How You Dress Isn’t An Excuse for the Behavior of Others: A Viral “Object Lesson” on Modesty


Welcome to the State of Utah, where modesty is a seriously hot topic

This week a photo of a father wearing short-shorts on a family outing went viral. Why was he wearing the shorts? He wanted to teach his daughter a little lesson about modesty, (and throw in a healthy dose of public humiliation, because apparently that’s what awesome dads do?). Mr. Mackintosh and his family reserve Monday nights for family time (I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that it is probably for Family Home Evening, a tradition in the LDS Church), and the family decided to go out for mini golfing and a little bit of dinner. After some bickering over what their daughter was wearing a genius idea struck this “Best. Dad. Ever” and he cut himself some barely-there shorts. He explains that his motivation was to show her “how her short-shorts maybe aren’t as ‘cute’ as she thinks!”

For most people his gaff was a funny, transformative parenting exercise. We disagree.

After his viral Internet splash, Scott Mackintosh submitted a piece to Deseret News explaining his actions, and this is where his little stunt goes from bad to worse. “I’m a firm believer that the way we dress sends messages about us, and it influences the way we and others act,” (emphasis added).

Stop right there, Mr. Mackintosh, because you are barreling down a slippery slope.

Your daughter’s personal attire is NEVER an acceptable explanation for the way other people conduct themselves. The belief that clothing impacts the choices of others is a common rape myth in our culture. “Well, she was wearing a short skirt. What did she expect?” Sound familiar? Mr. Mackintosh is perpetuating a dangerous myth with his modesty object lesson. We’ve touched a bit on object lessons before, and just like the last time we think this one is an epic fail.



  1. I personally Do believe the way we dress tells others how they should perceive us to be. Clothing is nothing more than another form of communication.

  2. MacKenzie Bray says:

    I believe that clothing does affect how others treat us but nothing like this. The main idea that comes to mind is work attire. Of course people are going to judge you then because you are, in many ways, selling something: a dirty, sloppy, shirt doesn’t exactly ensure someone that you’ll take care of them and their needs, whatever they may be. However, what you wear in your private life is different. A person who wears short shorts deserves the same amount of respect as a person who wears a knee-length skirt.

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