I feel scandalized.
I was scrolling my Facebook newsfeed (there’s my first mistake) and suddenly my eyes were viciously assaulted by immodest and improper images that had been posted by someone clearly begging for attention; some shameless floozy selfishly attempting to enflame lust and covetousness in the heart of the unsuspecting viewer.
I should mention that the person in the images was a man, and he was, mercifully, fully clothed.
In fact, the focus of the photo wasn’t even a person at all. My Facebook ‘friend’ had posted a picture of his expensive new boat. I know that it was expensive, because he alluded to the steep price in the caption, saying that he has the ‘best wife in the world’ because she ‘actually let [him] buy this.’
You see what he did there (besides insinuating that the value of his spouse depends on her cooperation with his desire to purchase pricey recreational equipment)? Lest you accuse him of being uncouth, he cloaked his boast in a compliment of his ‘best wife,’ which means he actually disguised a brag by wrapping it in another brag. That’s kind of like hiding the shame of eating a Cinnabon by lathering it in a gallon of butter.
And immodest — intended to present a one dimensional image of success and luxury, thus, if all goes according to plan, send everyone else plunging into a salty stew of envy and resentment.
Immodest because it calls attention to him, while saying nothing of value about him as a person, a unique entity of spirit and flesh. It turns him into an object — an object of jealousy.
Immodest because it is arrogant and dishonest.
I bring this up because — and I’m not sure why this is the case, maybe it’s the warming temperatures — I’ve received several emails in the last few weeks on the subject of modesty. Most of them boil down to a request that I share my opinion on the topic.
Like this one from James:
I’ve been reading your blog now for a while and have greatly enjoyed all of it… I was wondering if you could say something about societies abolition of modesty, both in the church and in more secular environments. It seems that nearly all churches (even the Catholic Church) have neglected the topic of modesty for fear of losing touch with popular opinion and coming across as “judgmental”… Most churches and pastors don’t so much as mention the topic – even when an attractive 18 year old walks into church wearing yoga pants and a deep cut V-neck.
And this one from Beth:
Matt, can you write something about modesty? I get so tiret of these girls walking around showing everything off and then they act up SO surprised when they get treated like sh*t by men. Maybe if they had more respect for themselves… When I grew up, girls were taught to be modest and protect their purity. What’s your opinion? Modest is hottest I think.
And this from Laura:
Matt, help! I just started a huge war on my Facebook page about modesty, simply because I said that I was having trouble finding a modest bathing suit for my daughter. You wouldn’t want to chime in on this subject would you? I’ve always been taught that modest is hottest…
And this from Matt (a different Matt):
I just read your post from a while ago about porn. I agree with it but I think you’ve left something out. Women need to help men in their struggles with lust by attempting to dress modestly. Everyone is afraid to say that but it’s true. In our society it’s like we’ve completely given up on modesty…
I have to confess, though I am an opinionated blowhard in most respects, the whole idea of having an opinion about modesty seems a bit odd. Modesty is a virtue, like courage or integrity. Or rather, modesty is an integral dimension of Greek and Christian philosophy’s Cardinal Virtue of temperance, otherwise known as restraint. So what opinion can you really have of it, other than, ‘yes, I am in favor’?
OK, I’m being naïve, I realize. Nowadays, virtues have to be defended at a conceptual level. The world has always had unvirtuous men and women, but rarely has it been populated by so many people who deny the fundamental and intrinsic importance of virtue itself.
Modesty is good, and good things are always hard to do, so weaklings (like yours truly) have always struggled to do them. But now — thanks in large part to the tireless work of academia, pop culture, mass media, liberal feminists, the legions of Hell (excuse my redundancy) — the weak have taken control and flipped the universe upside down, claiming that they ought not do those good things, because the good things aren’t so good at all. There is no good, they say, or if there is a good, it’s the opposite of whatever our grandparents and every generation that’s existed anywhere on the planet before them would have identified as good.
This is all a long way of saying that, yes, maybe it’s necessary to expand on the reasons why, yes, I am in favor of modesty, and, yes, I think women should dress modestly, but, no, I don’t think the whole burden of modesty should be laid at the feet of womankind.
Modesty, I’m aware, is a hot topic in both Christian and feminist circles.
Side note: Here’s the part where I’m breathlessly told that it’s possible to be both a Christian and a feminist, and here’s the part where I insist that any Christian who thinks Christianity needs to be baptized in the waters of feminism doesn’t understand Christianity or feminism. Whatever redemptive qualities exist in some streams of feminism have already existed in perfect form in Christianity for the past two millennia, without all the arguably problematic teachings about the ethical importance of murdering babies and voting for Barbara Mikulski.
Unfortunately, when a topic is ‘hot’ we know that means lots of points are made by lots of people, and most of the points miss the point. Nearly everything I’ve read about modesty — for or against — concentrate solely and exclusively on a woman’s responsibility to be modest in how she dresses, or else her right to be free from the suffocating oppression of longer skirts and one-piece bathing suits.
Somehow, men are left out of the conversation, much to our delight. We speak as though modesty were a feminine virtue, when in fact, all virtues are universal. The discussion about a woman’s outfit only touches on one solitary aspect of modesty. It doesn’t define the issue. In fact, it doesn’t even help us in our quest to get to the definition, if all we do is argue about V-necks and bathing suits. If I were to attempt a definition of modesty based on the way in which we speak of it, I would have to assume that it means: “A particular dress code for women. The end.”
See, women aren’t the only ones called to be modest, for the same reason that firefighters aren’t the only ones called to be courageous. A certain sort of courage might be especially required of firefighters, and a certain sort of modesty might be especially required of women, but we’re all destined for a fire of a different kind if we think those two virtues are solely contained within those two contexts.
If you can bear it, I’m going to get all Catholic-y on you for a moment.
The Catechism has this to say about modesty:
Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden… It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.
There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements… Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.
The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.
I’m not sure how to sufficiently summarize that, but I know how it shouldn’t be summarized:
Modest is hottest might work as a bumper sticker, because it rhymes and it’s three words long, but it makes for a woefully abysmal defense of modesty. The point of modesty isn’t to better achieve the intended results of immodesty. Modesty isn’t virtuous because it’s ‘hot,’ it’s virtuous because it’s concerned with something far greater than being hot.
Modesty protects the “dignity and solidarity” of a person, and inspires a “way of life” which allows him or her to “resist the allurement of fashion” and the pressures of “prevailing ideologies.” Modesty “respects the human person.”
So why should a woman dress modestly? Because it’ll help her maintain a shallow image of “hotness” to every stranger she passes by on the street? No, if that is her goal than she is being immodest, whether she’s dressed in a burka or her birthday suit. The ‘modest is hottest’ mantra seems to encourage not modesty, but a more modest immodesty.
We are modest for the sake of our dignity, so as to avoid making of ourselves a shell, a construction, a label, a category; a phantom of someone else’s desires. We are modest because the motivation behind immodesty will leave us vulnerable to shifting trends and popular ideologies. Every one of these modern trends and ideologies are designed to help us project a falsehood, leaving our true essence buried under the noise and commotion of it all. The immodest person, you might say, turns themselves into a marketing strategy.
Skimpy clothes are just one way to project that falsehood and market the lie; just one way to undermine our dignity; just one way to subjugate ourselves to changing trends and hollow fashions. There are many other ways. My friend with the boat demonstrated one of them. When I drove by a big house in a nice neighborhood the other day, and thought about my smaller house, and felt a ping of envy for the family in the bigger one, and chose to bask in that envy for a few moments, I conveniently demonstrated still another way to be immodest.
If I were to go to the store and purchase a shirt with a giant brand name plastered across the front of it, I would be immodest — attempting to call attention in a way that undermines my human dignity, while objectifying myself; in this case, I’d have made myself into an object like a billboard or a catalogue for the company whose name I’ve paid to advertise.
Really, skimpy or not skimpy, most of the clothing on the rack nowadays could be considered immodest. Much of it is ridiculous and flashy, cleverly marketed to consumers who wish to conform to whatever fabricated fabric trends the fashion industry has concocted this week.
Meanwhile, men who stare at women are guilty of immodesty, regardless of what the woman is wearing. It’s true that she really should take into account the struggles and weaknesses of those around her, and try humbly to avoid being a stumbling block. But I think this “stumbling block” rationale sometimes falls flat because it seems as though men aren’t expected to take any initiative to avoid stumbling in the first place, block or no block. We are painted as helpless victims of our own passions; pathetic little boys who can’t be expected to avert our eyes and control our thoughts.
Besides, millions of American men have cluttered their minds with so much pornography, disordering their sexual passions so profoundly, that there’s no telling what will set them off. This is not the fault of women, nor can women be expected to conform their habits to combat whatever fetish the man in their midst might spend his downtime Googling. Part of the problem (and there are many problems) with pornography, is that it drives a wedge between intimacy and sex, reducing the man to a passive consumer, a John, and the woman to a collection of body parts. The will of sex, the love, the power of it — all flushed down the drain, leaving all parties concerned with only some flat and flimsy cartoonish imitation of what was once romantic and erotic, procreative and redemptive.
I’m not sure that women can combat this phenomenon by minding their necklines, but they should nonetheless concern themselves with elevating those around them, rather than encouraging their Brothers in Christ to sin.
What I’m trying to do is present a slightly more complex vision of modesty. One that puts the onus on all people — male and female alike — and extends beyond legalistic bickering about precisely how many centimeters of skin one should leave uncovered. Modesty is much bigger than a dress code, and as far as dress codes go, it is true that it changes depending on the culture and the occasion.
The hazard of an overly legalistic view of modesty is that it’s forced to ignore context entirely. Whatever your feelings on bathing suits (I can tell you for sure that we will not be buying bikinis for our daughter), we all agree that you’ll show more skin at the beach than at the grocery store or the DMV. Nudity is appropriate in an anatomy textbook, but would be out of place and inappropriate in a math textbook. We all wear less in the summer than in the winter. There’s a difference between the nudity you might see on the National Geographic channel and the kind of nudity you might see on Cinemax at 2AM.
Context, culture, occasion, motivation. All of these things, quite reasonably, govern our clothing choices. Modesty should also govern our clothing, but we don’t know how to submit our wardrobes to the demands of modesty until we understand how to submit our entire beings to the demands of modesty.
So, do I think women should dress modestly? Yes, but if we’re assigning virtues exclusively to one gender, why don’t we give the girls honesty, prudence, and fortitude, too? There, now that women have covered all the virtues, us guys can have some fun with the vices.
Party time, fellas.
Or else, if that plan seems problematic, we can all just share the virtuous burden, and work on being better people — modest people — no matter what we’re wearing.
Reblogged this on iconobaptist and commented:
This packs a wallop. A longish read on what modesty really is, and is not.
I agree that “modest is hottest” is a ridiculous and self-contradictory notion. I agree that modesty is not just for women. But I’d take it a step further and say, modesty is not, essentially, about sexuality at all. It has to do with restraint, yes, but not because otherwise one is depersonalized….and not even because it’s wrong to call attention to oneself; there are times when being flashy or dramatic is appropriate.
Modesty has to do with restraint out of respect for the dignity of others, a refusal to overwhelm or coerce. It’s possible for a man or a woman to wear all sorts of interesting clothing items for the sake of aesthetic flare, and without immodesty. Dancers, for instance, kind of have to do this. The attention is called to the art of the dance – not to the particular body parts – nor even to the dancer being all “I’M SO AWESOME.” MOdesty allows one to view from a distance; it does not manipulate. You can be either modest or immodest, draped in robes from head to toe, or stark naked.
Also, you clearly know nothing about feminism. But It’s scarcely your fault; I’ve come to realize that there’s a huge educational gap in this area, in Christian circles (and yes, I am a Christian myself. And a feminist).
Rebecca, you are only touching on one or two areas of modesty at the expense of the multitude of other areas.
I have always been confused about the modesty issue.
I look at the Amish community and immediately want what they have. Not everything of course, I love my car and my technology, but I deeply respect them for the sacrifices they make and the humility they have, especially in their dress.
I have heard it argued that certain attire should be worn by women for feminism while the same people advocate things like big shoulder pads and blazers, meant to make you look strong and in a position of authority. I will never be convinced that a suit is a feminine piece of clothing, whether it has a skirt or not. That is an opinion, of course, but that is my biggest issue with all of it. Defining modesty is always an opinion. Whether you believe modesty is covering knees and elbows or covering your whole face, there is no Bible verse that specifically defines for us what modesty is. So of course, given that kind of grey area to run with, you will have those with lack of discipline using that to excuse everything imaginable.
I have my own thoughts on how I think men and women should dress, but they are completely cultural and may or may not reflect God’s opinion. Since God didn’t provide us with specific measurements, I wholeheartedly agree with the part about modesty being bigger than a dress code. I have seen people cover their bodies and then wear heels specifically to make their behinds more noticeable. I refuse to raise my daughters to follow standards without principles. There is a reason why God wanted his people to not show off or sexualize themselves. That is what we should be focusing on.
Thank you Matt, for bringing to my attention things I never even thought of before, like advertising brand names just so people know you spent more on your clothes. I am nowhere near where I need to be with this, but you have encouraged me to work harder at it by making so much sense.
Not exactly. R-squared. Having spent my life as a performer–acting, dancing, and singing–I’ve paid attention to this subject more than most men, and I will agree that modesty is a mindset, though one which moves you away the “stark naked” end of the costuming spectrum. But with regard to feminism, it is a practical impossibility to be both a feminist and a Christian, as one must abandon the high, proper, respectful Biblical teachings on the role of women for street-level secular equivocations that diminish the roles of both men and women. However, I will refrain from suggesting that you, in your error, “know nothing about” Christianity.
“Any Christian who thinks Christianity needs to be baptized in the waters of feminism doesn’t understand Christianity or feminism. Whatever redemptive qualities exist in some streams of feminism have already existed in perfect form in Christianity for the past two millennia.”
What?? You evidently didn’t understand what he said. Read it again and again, if need be. When he made that statement, he meant that Christ elevated women and put value on their person. He spoke out strongly against extreme feminism.
But doesn’t that quote just prove that all Christians are feminists?
All Christians are feminists. But they are real feminists, not the militant left-wing progressive types.
Perhaps, but it seems imprudent to apply a label to oneself that can be easily misconstrued. Even more so when it is almost wholly publicly co-opted by poisonous ideals.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote in the Introduction to the Woman’s Bible the following paragraph:
“One correspondent conjures us to suspend the work, as it is “ridiculous” for “women to attempt the revision of the Scriptures.” I wonder if any man wrote to the late revising committee of Divines to stop their work on the ground that it was ridiculous for men to revise the Bible. Why is it more ridiculous for women to protest against her present status in the Old and New Testament, in the ordinances and discipline of the church, than in the statutes and constitution of the state? Why is it more ridiculous to arraign ecclesiastics for their false teaching and acts of injustice to women, than members of Congress and the House of Commons? Why is it more audacious to review Moses than Blackstone, the Jewish code of laws, than the English system of jurisprudence? Women have compelled their legislators in every state in this Union to so modify their statutes for women that the old common law is now almost a dead letter. Why not compel Bishops and Revising Committees to modify their creeds and dogmas? Forty years ago it seemed as ridiculous to timid, time-serving and retrograde folk for women to demand an expurgated edition of the laws, as it now does to demand an expurgated edition of the Liturgies and the Scriptures. Come, come, my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles, and see that the world is moving. Whatever your views may be as to the importance of the proposed work, your political and social degradation are but an outgrowth of your status in the Bible. ”
I would like to see a Christian woman who has read the Woman’s Bible, and come away with the conclusion that feminism is still compatible with Christianity.
Just because some feminists make war on Christianity, does not mean that Christianity makes war on feminism. They can in fact coincide peacefully, and Christian teaching is that the sexes are equal in God’s eyes. Equal meaning, equally loved and needed, not equal in the progressive meaning of equally capable of doing everything the other gender can do at the exact same skill level.
To address your point directly, it doesn’t matter that some feminist wrote a book that conflicts with Christianity, that’s just one person that has a problem with the religion, not everyone. And just because you read something, it doesn’t make it true or logical or rational or accurate. For all you know, you could be reading the diary of a crazy person.
What I think is being lost here is how we should treat ourselves. Clothing has a part in that, but as Matt said, you are going to show skin at the beach. I remember back as I was exiting high school and moving on into college Abercrombie and Fitch was become the new big thing. Everyone my age had to have shirts and jeans from there. Guys had to have big A&F on their t-shirts and wear the cologne. They were walking billboards. The same was true with the girls, and it still continues today. I’m a teacher in a High School now and I see these kids continuing the same treads…the brand has just changed. The question isn’t the clothing, the question is what are we teaching people about value. We place no value into people. For guys, girls are just flesh to be lusted over, in hopes they were something revealing. Girls are commodities to be traded not a person to be pursed through purity. And girls are now doing the same to guys, they are just less vocal, or more subtle.
It isn’t good enough to just point at a kid or teen or 20 something and say “you’re dress like ____” or cover yourself, but we must have honest conversations with our kids about what it means to place value into oneself. To understand that you are purchased by blood and that you must not sully yourself with cheap imitations of the flesh. My parents had this conversation with both my sister and me when we were young. I remember something that I think is important here. I was asking if I could get some jeans from A&F. He took me and looked at the jeans and the price and walked out of the store. He sat me down in the food court and asked me if it was necessary to spend that much on a pair of jeans. He then told me that the cloths weren’t important, but the message was. He told me that flaunting that we could afford those jeans would not gain me anything important. Yeah a couple of kids might have included me into their A&F gang, and then taught me the secret hand shake, but who gained in the eyes of God. We then went down the mall, bought a pair of 30 dollar jeans and then he gave me the rest of the money it would have cost to buy the A&F jeans. Told me to really think about the value I could place into someone else with what was in my hand. His words still ring true to day for me and I remember he said “Value yourself more than the cost of your cloths”
I think this simplifies it more than it can be but I really did appreciate your approach here Matt.
As a former feminist, magazine editor, business owner and marketing consultant, I have to laugh out loud at the inevitable references to the “educational gap,” and other phrases used to imply that Christians are ignorant, uneducated (does that mean “unindoctrinated,” maybe?) and — the message is clear — dumb if they don’t toe the line on feminism, evolutionism, secularism and the other cultural religions whose disciples are so dismissive.
I guess if your arguments aren’t very persuasive on their own merit, you have to resort to name-calling.
What? I read through this article 3 times and do not “get” where you think he is name-calling or implying that Christians are ignorant and uneducated. He speaks out strongly against feminism! Read the twenty-first paragraph again. He clearly is speaking out against the current world view which has turned values handed down for centuries upside down.
Lisawoody isn’t saying Matt is name-calling, she is saying that RebeccaRebecca is name-calling those who don’t believe you can be a Christian and a feminist. This comment was not addressed to Matt at all. I agree with her, by the way.
Were you even reading the same article as the rest of us?
Once again I love your point of view on this Matt and the different insight on the “modesty is hottest” trend. Perhaps this is been our our fleshy way of trying to my ourselves feel better about not being show offs or making ourselves wear a cardigan over that sleeveless dress. As a result of trying to stay modest, however we’ve warped the words into something lustful again. Modest should be hottest to your spouse; that they know you keep yourself for them, but also that you’re not out there showing off weather it be clothing, or that latest purchase or privileges you’re allowed from your significant other. Modesty, period, should be about not insinuating lust, greed, or envy. And as you noted with how messed up culture is these days its hard to guard against everything. It’s hard to make sure you’re perfectly modest even in behavior but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for it. As a Christian our goal should be how can we help our brother/sister get closer to God. It’s never about us as “modesty is hottest” makes it to be. When Paul advised the ladies in the church not to adorn themselves in every fine silk and jewel they owned it was never about THEM. It was about the OTHER PEOPLE. it was about their influence on the other people around them. No doubt other church goers knew they were rich. They didn’t need to show it off and even less so in the congregation. There was no sense in causing strife over something so feeble as attire in the midst of Christian persecution. Then there is also always the question of what is modest? Tanks or t-shirts? mini shirts or knee length skirts? What we have to understand is the argument is never about these specifics as every culture (worldwide) IS very different. In the middle east its long sleeves and long skirts. In the tropics it might be a one piece over a two piece. What matters is a persons (gasp) relationship with God. If you have a strong relationship with Him (and listen to Him) He will help you sort out what appropriate in both behavior and clothing. ANd if you’r really listening it shouldn’t be to hard to follow through and that goes for both men and women. It might be—and will be—a challenge at first, but the closer you are to God the less and less these type of things become an issue. They become an issue because we put our own opinion before others—and God—instead of listening to what He wants us to do. If we listened to Him more there’d be less issues in the church and the church would actually be what it was suppose to be in the first place—an example to others and a place to life others up. But we can’t lift others up if we’re constantly forcing our own dogma and opinions down each other throats. Get what God is saying to you and apply it to your life, not for your own sake because it’s never really about us solely as individuals. God is always for the bigger picture (not to devalue anyone), but the bigger picture of helping and lifting each other up. Our culture here in America thrives on tearing others down to get yourself on top. But once you’re there where to you go? Lifting each other up is so much more rewarding and takes out our own temptation to be selfish even when we say Modesty os hottest. Because modest isn’t hottest when it comes to lust etc., but it does help up put ourselves aside for a moment to help the next person because it was never really all about us in the first place.
Yes! The antidote to legalism AND license is listening to the Holy Spirit and being obedient.
Nice job on a hard subject, Matt. I agree with the personal responsibility for ALL concerned.
This is my favorite post to date, Matt. Thanks!
Bravo, Matt. Thank you for this blog. We shouldn’t dress to be “hott” , we should dress to give glory to God through our bodies. That should be the motivation behind each and every activity.
Are blogs modest? Is this response? Modesty is hard.
I don’t think sharing your opinion is immodest.
I would say on that subject, forcing your opinion onto others would be immodest, while just expressing it is the modest thing to do.
Interesting question you bring up though.
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Modesty is far more than Sexual moderation and decency.
noun, plural mod·es·ties.
1. the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.
2. regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
3. simplicity; moderation.
The definition of show this clearly. It is the opposite of Pride, especially overweening pride. Hubris has long been recognized as improper and dangerous. “Pride goeth before a Fall” (archaic word used to emphasize the age) as the old saying states. Nobody likes a braggart, precisely because the braggart is puffing him(her)self up as better than others.
Translation: Modest (Humble / decent / moderate) is Hottest! Immodesty is repugnant. One only has to look at the terms we use to describe the people and actions thy take to realize how much this is true. How “Hot” is someone who is Vain, Vainglorious, Braggart, puffed up, has a Swelled head, a show off, Stuck up, a snob, looks down his nose at others, has their nose in the air etc. etc.
How many of the people who commented on this blog really read what Matt said? I see many comments that remark on sexual modesty, but if you read the article, it is not about sexual modesty, In he states that the picture was not of a human at all, but of a big expensive BOAT. Why then are so many of the commentators ragging on sexual modesty? This article is disparaging a vain attitude, in whatever aspect.
I have always loved this quote: Dear girls, dressing immodestly is like rolling around in manure. Yes, you’ll get attention, but mostly from pigs. Signed, Real Men
Referring to other human beings as the legions of hell. Totally classy, Mr. Walsh.
How else would you like to call somebody, who is causing many to go astray and possibly end up in Hell? It may seem politically incorrect or harsh to you, but it is pretty much on the target. If you work for somebody, then you are a part of his team. Too much is at stake to tip-toe around it. Like it or not…
You’re right, it’s much better to refer to other human beings as fetuses so that we feel better about killing them.
A legion is a group of 3000-6000 if you take the word from the Romans who made legions of troops.
Being of hell, I would assume you’d mean humans who are destined to go to hell, which would be people committing sins that would send them there without repenting or remorse. Let’s see…how about murderers who don’t think they are committing murder?
So as long as there are multiple groups of 3000+ people committing murder without remorse, seems like we would have legions of hell.
There have been over 50 million abortions since roe vs wade which is about 1.2 million a year, so 3,341 abortions a day. Looks like we got a legion of hell showing up daily.
My big problem with the modesty debate is that I feel it does exactly the very thing it claims to be preventing. It objectifies women. I have seen more than enough pro-modesty people bemoan spaghetti straps, above-the-knee shorts, visible bra straps, and even shirts with see-through sleeves. I tell you what, if your teenage son is overcome by lust at the sight of a shoulder, kneecap, or the strap of an item of clothing that nearly all women wear, it is because you have not taught him to see girls as people first. You have taught him, inadvertently or not, that girls bodies are sex objects, the entire female body should be private, and that to view a female and think indecent thoughts about her means that it is she who must be indecent. (No problem would lay with your perfect snowflake son, of course. We all know men are visual creatures who can’t control their thoughts. End sarcasm.) This whole idea that girls should cover up bug me not because I think modesty is bad, but I think it just further serves to objectify. A woman in a bikini or short skirt is still a person. Period. End of story.
I also don’t buy the belief that self respect is tied up in clothing choices. There are plenty of women who cover up entirely that are ashamed of themselves, that think they are not good enough. There are plenty of women who wear bikinis that love themselves and have successful relationships. Self respect and healthy self image go way beyond clothing.
And it comes down to “cover up what?” as many years ago showing an ankle was scandalous, while exposing nearly the entire breasts were not. Cowing to societal “norms”, of this flighty fad or the next, also puts us on-edge and causes divisiveness over what is ‘right’.
IMO, modesty is as much about intent as it is about action. If you are dressing or bragging, for example, to incite lust or envy, the person knows they are doing so, and no one needs to point it out.
But instead, maybe the person is dressing in that fashion simply because actually like the clothes for their own sake, a more comfortable fit, more appropriate to the venue or to the weather, or the person just don’t have the same legalistic or libertine views as the unsolicited critics. Maybe the one posting a picture of a boat is simply excited with a new toy and wanted to share that joy. I’d suggest that sometimes the critic may be the one acting in a sinful manner, reacting with lust or envy, instead of just minding their own business. Because criticism itself can be a form of immodesty, where the critic thinks their personal opinion is of more importance than the opinion of the one being criticised, immodest of one’s self-importance.
kyotoredbird, I think you are missing some of the point and some basics of biology. Men don’t think sexually about women because they are taught to see women as sex objects; they automatically DO see women as sex objects! That is the nature of the beast, love them! Yes, they can be taught to see women as unique and valuable human beings, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t get turned on when they see almost the entire chest of lovely young ladies, or every curve revealed in exposed leggings! Yes, they should be taught to avert their eyes when something they see will incite them to lust. But why is it fair for us girls to make them have to do that, to make it harder for them to interact with us without causing a struggle (whether won or lost…), just because we like a particular fashion or it is comfortable for us. Isn’t that pretty selfish? We, as Christian women, ought to take the responsibility that is afforded to us not to be a cause of stumbling for our dear brothers. ESPECIALLY AT CHURCH!!! We need to be more sensitive to the effect that we are probably having on our brothers. Too often these topics devolve into a discussion among women about how they should be able to wear whatever they want, the guys be damned. Talk about pride!
And self-respect and self-image are not the same thing as having modesty and dignity. Prostitutes can exude all the self-respect and a strong self image they want. That doesn’t mean that they live with dignity.
It may surprise you, Wendy, but this is actually not a biological truth. Some of the most egalitarian cultures in the world are aboriginal cultures where people walk around pretty much naked. Amazonian tribes and certain East African tribes have some of the lowest rates of sex crimes, and women are always topless. Where as Egypt, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, places where women are forced into modesty, have extremely high rates of sexual harassment and assault. The truth is, men are very much socialized to see women as objects. It IS a learned behavior.
And I think we are becoming far too liberal with the word “stumbling block”. Its becoming a nice way for men to escape all responsibility from this debate. If I remember correctly, Adam using the whole ‘it was the woman’s fault, God, she made me sin” didn’t actually fly. I stand by original statements. If your son is overcome by lust at the sight of a natural, non-sexual body part like a shoulder or kneecap, the problem lies with your son. Believe it or not, most girls don’t wake up in the morning thinking of dressing like an evil seductress to temp otherwise righteous boys and cause them to stumble. I don’t pick out my dress in the morning thinking how to best snare unsuspecting men. That would be being a stumbling block.I pick out my dress because I like the way it looks on me, the color brings out my eyes or is flattering with my hair, etc. That is called being an autonomous human being who should be allowed to make her own decisions without taking responsibility for the sins of strangers.
@kyoto: Men aren’t socialized to see women as objects. In fact no man sees a woman as an object. The problem is that men see themselves as objects and figure if woman is his equal then she must be one too. Men are only valued for the money they earn or how willing they are to die for others. Men are never valued simply for being human. The only logical conclusion of men being treated like human doings is that women must be the same. A woman is valued just for being a woman. A man is a not even a man unless he “proves himself.” A women never has to prove herself. When women and society are ready to appreciate men for their humanity things will change quite quickly. The problem however is society benefits from men being objects and so do women. Women just want their cake and to eat it too. Things don’t work that way however.
Kyotoredbird, you are misunderstanding me. It’s true that in different cultures they are taught to respect or not respect women as objects. That doesn’t take away from the fact that men are turned on by an almost nude chest or tight leggings. If they weren’t, they’d be robots and not men! They are socialized to treat women with respect. That doesn’t take away from the fact that they are physically turned on by them! Why do you think prostitutes dress this way?
You missed the part where I said that men SHOULD take responsibility for their thoughts and actions. They definitely should. But, once again, that doesn’t exonerate women for dressing provocatively and expecting men to not have any kind of reaction. That is just ignorant and naive.
I’m very disturbed that the rest of your response is entirely excuses for why you should be able to do what you want and the guys be damned. Women don’t have to purposely dress ‘thinking like an evil seductress’ for them to dress in a way that turns guys on. They need to be made aware of the effect they have on guys, and dress accordingly, not just thinking only of themselves (that’s where the word “selfish” and “proud” come in!), but making an effort to be considerate to our brothers in Christ.
A good part of Christianity is to begin to think like Christ, not only about ourselves, but the effect that the things we do have on others. It’s love and respect for our brothers in Christ that drives me to dress modestly. Loving others MORE than ourselves is how we grow in Christ.
“That is called being an autonomous human being who should be allowed to make her own decisions without taking responsibility for the sins of strangers.” Please be aware that the things that you do, DO affect others, and if we don’t take responsibility, yes, they are responsible for the amount of sin that they fall into, but so are we when we cause others to sin!
And you do remember correctly, Adam was held responsible for his sin. But Eve was also held responsible for leading her husband into sin. No man (or woman!) is an island. That would be called hell.
But what is provocative? Who sets that standard, really? What’s considered “tempting” for some men might be considered polished, professional, and modest for another. I was wearing boot-cut jean and a sweater when I was very grossly cat-called by some city workers. It’s not like I was parading around in a bikini. (Which I do wear, by the way, around my husband and friends.) That was a very obvious problem with the men who were doing the jeering, not with me or my outfit. I agree with you that we should be aware of our behavior, especially around others. I make a great effort to be a kind, generous, and helpful person. I’m actually usually overly aware of how my behavior is effecting the people around me. I just refuse to take responsibility for a man thinking piggish thoughts about me when I am minding my own business and doing my own thing, simply because I am not dressed like an Amish woman. That’s the whole problem! It is so unfair to expect girls to bear the responsibility for every man’s thoughts when every man is going to be different in what he finds attractive, sexual, or tempting.
Wear a bikini or whatever you want that says “I’m a feminist” and guys will run like heck from you. I think that’s a fair compromise.
Wearing a bikini says “I’m a feminist now” does it? I would have thought saying “I’m a feminist” makes you a feminist.
@Eva: Try rereading what I said again as you are totally off base. I said she should wear a bikini with the words “I’m a feminist” printed on it and that will without fail cause every man to run in horror from her. In fact even better, tattooing on her bare naked flesh would probably be even better.
I read it three times. It’s still unclear. Much of what you say is unclear to be honest. First you hate feminists then you hate all women. First women aren’t at all attracted to men, then they’re lying and they actually are. You complain that men are objectified by women and only appreciated for their money and submission, and then when women – real women, not the women in your head – tell you otherwise, you just say ‘oh well you’re the exception to the rule’.
Oh, and I don’t have the word feminist branded on any item of clothing or any piece of my body, but I have used the words ‘I’m a feminist’ in front of my boyfriend and he’s still with me 2 years later. He calls himself a feminist too. He celebrates National Women’s Day. I’d love to hear what you thought of that!
@Eva: What I said is quite clear. I dislike women who brand themselves a feminist and women who may not use the term but could care less about the negative impact feminism has had on men being valued as human beings. I said I am skeptical about whether women are attracted to the male form or not. As I showed in the links, many of those women have little interest let alone a passionate one about the male form. Ask most men to speak poetry about the female form and it wouldn’t be difficult. Talk to most women and you don’t get very much. Look at the culture. How often do women compliment men an anything? Men on the other hand never stop waxing poetry about women.
My thoughts on your bf? Well I don’t him personally so I cannot say. I can generalize however that most men I’ve heard that call themselves feminists are either: 1) envious of women or 2) suffer from some deep seated emotional scar caused by a man/men/boy/boys at a critical stage in their psychological development and are desperate for a woman’s favor to numb the pain and/or retaliate against men whose psyches closes matches the ones who caused the hurt. Boys of single mothers are a prime example, but not the only one. In their eyes mom can do no wrong and dad is a traitor so “the man must pay” which is the same attitude feminists are driven by consciously or unconsciously.
Do you celebrate International Men’s Day (http://www.internationalmensday.com/)?
I wasn’t aware there was an International Men’s Day. I’ll be sure to attend. Thanks for the heads up 🙂
Well my boyfriend has had a very blessed childhood actually. His parents divorced but he has a fantastic relationship with his mother, father and their spouses. He also is very close with his brothers and sisters. He isn’t envious of women. He respects them and celebrates them, but he’s still fairly happy to be male – ‘no periods and no childbirth, score!’ he says. He has no emotional scars that have to be filled by feminism, he chooses to support it because he believes in the basic concepts of the movement – equality for men and women. He, like every other feminist we both know, do not support demeaning of either sex and will happily defend male victims of extreme feminism. My best friend (female) grew up with a single mother and she has two brothers. They both love their dad, despite the fact their mother can’t even be in the same room with him and despite the fact he lives in Dubai with his new 25 year old wife. They aren’t feminists but they still have nothing but the highest respect for their mother given that she raised them all alone for about 2/3 of their lives. See how your generalisations don’t work?
Should men pay for abandoning their kids? Absolutely, if they genuinely did. Should women be punished for abandoning their kids? Or worse, killing them in the womb? I believe they should be. Can you believe it?
Also, what’s wrong with branding yourself as something? People refer to themselves as conservatives, liberals, socialists, gay, straight, bisexual, nerds, jocks, goths, punks, and so many more. I don’t personally like the gothic style but I would never presume to ;label all goths as being emos, or criminals or junkies, or anything else derogatory based on a few individual cases I had personally seen. Just because I call myself a feminist doesn’t mean I conform to your skewed view of feminists.
Finally, women may not spout beautiful poetry about the male form, but we’ve written entire novels based around them! The Twilight saga? 50 shades of grey? And even Austen and Bronte had plenty to say about their devilishly handsome and mysterious male protagonists. Remember men have been writing novels and poetry for a lot longer than women have. Give us a chance to catch up! Teenage girls grow up pinning posters of beautiful boy bands and actors who play vampires to their wall. Men parade around topless on the beach or in the park or at the gym, you think we haven’t noticed? Male models appear in our magazines at the hairdressers with their shirts open and their jeans 2 feet below their hips, I wonder why they choose to put those images in WOMEN’S magazines?
Face it – women love men, they just (I’m guessing) don’t love you.
@Eva: Yeah, I’m sure International Men’s Day isn’t big on the feminist calendar if its there at all so you kind of proved my point there.
Actually the fact that your bf’s parents divorced IS an example of an emotional scar. He was still raised in 2 different households and whether he admits it or not, that affects psychological development.
You still averted my claim about the word “feminism” to begin with. Why should equality be given exclusively a female label? Do you call yourself a masculinist? If you are really for equality then you should be doing so. If so, head to the nearest N.O.W. office and wave your new title at them. See how warm of a reception you get. The difference between the labels you provided and “feminism” is that those labels have a clear definition. “Feminism” is all over the place and any attempt to hold it accountable for anything results in an emotional backlash and subsequent logical dismissal of any legitimate claims. Also, the very word does not acknowledge or allow for recognition of the fact that half of the population is not feminine/female. Several high profile former feminists like Susan Sarandon have dumped the feminist label in favor of “humanist / humanism.” That I can respect because its more inclusive.
Not exactly sure if you are claiming to be pro-life there, but a majority of feminist are of the persuasion that if you don’t subscribe to the pro-choice/pro-contraception dogma, you do not qualify as a feminist. The Ohio chapter of the N.O.W. kicked out the people that formed “Feminists for Life” of which Sarah Palin is one. If you watched American politics in that election you would be hard pressed to find women that didn’t berate Palin on the ground that she “didn’t represent women’s interests despite being a woman.” Here you had a gun toting, high powered, and outspoken woman on the loose and most of the criticism directed at her was coming from women. The bottom line is that a majority of women voters did not turn out to support Palin despite her being far more of a pioneer in “earning a seat at the boys table” than most women elsewhere. That’s also why, as far as I’m concerned, feminism is a hypocritical sham and an outdated gendered term. People like Susan Sarandon realize that, but I see some still like the idea of a “girls club” while expecting the “boys clubs” to not exist.
“Face it – women love men, they just (I’m guessing) don’t love you.”
Still skeptical that its really love in the truest sense of the word and not just a “take what I can get from him” because I deserve it kind of way. I know this may come as a shocker, but I’m married. Yeah, life’s full of surprises. 😛
Yeah, I also wasn’t aware there was an international woman’s day or an international sibling day until my boyfriend and sister told me about it so really I proved nothing.
I showed my boyfriend your response and he was very confused and offended. He asked me to stop replying to someone who clearly isn’t willing to even open his mind a tiny little bit to consider other people. But I’ll just have to apologise to him later.
He is not emotionally scarred. His parents had a very clean and amicable divorce. He saw his dad every weekend and when his mum moved further away, every second weekend. He maintains a fantastic relationship with all four of his parents, in fact much better than the relationship I have with my parents who have been married for 36 years.
He was a school captain in our high school, he’s been to India to work with orphans and he’s studying History and Literature at an incredibly prestigious world leading university. He and I have fantastic friends and he’s an amazing, outgoing person. He is an incredibly successful person, despite having two sets of parents instead of one. So he took huge offence when you said he must be psychologically damaged. He was offended on behalf of his parents if nothing else. If they hadn’t gotten divorced they wouldn’t have met their current spouses, built the beautiful stable homes they now have with them and my boyfriend would be without a brother and sister. So no, their divorce ISN’T an example of an emotional scar. Your clear aversion to women is.
Yes I was shocked to read that you’re married. I wonder how your wife feels knowing how you feel about women e.g how we’re all really attracted to other women and disgusted by the male body, or how we’re only interested in men for their money and whether or not they do stuff for us. You said yourself you were “sceptical” about how true our love is for men. How you’re pretty sure it’s only a ‘take what I can from him because I deserve it’ kind of love. I bet that’s a really stable marriage…
Feminism was given a female label because when it was created in the 19th century – you know, back when women couldn’t go to secondary school or university, own property or vote? Back when all they could do was cook, clean, have babies and, if they were rich enough, maybe read a book or play piano? – the movement was FOR WOMEN! And they’ve been incredibly successful, you can’t deny that. Women are on equal standing with men in every legal sense. Now SOME of the feminists back then were extreme, pouring acid on postboxes, setting fire to train stations, chaining themselves to gates, throwing themselves under horses. And SOME feminists today have twisted the causes of our predecessors and now they have turned it into their own battle of beating men – sometimes literally. I think that’s abhorrent. I’m a feminist and I call myself one because I continue to believe that women need to be on par with men and I plan to take my fight elsewhere in the world where women are continuously living not just in the shadow of men but in raw, unfiltered FEAR of men. Young girls in Yemen are being forced to be married, age 8, to men aged 40. In Egypt it is literally impossible or most women to leave the house without being harassed and groped, let alone anything worse. And in countless middle eastern countries women are executed for being rape victims, they are being shot or beaten for simply wanting another year at school. And in African countries at war such as the divided Sudans, women are being raped and butchered merely to make a statement by the other side. THESE women still need our help and I hope I can make even a slight difference to some of their lives before I die. Then I will die happy and contented.
While I’m still here I will fight against any sexism I find, whether it’s male or female oriented. Because I do believe in equality. I don’t need a new label to wave in front of anyone. I don’t parade the streets saying I’m a feminist. If people ask I tell them. And if they ask what I support, I tell them exactly what I just told you. Feminism has done it’s bit for my country and it’s made me proud to be a Scottish woman. And NOTHING you can say is going to change that. You based your entire opinion of me on the fact that I said I was happy feminism happened. You said I was simply a spoiled brat who doesn’t care about anything but my sex life. You said women only seek to beat men and we only keep them around to do stuff for us and give us money, that we only want submissive men to be more our butlers than our husbands. You have literally failed to make any clear cut statement about why you think women do this, aside from ‘some of the ones I know do’. It’s utterly pathetic.
Also, yes, I am pro-life. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m not a feminist. Yes, many feminists are pro-choice, but some feminists also think that the pro-life movement is primarily a male movement trying to ‘control women’s bodies’ which obviously is wrong on so many levels.
I don’t know a lot about Sarah Palin other than she’s pro-life but loves hunting and that she’s very right wing and also that she’s a creationist?
Well you guys had Sarah Palin but we had Margaret Thatcher. We voted her in as Prime Minister, a historical moment in itself, and she went and did a lot of things that made a lot of people very angry. She pulled a lot of jobs out of the coal and oil industry, she sent many of our air force (including my dad) to the Falklands, she got her hooks into the council housing system with decidedly mixed results. She basically both united the country by solving a lot of problems that needed to be solved, and divided the country by using the means she took to solve those problems. Britain both flourished and suffered while she was in power. But if she hadn’t gone into power who knows how we may have ended up. For that I can respect her. She died only last year and a good portion of the country mourned her, while others – funnily enough, many of them men – celebrated, actually celebrated on national television for her grieving family to see.
Now I’m not actually sure where Margaret Thatcher stood on feminism, I’d have to look that up, but she did have to put up with a lot of crap from men, women as well, but primarily men, to the point where they said she had to change her behaviour and speaking techniques to essentially ‘fight like a man’ in a man’s position. She is an iconic figure for ambitious women and that will include many feminists – but many women and feminists still hated her.
I’m sure many women don’t support Sarah Palin. But as far as I know, many don’t support Wendy Davis in her fight for more choice in abortion either. There aren’t a set of political and moral beliefs required to make you a feminist – the people who say there are aren’t true feminists, they’re extremists and they don’t represent us. Like the Taliban don’t represent Islam, or Westbro Baptist Church don’t represent Christians. To be a feminist you believe in total equality for men and women and you fight to elevate women to the same levels as men. That’s it. How you fight that fight is up to you. I plan to fight for women that actually have problems. Others choose to fight things like getting the word ‘bossy’ banned. There are idiots in every movement, the mistake many like you make is defining the entire movement by the work of a few idiots.
@Eva: You gave a reason, albeit a poor one, why feminism was given a female label. If patriarchy was as diametrically opposed to women’s rights as you suggested, women never would have been given the privileges you mention. The bottom line is men took responsibility for ensuring mankind’s survival in the past. Yes, some men (and women) tripped up on that with horrible outcomes but at the end of the day they bucked tradition and made room for women. That wouldn’t have happened if the patriarchs were as wicked as you say.
You also completely dodged the question of what happens when women surpass men in rights. That is where the western world is at now. Who advocates for men? Feminists? That makes no logical sense. I think a persons inability to let go of an unnecessary and illogical label shows a deep seated insecurity. In this case that insecurity is a mistrust of men. Dismissing “feminists” who you don’t agree with as “extremists” is ridiculous. Survey feminist literature, policy, organizations, and so forth and see if you find anything that respects the dignity / rights of men. Other than lip service there is nothing. If anything, people like yourself are the fringe because a majority of feminists in general (not just the ones I know) do not agree with you. It’s quite clear that your definition of feminism is as illogical and broken as everyone elses. You define it as equality yet everyone defines equality differently. Most feminists think that means women should have the right to abort so they “can have sex like men – avoid pregnancy.” You say the opposite. That is like me saying blue is green and blue is red. It is completely senseless and many people realize that.
It seems whenever the feminist case is in jeopardy there is an appeal to the Middle East. We’ve been talking about western feminism here. Changing the region because its easier to make your case is a logical fallacy. Do you think boys who told that strapping a bomb to themselves is going to get them into heaven is in any better shape than a woman married at 8? At least she stands some chance at a life. The boy who thinks he’s better off dead stands virtually no chance!
“You have literally failed to make any clear cut statement about why you think women do this, aside from ‘some of the ones I know do’.”
I’ve made this very clear. It’s human nature and as human beings women will shove their collective female ego in the face of men to dominate. Women are turned on by power in a way men aren’t. We know the consequences that come with it and so do women, but women expect men to pay the consequences while they reap the goodies. Most men I talk to are miserable in marriage, but the women love it. Why is that? That’s because women get what they want enforced by the police power of the state and men live under woman’s thumb.
“And NOTHING you can say is going to change that.”
And you say I’m the closed minded one? I’m not trying to change you. I know very well that feminist anger is not going to be reigned in with logic because feminist attitudes are instilled by raw emotion. Human beings have a nasty habit for letting emotion rule logic. Giving up the victim card is not easy for women because it gets them so much. I don’t expect you to stop calling yourself a feminist but the fact you claim to support equality but won’t identify as a masculinist is in itself an inequality. Feminism as you said, is for women and not men. The pursuit of equality is not only for women.
“How you fight that fight is up to you. ”
So the ends justify the means? There’s 2 ways to bring about equality. Raise women to men or bring men down. It seems feminists both raise women and bring men down. Good to know you’re ok with that.
“There are idiots in every movement, the mistake many like you make is defining the entire movement by the work of a few idiots.”
Extreme feminists count for a lot more of the total feminist population than the Taliban in Islam or Westboro in Christianity.
“you know, back when women couldn’t go to secondary school or university, own property or vote?”
Neither could poor or middle class men.
“I wonder how your wife feels knowing how you feel about women….”
She knows and is an exception to the rule.
My reason was a perfectly good one. Women did not have the rights or privileges men had. Sure, poor and middle class men didn’t go to school, they had to work and work and work for their families, poor women had to work as well and that was terrible. But the rich men got to go to university and vote and own property, while women of the same social standing were expected to sit in their homes like demure little ladies waiting for their fathers to find them a suitable husband so they could go off and have babies. And then when the poorer men got the vote, what happened to the women? Rich or poor? Nothing. They were just women. What did they know. We got the vote because we put up a fight and proved ourselves for long enough that men HAD to take notice and HAD to realise we had all the capabilities they had.
Who ran the businesses and laboured in the fields and in the weapons factories when all the men were sent to the trenches to fight? Who nursed all these broken and wounded men back to health? Women. And me saying that doesn’t mean I’m not sympathetic for the male soldiers. They obviously suffered a great deal and fought incredibly hard and I have nothing but appreciation and compassion for them. But the point is, the women put in so much work and fight as well. And they still weren’t considered eligible to have the same social responsibilities as men. So yes, they fought to elevate women.
I never said the patriarchs were ‘wicked’. I was saying they were narrow-minded and sexist. And I agree that many current so-called feminists are wicked. If they don’t fight for equality between men and women then they aren’t feminists. It’s that simple. If they seek to elevate women AND bring men down, they are extremists. Why do feminists not advocating for men make no logical sense? Because of their label? What’s in a name? I’m a feminist because I believe in equality between men and women. Feminist is an old term, yes, but it’s core meaning is still the same.
“Everyone defines equality differently”? Well the Cambridge English Dictionary defines it as “the right of different groups of people to have a similar social position and receive the same treatment”. Does anyone here dispute that? That’s certainly how I define it. I apply that definition to male-female equality, as does feminism. I also apply it to the born and the unborn, hence why I’m also pro-life. Women should be able to have sex as freely as men if they choose to. But they also have to deal with the consequences, just like men do. If men have lots of sex with lots of different people they might get a disease, it’s the same with women. And if women have lots of sex, they might get pregnant. In the same way, if men have lots of sex they might get a woman pregnant. Both parties are equally responsible for the resulting baby growing in the woman’s uterus, so both should take the responsibility of either raising and loving the child or finding another family to do this for them. It’s really very simple.
We’ve been talking about feminism, neither of us ever specified western or otherwise. I used the middle east and Africa as examples of places I plan to use my feminist beliefs for the god of women. I said they were the women that really need our help.
“Do you think boys who told that strapping a bomb to themselves is going to get them into heaven is in any better shape than a woman married at 8?”
Of course I don’t. The fact that you would even insinuate I do proves you’ve either not read any of my replies or understood nothing about what I’ve said. I think those boys have been manipulated and misguided by evil people. But that doesn’t lessen the suffering of an 8-year old girl who has a chance at life – a life of being consistently raped by an adult man and expected to birth children when her body hasn’t even developed properly yet. Also women are targeted as bomb mules as well.
Women shoving their egos in men’s faces? Yeah, men NEVER shove their egos in women’s faces…
“We know the consequences that come with it and so do women, but women expect men to pay the consequences while they reap the goodies” What do you even mean by that?? You can’t claim that about women without claiming it about men as well. That sort of attitude doesn’t come as a package deal with breasts and vaginas. You can’t just make stupid and hurtful generalisations like that. Most men you talk to are miserable in marriage? Most men I know are the happiest when they’re talking about their wives and their children and their married lives, so really you saying that doesn’t prove anything at all.
My feminist attitude contains emotion – of course. It is also a stance I have chosen to take because it aligns perfectly with my beliefs – most of which centre around logic. So just stop it. Stop judging women, stop judging me and stop judging feminism, just because you don’t like it.
“My feminist attitude contains emotion – of course. It is also a stance I have chosen to take because it aligns perfectly with my beliefs – most of which centre around logic. So just stop it. Stop judging women, stop judging me and stop judging feminism, just because you don’t like it.”
It contains only emotion and does not respect logic. True equality is true equality. It does not need a female (or male) modifier. You still failed to explain why you wouldn’t call yourself a masculinist.
“What do you even mean by that?? You can’t claim that about women without claiming it about men as well.”
How many women demanded the responsibility to be included in the draft to celebrate their right to vote and send men off to war? Answer: 0 It wasn’t until the NOW was intellectually forced to take a stance did they do so. Most women I talk to however do not want to be conscripted but they want to vote. Care to explain the dodging of responsibility?
“Yeah, men NEVER shove their egos in women’s faces…”
Men do but society penalizes us for doing so. Who is society? Well, apparently its male-dominated if you talk to feminists so we do penalize ourselves for it. Women on the other hand don’t.
“Also women are targeted as bomb mules as well.”
How man 9/11 hijackers were women? Oh right, none!
“Dictionary defines it as….”
Dictionary definitions are vague. As I said, some women think equality means having the right to an abortion. You clearly do not agree with this sentiment. Therefore, you and other women define equality differently. You say blue is red and they say blue is green. I’m saying blue is blue and you cannot define it to fit your emotional outlook. The dictionary also defines Nazis as “a member of the fascist National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which was founded in 1919 and seized political control in Germany in 1933 under Adolf Hitler.” I think we can agree Nazis were A LOT more than that. Same thing is true of feminism. A dictionary definition is not meant to be inflammatory, but an accurate account of the doings of feminist will show otherwise.
” If they seek to elevate women AND bring men down, they are extremists.”
Screaming their extremists doesn’t help men one bit. The word feminism itself is an extremist term. Its aim is to single women out and carve out privilege for them while completely neglecting the impact on men because as you said “its about women.” Imagine if men excluded women and said “its about men.” Oh wait, we tried that but women didn’t like it very much. Their resolve was to turn around and do the same thing? Feminists have in no way advocated for equality where it didn’t benefit them or helped men. It’s a dishonest movement that hides behind a scholastically inaccurate definition and not a single action to show its respects the humanity of men.
“I was saying they were narrow-minded and sexist.”
As I say feminists are. How many feminists do hear complaining about the shortage of men in elementary education? They only complain about the shortage of women in STEM. True equality says they should fight for both yet they do not. Boys would benefit from more male teachers too since female teachers grade them lower due to feminist bias (http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/eliminating-feminist-teacher-bias-erases-boys-falling-grades-study-finds).
I don’t need to call myself a masculinist to prove that I believe in equality. True equality between men and women is the reason feminism was created, because at the time men had many more rights than women. And because of that, women today have all the rights men have, and working class men have all the rights middle and upper class men have. What western feminism is trying to do now is change how people view women. There are many that still think of women differently in the same position as men. An example is the ban bossy campaign – which I personally don’t support – their stance is that women in leadership positions are seen as bossy or overbearing while men in the exact same position are seen as inspirational leaders. While I don’t think this is a universal attitude by any means, my sister works in finance and she can tell you, there are many many individual cases where it is true. She’s been treated this way a few times, mostly by older men. And a lot of the feminists you see in power are those in similar positions of power so one can assume they experience that sort of attitude on a regular basis. I don’t believe any of them have a true motive to completely dominate men. I don’t think it’s written anywhere in any feminist handbook ‘Rule#1 you must hate men with every fibre of your being and seek to beat them down until they are back where we were 200 years ago!’
That would be a very bad campaign method. I think you like to look for every mistake feminism has made and use it to further your hatred of women. You accuse feminists of being men-haters but what have you been doing all this time? Spewing all your hatred over the Internet? You’re no better than us evil, power-hungry women.
“Most women I know don’t want to be conscripted but they want to vote. Care to explain the dodging of responsibility?”
Do most men you know want to be conscripted just so they can vote? Did these women actually say ‘I don’t want to be conscripted! Send the men to die instead!” I’m guessing no. You’re just taking a female view and morphing it into your own version of a feminist extremist male-hating view.
Society doesn’t penalise women for shoving their egos in men’s faces?
If a woman dresses provocatively to impress men what is she called? Easy? Slutty? Shallow?
What is she called when she dresses modestly and doesn’t show off for guys? A prude.
What is she called when she’s successful in her career and shares it. Bossy. Overbearing. Bragger.
And when she elects to be a stay at home mother? When she spends her day taking care of kids and asks if her husband can help by doing some chores? A drag. A nag. A bored housewife. Overbearing again.
Women are never judged or penalised in society? When I can spend a day in medical school with without being told by some rich young American boys to ‘go back to nursing school’ then we’ll talk.
“How many of the 9/11 hijackers were women?” none to my knowledge, so that’s, what, six out of how many terrorists? What about the two Iraqi girls with mental disabilities who were sent walking into a town with bombs strapped to them?
“dictionary definitions are vague”
Dictionary definitions are definitions that can be consistently applied. If I look up the definition of a cat, I can apply that definition to all cats. The definition of equality will never be ‘having a right to an abortion’ because that’s a bizarre non-sequitur. Women who are pro-choice believe that they have the right to terminate a foetus so as not to be inconvenienced with nine months of pregnancy and an eternal parental responsibility. It has very little, if anything to do with gender equality. If we want to ‘have sex like men’ we already have contraception to help us do that. But some women still don’t understand there’s a responsibility that comes with having sex and part of that includes being prepared for the slim chance you might get pregnant. These women aren’t all feminists. Please try and get your head around the fact that your wife isn’t the only non-feminist, non-man-hating woman out there.
“screaming they’re extremists doesn’t help men one bit.”
I’m not screaming anything. They are extremists. Calling the Nazis extremists didn’t help the Jews either. When I can, I will do my bit to help men. Will you do your bit to help women?
I don’t k ow what you’re talking about when you say you tried saying ‘it’s about men’. You’ll have to clarify that for me.
“boys would benefit from more male teachers since female teachers grade them lower due to feminist bias”
Again with the sweeping generalisations. My mother is a female teacher and she is a feminist as well. Her male students always get excellent marks WHEN THEY GET THE WORK RIGHT. I know this because I was in her class for 3 years. She teaches primary 3,4 and 5 (ages 7-10) and she’s had a couple of angry fathers come in and say ‘youre being sexist, giving my son a bad report’. You know what she does? She doesn’t throw a hissy fit and scream ‘sexism!’ at him. She gets out her folder of marked homework, the student’s tray filled with his jotters and she shows the irate parent why she’s given his son a bad report. And when another parent comes in complaining about her daughter’s bad report, she does the exact same thing. Oh, her head teacher is also a man, imagine that?
The majority of my friends are male and not one of them has ever complained about being treated unfairly in school in favour of girls. A lot of them had male teachers as well. This whole war on boys is your imagination. Maybe if the US go rid of their zero tolerance policies and stopped treating little kids as pharmaceutical targets there would be less boys being kicked out of school for playing cops and robbers or less boys acting out because their school was insisting their parents medicate them into a mental limbo?
But no. EVERYTHING is the fault of feminsim. War, drugs, pornography, overmedication of children, the economy crisis, society’s loss of morals, ALL because a few selfish women 100 years ago wanted the right to vote.
“I don’t need to call myself a masculinist to prove that I believe in equality. True equality between men and women is the reason feminism was created, because at the time men had many more rights than women.”
Well, guess what, it’s 2014 now and the “good ol days” are over. We now live in a matriarchy in the western world. Women now have more rights and influential groups than men.
“There are many that still think of women differently in the same position as men.”
Which is because of affirmative actions policies. When you have a handicap you can’t expect people to think you are as capable of the rest when you are given special treatment.
“I don’t believe any of them have a true motive to completely dominate men. I don’t think it’s written anywhere in any feminist handbook ‘Rule#1 you must hate men with every fibre of your being and seek to beat them down until they are back where we were 200 years ago!’
That would be a very bad campaign method.”
And that is why they don’t write it down, but the spirit in which they advocate says otherwise. The domestic violence and rape laws are being abused in the US, but thanks to feminist interest women are not prosecuted when they do (http://www.wcvb.com/Restraining-Order-Abuse/12138374). A man has every right sense to fear being around a woman. Also, what you believe is irrelevant. Many Germans disbelieved what Hitler was doing but that didn’t stop him!
“You accuse feminists of being men-haters but what have you been doing all this time? Spewing all your hatred over the Internet? You’re no better than us evil, power-hungry women.”
I’m educating people about the hypocrisy of feminism and the illogical foundation its based on.
“Do most men you know want to be conscripted just so they can vote? Did these women actually say ‘I don’t want to be conscripted! Send the men to die instead!” I’m guessing no.”
Most men accept the responsibility being thrust upon us because in a society there are needs that have to be met. Even if there is no war however, failure to register with the Selective Service carries penalties that women would never have to face like not getting a drivers license at the state level. Many FEMALE governors are responsible for these laws. The fact of the matter is feminist groups do not advocate for responsibility. Women expected the right to vote but did not give anything in return. Men on the other hand concede their lives.
“Society doesn’t penalise women for shoving their egos in men’s faces?”
I was talking about legally with the police power of the state. You’re complaining about a little name calling? LOL! You should only hear what society says about men, but as a women I guess it only matters when its directed at you. Typical feminist victimhood card.
“It has very little, if anything to do with gender equality.”
Well, a majority of feminists and feminist organizations disagree with you. Are you going to call the United Nations, Planned Parenthood, and N.O.W. all “extremists???” LOL! Good luck with that!
“Will you do your bit to help women?
I don’t k ow what you’re talking about when you say you tried saying ‘it’s about men’. You’ll have to clarify that for me.”
No, I will not. They have enough help already. I said “its about WOmen” referring to what you said about feminism. Feminism does not advocate for or respect the dignity of men by its feminine label. That’s why feminism needs masculinism to balance it. I prefer to carry neither label since I find both are divisive stints of a collective gender ego that should not exist.
“The majority of my friends are male and not one of them has ever complained about being treated unfairly in school in favour of girls. A lot of them had male teachers as well. This whole war on boys is your imagination.”
Actually the war on boys by the American Association for University Women is real. They had to retract part of their “case” for a “girl crisis” because it was fabricated research. You should read Dr. Sommers book and learn something. Of coarse your friends aren’t going to complain. How are they to know how the teacher is grading their non-science and non-math work where the “answer” is subjective? That was the point of the article. In objective areas boys do at least as well as girls. Hmm…..interesting. The studies show there is a clear feminist bias in education against boys. Of coarse you probably feel threatened that your gender pride might be reigned in on. Guess feminists are more like patrarchists than they care to admit. 😛
“War, drugs, pornography, overmedication of children, the economy crisis, society’s loss of morals, ALL because a few selfish women 100 years ago wanted the right to vote.”
You keep trying to live the good ol days. Its 2014 and feminists have moved on to other things now. That’s how human beings work. Once they get what they want they move onto other things to try to stay relevant.
Some of the most egalitarian cultures in the world are aboriginal cultures where people walk around pretty much naked. Amazonian tribes and certain East African tribes have some of the lowest rates of sex crimes, and women are always topless.
These words certainly caught my attention. I have lived in West Africa, Sierra Leone, for 18 months. While I was there, the people walking downtown wore clean modest clothing. But in the villages the women are often topless. Also as we drove through the towns twice a day we saw at least two billboards condemning rape and that it was against the law. That is the only thing the public can do: condemn. They cannot stop rape because there is no one to enforce the law. The government is corrupt. They don’t pay the police enough so the police only will act when someone – a victim- pays them. With impunity, school teachers rape young girls and the girls drop out of school. My friend came back to Freetown after a 2 year absence and was heartbroken to see many of his girl friends with babies. He was try truly sorrowful for no recourse. At least as late as 2009 I don’t think East Africa was a model for women’s equal rights.
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I now this is going to make people mad but sorry its the truth. We now live in a world where men can raped like women. They can we may see it as impossible but it happens. We now life in a world where dosmectic violence happens to not only women but also to men. The truth is we all see each other as body parts. My sister was bring up magic mike how all these Christian women were so excited to go watch it. But if move came out like that for their husbands they would be mad. I saw it because I am single and strippers make me laugh not turn me on so much. We are loosing the whole meaning to this post.
I love this! I’ve always agreed that the whole “Modest is hottest” thing is lame, mostly because it just seems so over-used, but you actually have made an excellent point about the phrase.
Though modesty is appropriate in most cases, there are some where having the ability to sell yourself would definitely come in handy.
I’m invisible. I am essentially a nobody as far as the world can tell. If you google my name you must go in about seven pages before you can find anything in my name.
Last year I joined a teacher site after joining the ranks of homeschoolers. I found a request for short stories geared towards a grade 5 level. I can write, I love to write. But after submitting my request to write for this woman, I heard nothing back. I didn’t sell myself, I am unable to brag about the abilities that I have within me. I held back for fear of making myself sound better than I was. I ended up sending her a free story so she could judge my abilities, and I ended up selling her 5 short stories and a play earning myself the most money I’ve ever earned from my writing, but having an immodest approach would have suited the situation much better.
As soon as my children are older and I’ve got time, I’ve got so many things to write, but I fear I won’t be publishing many because I am no good at drawing attention to the things I can do.
This is a just an article about judging motive based on a Facebook post. This man could have saved up and purchased an expensive item because he was a good steward of his money. And he might have been praising his wife for her kindness in allowing him to indulge in something he enjoys, something that his wife would enjoy as well. This is basically just wealth bashing.
I’m seeing a lot of people on here talking about rape and sexual assault in a way that really disturbs me. There are women who are raped, regardless of what they’re wearing. There are men who are raped, regardless of what they’re wearing. The common denominator among all instances isn’t the amount or style of clothing worn; it’s the presence of a rapist. It’s not a matter of “I couldn’t control myself because she/he looked so alluring.” That’s condescending to men and women alike (although it’s usually used as a defense for men, at least in my experience). We are not animals; the vast majority of us have some form of self-control that keeps us from assaulting strangers. Most of us believe that rape is not okay, and is not something that we casually do on the weekends. I also think it’s worth pointing out than no one dresses “in order to get raped.” I think we all at some point have dressed in a way to draw attention to ourselves (prom, anyone?), but nobody puts on a blouse thinking, “Gee, I hope someone is so aroused by the sight of my cleavage that they lose all control and decide to rid me of my bodily autonomy in order to fulfill their sexual desires! That’s exactly the look I’m going for here!”
People get raped wearing a variety of different clothing (modest or immodest), and slut-shaming and victim-blaming just move the responsibility from the rapist to the victim. Nobody “wants to” or “asks to” get raped.
Here we go.
Why is it that these days we can never make the point of personal responsibility being important (in all areas of life, not just this particular one) without being automatically accused of “victim blaming”?
The same thing happens when we say that it’s a bad idea for women (or men!) to get so drunk that they are not aware/have no memory of what they are doing or what is being done to them.
I used to think people did this deliberately to be argumentative or difficult. But I am changing my mind on this. Not every person that I’ve witnessed saying this seems to be the argumentative or difficult type.
It’s almost like there’s some sort of mental block or incapacity for holding these two ideas together in the mind at once.
I find it disturbing, especially because I cannot understand it.
“Why is it that these days we can never make the point of personal responsibility being important (in all areas of life, not just this particular one) without being automatically accused of “victim blaming”?”
Well, in this particular instance, it’s irrelevant. Rape has to do with power and nothing to do with sexual arousal; so bringing a woman’s (supposedly) immodest dress into the conversation serves what possible purpose other than victim-blaming?
It’s fine to say you shouldn’t get drunk to the point where you’re totally unaware of what you’re doing and what’s happening to you. It’s not fine to say to a rape victim ‘well you shouldn’t have gotten that drunk’ or ‘you shouldn’t have been dressed like that’. If someone wants to rape you, there is almost nothing you can do to change that. I say almost because I managed to get out of it by fighting like a rabid dog and by sheer luck I managed to incapacitate my attacker for long enough to get away.
Nothing ever justifies sexual violence or aggression. Can you understand that?
Thank you for so perfectly demonstrating my point.
“Nothing ever justifies sexual violence or aggression. Can you understand that?”
Show me where I said any such thing. Show me.
How this nonsense infuriates me.
You said you didn’t understand the idea that you can be accused of victim blaming by telling women they should be dressing better or not getting drunk. I explained the circumstances in which you can be.
I know you didn’t explicitly say that sexual aggression can be justified. I’m not illiterate. I’m very smart actually. (And I know you didn’t say I was illiterate either so don’t ask me to show you anything).
What I said was that in the situation where sexual aggression was involved it’s wrong to judge whatever the victim was doing or wearing beforehand because that’s exactly what the defense would do – find fault with the victim. She was wearing enticing clothing, she was ‘up for it’ at first, she initiated it. All of these are the excuses that the aggressors used. So it’s not that there’s ‘some sort of mental block or incapacity for holding these two ideas together in the mind at once.’ (something you did say). It’s that in the situation where a girl has been sexually harassed, assaulted or raped, she did nothing to deserve it no matter the circumstances, and the attacker has no excuse at all. So the two ideas don’t belong together here. It’s not nonsense, it’s common decency.
I noticed you mentioned “women” before “men” in your statement about getting drunk…..can you see a case for it being a bit more important for men to watch themselves getting intoxicated, because they’re (usually) capable of more damage?
Sorry, I don’t play word games like this.
This is a serious topic. It should be discussed in a serious manner.
Men should also not walk around half naked either.
If women can wear bras AND shirts in summer, then men can survive wearing a t-shirt in summer as well.
Love this. I had actually written a blog post several months ago about modesty and dress. While it focused more on the female end of things, we all need to exercise modesty – in dress and spirit.
There are so many directions I could go in commenting on this post that I hardly know where to start. I suppose I will begin by saying a big “thank you!” for pointing out what should be obvious but isn’t: men are also responsible for modesty. Plenty of young men walk around shirtless or in tight muscle shirts in the presence of women just to show off. That is no better than women wearing tight, low-cut tops around men. And yes, for those who have questioned it, we women certainly do notice such things and can be tempted by them. We are just more subtle about it.
One of the synonyms for modesty is humility. Specifically, it regards humility as it applies to one’s abilities, attributes, and appearance. Another synonym is propriety, which means modesty has something to do with social norms. Social norms are fluid and vary across cultures and time periods. What is modest in one culture may not be modest in another. For example, in some societies (such as the National Geographic ones mentioned in the post) it is not shocking or immodest for a woman to be topless. However, in the same culture, it may be immodest for a woman to bare her thighs (I am speculating for the sake of example; I don’t actually know one way or another). Certain body parts are sexualized or desexualized based on culture. Being culturally literate is important. That doesn’t mean that all cultures are equally valid reference points when it comes to modesty, but at the very least we should endeavor not to offend other cultures by dressing provocatively among them even if it’s completely acceptable in our own culture (within reason, of course; for example, I don’t think burkas are acceptable regardless of cultural justification).
I think one of the keys to modesty is context. What is appropriate in one setting is inappropriate in another. I don’t wear my swimsuit to church, whether it be a one-piece or two-piece ensemble. Both are immodest in this context. I don’t wear a bikini when there are other people around (especially men), but I can wear one alone (I don’t wear them at all, but that’s not the point here; I could wear one if I was so inclined). I don’t wear low-cut blouses or dresses because, as a Christian, I do not want to be a source of temptation to the men around me. There is no reason why I should make their lives more difficult just so I can wear whatever I want; such behavior is selfishness at the very least. This does not mean that men are not responsible for their own reactions; they most certainly are. They should be taught to view women as more than sexual objects and to practice self-control. That still doesn’t give me the right to flaunt myself before them.
The Bible says we should submit ourselves on to another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:21). I, as a woman, will do my very best not to make the men around me stumble. Men will do their very best not to objectify the women around them or reduce their modesty to a formula or a set of ironclad rules. The Bible also says that older women are to teach the younger women to be pure (Titus 2:5). It is not the man’s place in the church to dictate what is modest for a woman; that is for the older women to decide. Of course older women receive input from their own husbands, but the men do not have final say. Mothers should teach their daughters purity and modesty; young women without godly natural mothers should lean on the spiritual mothers of the church to guide them. When we start to let men dictate terms to women regarding modesty, we wind up dressing women in hijabs, niqabs, burkas, et cetera.
Matt, this is definitely one of the best things you’ve ever posted on this blog. There’s so much to say about it and not enough comment space.
“…When we start to let men dictate terms to women regarding modesty, we wind up dressing women in hijabs, niqabs, burkas, et cetera….”
This is factually untrue. Never in western society have women been told to wear these items to keep men’s thoughts pure. It’s entirely a middle eastern thing. To be quite honest, most guys could probably care less what you wear.
Men look at women the way we do for more than their clothing. The real problem is women making uncharitable assumptions about men. If you talk to many women, men are the scourge of the Earth unless we are 1) dying for you in a crisis or 2) bending over backwards to satisfy your wants. This female attitude towards men is far worse and more objectifying of men than men looking looking at the female body. Most men would have no problem looking at the female body with appreciation, but women make that impossible with their uncharitable treatment of men. I doubt its really about the showing of skin.
Think of it like this. If you go to a restaurant frequently, get food poisoning one night, and the management doesn’t care to hear your concern do you still look at it the same way? No, you’ve been betrayed by it. That’s how women deal with men on a regular basis.
Have you considered that’s just how women are with you? Or maybe the only women you’re really paying attention to? I know lots of women who deeply appreciate men…..some so much that they put up with a lot of crap they really shouldn’t……some to a disturbing point where they allow themselves to be intermittently abused. We tend to draw the same sort of personalities to us over and over, unless we consciously look outside of that box. Many people generalize, when they are really just only paying attention to a small subgroup for whatever reason.
They appreciate things men DO for them. If the DOING stops, so does the appreciation. If a man wages a complaint with the “woman union” that his wife no longer wants to cook he is labeled a neanderthal. If a woman wages a complaint men are expected to move heaven and earth to do as she says.
Wow, you almost lost me at first… but after I read the whole blog I understood why you started where you did and ended there too. It’s easy to see and point fingers at the immodest clothing women are wearing, but harder to live the spirit of the law, to discipline ourselves to be modest in all ways that matter. I want to acknowledge the truth contained in the entirety of your blog, and say bravo for dealing with a complex issue in a thoughtful and comprehensive way.
However, as a mother of a 12 year old girl, I think I understand why some people are freaking out about the clothing thing a bit more than some of the other parts of modesty. I read all the replies and no one else seemed to articulate what I’m about to say. As Christian parents of tweens and adolescents we are scared spitless our kids are going to end up swept up in the culture’s ideas of what is “normal” sexual behavior for their age. Go for a walk through the Juniors section of any department store or Kmart or Walmart and look at the clothing. It is stunningly immodest, mostly made up of what I call “Hoochie Mama” clothing. I ask my daughter, do other girls wear this stuff? She nods but cheerfully accepts my standards for higher necklines, lower skirt hems, no spaghetti straps and no bare midriffs. We talk about not wanting to be seen as a sexual object, but as a person, by the opposite sex. We often end up finding her clothing that fits and is modest at thrift and consignment stores. It boggles my mind that parents dress their little girls up in “hot little outfits.” You said, “The world has always had unvirtuous men and women, but rarely has it been populated by so many people who deny the fundamental and intrinsic importance of virtue itself.” That has to be what is going on, but still as a parent (even a non-Christian parent,) don’t you want your child to be innocent sexually until they’re at least an adult? I guess not. (Honestly, doesn’t that make you want to throw up even a little? That some parents are actually urging their young kids into boyfriend/girlfriend relationships at younger and younger ages and are all “aw, isn’t that cute” about their children’s sexual explorations at 11, 12, 13? I had a friend who got all excited about her 2nd grader’s “first kiss” and wanted all the details from him, and got all moony-eyed over it. When her older son reached middle school she wanted him to tell her all about his budding sexual relationship with his girlfriend. I loved my friend and knew her to have sexual abuse issues in her past, so I prayed healing for her and protection for the children, but it made me very uncomfortable and sad.)
I just think some of us Christian parents are freaking out about the clothing stuff as a preventative measure… because we see what is going on in the church, how sexual immorality is becoming acceptable. So many churches just look the other way when people have sex and/or live together before marriage, girls get pregnant out of wedlock, married people have affairs, it’s just to be expected and “normal.” (Note: I’m not saying we should “judge” and condemn people for sinning sexually or in any other way, but the church has become wishy-washy about calling a sin a sin. Sure, love the sinner, but we’re supposed to hate the sin.) Anyway, the immodest clothing is a big step toward sexual sins and it’s scary for a parent to see their child’s peers and role models dressing that way. We long for role models for our Christian young people who show modesty in their dress and behavior. That’s very hard to find. Kids are being taught in school that swaggering, being dramatic and/or being mean (public ridicule is funny you know,) are the keys to being popular. And if you’re a girl and can’t quite pull it off, well, try sexy on, because one of the greatest measures of popularity is based on how many guys “want you,” right?
I just thought we should acknowledge why some of us are kind of sensitive about the clothing part of modesty at the moment… especially since some comments were making an issue of why certain people kept coming back to the clothing thing.
But another thing that wasn’t mentioned here is that modern women are more visual about their sexuality than were previous generations… While women are not necessarily as pre-wired to visual sexual stimulus as men, this generation of women grew up in a visual age with male television soap stars lazing about in bed with very little clothing and vanity lighting on their buff bodies, Playgirl and computers with pictures of stud-muffins as wallpaper. I hear more comments about men’s behinds from Christian women that I care to, that’s for sure. And you couldn’t have paid me to go see Magic Mike, but yeah, women are getting pretty bold about raking their eyes over a man’s body, and enjoying the jolt of lust. So sorry guys, if you care about modesty and whether or not you are inciting lust in women, then you also should refrain from: baring your chests in public, wearing tight jeans, drawing attention to your 6-packs with “athletic fit” shirts, etc.
“….While women are not necessarily as pre-wired to visual sexual stimulus as men, this generation of women grew up in a visual age with male television soap stars lazing about in bed with very little clothing and vanity lighting on their buff bodies,…”
Actually studies have shown women are visually aroused. I think many women are dishonest about this fact because they’ve been told they have the moral high ground on this issue. Not very modest to go around claiming such virtue when in fact it is not there.
Ummm, of course studies are showing that women are visually aroused, didn’t I just say that women are “now” being sexually aroused visually? How does your statistic prove that women are “pre-wired” to be sexually aroused visually? Of course my assumption that they are NOT pre-wired is only based on my own experience and observations, so I cannot PROVE that they aren’t pre-wired either. I only know that when I was more sheltered from these things, that the sight of an immodestly dressed (man with shirt off or standing around in a speedo or wearing a muscle or midriff shirt) made me uncomfortable and want to avert my gaze. I felt embarrassment, not lust. But once I was a married woman with an active sex life and began watching more television with sexy imagery and so on, I began to have a response to visual stimuli that I hadn’t felt before. Anecdotal evidence would also say that women are not as sexually aroused by visual stimuli than men, but I won’t repeat what many have stated elsewhere in response to this blog. Women still tend to prefer “bodice ripper” books with provocative language to purely visual stimuli (Playgirl became defunct for awhile and gay men help keep it afloat now, but libraries and bookstores can’t keep enough written romantic sexually provocative books on the shelves, these facts seem to speak for themselves.) I am not “dishonest” because I think I “have the moral high ground.” I am a very frank person and resent your implication that I must be dishonest or ignorant. I confess that there was a time when I read the bodice rippers voraciously, but then was confronted by someone who said they were pornography for women. I realized my error and quit. You see I was disgusted when Playgirl came out because I thought two wrongs don’t make a right, and then very upset to think that my reading material was a similar vice, not virtuous at all. How is equality for women achieved by objectifying men like they objectify women? I guess that’s what some of us mean when we say we don’t want to be feminists because of what they stand for. It’s like the feminists are saying, “Well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” I mean look, equal opportunity sinning, doesn’t that sound great! I say “no thank you.”
We need more good men to encourage women to live modestly. Thanks.
Thanks again, Matt! Every day, with every blog post, you are reaching many people who are in dire need of hearing what you have to say! Keep on keeping on!
How we spend our time shapes who we are, and how we assemble the persons we are is cause for social concern. At all times, we must ask ourselves whether or not what we are doing is loving or wise. Simply having the freedom to do a thing doesn’t justify doing it. Just because it might be legal (such as pornography or immodest dress) doesn’t make it right. Liberty is the freedom to do that which is right. Being able to discipline oneself for the benefit of others is the very essence of maturity. What examples are adults, entrusted with the awesome responsibility for their care, to the rapidly maturing next generation who will impact our society positively or negatively depending on to what we expose them. One of the biggest problems with today’s society is that we have almost forgotten the concept of civic and social duty. We have rebelled against that responsibility, and are forced to live in the pit that we’ve helped to dig as a result. Albert Einstein once said, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” We’re apathetic, indifferent, sluggish, and retreating when what we need to be is alarmed, outraged, vigilant, and ever on the attack. Matt, you are an important messenger in our corrupt society. We have experienced the natural progression of an unguarded nation towards neglect, corruption and the loss of idealism. Shantideva said, “All the joy the world contains, Has come through wishing happiness for others. All the misery the world contains, Has come through wanting pleasure for oneself (at the expense of others).” To cultivate compassion, experience what it feels like to be on the receiving end of your own behaviour. When awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the Dalai Lama said in his lecture, “…For if we each selfishly pursue only what we believe to be in our own interest, without caring about the needs of others, we end up harming not only others but also ourselves…” The religious technocrats of Jesus’ day confronted him with what they believed were the standards of a life pleasing to God. The external life, they argued, the life of ought and duty and service, was what mattered. “You’re dead wrong,” Jesus said. “In fact, you’re just plain dead [whitewashed tombs]. What God cares about is the inner life, the life of the heart” (Matt. 23:25–28). Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the life of the heart is clearly God’s central concern. When the people of Israel fell into a totally external life of ritual and observance, God lamented, “These people . . . honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Isa. 29:13).
Our heart is the key to the Christian life.
The apostle Paul informs us that hardness of heart is behind all the addictions and evils of the human race (Rom. 1:21–25). Oswald Chambers writes, “It is by the heart that God is perceived [known] and not by reason . . . so that is what faith is: God perceived by the heart.” This is why God tells us in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” He knows that to lose heart is to lose everything. Sadly, most of us watch the oil level in our car more carefully than we watch over the life of our heart.
Our culture is rotting. As Mother Theresa said, “There is a famine in America. Not a famine of food, but of love, of truth, of life.” Change would never come about if well-meaning folks did not speak up. “The humblest citizen of all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of Error,” – William Jennings Bryan. Entrusted with the awesome responsibility of my children’s care, I am concerned about how their generation is being raised, to what they are being exposed, and the examples they have in their lives. Are they being enriched in mind, spirit and character? They all need highly esteemed mentors to guide them along the path to liberty. They need to be taught how to, and be encouraged to, think for themselves.
Lastly, bear in mind……..if we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything. Hopefully, seeking our own pleasure is not the measure of our lives. We are called to be intolerant in love. “Thou would’st take much Pains to save thy Body: Take some, prithee, to save thy Soul”
–William Penn, Some Fruits of Solitude, 1693
Thanks Matt for another great blog. Just to elaborate on your excellent point about VIRTUE:
Often when a young woman is told “Dress modestly to avoid causing men to sin,” she hears “Hide your beauty because men are perverted.” It seems unfair to her. Why does should she sacrifice the joy of displaying her God given beauty to the world and being admired for it because men are evil?
The point here is not that men might sin by looking at her, but that she might sin by being immodest. Practicing the VIRTUE of modesty will help her become holy and good. Her God given beauty will then be revealed in truth. Modesty is a good habit that she will learn; it will help her find her happiness.
Matt is totally right to put the focus on Virtue.
Thank you. Thank you for not making this just about clothes. Thank you for not making this just about women. Especially, thank you for elevating and empowering men and women in the area of modesty. Refreshing, inspiring, and all without quibbling.
I like you.
Something I’ve noticed many Christians doing is wrappng their bragging in the form of a praise. “I’m so blessed because this awesome thing is happening to me! Praise God!”
So, you’re saying the doxology is scriptural braggadocio?
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I love this post! This is the best discussion of modesty I have ever read. I love how Matt also extends it to men! This is awesome and completely bang-on!!!
You have a great ability to dissect and reassemble an argument very well for your readers. Making it possible for them to defend their position on Modesty.
A few years ago I was assigned to speak to the youth at our church on this very topic. I showed up wearing a huge sombrero. I asked the youth if I was modest. They returned my question with a puzzled look. I persisted, I wanted a verbal response. “Am I modest?” I challenged them to figure out what was “immodest” about my appearance. My skirt went to my calves, my make up was not extraordinary, my blouse and jacket were clean and pressed and not revealing in any way. I let them think for a moment, I could see from their expressions they knew SOMETHING was wrong. I behaved as if wearing the huge sombrero was not even noteworthy…I only commented on the other items I was wearing.
I finally addressed the sombrero telling them “Of course I am not modest, because by wearing this huge sombrero I am drawing unnecessary attention to myself.” And drawing unnecessary attention to ourselves is behaving “immodestly”. How could they possibly take me seriously or even concentrate on what I have to say while they watch as I balance this huge sombrero atop my head? What I have to say is lost in what I look like saying it. (sidenote, my husband is of Mexican descent and there are plenty of occasions that wearing a sombrero is EXACTLY the appropriate attire)
I have saved your post, so I can quote you the next time I am asked to address this subject matter with our own children at home or assigned to talk at church to the youth.
Thanks for your incredibly persistent ability to MAKE YOUR POINT HEARD!
Thanks for sharing your comments. I agree, modesty must be practiced by both men and women. And we must start by teaching both our female and male children. The most recent discussion I have had was with my nephew after he was caught “surfing” for sexy images of girls – he is only 13 and was looking for girls his age. I asked him if this was how he saw the people he loved, me, his cousin, his mom, his grandmother. (He was pretty grossed out and upset, as I had hoped.) We talked about how what we see develops how we view people, even the people we love and how pornography is not just a pleasant past time, but like drugs, it is addicting and damages our relationships with others around us. It drives us into a small, self centered life of weakness.
Was I surprised that a hormonal teenager was “looking” around? No. But as a guardian and parent who loves him, I felt called to help him build a better and stronger self image of himself so that he does not rely on the crutches of an addiction.
Modesty is related to abstinence – which does not mean refraining from sex – but really means refraining from impure acts, or sins.
Thank you again for making this more than an issue of women or of clothing or anything that dumbs down the real heart of the matter.
Unfortunately, modesty was apparently not taught to some people. We therefore have ladies who walk around in barely-there bikinis or outfits that show nearly everything. We also have guys who walk around with their pants nearly falling down.
It’s interesting how some people take “modesty” to mean simply refraining from wearing skanky, clothes (which of course, are not modest, as they’re *intended* to garner attention) and not so much a heart attitude. But when I think about it, the Amish don’t seem very modest; when I see Amish people in a store, or driving by the side of the road, my tendency is to stare (or, at least, I have to try very hard not to stare.) They do stand out a great deal.
you say “we ALL agree that YOU’LL SHOW MORE SKIN at the beach than at the grocery store or the DMV.”……..well I don’t agree with you at all here and there are many many others who don’t agree with you at all ………… We must veil the mystery of our bodies, the way the Catholic Church, teaches, for the Catholic Church is the truth and she alone teaches what is true modesty and for one, the Catholic Church forbids MIXED PUBLIC bathing and has many guidelines to what is to be considered decent………It is also a scientific fact that men are turned on by short shorts, mini-skirts, tights etc… John Paul II said that men are truly made MORE sensual than woman. Woman were made to complement men – which means to get them to heaven….not tempt them, with their weaknesses. Truly, you say your daughter won’t be wearing a bikini to the beach etc…. but truly most the bathing suits on the beach are basically as small as small,tight, spandex. sexual nighties…..having way less material then mini-skirts, short shorts etc….,and you have no mention that your daughter won’t be wearing a bathing suit either…..why not? Do you approve of immodest garb, as long as your at the beach?….truly, why is it that we only mention a bikini at the beach, as if that is the ONLY immodest garb that can be on the beach?…..Truly, if you think about it……with the heart of God the Father, who veils what is holy ……and our bodies were called to be HOLY and reverenced……..and we must have a positive holy shame as .our first parents had when they discovered they were naked—for they were ashamed and that is a good, positive
thing to be ashamed of nakedness……and just because your on the beach more than half naked,……… “because it is a beach”…..it isn’t going to make men all of a sudden have no temptations….to think that a man won’t have temptations when your in just about nothing…..as small as a bathing suits, short shorts, tank tops, etc…and all the other outfits that unveil “MORE SKIN”……….is truly the sin of presumption………..Truly, I have eleven children and it is sad that most of the Catholic purity teachers have no shame for nakedness….I will add you to my daily prayers, for the Glory of God, through Mary to Jesus ♥…..The bible says: King James Bible Isaiah 47:2,3
“Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the THIGH, pass over the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.” ……..The definition of the word THIGH in the Merriam Webster dictionary: thigh noun \ˈthī\
: the part of your leg that is ABOVE THE KNEE ….
To be modest according to Catholic Church’s guidelines is that our dresses need to cover our knees–for in the bible any part exposed above the knee is considered nakedness in the eyes of God…as Alice Von Hildebrande, who got the Dame award from Pope Frances, (the highest award a layman can receive)…well she says in her new book”The Dark Night of the Body”: “It seems quite clear that “nakedness” is linked to sin, and sin is always a turning against God.”………http://insidethevatican.com/magazine/editorial/dossier/an-act-of-holy-daring
So glad someone called him out on this. For all his talk about it being ok to judge, not be “nice”, and be bold when it comes to speaking the truth, Matt sure beat around the bush with this topic.
The truth is that while modesty does not solely apply to dress, it is still a huge part of it. The Catholic Church (the authority of Truth which Matt belongs to) does have authoritative guidelines and teachings about it that still apply even if you don’t hear about it these days.
It struck me as funny that on the “Modest is Hottest” picture the ad that popped up was of a bikini’d girl. 😛 Any way of getting rid of those ads, Matt? They’re kind of annoying.
Reblogged this on Cheyenne & Lucas and commented:
This Guy nails the VIRTUE of Modesty right on the head. A great read, we’ve gone through a lot of this running Christian Programs and wondering how to go about this topic. This is all about the heart of modesty. What it is and how it should naturally flow. I love it! – Chey.
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This is exactly why we should just walk around naked unless it’s too cold.
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