Modesty Teachings – When Mormons Sound like Christians and Gender Complementarians
It’s creepy and alarming at times how some Christians wind up with beliefs or theology that sounds a lot like the things cults and what all believe, from Calvinism’s mirroring of Islam’s view of God, Christian gender complementarian views mirroring those of Islamic view of women, and the modesty and chastity teachings of Mormons.
While I am not an advocate of either men or women dressing slutty, I’m puzzled by some dress codes and think modesty teachings are, overall, pretty moronic as well as hypocritical, as all emphasis is placed upon females.
I’ve yet to deduce how or why American males find female arms sexy – some of them, after all, in their modesty teachings, teach girls and women to keep their arms covered. Some Christians (and Mormons) are against any top or blouse with spaghetti straps. I have no idea why, as there is nothing terribly sexy or tawdry about spaghetti straps.
I don’t think I agree with the comment in this page by a Mormon that
“Modesty is the foundation stone of chastity,” since a woman (or man) can be just as slutty in baggy jeans and while wearing a parka as a woman in stiletto heels and a mini-skirt (or for men, tight jeans and a tank or mesh shirt). It’s not the packaging, but the behavior.
I don’t have the quote below, but in the article, so intense is this stupid modesty teaching among females in Mormonism, that there is an anecdote about a four year old girl who refuses to go to the zoo with her granny until granny helps her put a t-shirt under her sun dress.
A four year old girl should not even be thinking in terms of sexuality, modesty, etc. I believe religious teachings that start out with good intentions do a lot of damage to their adherents, modesty being one of them.
- Peggy Fletcher Stack / Salt Lake Tribune
Mar 4, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) When Mormon leaders sense a decline of moral standards in the world, they roll out sermons on modesty.
In the 1960s and early ’70s, they preached against miniskirts and hot pants; in today’s sex-drenched society, it’s spaghetti straps, bare midriffs and skinny jeans.
The message remains largely the same: Cover up, lest you cause the males around you to sin.
It’s often couched in the rhetoric of “virtue” and usually aimed at young women, even girls.
“Modesty is the foundation stone of chastity,” former Young Women leader Elaine S. Dalton said in the May 2007 Liahona, an international LDS magazine. “Just as one does not hike trails inhabited by rattlesnakes barefoot, similarly in today’s world it is essential to our very safety to be modest.”
The next year, the Utah-based faith’s Young Women program added “virtue” as one of the values to which Mormon girls ages 12- 17 should strive, but it was defined chiefly as sexual purity or chastity.
This concern has reached down to girls as young as 4.
…. Bare shoulders, even on children, are off-limits in LDS Church publications. An illustration in the December 2011 Ensign, the official magazine for adult Mormons, even added sleeves to female angels in one of painter Carl Bloch’s masterpieces.
“The current discourse on modesty undermines women’s relationship to themselves, to their sexuality, and to men,” LDS sex therapist Jennifer Finlayson-Fife writes in the most recent issue of Exponent II. “Far from protecting females from seeking male approval, the rhetoric on modesty unwittingly reinforces it. At the same time we are taught that pleasing men through sexual availability is not necessary, we are taught to please men and God by covering and suppressing our sexuality.”
Either way, women are sexual objects.
One male was quoted as saying:
- “The dress of a woman has a powerful impact upon the minds and passions of men. If it is too low or too high or too tight, it may prompt improper thoughts, even in the mind of a young man who is striving to be pure,” the LDS leader said.
And that is not a woman’s concern at all. Men are responsible for their own thought lives and behavior, it is not up to women to “dress modestly” to help a guy with his lust issues. A woman is not responsible for what a man thinks or feels.
What a man considers sexy also varies, making it impossible anyway: I’ve had men lust after me, even when I was wearing big, baggy sweat pants and sweat shirts. A woman does not have to be wearing fish net panty hose, a mini skirt, and stiletto heels to have men hit on her and leer at her.
Additional comments from the article:
- “I have heard all my life that it is the young woman who has to assume the responsibility for controlling the limits of intimacy in courtship because a young man cannot,” Jeffrey R. Holland, then-president of LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University and now an LDS apostle, said in a 1988 school devotional.
A “sorry drugstore psychology” would suggest that such a man is helpless before such attractions, his “glands have complete control over his life — his mind, his will, his entire future,” Holland said. “To say that a young woman in such a relationship has to bear her responsibility and that of the young man’s, too, is the least fair assertion I can imagine.”
Jana Riess, a popular LDS blogger, comments on this double standard in a recent satirical post for Religion News Service in which she urged young Mormon men to be mindful of what they wear to keep young women from straying to “lustful thoughts.”
“Away with shoulder-baring tank tops during your pickup basketball games in the church gym,” she wrote. “Away with low-slung jeans that drive girls crazy wondering by what defiance of physics your pants don’t drop to your ankles.”
Then, in a twist on Callister’s speech, Riess reminded Mormon men that they will marry “the type of woman you dress for.”
Related posts this blog:
(Link): Liberty Counsel Fears Prom, Losing Freedom To Be Abstinent Before Marriage – their marketing has been jeered by ex Christians, atheists, liberal Christians, and secular left wingers / Re: Day of Purity Campaign