To me, it’s an age old debate it seems – Modesty. I grew up in a conservative Christian home and while we were modest, we still wore jeans and shorts (just longer ones at first). Even then, someone complained to my mother that I was wearing “men’s clothing”; which is laughable considering I was wearing white jeans with humongous red roses on them.
(If you don’t want to read my rant, scroll to the bottom and read the two articles. Those are a must!)
What you find me wearing now-a-days is different and less conservative but acceptable. Why acceptable? I base my clothing off the culture around me so I am not immodest nor frumpy. Living overseas requires that cultural sensitivity. But living overseas helps you see another aspect as well that’s more hidden in the USA. Women are blamed for men’s failings and lust based on what they do or don’t wear.
I’ve heard it all probably from “I’ll wear what I want” from women to the degrading “I prefer women to wear burkas” from men. But it seems I always hear that it is the woman who is responsible for the man and how he looks at women and what he thinks and his lust. Women supposedly aren’t as visual as men so it shouldn’t bother us when men wear shirts that are tighter and show of their physique. (Lie. We notice, umhm.)
Are men at fault when women daydream about a guy because he’s handsome and we saw him at the beach and he wasn’t wearing a shirt? No, the woman is. Is the man blamed when his gaze rakes over a woman when she’s dressed in a skirt. No, the woman is. Her skirt should have been longer or less tight, her sleeves were too short….blah, blah, blah! Why are we burdening our sisters with the responsibility for mens’ lust and behavior? No matter how hard we try, we can never succeed and it’s always our fault when IT IS NOT.
When we sin, the responsibility is ours. It is not someone else’s. We had the choice to sin or not. Blaming someone else for causing us to sin is just that, blame and judgement. But oh, the blame comes so subtly from others that “we’re causing our brother to stubble because of x,y, and z” so we should change the way we dress (when we were perfectly modest in the first place!). “Men are visual creatures so the woman should be careful.” When do we teach men to show respect to women? To treat her with care? It’s time for women to stop bearing the burden alone!
We need to stop teaching girls to be ashamed of the beauty and body that God gave them and that it’s their fault men struggle with their lusts. It is oppression of women and who they are and how God made them. Teaching this might also help resolve other issues that are plaguing women today such as self-image, etc…
Don’t get me wrong either, I’m not saying to throw out modesty. What I’m saying is that all should take responsibility so women can live in freedom (and not in burkas which wouldn’t stop a man anyways) and men can learn to control their own lusts and show respect and honor to women as God intended.
If you’re wondering what sparked this rant (besides recent comments and experiences), read these two good thought provoking articles. The first one shares how the True Love Waits movement has burdened women (and be prepared for some stinging words towards women from past church leaders). The second shows how modesty has caused a culture of shame for women.