difficult fight it is.

    Regarding male modesty, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Brett’s and my older brother, Joshua, has written a book on fighting lust for both guys and girls—a first for books on the subject. Although we believe that lust is generally a bigger issue for a greater percentage of guys, you are right on when you say that most in the church today overlook the importance of male modesty and chastity.

    Brett and I have made it a matter of principle to keep our shirts on when girls are around, whether we’re swimming or playing sports. We don’t think guys are exempt from modesty.

    Margaret: You bring up a very valid point about girls being a “stumbling block” to other girls by dressing immodestly. It even seems that some girls dress immodestly, not to show off to guys, but to show off to girls. And personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if some girls analyze the dress and figure of other girls more than guys do.

    Brett and I agree that the emphasis must be on helping guys and girls fight their own sin, not on making others try to eliminate all the temptations. That would be foolishness. That’s why—long before there was a Modesty Survey—we had a whole category in our Resource Section devoted to Sexual Purity/Lust.

    Actually, the Modesty Survey was one of the first times the issue of modesty came up on The Rebelution, but the fight against lust has (and will continue) to come up time and time again. We think modesty is a very, very important piece of the puzzle, but it is certainly not the most important.

    Again, thank you for your input, Margaret. God bless you!

  • Mercy joy

    I AM a girl and I say “LONG LIVE THE MODESTY SURVEY!!!”
    -MJ 😀

  • Felicity

    I think something that a lot of girls fail to recognise is “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit therefore glorify the Lord with your your body.” Even more than dressing out of consideration for the men you need dress in a way that would please God.

    I found this website as a result of the Modesty Survey. I really appreciate your hard work. Keep up the good work!

  • Samuel

    As a human, I have to battle with lust. Lust is a visual form of sexual impurity. It can have a current object or be entirely a fantasy.

    As a guy I have to aviod lusting after girls. Lust is sin, and since I want to keep myself as a holy vessel for God’s work, I have to treat it like any other sin. These are several methods I have found helpful in fighting lust.

    1. Determine beforehand to keep from sinning and have a plan of action.
    (With any temptation, Daniel’s example of choosing before hand not to eat the king’s meat is excellent.)
    2. When a temptation comes, try to get out of the situation.
    (Joseph and Potiphar’s wife)
    3. If conversation or proximity is unavoidable, look away, or look at the face exclusively.

    When a hot girl walks past, my first inclination is to look again. But my second inclination is to look away and leave. From habit, I avoid talking to tempting girls. I am not sure this is right, because it leaves them at the object level. I do not know what they are like, just what is showing. They are probably great people, but it is hard to concentrate on the spririt when their skin is so obvious. Still, I will not associate with them. I would like to get to know them as people, in a holy and pure love. But my flesh also wants to get to know their lines. So I end up shunning them in uncomfortable unfriendliness. AWKWARD

    What I dislike most, is that my flesh’s desire hinders me from relationship with girls even when it is not indulged. It is not primarily their fault that I am austere and potentially lustful. I sometimes act that way without any provocation. It is impossible for any victory to be met if I refuse to adimit that I am the problem. (Thank you to Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz for the most recent reminder of this truth.

    Whether or not a girl is modest is not my problem. But if she is modest it is helpful enought to evince my enduring gratefulness.

  • I admire your courage in starting the Modesty Survey. It’s not easy to take a stand against wrong ideas and attitudes that exist even in Christian circles. I’ve just started blogging about certain mistakes today’s youth ministers often make, and I’m beginning to realize more and more how difficult it is to tell people – even Christian people – that they’re wrong. You took a lot of flak, but you stood up to it admirably, and I admire the honest, mature way in which you responded to the often harsh, below-the-belt criticism you received. Thanks for your perseverance and keep up the good work!

  • Alex and Bret,
    Thanks so much for doing the modesty survey. There are subjects listed that I never really gave any thought about. I hope that God will use you for building a much needed youthful foundation for this country. Thank you so much. I look forward to going to your up-coming conference in September in Indiana.
    I Timothy 4:12,
    Sarah Handy

  • Vevy

    Thank you guys so much!!

  • Thanks

    When I first looked at the survey I was encouraged that teenagers where standing up for what right!!!! That’s awesome! It was neat reading what guys thought about modesty. And I thing it is a great idea!! I think that it’s not something you want to talk face to face with a guy about but on a survey it’s encouraging to know that guys appreciate my efforts. Even though it God I’m striving to please… I think I can see where Margaret and some other ppl are coming from though. Even though I don’t neccesarily agree with everything. But I’m glad that Alex and Brett are handling it as a desscusion of convictions and not a huge argument over what girls wear… Thanks

  • Mel

    Thank-you so much Alex and Brett, not only for all your work for the survey, which I thought was fantastic, but also for the gentle, calm and mature way in which you have dealt with all criticism. It must be so hard and frustrating to be dealing with it all the time. I really admire you both, God bless you! I would also like to encourage you along with Adrienne, Rachel and the others in saying that all the flack you’ve been getting shows that you have done something HUGE for God and the enemy is not at all happy about it!! There will aways be persecution when you are doing good works for God.. Keep fighting the good fight!

    I would just like to remind everyone who has been complaining that the Modesty Survey didn’t cover guy modesty or guys dealing with their desires properly or anything else, that Alex and Brett and the Forum team never put forward the Modesty Survey as the complete list of answers to the worlds problems of lust, modesty, chastity etc but as a simple forum for guys to show girls a bit of a window into how they struggle so that we can help them along.

  • Rebecca

    Dear Alex and Brett,
    My congratulations to you on an excellent website. I would also like to thank you for your survey on modesty. As the mother of five daughters I appreciate your frankness in helping girls to understand the temptations young men face, and how things that they would never consider to be a problem may be a stumbling block to these young men. We are (some would say very) conservative, but it has helped my girls to understand this issue better. Although I have explained to them about the differences in how men and women are tempted, it was a made much more real for them by hearing it from young men themselves.
    It saddens me that you have received so much negative feedback, but as has been stated before, when you take a stand for what’s good and right according to God, you will be criticized by the world. God tells us in II Timothy 3:1-4 that in the last days men (and for the young lady with the egalitarian perspective, women) will, among other things be despisers of those that are good, and that they will be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Actually I should probably rephrase the first part of this paragraph; it doesn’t really sadden me that you received negative feedback, but that so many of the ones having problems with this survey claim to be Christians. Of particular interest to me are the ladies who claim to be both Christians and feminists. Feminism itself is at odds with Christianity, and though modesty is important I think that there is a greater problem these ladies face, and that is that they may be numbered among the ones Jesus told us about in Matthew 8:21. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” It should not be important to us what we want to do, or what we feel is right; “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes; but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” -Prov. 12:15. What should be important to us is what God’s will is for us, and a good deal of that can be found in the Bible.
    Thank you again for your survey and for your website in general. Two of my daughters are in their teens and they also enjoy the site very much.
    Keep up the good work.

  • I’ve so appreciated the insights from the survey, and it’s been rough to see the flack you two (and all the guys who participated) have taken for sharing it with us.

    “Blessed are you when men say all manner of evil against you falsely for [His] sake!” ~Matthew 6

    I hope the see the guy’s survey next year!

    Abigail Joy

  • Andrew Branch

    Some of you guys expressed this and I agree totally. Whenever one gives his input in the survey, he has to evaluate himself first. Just because some of us guys don’t have self-control over our minds doesn’t mean that we keep asking women to put on more and more clothes.

    Trust me. I’m almost 16 and it is very hard for a young man to control his mind in today’s society but I’m called to do so. I know its hard for some of girls on here to understand but it is very hard to control one’s mind when wherever you go–public and even at home with TV and internet–there is always something jumping out at you. I think that we should pray for one another’s purity. I know I’m praying for you all.


  • ColeC

    You’re doing great guys. Don’t grow weary in well doing.

  • Nathan Raynor

    Firstly, let me say thanks to Alex and Brett for putting the time and effort into this survey. It has provided me with a method of asking for help from the girls in avoiding temptations and I know it has helped many girls with wardrobe decisions.

    However the main reason I am writing here is to see if I can help with any of the misunderstandings that have occured due to the survey and to give my opinion on the modesty survey. Firstly I will say that it is probably easier for me to appreciate the modesty survey as I don’t have to check what I wear.

    To begin with I will admit that us guys have difficulty with lust. I do and I have yet to met a guy who doesn’t. Some have more difficulty then others and some work harder at trying to stop it, but we all struggle. It would be right to admit that this is a great weakness to us guys. But its kind of embaressing to go and ask the girls personally to dress more modestly cause, you can imagine how awkward that would be. So from a guys perspective this provided a method for us to request assistance in our struggles without having the uncomfortable conversation. Taking the survey was still uncomfortable as a lot of the questions pointed out that I have alot of work to do when it comes to controling my eyes.

    Secondly, I want to point out, that, as brothers and sisters in Christ we should be trying our level best to help each other with our various struggles (this is for guys too). As I admited before, lust is a great struggle for guys, hence we need so much help. And we should not be thinking about the return rate or whether this is fair or not. If we help each other we are doing what is right in God’s eyes and that is what matters. It is nice in calling it a ‘Modesty Survey’ but if its sole purpose is to help your brothers in Christ not to lust, then it is worth it.

    I’m sorry this is getting long, but I am speaking (or typing) honestly. But this is to the comment about not knowingly making it difficult for the guys around you. I think that may have been another reason for the modesty survey. It has provided a resource that has enabled girls to be more aware of what us guys think, thus enabling them to help us more. I agree that, without the knowledge that what you are wearing is making it difficult for us guys, then there is little you can do to help. But with the knowledge you have the power to help.

    My final point is that the Survey was mean’t to be as honest as possible, we can mess around and be all politically correct and gentle, but to me thats almost like saying that its not important enough to say nicely. I agree that things should not be said rashly of offensively, but they must be said directly. And again, as brothers and sister in Christ we should accept the corrections, if it is according to God’s word. That really is the bottom line, if it is good in God’s sight, do it.

    God Bless


  • Phoebe

    Thank you for your careful, humble response, Nathan Raynor.

    I just thought of something interesting/funny: We girls love it when we get a nice compliment about our dress. Just the other day, a boy I like (not romantically) told me he really liked my dress — and I’ll confess I thought about it several times over the next day! However, much as we appreciate attention, we have a tendency to get indignant over the idea that guys can be inclined to look at us more than we would like them to when we are dressing more sensually (immodest). We don’t want them to look at us impurely, but we want to reserve the right to wear whatever we want, and to receive compliments when we look pretty!

  • J.

    I, as a 20, appreciated the survey. It was so helpful and encouraging.

  • Jess

    This website is extremely encouraging! Keep up the good work
    and may the Lord bless you guys as you glorify Him in your work.
    It’s amazing at how much, even in our own churches, modesty and striving
    to be like Christ is slipping. It encourages me that there are young people like
    you trying to make a difference in this world. :o)
    God bless!

  • Hello All!

    I had never seen this website until today, but I definitely read the modesty survey right after it came out.

    First, I would like to say Thank You guys for your hearts to serve. Thank you for seeking to serve your sisters by putting all of this effort and time into something they requested. Thank you for desiring to help us to glorify God AND for being humble enough to say “boys are stupid we need help.” Okay, so you didn’t say boys are stupid… 😉

    Second, I personally did not like the survey. I found a lot of the comments and opinions to be legalistic and arrogant, BUT… that’s not the fault of the survey or even you guys putting the survey together. It’s partly my sin in judging the commentators (Well, he said this so he means that and he’s one of thoooose people) and, I believe, PARTLY due to the very commonly held idea in conservative churches that it is a Christian guys RIGHT to have the girls around him dress in a way that will not stumble him. There is a difference between a guy humbly saying, “It’s hard for me to guard my eyes/heart when girls wear/do ____” and a guy saying, “It’s wrong for girls to wear/do ____ because it makes guys stumble.”

    I think the thought I am trying to get across (and doing an awful job at :-)) is that we as Christians should be constantly seeking to serve each other. Whether this means helping a mom with 5 kids under 10 during worship, calling up a friend you know has had a hard day, or seeking to not “offend”. If I know that a friend of mine has a hard time trusting God for a spouse when she watches romantic movies I will be careful when choosing media to share with her. Or, in a non-sin example, if I have a someone over for dinner and I know they are allergic to milk I’ll make foods that don’t have milk in them. These are things I can do to try to serve the other person… BUUUUUT…. I believe it would be wrong for the other person to EXPECT it. Like, if my friend comes over and my family is watching a romantic comedy together it would be selfish of her to expect us to turn it off. She could go into another room, she could come back another day…there are things she could do to be responsible for herself. Or if that lactose intolerant friend comes to stay with me for the summer we might have macaroni and cheese one night. He would be welcome to make himself a sandwich, but I don’t think it would be humility for him to anticipate me changing my families menu for the whole summer just because he cannot eat the same foods we enjoy.

    In the same way I think that we as girls can serve the guys and should seek to when we can. BUUUT… it’s arrogance for guys to constantly feel entitled to is, for it to always be EXPECTED of us. I have had guys in my church tell me it’s really hard for them when girls wear jeans. For a while I felt really guilty if I wasn’t wearing an ankle length skirt around these brothers, but after a lot of thinking and prayer I realized that I can’t dress 100% lustfree. I also can’t live my entire life in fear of “causing a guy to stumble”. And, honestly, I am female. God created me a woman, with a woman’s body – and it is my responsibility to not use this body sinfully, to be purposeful in how I dress, but if I wear a pair jeans to church and a guy ins because of that I do not believe God holds me accountable for that man’s sin. I have had guys treat me in a sexually demeaning way when I was wearing a denim jumper and headcovering. YES – we need to be intentional in our dress. YES – we need to be humble in receiving input over our dress. But, we also need to feel no guilt or shame over being women, over having different convictions, or over dressing attractively. God made us beautiful and that is not shameful.

    Sorry this was so long and disjointed, guys if you disagree with my thoughts I am open to your “rebuttal”. I hope this was gracious and made some sense…

  • Didi: You were very gracious. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I think Alex and I agree 100% with what you’re saying. No “rebuttal” from me. =)

  • Ruth

    I am new to this site and one of the first things I read on here was the Modesty Survey. I was very surprised and pleased at what I saw. Thank you so much, Alex and Brett, for taking the time and effort to put this survey together. I cannot tell you how much it has helped me in making decisions on what to wear every day. It has been so helpful to read about how we girls can make it easier on our brothers in Christ. I agreed with most of the comments, but was surprised at some of the questions. I guess I didn’t ever think about them as a stumbling block.

    Anyway, thank you so much for putting this survey together. You guys are in my prayers every day.

  • Carly

    Thank you for the effort that was put forth by all involved. As a mom of an 11 year old daughter it is an invaluable resource for us to read together and discuss modesty from a boy’s point of view. A few comments were able to say what I could not in a hundred discussions on the subject. Although as females we can never understand everything that goes through a male’s mind, this has really helped us to understand how we can help our brothers in this area.

    Thanks again!

  • Hanan

    Peace be upon you…As a Muslim American woman I stumbled upon your website and the modesty survey quite by accident. I was very impressed by both. As Muslims, we are obligated to enjoin good and forbid evil wherever we may find either. Your efforts to awaken American youth to their real potential is to be commended. I am heartened to see such a movement happening in this country that is rife with obstacles to the realization of a God conscious youth culture. For us too as practicing Muslims, the concept of modesty is a challenge to interpret and implement in this time and place. I did not realize that there is a parallel quest in the Christian community. May God guide us all to a better practice of his gift of modesty. May God reward your sincere work…

  • Cathy

    Big thumbs up on this survey! There were so many things I’d never thought about (i.e. adjusting bra straps in public) and reading these anonymous comments from men was so insightful. How else would I know all this since I’m single and am not close to the men in my family? Thank you a million. This is a huge service to those of us who desire to help our Christian brothers remain pure. I knew I could expect great things from Josh Harris’s bro’s. :)

  • Mandy Sue

    Wow, guys, this survey was a real eye-opener!! Some of the results completely floored me. And some challenge me every time I open my closet now. Still others encouraged me (can it really be that a guy respects a modest girl?!) Thank you so much for the time you invested into this survey. I so much appreciate the honesty poured out of the hearts of the hundreds of men who took the survey!

  • Jordan Y

    I know it’s been said plenty of times, but Brett and Alex, you two are awesome. I can’t imagine the time and effort put into something like this. Thank you for putting that all together. It really opened my eyes to how much I should be controlling my eyes more. I’ve come to respect and admire you even more by watching how maturely, calmly and accurately answered people who were, to put it nicely, quite rude. I just discovered the site recentely and absolutely love it. I could say a lot about all the opposition you’re getting or touch on issues about modesty and sexual temptation for guys compared to girls. But I think it’s all pretty much been said. Again, you guys are awesome and thanks so much for putting this together.

  • abby

    Wow, I cannot believe there were actually people offended by your survey. I found it to be a wonderful resource. I thought i was a really modest person but there were a couple of things i won’t do anymore. I think it would be really cool to have a survey about guys by girls. Several of the girls at our church now want to do an anonymous survey with our youth group guys, using some of the key questions. I f you could help me with that it would be much appreciated.

  • This is the modest survey in a nutshell:

    “Here are a bunch of names of people you don’t know and probably will never meet, and they think you should dress a certain way in your everyday life. You better do what they say, these people you don’t know and will probably never come into contact with”.

    Seriously, what is with you guys, a petition? you think telling woman what to wear is like telling a politician how to vote?

    Once again, how can you call it “modesty” when you bring so much attention to it?

  • Brianna M.

    I think that the Modesty Survey was a brilliant way to really show girls that what we wear really does affect the way guys feel and think. I don’t think that the surveys tells girls or women how to dress; its guys telling us where they have hard times and asking us to help them become stonger in their struggle with lust. The survey never listed names it simply showed ages and how they struggled differently. I backup Alex and Brett when they said they promoted modesty, but never told a girl this is how you are supposed to dress. Modesty is a conviction, and everyone is entitled to dress the way they feel God would have them to. The modesty survey merely expresses how guys feel about the way we dress, and I applaud them for their modesty.

  • Brianna M.

    …..and I applaud them for their honesty not modesty…lol

  • Elizabeth Crepinsek

    The modesty survey was a great idea. I want to thank you for taking all the criticism for what you have said on the subject. It is encouraging to me.

  • Stephanie

    I really think that the modesty survey is great. It encourages me to dress nicely without being revealing….that’s great! I found out some things that I didn’t even know!

  • Talitha Piper

    Thank you for doing the modesty survey. I think it was great. We girls sometimes need other people to tell us what is modest and what (especially)isn’t. I also understand why some girls may not like it. Probably because it seems really strange to have guys telling them stuff.

  • Kayla Brooke

    Wow! i try really hard to be modest… i read the results of the modesty survey, there are some things on there i would have never thought of? it really helps us girls alot so we know what to wear to help out the guys! thank you

  • Holly Beth

    Hey Alex and Brett!
    I know it can be super frustrating to hear all these complaints! I hope you know that you have tons of teens praying for you! We all look up to you and are encouraged by you! Thanks for everything you have done to push me to be all I can be!
    Holly Beth

  • Amy K.

    Placing the “blame” on either gender is wrong.
    It is also wrong to read something (survey, book, the Bible) with preconceived ideas, and make assumptions based on your own ideas rather than the actual text.
    The modesty survey, to me, does not place blame on anyone. It’s a challenge, and it’s one that I enjoy meeting. There is infinite satisfaction in meeting a challenge issued when you know that it’s the will of our Lord, and that’s the attitude that I wish my fellow women “warriors” would take toward this whole business.
    In His Grip,

    • Valiant

      Actually, I would say that ‘placing the blame on either gender is wrong’ is wrong…I place it on both genders!

  • Reading the survey, I was honestly surprised hearing those boys and men talk respectfully about the beauty of a woman’s body, even when dressing modestly. It felt really nice to know that these guys find us beautiful, and care about us enough to ask that we protect that beauty. While I do disagree with a few of the results, I understand where the guys are coming from. And in the end, I suppose that’s the important thing.

    I can’t gurantee that I’ll be perfectly modest 100% of the time, because everyone slips up, but I have this book that I recommend to any Christian girl, “Every Young Woman’s Battle”, and one chapter is all about modesty and has some great ways to test your clothes to see if they’re modest or not.

    Looking to Him,


  • Phoebe L.

    Brett and Alex-
    I just recently found out about your website from a friend. One of the first things I looked at was the modesty survey. Thank you so much for taking the time to put together such a wonderful thing. It was so encouraging to see that guys respect girls that dress modestly, and that they find them attractive. As a public school attendee, I have often struggled with wanting to be modest, and not causing my brothers in Christ to stumble. I desire to obey God, but dressing modestly is looked down upon by most other kids at school. I was so glad to finally see something praising modesty. I think it will help me remember that God’s way is best no matter what the rest of the world thinks. Thank you for the Rebelution. It is such a blessing.

  • A Homeschooling Mom

    I think my first concern here is other readers/responders finding any disagreement with your suppositions to be an attack, especially from Satan. I don’t doubt that some of that is present, but I have read some very thoughtful remarks by people who represent themselves as Christians but happen to have other opinions or insights. When we must all agree on every detail and there is no room for “iron sharpening iron” then this survey is the least of our worries. I do not read in any verse in the Bible that God, or his Son, preached Totalitarianism. Kudos to both of you for taking thoughtful, reasonable approaches in your answers to those who would debate some of the perceived spirit of the survey. You have had some intelligent commentators and many have made valid points. You have responded in kind.

    I am grateful for insight into the minds of so many young men. As the mother of both sexes I know the challenges faced by each. My 13-year-old son, however, would not be mature enough emotionally or intellectually to set “policy” for what anyone should wear, not that it will ever be his privilege or right to do so. It WILL be his responsibility to build character (along with guidance and help from God’s Word, his father, and me) strong enough to stand against his own flesh when it steals from someone else. Objectifying women by lusting after them for his own pleasures (apart from the wife God gives him to delight in) takes away from what God has created women to be – a reflection of himself. This is true even for women who do not realize it or accept it.

    My 17-year-old daughter is just now beginning to understand the power she possesses to be a distraction when she is not as thoughtful as she should be in her clothing choice. She just wants to be free in her own body. And I celebrate that on every level except the one where her own freedom supersedes that of others and keeps her from considering her impact. If we all truly lived by “thinking of others more highly than ourselves” as the Bible instructs us, this survey wouldn’t be necessary. The boys/men would take full accountability for what they see and what THEY wear to entice and oh, yes they do try to attract in the same inappropriate ways girls sometimes do. And the girls/women would also do the same and consider their brothers, and sisters as another thoughtful responder reminded us, in their choices.

    The fundamentalist Muslims has solved all of these problems. Women cannot go out without being completely covered so as not to entice men. The full responsibility lies with the women in this scenario and we certainly know the Bible does not teach that concept. It would be as ludicrous to say that all women should go about lightly clothed and free while men wear blindfolds everywhere until they are, once again, only in the company of men.

    And lest there be any doubt, as has been said here before, women deal with lust, too. If it were not so there would not be very lucrative Calvin Klein ads with scantily dressed men appealing to women; Abercrombie and Fitch would not have nearly nude male mannequins in their windows, etc. Corporate America does not waste money where there is no return. Perhaps it was only the girls/women asking for this survey because it is more in our nature to be reflective and accommodating while boys/men tend to be structural thinkers and not given to making their decisions based on what the other guys/girls think at any given moment. I’m sure THAT comment will lead to some energetic dialogue! :-)

    I agree with much of what you say and would have concern in other areas that would “seem” to imply less burden on the heart issues and more on what appears on the outside, in all its forms. But as Christians, we truly ARE our brothers (and sisters) keepers. We must always strive to act on behalf of others though we will fail time and time again.

    As a final thought, Paul took issue with the Jews being so hung up on something outward as well: circumcision. He responded in different passages but a very clear one is Romans 2:28-29 “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.”

    It’s always been about the heart.

    Blessings to you both, to you all.

  • Chris

    A Homeschooling Mom makes some very good points. I especially enjoyed picturing men walking around with blindfolds on to avoid temptation. :-) For those verses in Romans 2, I substituted the words “Christian” in place of “Jew” and “modesty” in place of “circumcision” in reading it to myself. I think I’m going to share that one with my girls — explaining the correct context, of course!

  • Anna J.

    hey all! i absolutely loved the modesty survey. it gave me such a better understanding of guys and how they think. I will definately be more careful from now on with the way i dress and act. Alex & Brett, keep up the good work!! I’ll be praying for you guy.

    -anna- 😀

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  • Pianogirl

    Thanks guys for the survey.
    I was totally blown away by so many amazing brothers in Christ.
    You guys have Christ-centered hearts that are concerned with protecting your sisters in Christ. I was immensely encouraged.

  • Marissa Byrd

    my only question after seeing all this and reading your book “Do hard things” is this: When and where are we going to see Katrina’s Design Line!?!?!

  • Peggy Strevel

    I want to thank you for taking the heat for the modesty survey. I believe it is a blessing and very needed. I am a woman glad to be married to a wonderful man and in submission to his God given authority and leadership in my life. I plan to share your website, blog and survey with all of the female church members where I attend church. And, further, I am going to share it with all of my grandchildren…4 girls and one boy.

    Keep up the good work. Faithfulness to God is everything!

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  • David

    I realize I’m over a year late to this party but the comment has to be made. I read through the survey and thought about the results and questions as well all the responses and comments.

    While I commend you on undertaking the project I can certainly understand the criticism. Two things that stand out to me as problematic for this survey which you might consider if you are to do another. First is the cultural slippery slope of modesty. What is modest today was obscene yesterday or completely prudish in another culture.

    Second, (and this is a personal pet peeve) I am deeply frustrated with the term “Stumbling Block” which even Joshua used out of context in his response. This may well be the most mis-interpreted passage in the Bible. I am only a stumbling block when I engage in liberty and somehow influence another to engage in that same action which is not an area of liberty, rather a violation of conscience for that person.

    A woman is not a ‘stumbling block’ by being immodest unless it somehow directly influences me to be immodest as well. Her accidently revealing cleavage which causes me to lust is entirely a heart issue for me and it is unfair and unbiblical to insinuate she is ‘causing a weaker brother to sin.’

    Ultimately this idea robs men of free will and God of sovereignty. Matt Chandler often says its not like buying a six pack of beer at the supermarket is going to cause a complete stranger to scream “I knew there was no God” and therefore never get saved. And if it does, what does that say about God? His power to call men to repentance is limited by my buying a six pack or a girl showing a little skin?

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  • Nicole

    I really, really appreciate you guys doing this survey, it was so interesting to see how guys responded to the different things. Honestly, I didn’t completely understand the significance of how I dress, and like me, I think most girls just thought of it as fashion. At first when I read the results I felt like the only thing I could be “safe” wearing was a burkha, which obviously wouldn’t make many girls happy… lol. But once I calmed down I realized that it is personal conviction and that we are simply asked to consider the information that’s been provided… I think any understanding girl would give it a shot. I’m gonna do my best :) Thanks for standing in front of the firing squad, it didn’t go unnoticed!!!

  • Emma513131

    Hey Alex & Brett,

    I love your book. It is a huge encouragement.

    I want to put in my two sense about dressing modestly. I know modest dress is a very touchy issue. I agree with you guys about it. But, I guess a plain person would. Modesty is important to God if it wasn’t 1: he wouldn’t have put instructions about it in the Bible and 2: Satan wouldn’t be trying to fight it. Anyways I could say more but won’t right now.

    My prayers will be with you. Oh, and what do you think about Head Coverings for women?
    Just asking.

    • some guy

      I know I am not Alex or Brett,
      Think 1 Corinthians is referring to a women’s LONG hair, especially when you look at verse 14, but I can also definitely see head coverings.

  • Hannah

    Hi Alex and Brett<

    I really enjoy reading the survey, it is very encouraging for me to read the comments. It makes me want me to dress even more modest when I read them. I think y’all could have a big impact on the world.
    Thanks so much!!

  • Taylor

    Great job guys on the survey… very happy to see that so many people are using this as a great resource (which it is)… very disappointed to see that so many others are giving you unnecessary heat for it. In today’s world, I think modesty is definitely a critical thing, both for guys and for girls. Looking forward to see whatever else you guys do with this.

  • Pingback: The Modesty Survey « Sir Emeth Mimetes()

  • Renee Louise

    When I first saw the survey, I didn’t realize you had to ‘click’ on the statements to see the responses. I did dress modestly before I read the survey, but on my first reading I thought ‘Oh my! What a lot of rules!’ I now know how to navigate the survey…… and I NOW agree with it!
    Yes, I AM really a blonde. -blush-

  • kiley h.

    i really appreciated the modesty survey! i didn’t see it as a set of rules, but as an encouragement to the girls who are choosing to dress to glorify god (and not ourselves!) i also saw it as a challenge in areas where i can personally improve my modesty, and a peek inside what guys honestly think about our dress and how we can better help our brothers in christ! thank you so much for the taking the time and energy to put it together-god bless you all!

  • Shelbie

    What’s totally awesome is that i had been wondering the same things….what do guys think about modesty?….am i alone in my belief’s?….. do christian guys really appreciate it when we dress modestly? And when i read your book, i saw the story of the modesty survey and was totally phsyched.
    It’s helped me in so many ways with my questions, and yes, two years later it’s still impacting girls and guys alike. i’ve recommended the site to tons of my girl friends and i’m sure that they’ll appreciate it as much as i did!

  • Em

    This modesty survey has helped me a lot in my desire to honor God and respect my brothers in Christ. I have one frustration, though. Girls take modesty seriously for their brothers, but do guys really care? And if they do, why don’t they show it by being gentleman to their sisters?

  • Ed Abd Al Ghafur

    Hi guys,

    I’m a Muslim, and I’m struck by the similarity of the conversation that takes place here, with the conversation that takes place in Muslim communities on the subject of modesty. We have similar exhortations from scripture and primary religious sources to be modest, a similar inherent appreciation of the virtue of modesty, and also similar objections made by some who see things taken too far (e.g. legislated modesty or the objection of disproportionate emphasis on the genders).

    I’d hope that the similarity in conversation encourages you all to see beyond the media hype regarding Islam. Just as many Christian women here own their modesty and are proud of it- many Muslim women who wear headscarves feel the same way and would make similar comments. The next time you see a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf with whom you are sharing a class, bring up the topic of modesty and you’ll be in for some surprises.

    Best Wishes.


  • Melissa

    Thank you so much for the survey. I only found it a little while back, and I’ve been really encouraging some friends of mine to look at it. The response has been kind of negative, but I just smile and hope it’s nagging them even while they tell me how ridiculous it is.
    And is it really surprising that ya’ll would take flak for it? I think it would have been surprising if you hadn’t. Remember that those same women who have added your names to their hate-list, have read the stuff, or at least seen it. That means they know a little more about modesty than they did before. Even if its just that guys are aggravated at their choice of clothes.
    My favorite was the makeup. It’s been my private opinion (backed by several random comments through the last year) that guys don’t even know it when girls wear makeup. More than that, the girls don’t wear it for the guys. Who are we wearing it for? Girls, of course!
    In other words, our makeup is an attempt to put us one notch higher in the envy of other girls. It’s a shore-‘nough pecking order. How mature.

  • Lauren

    Thank you so much for your survey!!!! I am new to this website and am eternally grateful to you guys for providing this information. I am going to share it with all my girlfriends!
    God Bless

  • Peg

    I know this is totally off the subject… but since both criticism and support for the modesty survey has been well hashed out and covered, let me just say that I am all for modesty.
    I would love to see a topic covered- perhaps in a survey??- that has through experience taught me that guys have a power they wield in much the same way as girls wield their bodies.
    Let’s face it, in much the same way as guys are easily attracted to girl’s bodies, we girls are all too quick to give our hearts away to the charmers, the players, the ever-so-manipulative young men who enjoy leading a girl on and then dropping her in frustration, hurt, and depression while he moves on to another one. Yet, why is it that modest dressing is at the top of many discussions in Christian circles, yet the many broken hearts that keep shattering at the hands of callous guys never get addressed.
    The parallels are much the same. Girls have a responsibility to guard their heart, as guys must guard their eyes. Yet, when guys knowingly use their powerful personality and masculine dominance to make a girl feel special when she actually means nothing to him, it is as damaging as when a girl flaunts her body to a guy but then gets upset when he fails to look her in the eyes when she speaks to him.
    I have been married for over three years, and this is a subject my husband and I have often discussed. Perhaps if we took some of the pain and desperation out of the shattered hearts that have been used by our very own Christian men, we might see less of girls dressing immodestly to get attention in the only way that really gets to the guys.
    There’s a power on both sides of the board here- I applaud the attempts here to tame the one, but are we ever going to see real honesty about the other?

  • Rachel

    Thanks so much for this Survey! It is really helpful!

  • Jae

    Alex and Brett:
    I came across your website today and you guys amaze me! I come from a place where there are no Christians and it’s tough to do the right thing. The guys here are jerks, and I’ve come to believe that all guys are like that. Thank you for letting me see that there are godly guys out there, that there are guys who will respect us! This survey is great, thank you so much… some things we really don’t realize you guys find it immodest.

  • Nala

    I was personally very impressed with the results of the survey. I was highly encouraged to see people take a stand when it comes to dressing/modesty.

  • Sarah Althea

    Thank ya’ll soo much! the survey is very helpful. i had no idea that some of the ways i thought i was being “modest(er)” , is a stumbling block to so many. again, thanks!

  • Lizzy

    You guys, keep up the good work! I was amazed at some of the Modesty Survey results! I didn’t know the way I stretch or dress or do things in public was even thought about! I now have to think before picking my wardrobe in the morning. I don’t want to advertise myself when I go to church or walk down the streets! Thanks for all of this, I’ll try to take myself into mind from now on!

  • EM

    just some questions….

    Alex or Brett:
    -do you think its wrong for a girl to try and dress as attractively as possible and spend time doing her hair and wearing fashioable clothes?
    – Do you think we should stand out as “very modest dressers” or just make sure we are not very obviously seeking attention through are dress?
    -what verses can you give me addresing this subject??

  • Hey guys, he he, I knew when I saw that that it would be controversial for some. But just the fact that it is a survey is amazing. It’s not just one person’s opinion. It’s the common thought. It made me think a lot about what I wear and even how I act. It is so cool to hear these guys’ opinions and encouragement to dress modestly. A lot of times we’re hit with so many different messages and images that we really do have to wonder what’s appropriate and what’s not. Thanks so much!

  • Megan

    Thank you for the modesty survey, I am shocked to hear that you had so much controversy about it! I felt that it was handled really well and the guys who took part in the survey respected that girls are not responsible for their sin. I choose to dress modestly in order to help them not to sin and not because I feel obligated to do so, so I am surprised that people feel that christian girls feel responsible.

  • Caitlin B.

    Alex and Brett,
    Thank you so much for putting this survey together. I’ve always been committed to purity, but I never fully understood just how much of a distraction I could be to my brothers in Christ. I find modesty very important in the life of both girls and guys. We both need to respect eachother in the way we dress and act, and I find this survey to fully support that.
    I read much of the survey with my best friend and sometimes we’d just look at eachother with jaws hanging open, shocked at some of the things we found harmless to cause our brothers to stumble.
    I love the attitudes the boys and men have taken when responding. They were all very respectful and made it very clear that they were responsible for their thoughts as well.
    Thank you for continuing to encourage our brothers and sisters!

    In Christ,

  • The survey looks very neat. 😀 It has been a great resource to many people I think, and I’ve recommended the survey to many people with modesty questions before. I have had bad and good responses about the survey (all depending on who I recommended it to). lol I just feel like y’all are doing a WONDERFUL job with all this! God Bless!
    ~Rose <3

  • Thank you so much! This is a big stance, and I am glad you are making it. I am a 16 year old girl, and I am exposed to the pressure and image of being immodest and seductive. But still, it shocks and discusts me! When my pastor went from regular college to a Christian college, he was sorely disipointed and a bit shocked himself when the women there dressed no different from his former experience. It is definately, (the subject of modesty,) something that offends, rebukes, and can encourage. Thanks again! I will be happy to put a link from my blog to here, for my struggling sisters to read. I do what I can to help my sisters in Christ, and leave the rest up to the Holy Spirit.
    Sincerely in Christ,
    M <

  • Megan

    Thank you guys sooo much for this survey! It has really helped me understand a little better the minds of men and what they think about how I dress. :-) I am going to prom this spring and will use these responces to try to find a modest prom dress!
    Thanks for all of the work you are doing for the Lord! I, and many, many other teens I know, appreciate it!
    <3 Megan

  • Ruth Thomas

    Where can I see this modesty survey ppl?

  • Karis

    Thank you so much for this survey! After reading it, I see that there are guys out there that care if I dress modestly! This has encouraged greatly. Again thank you so much!

    A Daughter of God,

  • Liz

    I’ve been trying my entire life to save my body for my husband, and it gets me so angry when I’m modestly dressed and I can still sense lustful glances directed at me. Or on the other hand, I HATE it when guys scan their eyes all over me, undress me in their mind, and then decide that I’m not hot enough for them or worthy of their attention. How dare they treat me as nothing more than an object, and constantly try to steal my gift to my husband!
    All this just to say, thank you soooooo much to all the men who are NOT like this, who are trying to keep their minds pure for their wife! I am trying my best not to be a stumbling block, please try your best not to stumble; remember that just as I cannot understand how difficult it is for you not to lust, so you cannot understand how degrading it is to be lusted after.

  • OneRadiantStar(2B)

    I know this is a very controversial issue, and the Bible is really getting a beating here, but i would like to mention 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verses 8 and 9. “For the man is not of the woman; but the women of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” God doesn’t call us to be politically correct, he calls us to obey him. I’m not saying that women are less valuable then men. Verse 11 in the same chapter says “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” What I’m saying is that women are pleasing to men and that men are pleasing to women. We have a responsibility to one another as brothers and sisters through Christ. When a women wears a bikini (one of the many things that almost all of the men said caused them problems) she is causing her brothers to stumble. And I’ll remind y’all that we girls ASKED for this. We want to know what hurts them. And we thank them for being honest!

  • Lisa

    This survey was sooo encouraging to me! It not only made me realize how modesty is so important in displaying God through our lives, but also with all the guys comments, it really helped me see that I can still be attractive without feeling like i have to be imodest. It made feel proud that I have a lot to offer my future spouse! and gave me insight to what christian guys look for in their future spouse as well:) thank you thank you!

  • Alexander

    I defiantly think girls and women should dress modestly by wearing appropriate clothing.

  • Rachel

    Alex and Brett,
    Thank you for putting this survey together. it really helped me to understand what guys see rather than what my female friends see. I had NO idea that some of the things I wear are a stumbling block to guys. Although a few of my opinions differ, the survey still gave me a good insight into what thoughts I’m provoking and it has caused me to make a change in my wardrobe. I don’t want to make guys stumble in their walk with God, I want to encourage them in their walk with God, and this survey has helped me to do that. Thank you.

  • Awesome blog. I especially loved the Modesty Survey!! I placed a link to it on two of my YouTube videos on modesty. Thanks so much. As a woman, I KNOW that we are responsible for how our brothers are tempted. Yes, they are responsible for how they respond to the temptation, but we are *first* responsible for doing the tempting! Thanks so much for this survey. It answered a lot of my own questions. I hope you can take the time to check out my modesty site: Modesty Becomes You.

  • Amber

    Thank you so much for this survey! Awesome!
    It helped me understand better what guys see when you dress a certain way.
    I’ll be doing a wardrobe redo. :) Modesty is truly important.
    I think it would be great if you could make a survey for us girls to take. 😀

  • J. Laney

    Astonishing. Thank you for doing this survey. I had no idea that some of these things could be considered provocative to some guys. There were things on that list I have always felt uncomfortable doing/wearing that I had never heard anyone else even mention before. Reading the very frank comments from the survey participants was amazing. From now on I’ll be more careful about how I dress and how I carry myself. This is a HUGE resource for any girl who really wants to understand what’s modest and what isn’t. Thank you for doing this.

  • K.

    Thank you for this survey! As a young teen, I am really appreciative that all these guys put in so much time and effort to give tips… I never would have even thought about some of those things! And also thanks for taking that critisism from people who think that we don’t want this info… I do!

  • That is really sad that you guys are being virtually “yelled at” like that. I can’t find the original Modesty Survey anywhere on your site, even when I click on the link you have posted in this article. Has it been taken off?

    • Well hello Josiah! Indeed it has been taken down, but I suppose you’ve figured that out by now. (If someone else already told you that, I can’t see it.)

      • Did you just reply to a year-old comment??

        That’s kind of cool….

        • Uh, yep. Haha. I knew it was old but I still felt like replying. 😀

  • Melody Brocke

    “It should also be noted that we (and 99% of the guys) had no idea what gauchos, sheer sleeves, or empire waists were before this survey.”

    Um, I’m a girl, and have no clue what those things are =P

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