“Men will undress you in their minds.” she said to me, shaming a teenage girl years older than me who she deemed to be ‘immodest’. “They are like animals. They’re only after one thing and they will take advantage of you.”
This was what I was taught from the time I was born. To hide my body in all it’s wickedness from the emotionless animals that we call men. My body was not a beautiful reflection of my Creator, it was a tool for evil, and the evil that took form in woman as flesh was the material of our counterparts minds. The message always clear.
You are dirty.
You are in danger.
Confusion, when I came to the age where I began to change. These wicked things that are in the hearts of men were taking form in me, but of course that is not possible. Women are the instigators; a seductive body with no desire of her own. Victims in a world of evil men. I was taught to hate and fear men for this false picture of what they are. How horrific it was when I began to see these things in myself. No one ever taught me to truly guard my heart from these visual cues and desires I was not meant to have. Instead I was taught to guard myself from the actions of men and to cover my body as I waited for the man who I would give myself to.
But why, oh why would I ever want to be given to such a lustful hateful animal who could not value me for anything other than my body? My body that would be given solely to him. All the while ignoring my innate needs and desires. However young I was I knew; this was slavery.
Seeing the horrible example my own father was, and this lesson that was driven into my mind daily in the form of talks, pink flowery books, and other “purity” merchandise, I silently vowed to never give myself to anyone. I would not be anyone’s slave.
Yet still these thoughts berated my head and my thirst still present and growing stronger. Why am I so evil? No other girl could be as evil as I am.
I am just like them.
The fear instilled in me of the men in my life was now turned on me. I feared myself.
The most important truth was always absent from these teachings.
1. Men are people. Women are people.
We are people first, created with purposeful design. When this concept is eliminated or belittled we are left with sex. It’s simple, because we were made to be sexual in our orientation with each other within humanity. When the humanity part is obscured all that’s left is the sexual. When even this aspect is considered inherently evil and hidden in shame we are left in denial of ourselves and the order that God gave us to exist in this world He has created. Are we so concerned with shutting away this part of ourselves which so scares us that we forget that God made man and woman to be in union, and this is perhaps the most inherently natural part of humanity excepting the seeking of harmony with the higher power that gave us life?
Our attitude toward sex is wrong as the focus is entirely selfishly human and physical. The focus is completely taken away from the one who designed it, which is separation from God.
2. “Modest is Hottest”
The ideal of “modesty” is entirely rooted in the concept of objectification. Objectification exploits the body, male or female, reducing them to a sexual object rather than a human with sexual design. Immodesty should not be about improper exposure, but improper orientation of the body. “Modesty” in the context we use it continues to give glorification to the physical while minimizing God our Creator, differing little from the secular exploitation and perception of our physical forms. When we make ourselves central instead of God, we display the height of immodesty.
1 Peter 3:3-4
New Living Translation (NLT)
3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
Things like Project Inspired unwittingly supports the idea, and the phrase “Modest is Hottest”, continuing to pursue the body as an object of pleasure. The phrase in itself is an oxymoron.
: a combination of words that have opposite or very different meanings
Full Definition of OXYMORON
The imposition of “modesty” accomplishes the following:
- It teaches men and women to be afraid of each other because their sexual lure is too powerful.
- It teaches men and women to despise each other even on a subconscious level.
- It teaches men and women to be afraid of their own bodies.
- It teaches men and women to control and criticize each other in order to protect themselves.
- It teaches women that their body is the greatest thing they have to offer.
- It devalues the depth of mind and heart.
- It destroys equality of men and women within humanity.
- It objectifies.
Though men are taught from a young age not to look at women’s bodies, they are continually taught to view women as bodies.
Women in secret share this quality with men.
3. Women are visual too. Women lust.
I’ve often heard it said that men are visual and women are emotional. This is unfair.
Men, we are taught, are not capable of love as we are, so they are primarily bodies. Nice to look at and play with, fulfilling our desires while owing nothing. After all, women are deserving as we are victims. The difference is still substantial.
Women are never taught to look away from what interests them. As long they are adequately covered and not “causing their brethren to stumble” with their maliciously wicked forms, they can hungrily consume whatever they please with their eyes, and dehumanize and yes, objectify with their mouths.
In a scientific study using eye tracking, scientists gathered that when men view pictures of woman their eye instinctively goes to the woman’s face first, followed by chest and waist to hip ratio. When the same study was done with women who were not using hormone inhibiting birth control viewing images of men they consistently had more first looks, and spent more time surveying the man’s pelvic area, pushing to second the face and waist to shoulder ratio. Men, however, were more affected by the gender of the person depicted while women were partial to content preferences.
In short, women care more of what a man looks like and what is presented to them. This idea that women are not visual is harmful as I can testify. The years of confusion that could have been avoided if only the lessons given met my needs.
I am a woman. I am visual.
The promotion of the idea that I can’t look at a man in lust without emotional draw is an outright lie. The two can, and usually are totally unrelated, but both can exist at the same time. Emotional attraction is few and difficult to ignite. Physical attraction is frequent and takes very little. To presume that if a woman is attracted she is ‘imagining their life together’ or ‘putting them in a place of romance’ only gives us power as we have free range of our secret minds. In truth those things scarcely inhabit my mind, but I am ‘mentally undressing them’ giving the illusion of facing a “man’s struggle”.
Sight and heart are gifts given to mankind as a whole. Though in generalization each gender may be stronger in one than the other, to completely obliterate one in either gender or to not make exceptions is spiritual mutilation. A severing of the soul. To deny the existence of myself and my inner struggles because of social acceptance is a wicked crime.
How are we to fight a battle if we do not acknowledge it’s existence?
I am physical as I have a body. That is how God made me, and these things belong to Him. My body chemistry does not make me evil, but it is subject to Him, and glorifying my physicality without glorifying Him is the essence of evil; separation from the Creator of all.
New Living Translation (NLT)
12 And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
The term “modesty’ as we think of it should be replaced with something akin to “mindfulness”. What are the intentions and what consequences will it harvest?
4. Be open and talk about it.
If you are struggling to be pure of heart and mind, be honest and open about it. Truth that is hidden remains in darkness. We cannot face these battles alone in the shadows of our minds and expect to be victorious. We will lose every time because our efforts are kept in quiet meekness. No battle is won through waving it away or ducking down low.
No person is alone in this, man or woman, because it is a quality of humanity. One that is too often hushed for it’s elicited power. In itself it is not inherently evil, but wielding of such power is a responsibility and a privilege that can only be appropriated through respectful mindfulness in connection to a power higher than ourselves.
New Living Translation (NLT)
5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.[a] 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.
- Male Objectification and Masculinity in the Media (samanthaalfaro.wordpress.com)
- Why I’m Tired of Reading Modesty Posts on the Internet (littlelifedoinggood.wordpress.com)
- Shame and Sexuality (polysingleish.com)
- Christians, Victim Blaming, and Slut Shaming (weoccupyjesus.org)
- Is it sex that sells? (sheisnotathing.wordpress.com)
- My Eyes are Up Here (psychologytoday.com)
- Dear StoryMen: Modesty (teasdalejr.wordpress.com)
- Objectifying women: The coin (jamestill.wordpress.com)
- Christian Liberty and Misconceptions in Modesty (trevbryant.wordpress.com)
- The Case for Modesty: Getting to the Root (queennomore.wordpress.com)