Christians Blaming the Woman – again: Regarding: How Women Can Make Church a Safe Place for Men by D. Gresh
Here’s the link, with my comments below the excerpts from the article.
BTW, this is written by the same woman who wrote (Link): the page referenced to in this blog post.
(H/T to “Stuff Christian Culture Likes” Facebook group, which is where I first saw this mentioned.)
By the way. If married sex is so hot – as evangelicals and other conservative Christians often claim, which they do to propagandize youth to retain virginity until marriage- then a married man should be satisfied with his wife and his wife alone and would not even notice if a woman walks by with naked boobs hanging out of her blouse.
These lame-o, quasi-sexist editorials telling women to dress modestly should not be necessary if Christian married sex propaganda were true.
(Link): How Women Can Make Church a Safe Place for Men, by Dannah Gresh
- Please understand that my husband, Bob, is a godly man in full-time Christian ministry. Like most men, though, he is subject to visual temptation.
Christian psychologist Mark Laaser estimates that 30 percent of Christian pastors and leaders struggle with pornography. Among Christian men in general, more than 60 percent are estimated to struggle with continual sexual compulsions of some type.
Those are scary numbers. I wouldn’t share them with you if they hadn’t been substantiated repeatedly.
My husband’s ministry involves helping men of all ages live lives of mental purity—a battle he himself wages daily. Bob gets into the faces of other men and asks them to name the specific distractions they need to remove from their lives in order to live in sexual integrity.
You’d expect them to name temptations such as the Internet, R-rated movies, magazine covers, even the giant Victoria’s Secret display ads in the mall. But sadly, they often point to a surprisingly different pit—and they fall into it every Sunday.
“I’m struggling with the way women dress in church,” they groan. They are specific in adding those two words—in church—because the location is what makes them feel so vulnerable.
Here was my reply that I left on the page:
- I’m a visually oriented female. Shouldn’t Christian publications be telling males to dress modestly so as not to cause me, their sister in Christ, to stumble? (It’s a false proposition that only males are visually stimulated, but Christians keep teaching this view.)
Or, maybe Christian publications like this can explain that a man is responsible for his own thought life and sexual behavior, just like I am when I get a glimpse of one of my movie actor crushes, Hugh Jackman, shirtless in X-Men films? (hubba hubba)
Or should we all write Mr. Jackman and tell him to keep his shirt on so as not to cause me to stumble? Should Mr. Jackman be made responsible for my thoughts or actions?
I also have to point out that there is no universally agreed upon criteria for what constitutes “modest attire.” The most conservatively dressed Christian woman in America in a full length skirt and frilly, long sleeved blouse would be considered a scantily clad harlot and bimbo in Muslim-based nations that require women to wear head to toe burkas.
Here in America, I’ve had men make passes at me and make cat calls at me while I was wearing baggy, sloppy shorts or pants and no make-up, while other guys get turned on when I’m in a slinky, sexy dress.
Yet other men have hit on me when I have some make up on and casual, modest clothing, such as a T shirt and jeans. What one man considers “modest” another considers oh so sexy.
A woman can not dress to prevent any and all men from getting the hots, getting turned on, and drooling.
Christians need to put the onus where it belongs: on men for sexual sin if they are the ones finding themselves falling.
Good comment by someone on the SCCL group (Link): thread about the editorial:
- comment by Amanda Welker
[Welker quoting Gresh]
“He can’t help it. It’s a simple fact of visual science!”
“When a guy gets “intoxicated,” his body can’t help but react.”
“God created him to be visually stimulated.”
“Yet many Christian women contribute to the hanging Sunday after Sunday.”
From what the author is saying, I think God is the one who contributes to a man’s hanging Sunday after Sunday for creating men in such a way.
Maybe the article should be titled “How God Can Make Church a Safer Place for Men” and implore God to change the wiring of man.
But nah, let’s make women the scapegoat again and shame them for simply existing.
Other pertinent remarks from that group thread:
- by Val Auston
“Among Christian men in general, more than 60 percent are estimated to struggle with continual sexual compulsions of some type.”
When you’re told every natural, biological response is sinful and wrong, you’re going to have hang ups and view normal response as compulsion.
by Laura Kuboniwa
Exactly. The sexual struggle among men in the church is, for the most part, nothing but a self fulfilling prophecy. They *create* the problem, and then lament it.
by Joann Meyers
How women can make church a safe place for men: wear a burlap dress that goes from your neck to your toes and then cover your head with a paper bag.
Please dont speak because just the sound of your voice may be distracting to certain men. Just to be safe ladies dont attend church at all.
by Chris Rose
What a cowardly bunch of perverts.
If a woman walked by completely naked, you should have the maturity to see her, probably appreciate the fact that she is confident enough in herself to walk around in the buff, and then GO BACK TO YOUR FUCKING DAY YOU HORNY LITTLE MANCHILD.
There is absolutely no reason to be that sex crazed, that the mere sight of a woman not specifically demeaning herself and her body is enough to cause you to go all boner popping ADD.
How is this affecting them for their entire service. “OMG, there are nice, well dressed boobs, RIGHT OVER THERE.”
Look. Acknowledge. Appreciate. Carry on. It doesn’t matter what women are wearing. It matters that these men have the emotional development of middle schoolers.
by Jon Lewis
They take on and become what they are told they are. If from a young age you tell boys that they are sex crazed monsters what do you expect them to become? These people don’t realize they’re making the problem.
by Katrina Schoorl Kaiser
Women: all the responsibility, none of the power. Methinks this is not what Jesus was thinking when he elevated the status of women.
by Annie Stepka
“The God of the universe looks down at woman, created to be a physical masterpiece, and man, created to enjoy the view, and actually encourages man to be fully intoxicated by her sexuality.”
She’s just moved from the “men are helpless because of their sinful flesh” to “men are helpless because God made them that way”. This is not a good direction.
by Jon Lewis
Like I said above, I do believe it is what they are taught. They are told from a young age that they are sex crazed monsters that are sinful. What do you expect them to turn into but sex crazed monsters completely absorbed with sex and sin?
They’re making the problem, hurting the men, then forcing the women to bear the guilt of the crime and somehow also blame God. But mostly it just hurts everyone. A Lot. It’s what I was taught and it has taken a fair amount to undo that damage. It can be done. But it takes a lot to get rid of the guilt associated with every part of sex after education like that.
by Mary-Jo Bates
I feel like a lot of these people [Christians who make modesty solely a female responsibility] looked at the Taliban and thought, “you know, they’ve got a halfway decent plan there. That Allah stuff gots to go, but yeah, I could work with this.”
by Patti Folks Vanlandingham When they see a naked woman, do they complete the picture by imagining clothes on her?
This is just the craziest thing I’ve read in a long time.
by Becky Greene Callahan
I had a boyfriend once that tried to control how I dressed because almost everything I wore “tempted” him, and it was all my fault. It had nothing to do with that fact that he needed to use self-control.
by David Nolan
Yeah wow. As soon as you say the problem behind a certain sinful behaviour is not the sin itself, but the person being sinned against, you’ve just stepped into heresy. Makes me think of Job’s friends.
by Farah Chisham
“He [mu husband] wasn’t the only one [turned on by the woman in the sexy outfit]; I asked.”
HAHAHAHAHAAA! “Um, excuse me, Pastor Evans, did you get a boner when you saw John’s cousin (you know the woman who shall not be named)?”
by Courtney O’Connor
This is so freaking typical of fundamentalist Christianity its almost funny.
Love how she starts her article off with a full-blown gossip sesh, and proceeds to have a jealous rampage that’s poorly covered with scripture and nonsensical philosophy.
Funny how no one bothered to get to know Leather Pants [the woman in the sexy outfit at church], and immediately cast her into the harlot box.
by Amy Mitchell
I once had a guy at church reprimand me for having my top button undone to reveal the lacy cami underneath. Not even boobies! Just a cami!
He said it with my husband standing right there, too, like he was also condemning my husband for letting me out of the house like that. I was too flabbergasted to say what I’d have liked to.
by Farah Chisham
This article is a gold mine:
“We talked about it until 2 in the morning. As Bob opened his heart, I was able to erase the shame that had been caused by this woman’s indiscretion.”
We “talked” (screwed like bunnies) until 2 in the morning. As Bob “opened his heart” (removed his clothing and spanked me while calling me “John’s Cousin”), I was able to “erase” (satisfy his needs) the shame caused by this woman’s “indiscretions” (imposed fantasies).
by Carol Keen
That’s awfully spiritually immature of a man to only be able to view the woman in a sexual manner.
Secondly, this mindset of not dressing provocatively for the sake of a man’s spiritual stability breeds co-dependent attitudes that will only end up controlling and shaming the woman because apparently SHE is responsible for his spiritual stability.
Lastly, why are we all tip-toeing around a man’s spirituality?
What if the woman was attempting to actually get attention? What if she needed love and thought that was the way to get it?
Why can’t the man treat her as Christ treated Mary Magdalene and see her for what she might need, not be so caught up in how it affects him or his spirituality? Or maybe she just likes leather.
by Sara MacMillan Dein
I would suspect that more than 30% of ministers “struggle” with pornography.
This is THEIR problem and has nothing to do with the tightness of my clothing.
My friend’s ex-husband, an evangelical minister, was into pornography yet had the nerve to question my attending a yoga class! My opinion of ministers is really, really, low.
by Lori Fox Hilary [replying to someone else]
YES! This article reads like if her husband had raped that woman, the wife would have patted him on the shoulder and said “It’s not your fault! Now tell me where that hussy is so I can take care of it!”
by Laura Peck
At the very beginning the author says “He had heard about her” so it wasn’t just what this woman wore.
People were talking about her rack way before she got there. That’s a nice welcoming environment for her to step into!
byJ ess Purviance
Right. The article should be about how people made the church an unsafe environment for her!
by Farah Chisham
Laura makes a good point. Wasn’t the entire church gossiping about this woman? Maybe the whole church should blame themselves for starting this spiral into sin by gossiping in the first place.
Why would you think that gossiping is a sin? Hmmm, let me count the mistakes in this article.
by Annalise Torres
[quoting Gresh] “He’d heard about her. She was the one with the perfect—well, let’s just say she qualified to be a fitting model for Victoria’s Secret. You figure out what was perfect!”
– I love how this woman completely glosses over the fact that all of these men had apparently been talking about this nameless woman and her “assets” for some time before she ever showed up.
So, her husband had heard about how hot this cousin was (from her cousin?, ew), but the problem is really what she was wearing, not that all of these men are apparently incapable of not objectifying her even before they’d met her. Couldn’t finish reading. So, so gross.
by Anthony Rivera
Arrrrgh. Tony Smash.
I am tired beyond belief of this demographic telling me that, as someone with Y chromosome, I somehow transform from a civilized gentleman into a helpless drunken fratboy when I see a flash of side-boob or a tight skirt, or worst of all, the dreaded stumble-inducing Yoga pants. And for the love of Pete… can we STOP blaming women for this and holding them responsible????
Geez. You’d think all these Warrior Poets/Mighty Men of God/Leaders/Whatever would have a little self-control, respect, and perspective as part of their skill set, but apparently not!
by Jess Purviance
So, let’s recap here. People in the church had been talking about this woman’s body.
The husband heard this.
Then when he meets her his thoughts are about her body. Then he complains to his wife about her body and her clothes.
Then his wife writes a blog post about her body and how she dresses.
I see the sin here: It’s gossip. The church made it an unsafe place for this woman plain and simple by gossiping about her and this blog is proof of it.
Plank meet eye.
by Nathan A. Snyder
So Christians (men) do have something going for them. Total lack of responsibility for their actions, it’s all Eve’s fault anyway right? Women….
by Rachel Ellett
also how sad is it that we’ve been getting reports of women being raped by their male pastors/employers/authorities, and along comes an article claiming that we need to protect those men from being tempted by women
by Sarah Elizabeth Schefers
Christian men are jerks! Makes me glad I’m not dating one and I don’t go to church as this is the type of nonsense that is now involved!
by Warren Christianson
Give me a brake. Who care what women wear in church. Just happy that they are there. Men can keep their eyes on jesus.
My critiques of other work by D Gresh:
(Link): Fifty Shades of Feminine Hypocrisy – editorial by Gresh, discusses slut shaming, rape culture, modesty – has points I agree and disagree with
Related posts, this blog: