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Lisa Nash
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Kay, thank you so much for your comment, and I commend you for being brave enough to write in. I have a few different thoughts that might help you out in your struggle. First, it is very possible to be beautiful and modest at the same time. Modesty doesn't have to look strange or antiquated -- you don't have to go around in a prairie dress and bonnet -- it could just mean a one-piece bathing suit when you go to the beach with your friends, or it could mean choosing not to wear a t-shirt with a provocative flirtatious slogan on it, or choosing a skirt that hits your knees instead of your thighs so that when you sit down at the movies you aren't constantly tugging at it to keep it down low enough. Part of growing into a woman is testing things out and really listening to your instinct about the way they feel. Does a tank top feel too revealing? Wear a t-shirt instead. Do shorts sometimes feel strange? Wear jeans instead. You have within you the instinct to find out what modesty means to you and what "rules" you want to follow for yourself. It takes practice and time, and you can start whenever you want. My next comment will sound very grown-uppy but all I can offer is my own experience. I can say definitely that what makes you popular at 13 is often the exact opposite of what will make you into a happy, healthy adult. Remember that other people's opinion of you can change back and forth every day. The important thing is whether you respect yourself, and whether you are doing what you feel is right, regardless of what other people thing. And you can decide how much of the fight you want to engage in. Maybe you think a bikini is fine, if you are hanging out with your girlfriends, but then when there are boys around you want to wear a one-piece with shorts. The idea is not to let other people dictate to you what you should do, especially when it goes against your own instincts about what is right. I can also assure you without even seeing you that you are beautiful whether you are wearing a revealing dress that makes you popular with boys or a long skirt and long sleeve shirt. My opinion is that God gives women a beauty that shows even when they are covered, and covered to varying degrees. You have a lot of courage and thoughtfulness, to be dealing with these questions now. You can always find a supportive community here and I can assure you (as someone happily married after not dating at all until after college) that when you listen to your own conscience and find what you are comfortable with, you will grow in beauty and understanding and you may find that you begin to treasure modesty because it forces others to see you for your personality and your heart rather than just evaluating your body, as society sometimes wants to do to women and girls. Best wishes. Come back and visit us again!
Toggle Commented Jul 10, 2011 on Do Modest Girls Have More Fun? at Modestly Yours
What a great post. :) I have had a similar "US version" of this conversation with a few friends of mine. One friend was struggling with having a conversation with her boyfriend about her desire to stay chaste before marriage. It seemed so strange to me that she should be the one having to "out" herself as one of those weirdos who doesn't want to have sex before she's married. But I was able to encourage her, and I shared with her what I learned myself. Having conservative views of what physical contact is appropriate can narrow your dating pool down *quite* a bit, and there will be times when you wonder whether there are any men left in the world who are compatible with you. And yet, when you do meet one, he's been "prescreened" as at least more likely to be a decent guy, and to mesh with your values. Who knows?
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2011 on The Real Mensch Test at Modestly Yours
Honestly, I remember being a preteen and for me when I was skirting and crossing the boundaries of modesty it was all about power for me. When you are a young girl in this society, you have very little (if any) power. Becoming sexualized affords you some power, and while that power has caveats hanging all over it, when you are 12 you are not thinking about the pitfalls of using sexuality for power -- you are thinking about being in charge of something... anything. At least I was. Maybe my experience isn't so common, but you really just want to turn heads, to see if you can. I think girls that age don't think it through because they are so new to it. And to be honest I think that we as adult women are often playing with this same dynamic of power. It can be a tempting game to play, even if we choose not to in the end.
I think the best kind of online dating uses the online medium as a way to get connected with a good group of people to choose from, like a bar that is only patronized by people who you are compatible with. A couple who meets in a bar or at a party doesn't carry on their whole courtship in a bar or at a party, and likewise meeting someone online doesn't have to influence the quality or character of the relationship one way or the other. I met my husband the old fashioned way (friend of a friend at a party, we were both bored and talked with each other for a long time while the party went on around us), but I don't think there's anything immodest about online dating, anymore than there is anything immodest about dating at all. I think you can present yourself modestly online.
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2011 on "The Shame" at Modestly Yours
Wow. I love that he claims that the site is there as a catalyst for change. This guy is super-deluding himself. I can't wait until his wife signs on to do a little research about her husband's work. I think this is an example of being so open-minded that all your brains fall out.
Toggle Commented Feb 23, 2011 on Noel Biderman: A Contradiction? at Modestly Yours
To me this is another example of Hollywood trying to reinvent age-old wisdom that it originally rejected. It calls to mind Madonna's journey into motherhood, when suddenly things like morality, ethics, Judaism, you name it, is all part of her personal journey of self-discovery, whereas a decade earlier she was outspoken in her rejection of cultural norms like these. To those of us who live "boring" lives on Earth these discoveries are nothing more than plain common sense.
Toggle Commented Feb 22, 2011 on Love and Other Possibilities at Modestly Yours
Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I just don't see the point of being married if you're not going to be married. If you are to the point that you need to pay for a service to help you cheat on your spouse, then what are you even doing? What is the "five year plan"?
Toggle Commented Feb 16, 2011 on Noel Biderman: A Contradiction? at Modestly Yours
Emily, I'm glad you mentioned the beauty of innocence, because that is something I should have added to the post -- the way it relates to modesty -- basically, that delightful, joyful happiness that comes from beauty is something that I think that modesty safeguards. When something is protected and guarded, it can still fresh, if that makes sense. I think this beauty is present in every woman, and when we maintain a certain level of modesty, it allows that beauty to survive in spite of the efforts of pop culture to expose and exploit it. Does this make sense?
Toggle Commented Sep 7, 2010 on Pretty Girl at Modestly Yours
Great post, Nene! :) I completely agree. I have a little daughter and I have been thinking of how I will communicate this message to her. For me, growing up, the hardest part about modesty was feeling invisible and ignored and lonely, especially in those critical teen years of about 14-17. I could have gotten a lot more "positive" attention by throwing off modesty. Of course now, I am glad I stuck it out for the most part, and looking back it scares me how vulnerable I was and how close I came to compromising my ideals for some attention. It can be so tricky to be a girl these days! I think that giving our girls positive attention for their many good qualities is a great way to encourage modesty, so that trading their modesty for attention won't seem like such an appealing bargain. What does everyone think?
If the child is not yet an adult, then I say absolutely yes, the father should be actively involved. I think that parents can be a little too respectful of their children's privacy when it comes to important decisions and who the children spend their time with. If the fifteen-year-old daughter is dating someone unacceptable, I would argue that the parents have the obligation, not just the opportunity, to step in. If the child is an adult, the father's input might have to be limited to a statement -- "You are a grown woman, but for what it's worth I don't think he treats you well enough for what you deserve." If a girl has a good relationship with her father, hopefully she would trust his judgment enough to at least consider his point of view, even if she chooses a different path in the end. As far as TV dads go, I don't think you can get much better than Dr. Huxtable! He was involved in his kids' lives and treated them with dignity, but he and his wife were still clearly in control, even when their decisions were unpopular. All that, and good humor, too! :)
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2010 on Eat, Pray, Love Dad! at Modestly Yours
Mary, I see what you are saying, but I am not even sure that men are more "sexual" -- what does everyone think about this concept?
Toggle Commented Aug 6, 2010 on Negotiated Infidelity at Modestly Yours
This reminds me of an article I read by "Married Jake" at Glamour.com (I have just wasted ten minutes trying to find the article to link to it, but I haven't found it yet). Basically, this guy was a newlywed, and he talked about how he and his wife would date other people, without sex, to keep things interesting. I was thinking, you just got married and you are already using infidelity to "spice things up"? (Not to mention that this model of marriage, as well as Hill's, requires an entire class of people willing to be used in order to make married people's lives more interesting.) All I can say about the idea of letting someone cheat so that they don't leave is that it is one of the silliest things I have ever heard. The only difference between "allowing" someone to cheat and having them cheat because you don't allow them to is your own say-so. And I spend all day taking care of kids -- I would rather not treat my husband like he is one, too. As someone who actually loves her husband, I can say that if he slept with someone else -- with my permission or without it -- it would really hurt. That's a risk I take because I am married, and the vows we took at our wedding actually mean something.
Toggle Commented Aug 6, 2010 on Negotiated Infidelity at Modestly Yours
Sarah, I so know what you are talking about -- I had a moment shortly after I started dating my husband, when I realized that those "non romantic" coffee dates had no place in my life anymore, and it was a weird moment. I felt like I should feel oppressed by it, or something, but I didn't -- that is why this feeling of married modesty is so interesting to me -- because it occurred all on its own, not because of an outside force telling me I ought to feel that way.
Toggle Commented Jul 1, 2010 on Married Modesty at Modestly Yours
Gorgeous clothes!
Toggle Commented Jun 28, 2010 on Tznius-ista at Modestly Yours
It could be because I joined facebook after I was done with college life, but I have found it to be good, in moderation. The people I am friends with on facebook are my friends in real life as well; we use the tools to send messages to meet up for playdates, to share links to relevant news stories and happenings around our town. Interestingly, I even stay in better touch with my own family since we all got on facebook -- I can have a brief conversation with my brother and his girlfriend and a few more of their friends who I have not met yet in person -- and the next time I actually see them we have more to talk about, more to reference. My life is hectic, and as a work-from-home mom, I find it to be an invaluable tool for staying connected to my community and learning about local events. My instinct would be to say that facebook itself is neither good nor bad. Much like the telephone, it could be used for good or for evil, for gossip or for encouragement, for spying and jealousy or for cheering up a lonely person. All that aside, I do periodically force myself to go on a week-long "facebook fast" when I notice that I am spending time minding other people's business instead of taking care of my own.
Toggle Commented Jun 28, 2010 on Fare thee well, Facebook! at Modestly Yours
This is an interesting discussion, and I have some personal experience to bring to bear on the subject; first, let me say, I think it is a good thing that Kirk Cameron would stand up to the industry in that way; I am sure there are many people along the way who thought he was nuts or being too Puritanical or whatever for making the choice not to kiss anyone but his wife. That being said, I have to say that I wouldn't feel comfortable "judging" an actor who chose otherwise, just that I think that Cameron's interpretation of marital fidelity is, as the blogger says, "kinda romantic." When I was younger (and still now, although it affects me less), my mother mother frequently appeared on stage in musicals with a local company, and I can attest to the Definite Weirdness I experienced watching her kissing various other men who weren't my father. The first time she did this, she was in a role in which the audience actually voted on which character she would kiss -- they did a little song, and then a little kiss -- so she didn't even know which of the many actors (and even one woman playing a man) she would end up kissing at the end of the evening. It might not seem like a big deal, and to that nebulous "society in general" I am sure it is not a big deal at ALL, but to me, at eleven years old, it was strange and it made me wonder why something that would not have been okay anywhere else on the planet was just fine on the 10' x 12' stage in front of an audience. I wondered what my Dad thought, if he minded. I didn't like having to think about it. I decided that I would not kiss someone else if I were married -- that I would never take a role that required that of me -- and luckily it turned out that I am a terrible actor so there is no risk of me even being in that position ;D
Stacy, how shocking of you to argue in favor of an objective morality! Could there indeed be such a thing? Egads! Somebody get me my smelling salts ;)
Shanna, just two points for debate/discussion: -What steps would you advocate in order to encourage people to have a healthy mindset about sex and women? -I am interested by the idea that "porn isn't real" -- it is true that there is an element of theatricality to it, in the way that a character on a movie screen isn't "real," per se, but isn't the woman being depicted in the pornographic image a "real" person? This is the point that I was trying to get to -- not focusing on the idea that pornography harms the viewer, but rather that it depends on a certain idea about the "viewee" as somehow being exempt from the normal views of human dignity. It seems to me that sincerely believing that porn isn't real requires a suspension of belief in the humanity of the person whose body is being displayed. What do you think?