Some Quick Notes on the Itsy Bitsy Classism Question

You also might have to save a little more babysitting money to buy a cute (yes, cute ones do exist) tankini or one piece. But honestly, a little disappointment and a little extra cash aren’t that hard to swallow.  – The Bikini Question

For a long time, I've puzzled over those two lines from that bikini post that everyone’s been talking about. Is it really that simple? I just…save some extra cash from baby-sitting? Are we living in the adult world? With adult women who pay bills and work jobs and have to feed themselves and pay back student loans?

"It’s just a little extra cash” has me scratching my head. If there’s anything that solidifies modesty culture as the domain of the suburban, middle class, white, evangelical church, it’s this “it’s just a little extra cash” attitude.

Take a look, for example, at the Guys on Modesty Pinterest Board, which is meant to display inspirational/fashionably modest clothing. Most of it is designer. Many of the dresses are over $100. The coats are Burberry (to give you an idea of how much those cost, I looked at a SHIRT at Burberry in Japan that was 30,000 JPY, or 300USD). Kate Middleton – who wears custom made designer dresses because she’s a freaking Duchess – is frequently featured. There’s even an Oscar de la Renta featured gown, and I don’t even want to IMAGINE how much that costs.

Modesty, it seems, is the purview of those who have the money to invest.

It’s no mistake that immodest clothing is also remarked upon with insults like “trashy,” “low class,” or even “white trash,” an especially bad term as it implies that trash is a unique purview of non-white people.

The modesty movement is almost exclusively the domain of women with means, and as such it becomes inherently classist – especially when “just save a little extra cash” to buy a $90 swimsuit is considered a easily achieved "sacrifice" to remain modest.