Modesty for the Modern Catholic- Part 3: Modesty in Speech

Many men in my generation and younger speak to women, about women, and in front of women in terrible ways, using horrible language that tears women down and turns what God has designed to be beautiful and holy into something that is dirty and shameful. For many women, young and old, this type of speech from men is all they know.  Men either talk to and about them as sexual objects or ignore them, so many women feel that their worth is in their sexual nature, their ability to fulfill men’s sexual desires, and nothing more.  Many women—even “good,” Christian women would rather have this kind of attention than none at all, and so they not only allow this type of speech, but also engage in it as well because their own immodest speech brings them the attention of the men around them.     

There was a time when men would refrain from cursing or speaking about topics that were sexual in nature in front of a woman.  Older men—and men of my generation who were raised well—still do this.  When a man noticeably restricts his speech in front of me, I have always felt respected and protected.  It honors me that to these men, I am worthy of being respected, that my femininity calls them to a higher standard of conduct.  If only all women could experience the reverence of men such as these, if only women felt worthy of this kind of respect.

Of course, equal blame belongs on both genders. Women do not command respect today.  We degrade ourselves by the filth that comes out of our own mouths.  We curse and talk about sex in front of and to men, and then wonder why they treat us the way they do.  We have taught men that it is acceptable to speak to us and about us in immodest ways. We see the perverse world around us and say that we would like to see a return to modesty, but we watch shows and movies full of immodest language (and of course behavior, but that's for a different post). As parents, we allow our children to watch these same shows all the while directing to speak modestly themselves.  We are sabotaging our own message. 

What about the music you listen to?  Have you ever really listened to the words?  The majority of the music on the radio, with the exception of country—and even some country music is getting a bit raunchy—is pure filth.  Rappers sing about strippers and meaningless sex, demeaning women with every breath that comes out of their mouths.  Female singers are no better—Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and the like—they promote anything but chastity or demanding respect from men.  These are our children’s role models—thugs and promiscuous women who have accomplished little more than perfecting the fine art of gyrating on stage.

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    We have fooled ourselves into thinking that immodest speech doesn't matter, but deep down, we know the truth.  When we repeatedly hear immodest language in media, we begin to mimic that speech in our own lives. When we use immodest speech, we give ourselves permission to engage in immodest behaviors.  We start thinking about these things differently.   We degrade ourselves and others.  We perverse what God made beautiful.  And it all starts with our speech.  So, what can we do? I have a few suggestions--and yes, I know that these are much easier said then done.

    First, women, we must stop using immodest speech.  Do you joke, brag, or complain about sexual issues with your friends?  Do you talk about sexual issues in ways and/or situations that are innapropriate and degrade the act? I am not implying that you should not ask for help from a trusted regarding an intmate issue, but I am stating that your friends do not need to know every detail of your romantic evening, or intimate and sensative information about your husband's attributes in the bedroom.  Do you use coarse language? Do you use sexual innuendo to intrigue, entice or attract men?  Realize that this type of talk will draw attention to you, but never respect.
   Second, we must stop supporting immodest speech in the media we consume.  Not only because our consumer dollars have power, but also because of the power of our example.  How can we instill modesty in our daughters or demand respect for our bodies and our sexuality from our men, while laughing at the sex jokes on Saturday Night Live, singing about our, "Milkshakes" and dancing to a Ludacris song? (I am showing my age a bit, here...) This became ever apparent to me when I had my first daughter.  I realized that the messages present in much of the music I listened to did not reflect the values I wanted to instill in my daughters.  My daughters will look to my example much more than they will listen to my words.   

   Third, we must expect respect from men. Men speak disrespectfully to and about women in large part because we have allowed and encouraged it.  We laugh at their crude jokes, respond to their trashy come-ons, and talk like sailors ourselves.  We women set the tone.  We set the bar, and it's time we raise it back up to it's proper place.  

   That's a good place to start, although there is so much more to say on the matter. What other ways could we defend and encourage modesty through our speech?  Leave your thoughts and comments in the comment section. 

Next post: Immodest Dress



  1. Could not agree with you more! Excellent post, thank you.

  2. Who are you to telling us women how to speak that is none of your fucking business