Thursday, July 29, 2010

Might I suggest a blindfold?

Women are sexy. Confident women especially so. It is entirely understandable that men, seeing our awesome sexiness, are affected by it. Call it 'arousing lust' or 'temptation' or whatever you want, it's natural and it's not a big deal. Or at least, it shouldn't be. Throughout history though, women have been held to different standards of dress and behavior because of the effect they have on men. Showing our wrists and ankles was once considered scandalous, for goodness sake. Even today, in some cultures women are expected to cover themselves pretty much completely in order to preserve their 'modesty'.

This concept of 'modesty' annoys me. Not only is it a huge double standard, it places the responsibility for a man's thoughts and feelings on a woman's manner of dress and behavior. Most teenage girls aren't dealing with burkas and petticoats, but your average teenager does spend most of their time worrying about how they look to other people. Girls everywhere are worried about being seen as 'slutty'. Throw some conservative or religious upbringing into the mix, and this 'modesty' concept starts to matter. So how does a modern teenager learn to dress modestly? Does she discuss it with her parents or her friends, or experienced women in her life? Of course not, she asks what teenage boys think. Who else is better qualified to tell women how they should dress? It's the boys they're trying to please, after all.

I didn't take the survey because it had closed, but I read a sociological analysis of the results. I find them annoying. According to the young men taking the survey, anything from miniskirts to wearing a purse strap across your chest is immodest. Decorative stitching on the back pockets draws too much attention to that fine, fine ass you have there. Immodesty isn't limited to how you dress, either. Walking, stretching, bending over...all of these things inspire lust or temptation within the souls of your fellow men, who really just want to see you for who you are as a Sister in Christ if you would just stop jiggling so much.

How does this make sense? Last time I checked having a penis didn't preclude you from keeping it in your pants. The Y chromosome does not make you less of a thinking human being. Though as a woman, I suppose I have "no concept of the struggles that guys face on a daily basis" who have "to constantly be on guard against ungodly thoughts brought about by the inappropriate ways they {women} sometimes dress."

As ridiculous and insulting as this all is, it's also kind of horrible. The idea that women are responsible for the way men react to their appearance or behavior has been used to justify rape and abuse for centuries. I can't imagine it's good for the self-esteem of the girls who buy into this crap, either. It also stomps all over female sexuality, since women can't possibly be tempted by men. Lust is a male problem. Dressing modestly is a female problem.

To which I say 'bullshit'. No heterosexual female has seen Daniel Craig without a shirt on, or Nathan Fillion in the 'Trash' episode of Firefly, without feeling tempted and a little lustful...and I will personally shoot anyone who tries to cover them up. Yummy.

Oh yeah, modesty. It's dumb. No one but you is responsible for your actions. If you really have a problem with how someone is dressed, don't look at them. It's their decision and their right to present themselves however they want, and how that makes you feel is your own problem to sort out.

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