rebelling against low expectations

About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • Wow! It is evident that a lot of work went into this. Thanks for putting it together – I can’t wait to see the results.

  • This is great! Thanks so much for putting this together! I’ve been waiting to see something like this for a long time.

    God bless you for your efforts!

    • I read about this survey in Do Hard Things and I really wanted to see it! I hope the results are put out soon!! I love this idea! I think Gods gonna use this is awesome ways!!

  • I’m so excited to see what the guys have to say! THis is going to be so great! Thanks for all the work you did to put this together!

  • Woohoo! I’m getting more and more excited about this! To everyone involved in getting it ready: thank you for all your hard work. To the guys that are answering the questions: thank you for taking the time to care.

  • Congratulations; it exceeds my expectations. What an incredible project this promises to be. I look forward to referring people from a debate forum I moderate on to the survey, as a way for the guys to help us–for their sakes and ours.

  • We appreciate the hard work! We can’t wait to see the results – I am sure it will be a real eye opener!

  • When does the Modesty Survey close? In other words, how long do we have to wait? The results are going to help so many of us girls. I read through the questions and wow, they’re great. So, I can’t wait and was wondering how long? Thanks! 🙂

  • As a guy who just took the survey, I’m excited about it too.
    Thanks Alex and Brett for setting this up, and thanks girls for paying attention. You’re doing us guys a favor.

  • The survey looks great! I’m sure it is going to be very helpful; I can’t wait to see it finished! 😀 Thank y’all so very much for putting it together!

  • Tai – What you’re seeing are the questions. They’re in statement form and the guys will then have to say how strongly they agree or disagree with that statement.

  • Thanks so much for doing this! It looks great, and I can’t wait to see the results. It’s so tempting to compromise sometimes because of the ubiquity of immodest clothes (while modest clothing is often hard to come by), so this survey really encourages me not to lower my standards.

  • Oh wow!!

    I never thought that it would turn out so great.

    I can’t wait to see the results, which leads me to ask… Where will they be posted??


  • YAY!!! I was almost bouncing off the walls when I saw that it was up. You did an awesome job on putting it all together. Thanks sooooo much. I can’t wait untill we get the results.

  • Great job everyone that worked on this!!! You definetly did a hard thing and did it excellently!!! Like all the other girls who’ve commented and probably the ones who haven’t ,I cannot wait until we get the results!!!! And if you do have even a tentative deadline, I’d love to hear it!!! 🙂

  • YAY!
    I’m so excited about this! My brother has already filled out one section and he let me take a look. May I say it is fantastically done and I am very impressed. I can’t wait for the results!

  • Wow!!! 😀 This is really cool! Thanks to all the people who worked so hard on this project. I am looking forward to seeing the final results. Thanks also to the guys who are answering the questions: it is truly helpful to me and I’m sure all of your other sisters in Christ! 🙂 I know that this will help many of us girls to dress more modestly. Thank you to everyone once again! 🙂

  • I just read this over, and I’m really glad you’ve put this together. Thanks to all the guys who take the time to answer!

  • Dear Alex, Brett and Sarah,

    Thank you, my dear friends, for serving us in this way. I am sincerely touched by your sacrifice for the benefit of many—the lack of sleep, the hours spent searching for pictures, going through hundreds of questions submitted, etc. I could go on and on. After talking to your mom last night, the depth of your sacrifice became clearer to me. That night, I also happened to be reading “Humility” and was reminded of you three as I read. I see Jesus in you and it’s so glorifying to Him for others to witness His beauty vividly in your lives. Thank you for willingly offering yourselves as a vessel to display the Lord Jesus! I am blessed in seeing your selflessness through this endeavor and will even further be blessed after the survey is finished. Thank you!

    I am praying that the Lord will refresh you all. May He bless you abundantly beyond what you have given!

  • I just finished reading over the questions in the survey, and it kind of worried it.

    Obviously, girls do need to be sure to not dress immodestly, and it is a topic that should be discussed in appropriate settings, but I’m not convinced an open form, or even a survey, is one of those settings.

    In the survey, it seems that the questions themselves can cause problems in the area of purity; because they’re so detailed they give plenty of unnecessary food for thought. They give enough information to picture the event or the style completely, and then asks the young man if he’s having a problem with the visional that is now being pictured in his mind.

    To be honest, I wouldn’t feel comfortable sending the survey to any of the young me I knew, because I want to help them protect their purity and unfortunately I don’t feel reading through this survey would do that. A friend of mine told me she wouldn’t let her teenage son read through it. She thought it would compromise his purity rather than protect it.

    Discussing cleavage, undergarments, est. are the sorts of things that should be talked about, but they should be discussed in a ladies only environment.

    One problem with only addressing the girls’ role when it comes to modestly and purity is that it takes the responsibility off of the guys’ shoulders and placed it solely on the girls’. Girls are not only responsible for their dress and actions, but they’re held responsible for any problems any of the guys might have, even their thought lives, which isn’t their responsibility, even though they should never be doing anything intentionally to stumble their brothers in Christ. But there is a level of responsibility the guys need to take for themselves.

    Rather than the man being the knight who will save the princess from the monster, he’s shown as the very thing the princess needs to be saved from. Girls should never be the ones responsible for the purity level.

    In fact, they actually have this pretty easy when it comes to how much responsibility the guys have. Just like in a dance, the girls job is to not do anything that would cause a problem and she’s to fallow, everything else, is up the guy, and if there’s a problem he’s the one who’s held responsible for it.

    The fact that guys have an even MORE important role when it comes to purity in relationships (romantic or otherwise) because they’re to be the lead is too often completely overlooked.

    There are too many women and men who not only don’t know what the man’s role is in a relationship, they don’t even know he even has one.

    I don’t see where the chivalry is if the girl is doing everything to keep things in the relationship pure, and I don’t know that reading something that gives men food for thought truly helps them with their battle for their minds.

    Thank you for your time.


  • Hi Val,
    Thanks for your concern. You made a lot of good points. I’d like to mention a couple things myself that hopefully will put your mind at ease.
    First, the point of this survey is not so that we guys can find out what types of dress catch our attention; we already know that. The reason this survey exists is to help girls who maybe dress certain ways without ever thinking about what it looks like to guys. Maybe if they see the results of this survey they will think more carefully about how they dress.
    You mention that you are worried about what reading the survey questions will do to guys who take it. It’s true that a guy could take one of the questions and go off on all sorts of unpleasant tangents in his imagination, hopefully that won’t happen though. As you said at the end of your note, the guy should have some part in keeping himself pure. I wholeheartedly agree. Thankfully many of us have parents who have taught us to think about what we do with our eyes and our minds from a very early age. If a guy is having trouble merely from reading these questions, that is an indication that he has a long way to go in learning to follow God’s law.
    I took the survey and I did not find the questions disturbing. And again, I didn’t take the survey because I think it will do something to make me more pure, that’s not what it’s about. I took the survey so that girls will realize, “that outfit I thought was cute, it’s dangerous to a brother”.
    Yes you’re right, it is a guy’s job to guard his own eyes. We can’t blame the girls, but we can ask the ones who care to make our goal easier.


  • to all who made the Modesty Survey possible,

    I am so grateful already! 🙂 I’m a 24yrold girl, very concerned about modesty for myself, the youth group girls and every other girl that my lil brother sees. I found out yesterday that the survey was up & ready for the guys, and so I told my 17yrold bro about it on the way home and he finished the questions at about 11:30 last night. His comments to me afterwards indicated that he was really impressed by the survey, especially the open-ended questions–they really made him think! it’s great to have standards and convictions.. it’s better to be able to explain WHY you believe the way you do.

    on that note, thanks again.. and I can’t wait until we see the results!
    in Christ,

  • I really love it. You guys all did such a great job with it. I can see why Val was concerned-but on the girls side it is really great. Some of the clothes I wear I didn’t know was a stumbling block-we don’t see some of the things guys do. So I believe this survey will help us christian girls become more modest for they guys around us and God. -And we couldn’t have done it with out the guys answering the questions-Thanks!

  • Oh, I’m so happy that the Lord put this on ya’ll’s hearts to do this! I can hardly wait to see the end result! I pray that Yahweh will richly bless you for all of the time and effort that you put into this!
    Thank you, to all the men out there who are filling out the survey for us ladies! I read through all the questions and I’m so thankful that you are taking the time to do this! I pray that the Lord will use this mightily in the lives of the girls who read it!

    Romans 24:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

  • As a guy the survey did not tempt me to sin. It may if that is the attitude with which a guy approaches the survey. But then again, anything is a source of sin when wants to sin. It educated me quite thoroughly I would encourage all guys to take it.

  • Val – Those were some good points. Michael answered part of it, but I want to add one more thing. We don’t expect that the responsibility for purity falls only on girls’ shoulders. The Harris brothers have discussed having a “girls version” of this survey, where guys can ask girls questions and girls answer them (though it may cover more than just clothing). As guys, we don’t want to make girls stumble with their emotions any more than the girls involved in this project want to make us stumble with their dress. This is an opportunity for each of us to serve the other. Right now, we are focusing on what girls can do, but later on, we will focus on what guys can do. So don’t worry, we aren’t placing all the responsibility on girls. 🙂

    Alex, Brett, Sarah, David, etc. – Thank you all so much for the work you have put into this! 🙂 May the Lord reward you manifoldly for your efforts!

  • Thanks all of you who put this together. This is definitely helpful and I will work at elimintating all clothing that will be a stumbling block. Thanks for doing this!

    Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they shall see God.

  • A huge “thanks” and “awesome job” in following through with the call God has declared to you. Alex, Brett and Sarah, you are amazing blessings, encouragement, and role models to the family of believers. Lord bless you for pressing on toward the prize of the upward call. I am so ecstatic to see what our Savior is going to do through this survey. Thank you for all of your work and time you’ve put into this.

    To the ladies who read the survey, I encourage you to pray that the Lord would have His way in your hearts and lives; for humility, repentence, and the desire to be the woman of God that God has called you to be.

    Thank you brothers for your humility in answering your sister’s questions and for giving godly advice and information.

    In Christ,

  • I’m confused- some of the answers contradict other answers in the survey. Its immodest for a girl to show her calves but somehow gauchos are modest even though they expose the calves. It is modest for a girl to wear a spaghetti strap top if its attached to a formal gown but if its just a shirt, its immodest. A V-neck top is immodest even if it is not revealing but if a camisole is worn underneath then it is modest.

    Honestly, even the Talmud doesn’t have this many rules for what is appropriate for women to wear.

    I support modest dress for women and men 100% but according to this survey and its numerous contradictions, even many skirts, shirts, and dresses sold on modest clothing websites don’t count. I’m just wondering where I can buy a chador or a burka these days because that seems to be the only thing that qualifies as modest.

    The survey is somewhat helpful but do we really need to be taking out our rulers and measuring the length of sleeves? Women, cover yourselves! Its a pretty simple principle. Surveys like this complicate matters. At some point, men have to take responsibility for their own thought lives. I can’t even wear flowers on my shirt without potentially stumbling someone? I just think that’s ridiculous. As women, I do believe we need to treat men as weaker brothers when it comes to this area, but at the same time, I believe men need to take ownership of what stumbles them and work on turning the other way.

  • E. Bennet:
    The “questions” (or answers as you call them) are really just statements that we read and then state to what level we agree or disagree with that statement. Also included is room to comment in greater detail on the reason for our answer.

    So for instance with “its immodest for a girl to show her calves” can be reconciled with “gauchos are modest” by a guy who answers that he agrees with the first statement and disagrees with the 2nd or vice-versa. The survey results will show what the majority of guys think on the subject.

    There will surely be some guys who seem to be extreme in their answers in your view, but I would imagine that the average will not be as restrictive as you fear.

  • E Bennet… I now exactly what you mean because it took me forever to realize it was just a preview. I was really horrified, too – I was like, whoa, what /am/ I supposed to wear anyway if I can’t even wear flowers on my shirt or a dress that’s a little more fitted in the middle??? Especially the statement that jeans were immodest – that really got me… I was pretty much freaking out. I was thinking, wow, all the guys who filled out this survey are really giving me the creeps.

    So yeah…then I realized, like Josh said, that they were just statements to which the guys could agree or disagree.

    In case this has caused any of you to wonder, yes, I am blonde …

  • Yes, just to clarify, the preview displays statements that the guys taking the survey respond to with one of five choices: strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree. The preview does not provide results. Thank you everyone!

  • Thank you Alex, Brett, Candace, David, Katrina, Sarah, and Whoever-else-helped! (In case you were wondering, I decided on listing your names alphebetically! 😉 :D)

    By the grace and through the strength and wisdom of the Lord it is an amazing survery. Very, very good. =D

    May it be a tool that blesses our Savior and builds up His body…

  • In response to what “modestmoe” said, I think she has a point there, but I am curious to see…what really causes guys to stumble? I mean we girls honestly have no earthly clue that the lacy T shirt that looks so feminine and completely modest on the hanger causes impure thoughts until a guy tells us. Really. We have NO CLUE so for these people to put something together where the guys tell us is FANTASITC!!

  • I can’t say how relieving it was to realize I wasn’t the only one who thought the “answers” were contradictory and that they were actually the “answers” and not just a preview! Hahahah…thanks for clearing that confusion up, Alex.

    It’s looking great..I can’t wait for the results! 😀

  • I absolutelly CANNOT wait to see these results…
    i’m so excited!

    Looks great!! Awesom job all you talented peoples!!!

  • Thank you everyone who replied to me earlier. I truly appreciate your comments. It also meant a lot to me that I was able to voice an honest concern on here without being hogtied. Ah, the simple joys. But truly, I do appreciate it.

    Because this isn’t going to be an ongoing thing, I’m hoping and fairly confidant the benefits will outweigh any negative impact it may have had on the participants and their thought lives.

    I like the way E. Bennet put it, how as women we need to treat men as weaker brothers when dealing with this issue, but at the same time, men do need to take a personally responsibility, and work on turning the other way and not just giving into it. It’s kind of a group effort; we need to make sure we aren’t causing our brothers in Christ to stumble, but it still ultimately does come down to them.

    I know for myself, the area of modesty seems like it should be very black and white (you either are modest or you aren’t), but the reality is, it’s a bit more of a confusing gray area.

    Like so many others have already stated, I’m interested to see the results and hope it will benefit both men and woman. Trying to get “inside” guys’ heads is challenging — Audrey’s right in her comment — too often we are very ignorant, and this simple ignorance hurts everyone. But I’m sure guys probably feel just as mystified when it comes to girls and their emotions.

    On that note, if I read one of the earlier comments correctly, it sounded as if their might be a “part two” written for the guys’ benefit somewhere later down the road. I would wholeheartedly welcome something along those lines. It’s actually something I’ve only ever seen addressed well in Joshua Harris’ book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” It would be beneficial to have it dealt with again, in possibly greater detail, and I’m sure Alex and Brett wouldn’t have trouble filling thier brother’s shoes.

    Thanks again.

  • ModestMoe: I hope we never “hogtie” someone for having a concern. Throughout this process we have welcomed the feedback of hundreds of young men and women, dozens of adults and ministry leaders, and are trying, by God’s grace, to avoid as many recognized pitfalls as we can.

    We are still open to feedback. In fact, even though we were already planning to address the guys’ responsibility in our upcoming commentary on the results, your comment inspired us to add an additional essay question to our Open Question’s category. It reads:

    “As a guy, what is your responsibility in this area? What is your role in guarding your eyes and mind (as opposed to the women’s role of dressing modestly)?”

    From the many responses we’ve received to that question so far, I think you will be very happy with the message that is sent. 🙂

  • Brett,

    I was just reading over some of the other postings on your site and I’m impressed with the level of maturity and grace both you and Alex extend when responding to what are sometimes “hot subjects.”

    Thank you so much for adding another question to the survey. As a fairly new reader, I had no idea what kind of reaction to anticipate. I’m very pleasantly surprised, and I now feel relieved, too. Thank you. I’m sure I will be very pleased with the message that is sent. 😀

  • What a great idea! Thank you so much for doing it. I can’t wait to see the results… when will we be able to?

  • I just have one question: When will the girls be able to see the answers to the questions? Is there a set date when we will be able to see them? I’ve looked at all the questions and a lot of them will be helpful for me. Looking forward to the final results! 😀

  • “Isaac MacMillen” mentioned the possibility of a “girls version” survey sometime (not just dress)? That is another excellent idea. I would be interested, at least. : )

  • I would definitely want to weigh in on a “girls’ version” survey. Sometimes guys have no idea that their seemingly-innocent or friendly ways can have a major affect on their girl friends.

  • Yeah…it took me a little while to catch on too. I mean, I knew it was a preview but I guess I didn’t understand what that meant. So a couple of my friends and I were sitting here almost freaking out and thinking Ok, the guy does need to guard his thoughts in addition to the girl wearing modest clothing! But I think this is great! When is the real thing coming out? Do you have any idea? Thanks so much for all you’ve put into this.

  • […] Today I was visiting a website to read an article on Fasting that my Pastor told me about. (by the way it is a great article) While I was there I found two great articles on Modesty, one was written by a guy the other by a pastor’s wife. I thought that with the Modesty Survey well underway it might be benificial to have some resources on modesty for us guys to use when answering the questions and also to help the girls understand a little more about what modesty really is. Most people (girls and guys, young and old) don’t understand that Modesty is not about how you dress but about the attitude and motive of your heart and it applies to guys as well as to girls. Anyway here are the articles, if anyone else knows of any great articles on this subject I would love it if you would post them here (as a link). […]

  • Thank you so much, everyone, for doing this! I am really excited to know how we can really be modest to protect our selves and all of you guys out there plus honor the LORD. Everything is greatly appreciated!

  • I think this was a great idea. I just finished taking the survey.

    Have you thought about one doing one on us guys for the girls to take. Modesty is always talked about in relation to girls, what do us guys do, or wear ect…that would be considered immodest or stumbling blocks to our sisters in Christ? Thought I would throw the idea out there. Keep up the great work, you guys have an awesome website and ministry. God Bless

  • I read about this survey in Do Hard Things and I really wanted to see it! I hope the results are put out soon!! I love this idea! I think Gods gonna use this is awesome ways!!

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →