Fifty Shades of Feminine Hypocrisy – editorial
This editorial had some points I agreed with but some I did not. Under this long excerpt are rebuttals by a reader of this editorial on Christian Post.
(Link): Fifty Shades of Feminine Hypocrisy, by Dannah Gresh
- April 16, 2014|4:39 pm
Recently, modesty proponents have been accused of promoting “rape culture” by both faith-based and mainstream bloggers and columnists. The thinking, led by secular third wave feminists, asserts that discussing modesty “sexualizes women” which in turn contributes to rape crimes.
During the same time period over 100 million readers made E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey the fastest-selling paperback of all time. Barna research reports no statistical difference in the percentage of Christian women versus the general public reading the series, which glamorizes sexual violence against women. The Christian media has been largely silent on this issue.
As a leader in both the modesty movement and the fight against women being victimized by pornography and erotica, I find the Christian response to reveal a tragic double standard.
Does teaching modesty promote “rape culture”? A better question to begin with is this: does “rape culture” even exist?
Last month, a TIME Magazine article declared that it was “Time To End Rape Culture Hysteria.” Writer Caroline Kitchens championed the report of the nation’s leading anti-sexual violence organization, RAINN, which rebuked the overemphasis on the concept of “rape culture” as a means of preventing rape, citing that 90% of rapes on college campuses are committed by 3% of the male population. RAINN argues that rape is the product of individuals who have decided to disregard the overwhelming cultural messages that rape is wrong.
The fact is rape crime is on the decline.
…. The RAINN report argues that the trend towards focusing on cultural factors “has the paradoxical effect of making it harder to stop sexual violence, since it removes the focus from the individual at fault, and seemingly mitigates personal responsibility for his or her own actions.”
… The “rape culture” idea is a feminist dogma implying that ultimately all women are victimized by men. This monolithic generalization paralyzes us from focusing together on how we can continue the good work of reducing the number of victims.
The reduction would begin by cancelling out the fallacious “victim” label placed on those who’ve been encouraged to dress modestly. Case in point is the current verbal riot occurring over an Evanston, Illinois public school dress code, which showcases well how harmful the “rape culture” vultures can be. Under allegations that the school recently banned leggings and yoga pants, feminists accused the district of “slut shaming” girls.
…And there’s nothing wrong with teaching Christian girls and women that God wants nothing they wear to distract from the good works they do and the great minds God’s given to them. In fact, from a biblical perspective it’s very right.
…This same sad dichotomy is seen in the Christian dialogue with bloggers fueling the self-proclaimed “evangelistic” rhetoric of third wave feminists under the guise of Christian socialism, while those on the front lines as activists-teaching girls and women to respect themselves by training them in the biblical concepts of modesty and purity, and binding the wounds of those victimized by porn and erotica-take the blows of their hollow arguments.
… The Christian media should lead the charge in righting this grave double standard. That is, unless, we are going to continue to take our cues from the feminist culture, which applies “tolerance” to any sexual preference unless it lines up with God’s plan for sexuality.
Responses by readers of the editorial:
- by RoyalCourt
This is one of those topics where both sides – secular feminists and Christians – get some points right, but get some points wrong. I’ve nothing against parents teaching daughters to dress modestly – however, there are some incorrect assumptions being made by Christians who teach modesty.
First of all, women are visually stimulated too, not just men, as Christians erroneously teach. There is a double standard, though, where Christians only tell women to dress modestly, but never advise young, hot sexy men with nice bods to keep their t-shirts on.
Secondly, modesty should not be taught to females in such a way to suggest that they are responsible for the male gaze or male sexual sins.
In the end scheme of things, it matters not if a buxom, nuible young thing parades naked in front of a Christian man: he is still responsible for his thought life and his actions, regardless of how a woman is dressed.
Lastly, what one man considers modest another would still consider immodest, sexy, or a “turn on.” There is no universally-agreed upon definition or dress code for what constitutes “modest,” unless Christians want to start forcing all women to wear Islamic burkas.
Many fundamentalist Christians, especially of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church lunacy, would actually have you believe that women should never wear pants because a female in pants is sinful, immodest, or wrong. And I can bet ya that most of the conservative women in support of “modesty” would not agree with IFBs that women should never, ever wear pants.
The topic of slut shaming is, in my view, not entirely related to the modesty topic that is being discussed on the page, so I am not sure why the author brought that up.
Slut shaming, as one sees it discussed on secular feminist blogs, has more to do with whether or not women should be shamed, or feel ashamed, for having consensual, pre-marital sex – it is usually not mentioned in regards to how women dress, though I suppose some feminists have brought it up in that context, but I usually see the topics discussed separately by secular feminists.
As far as rape culture debate goes, I do believe secular feminists are going over board in portraying rape prevention (e.g., where women are taught ways to lessen chances of being raped, such as not walking alone at night) as being rape apology or as victim-blaming. It is neither.
On the other hand, I have seen surveys results published in newspapers of young men in America who believe that a man is justified in raping a woman, if that woman initially agrees to sex but then says “no” at some point there after; if that woman had a drink of alcohol; if the man bought her dinner on a date; or if the woman is passed out drunk.
Clearly, males need to be taught that rape is never justifable under any circumstance, and one has to wonder where these young men are getting these ideas from, if there is no rape culture at all.
But I do agree with the author that many Christians, especially the more liberal ones, have allowed their thinking on subjects such as sexuality to be way too influenced by secular feminism, to the point they are now saying Christians should diminish (or halt entirely), supporting biblical teaching about virginity, celibacy, and sexual purity. Which is pretty moronic, if you ask me.
If Christians were to halt teaching biblical ethical standards on every topic people feel guilty or ashamed about, preachers would not be able to preach on any topic at all anymore. People who are compulsive liars would not want to hear sermons in favor of honesty and against lying, for instance
The author, using the name “apollo13,” offered a response to that and got this reply:
- by RoyalCourt
apollo13 – You said, “The female body is tempting and tantalizing. God created women to be especially beautiful.”
The Bible no where states that; this is conjecture on your part.
The Bible, in Genesis chapter 39, records this information about Potiphar’s wife: “Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”
-yeah, she noticed that Joseph was hot and studly.
Women are just as turned on by good-looking men. See also, “The case for abandoning the myth that ‘women aren’t visual,” from The Atlantic, by Ronnie Koenig.
I grew up in the 1980s, where many of my female friends and classmates taped photos of shirtless movie stars to their book covers and lockers because they thought these men were sexy, attractive, hot, and built.
A few years ago, women in their 40s were panting and drooling at the site of young “Twilight” movie actor Taylor Lautner.
Still today, women I see on sites such as Facebook and Pinterest, including married women all the way into their 50s, post and collect photos of 25 year old shirtless cowboys and make all sorts of comments below said photos of how studly and good looking these males are.
I am sorry, but you are incorrect about God making women more beautiful, that women are not as interested in looks, etc.
- And a part two to my previous comments (which are currently on page two of the comments area). Unless and until Christians begin equally stressing sexual purity, modest dressing, and virginity for MALES, this “modesty movement” for Christian females remains irresponsible, sexist, and one-sided.
A never-ending avalanche of editorials appears on Christian blogs and sites such as this bemoaning how young ladies are showing more and more skin, how virginity is valuable for women, and so on and so forth.
However, nary a word is spoken about how it’s important for MALES to dress modestly and MALES to remain virgins until marriage. Christians need to stop obsessing about FEMALE sexuality in the negative sense – by implying they are harlots for wearing sun dresses or blouses with spaghetti straps – and start addressing the males in these areas.
The only times Christians want to discuss male sexuality are in the very narrow parameters of 1. porn problems 2. how a married man can “get more” from his wife 3. and the anti-singles prejudiced view that since all Christian single women are floozies, married men need to avoid them like the plague so as to avoid affairs and 4. how to prevent Christian teen males from falling into homosexuality.
But topics such as male virginity and male modesty are never addressed by Christians, no, those concerns are shoved down the throats of females and addressed as being “female only” issues, but they are not.
(Link): Long Editorial about Virginity at CT – Don’t Blame Evangelicals for the Cult of the Virgin – I Notice It’s the Fornicators Who Want to Ignore or Downplay the Bible’s Teaching that People Are To Stay Virgins Until Marriage