When it comes to topics church related, I try to be sensitive and respectful. I after all, am a follower of Christ and I do believe that somethings should be handled with reverence. However, I am also naturally sarcastic and even my most serious tone seems to offend. So let this serve as a disclaimer and let the ranting begin!
I recently read a blog entitled “The Need for Christian Families to Address the Issue of Modesty” and while I
appreciated the heart behind it kind of see where the author was coming from, I was mostly bothered by the message. I first came across the blog last week and instead of poppin off at the mouth and immediately voicing my opinion as I usually do, I stepped back to see if my opinion on the subject would change. It didn’t. At all. The more I thought about it, the more I was offended by it.
I mean in the blog, it was stated that parents should encourage their daughters to dress modestly so that young men would not be tempted… -_- Seriously? Are we going to use the same argument people use to blame rape on women. You know the “if she wasn’t dressed provocatively the man could have repressed his animalistic urges and not raped her” argument. If it sounds ridiculous, it is because it is!
Obviously that was enough to get me to heated but I continued reading so that I could be as objective as possible. And to be fair to the author, he did acknowledge that he is not trying “to justify the way men think” but for me the damage was already done. Too often in church and as Christians, when it comes to issues of sex between men and women, the burden of purity always falls on women.
Sometimes it seems as being Christian and being a feminist (well let’s say a feminist in the same fashion as Beyoncé is a feminist) is in itself a conflict of interest. Growing up in an old school Baptist church I’ve come across sexist ideologies. For example, we learn about Adam and Eve and the origins of sin. Many times, I’ve heard ministers blame Eve for the fall of man. Although scripture clearly indicates that Adam made a conscious decision to deliberately disobey God, independent of Eve, people still choose to blame Eve…but who am I? What would have happened if Adam decided that he wasn’t going to give into peer pressure and refused to eat the apple?I’m positive it would be slightly different outcome for Adam. Sure, Eve should be held accountable for her disobedience but she should NOT be held accountable for Adam’s err as well. However the burden of this sin involving a man and a women fell onto the women’s shoulders.
This school of thought has perpetuated some problematic practices in church culture. There was a time when a girl who was pregnant outside of marriage, was required to stand before the congregation to apologize for her waywardness. Again, the burden of the sin fell on the woman.
Sex shaming…sin shaming..shaming…all sounds anti Jesus to me. *in my old black southern pastor voice* If you will turn in your Bible’s with me to the gospel of Saint John chapter 8, starting at verse number 2, it reads:
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
Men have always been quick to place the burden of sin on the woman. This passage of scripture is a prime example where was the man she was accused of having sex with? Why didn’t he get called out? Thank God for Jesus or this scenario would have been completely different.
We live in a society that promotes sex and lots of it. We live in an age that people are getting married later and later. We go to churches and practice a religion that encourages people to remain chaise until marriage. We emphasize to young girls that they should remain virgins but excuse men because well…men will be men. We excuse men because “the way men think” is different. Yet, when a woman embraces sexuality she is a “whore”. A whore? Really?
There are churches that require their female members to wear long skirts and long sleeves as not to tempt men into lust or adultery. Imagine going to church with a full suit on and panty hose on in the middle of summer…and some churches don’t have air conditioning. So you want me fully dressed for a trip to Antarctica in the middle of the summer just so a man won’t be tempted? Oh puhlease! My mother states it best “if seeing your shoulders will cause him to fall, he was already going to hell anyway”.
Modesty does not equate sexual purity. A girl rocking a full-out Amish wardrobe is just as capable of lifting her skirt and partaking in the act as her scantily clad counterpart. There are other issues that need to be addressed. Yes, addressed and not swept under the rug. If we are going to encourage people not to have sex before marriage as a way to honor God let’s make it just that, honoring God. Let’s not shame women into dressing like nuns so that men won’t be tempted. Let’s not have a double standard. Let our boys be held accountable by the same measures.
I agree, young women should carry themselves and dress in a certain way out of self-respect. However, I don’t think showing shoulders, back or mid drift is in bad taste. However, if we are going to teach our daughters to dress modest, let’s also teach our sons to do the same.
Young men, I have to believe that wearing baggy pants is a way for you to show off your assets. You are trying to tempt young women. Also, your tight skinny jeans…I know you are trying to show off your package and that is not of God. Men, I am fully aware that you walk around topless full-out Putin style trying to make me hot and bothered. *clutching my pearls* Your invisible washboard abs may cause me to sin, so please for the eternal sake of your sister in Christ, put a shirt on!
I’ve only scratched the surface. There are many more issues that stem from this topic alone. One of the biggest things is that the Church must change how we think about sex and sexuality. Here is one last read on the topic. Oh yeah, I am fully aware that my use of Easy A, Beyoncé, Lena Dunham and sarcasm may not be the best way to address the issue…but let’s all agree it’s probably the most fun way to express my thoughts.