I have been pondering this subject for quite awhile. I have a slightly different perspective than most. As a former Baptist Fundamentalist, I bought into the idea that women bear the full responsibility for the way men think of them. This wasn’t an easy sell for me as I question everything. Eventually, because I desired to be closer to God, I gave up most of the argument and settled for a weak compromise.
If a man lusts after a women, it is not his fault…it is hers. WRONG!
I had no idea that what was happening to me, and countless other women subjected to ridiculous standards of “modesty”, was a form of sexual objectification. Rather than seeing women as people, we
were are seen as stumbling blocks to the purity of men’s thoughts and actions.
My blouse revealing more than 3 fingers of skin below my collarbone was enough to cause a man to sin. Any degree of my thigh being revealed was condemning a man to lust after me. Hardly ever did I wear a skirt or blouse without having them “modestly” adjusted with safety pins, or sewn up slits. I was always concerned about a man seeing too much. When I began wearing skirts to my knees, rather than all the way down to my ankles, I had to remind myself over and over it was fine because it covered my thighs when sitting down.
What does sexual objectification have to do with modesty? Well, I think it has a whole lot to do with it. Quite possibly, it has everything to do with it.
Men are treating women like objects, not as human beings when they are more concerned about controlling the way a woman dresses so they themselves don’t have to control their thoughts. They convince us that we are different than the world. That our modest attire is a witness to them. Never mind the price these women pay to be the scape goats for the lack of control men have over their thoughts.
And let’s not get into the fact that even now, with sub-zero weather here in NW Indiana, women in the Mega Fundamental Baptist church in Hammond, and it’s college, are wearing skirts and flimsy dress shoes. It’s snowing daily here, yet I see these women come into work everyday in skirts. And I literally grieve for them. Not only does their forced attire border on abuse it makes them the recipient of jokes and mocking comments. I highly doubt the men who deem this attire necessary would subject themselves to the bitter cold and mocking, to wear the equivalent of what some of these women are required to wear daily. Perhaps some might, but they would not last long before they had their warm pants and boots on.
Yet day after day the health and welfare of their women and girls is set aside. Why? Because it is the only solution to these men’s inability to control their thoughts. (Which is why I’m posting this video). After all, why should men be exposed to the natural inverted V directing the man’s eye straight to a woman’s crotch just so she can be warm? Why should he have to control his thoughts when he can control her dress? Meanwhile he participates in the justification of a more obvious form of objectification, while watching half naked women prance and preen for his favorite sport’s team.
Surely there’s no lusting going on there.
I know my many church friends must think I have lost my mind. And quite possibly even my salvation. Who have I become? What happened to the preacher’s wife they knew and loved?
To be honest, she always questioned these things. But her love for her husband, desire to save their marriage and build his ministry caused her to shut up her mouth and go with the flow. Of course she still spoke up especially when it came to protecting the underdog. Then she stood by while her missionary husband was told to “get her under control before she ruins your [his] ministry”. It’s a hard thing to control a strong woman. And a real man understands there is not need to do so. But she got to the place where she quit fighting, and she was miserable not being who God created her to be. And she realized she better pick up the fight and never give in again!
I am the same woman they knew, only now I’m not hiding myself under any roles of objectification, sexual or otherwise.
I post this video for my daughters, for whom I wish I could go back in time to give them a different upbringing. One that is balanced. Not lacking in faith, but devoid of the legalistic “This pleases God” so do it my way attitude. I want my girls to know they are the most beautiful women alive because they are strong and accomplished!!!
And I want my boys to seek after women who are secure in who they are, not in who others make them to be or want them to be. I want them to be strong enough to desire a strong woman, and encourage her to grow in her strengths. There is an incredible beauty in the strength of a woman, that only a real man would revel in, never attempting to restrain or objectify. And dare I say it, an inherent pure sensuality that scares the wits out of a lesser man?!