Sexualizing Modesty – Christians Defeating the Purpose
Before I get to the main heart of this post, here is a long introduction.
First of all, I think the modesty debate re-enforces one Christian and secular stereotype: that only men are visually oriented, and women are not. That is, women are thought to hate sex, or not be very interested in sex, and that women prefer “emotional bonding,” knitting tea cozies, and reading poetry, to sex.
The truth is, a lot of women (even Christian ones) are visually oriented and get “turned on” by looking at a good looking man (especially if he’s in great shape and shirtless).
These modesty teachings almost never, ever take into account that women have sex drives, sexual desires, and sexual preferences – and I get so tired of that aspect of it. These modesty teachings only take into account that MEN are sexual and have sex drives and so forth.
I am really not totally on either side of this modesty debate.
Concerning this issue, like several others I regularly discuss on this blog, I’m neither fully on Team (secular or Christian) Feminist, nor am I fully on Team Conservative (or Team Christian).
My views would probably hack off people on either side of the debate, both the anti-modesty types and the pro-modesty ones.
I think both sides make some really good points on some things, but both sides also get a few things wrong.
Where I might agree with the anti-modesty guys on “point X”, I might find that the pro-modesty guys are right about “point Z.”
Where I Agree with the Pro Modesty Side
As far as the pro-modesty side is concerned, I do agree that some teen-aged girls and women dress slutty, and this is not good, right, or cool.
I’m tired of secular feminists shaming pro-modesty types and trying to intimidate them into silence by screaming “slut shamer” at them, or about them, in every other tweet or blog post.
There are some women who do in fact want to use their looks, body, or sexuality to get attention. I saw these sorts of girls and women when I was a teen, in my 20s, and older. We’ve all known them.
They’re not satisfied wearing plain old blue jeans with a normal shirt, no.
They have to wear mini-skirts with fish net stockings and stiletto heels, or daisy duke shorts with their ass cheeks barely hanging out.
There may be a minority of women who dress that way because they genuinely find such fashions cute or flattering on their figure, but you damn well know the majority are wearing such ensembles to look “hot,” and at that, because they want male attention.
Personally, I find that look -the barely dressed, or stilettos with mini skirts types of sexy looks – rather trampy, and I think most women who dress like that are in fact seeking sexual attention from males – and no, I’m not fine with that.
I don’t have to agree with other women’s choices all the time in clothing or how they choose to attract men.
(Seriously, this is one odd-ball aspect I’ve seen crop up on secular feminist blogs frequently: by sheer fact that I am a woman, I am expected to always agree with other women and all their choices and political and moral views all. the. time, and to deny my own personal, political, or religious values and opinions in the process.
Yes, just because I am a woman, and they are a woman. Me supporting all other women all the time on every topic under the sun (and it seems especially true in regards to sexuality, modesty, sex, abortion, and birth control) is considered obligatory, all because I’m a woman too.
I don’t support all males all the time on every topic, so why would I be expected to support all women all the time, about everything? It makes no sense.)
Some women do in fact make a conscious choice to showcase their sexuality (e.g., by wearing tiny skirts and so forth) because their self esteem and self respect is so low, they don’t think they have anything else to offer a man, or they don’t think they have anything to offer the world but their looks, body, and sexuality.
Or, some women who dress in revealing clothing may assume 99% of men are indeed visually-oriented cave men, sexist swine, who only want “one thing” from women, and if these women are in the market to pick up a boyfriend, yes, they will don the fishnet stockings and mini-skirts.
There is a difference between Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus. There is a difference between Madonna Ciccone and Whitney Houston.
Some women do in fact choose character, talent, and/or brains to make their place in the world, to gain success, or to get attention, while other women opt to go the sexual and titillation route (which may include dressing in a provocative manner).
And we (women) all know it. We know this is true. But a lot of the anti-modesty squad I see online seems to deny this.
Or, maybe they realize it, and their argument is they feel a Miley Cyrus should be able to act or dress like a harlot in public and nobody should make any negative judgments what-so-ever about it.
I’ve seen secular feminist blogs whose writers get upset with companies who objectify women by portraying women as sexy things in advertisements, or with companies who make too much out of a woman’s looks…
But these same feminists turn around, and quite inconsistently, feel it’s okay for a woman to objectify herself – and nobody is supposed to say anything critical about it (because that would be “slut shaming”).
But to me, that is a double standard.
Where I Agree With the Anti Modesty Side
Too often, as anti-modesty advocates point out, religious “modesty teachings” or modesty propaganda, tell girls and women they ought to dress in a conservative manner so as not to cause men to stumble.
The fact is that men are responsible for their behavior. It does not matter if a woman is fully clothed or wearing a thong bikini in the presence of a man, it is up to a man to control his thoughts and actions.
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