The Student News Site of Oregon State University



The Student News Site of Oregon State University


Holiday Modesty


With the holidays right around the corner, one may be wondering what outfit to wear for special occasions. When thinking about what to wear, especially as a woman, picking an outfit revolves around the concept of modesty. 

In such a context, modesty, Oxford Languages defines, is “behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency.” 

Why is modesty considered so much around the holidays? When attending holiday events with family or friends, women feel the need to dress modestly to avoid any conversation starters around the dinner table. 

Having the urge to cover up means dressing appropriately and avoiding any judgment from those around them. The pressure to not show skin and to please people with their outfit increases as the holidays roll around. 

 This issue seems to only affect women, which brings to mind the idea of gender roles and double standards.

As a man, first year student Isaac Lefohn believes that “holidays have to do with family and tradition” further explaining that “women are expected by society as a whole to be more modest while also having the pressure to dress nicer than men.” 

Even then, one might stop to think that modesty can impact women of different body types. Plus-size women go through different experiences than those whose body types fit into societal standards. 

Sydney Stubberfield, a second year at Oregon State University, feels as if “it is difficult as a plus size woman to participate in fashion trends anyway because ‘plus size women can’t be revealing.’” 

In addition to that, she believes that “no matter what you decide to wear, family will comment,” saying her family emphasizes the need to “be modest instead of comfortable.” 

Culture also comes into play when deciding how modest one should be when dressing up. 

Riti Sivakumar, a first year at Oregon State University, touches on her family’s expectations as a woman of color. As a Hindu, modesty around the holidays for her means “wearing traditional, modest clothing as an act of respect towards [her] religious background.” 

She catches herself “dressing however she wants around friends or immediate family,” but at gatherings she finds herself “wearing more traditional clothes like Kurtis.” So, it all comes down to one question. How are you going to make the holidays a safe space for the women in your life this holiday season?

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