Hi guys! I hope I posted this in the right section.
I wanted to share another perspective of modesty culture through what I have learned from the following blogger (I will also put the link below; not all of the article is below.):
I’m going to go even further than that and say that the principle of modesty is the foundation of rape culture and objectification. The assumption that women need to cover their bodies in order to get respect from others or to have self-respect for themselves is what makes people think it’s okay to say that a woman’s dress contributed to her rape or sexual assault. It’s the assumption that women’s bodies are always sexual when exposed that makes people think that exposing _____ amount of skin means she’s there to be looked at or used for sex or that she wants to have sex. And further, it’s that assumption that an exposed body is a sexualized body that makes people think it’s okay to degrade and objectify women who have exposed their body, without regard to the reason for the exposure.
Modesty isn’t just another way of reducing a girl to her body parts. It is the way of reducing a girl to her body parts. The obsession of covering or uncovering a woman’s body is the same obsession. And it comes from the same mindset—that women are there for men, either as temptresses or toys. Either way, her body isn’t there for her. It’s all about how it looks to someone else—specifically some other man. Her body loses its function as the vehicle through which she lives and instead becomes the measure of how others determine her virtue.
And there is no winning!
Modesty teachings range all over the place. I used to get emails on modesty when I attended Bob Jones University. Everything was a “stumbling block.” Pants drew attention to the butt. Skirts drew attention to the butt. nude hose made legs look sexy. Colored stockings made legs noticeable, thus indecent. Bare legs made guys think of sex. The only “safe” option was to not have legs!
Oh, it is such an effective way of keeping women confined. It’s such an effective way of keeping them feeling guilty for their bodies, ashamed and hyper-aware of every aspect of it. It is the perfect method of reminding them that their primary function in life is sex-appeal.
How convenient to put the responsibility on women to be viewed as human beings.
How convenient for men to be told they can’t control themselves when it comes to sex. It’s so much easier to believe it’s uncontrollable and to blame someone else for the prejudice, superiority, and privilege than to admit that one is prejudiced, views women as inferior, and is too lazy to fight against the culture that reduces women to body parts.
But newsflash! My humanity isn’t determined by my dress! Walking out the door butt naked shouldn’t in any way diminish my personhood to anyone.
I don’t have a problem seeing a guy as a lesser person because he’s shirtless. And before we get into the “but men are visual and wired to view women that way,” let me just remind everyone that I’m attracted to women too. I’m attracted to the exact same body parts as men. And I’m very much a visual person in my attraction. But I don’t have a hard time remembering that a beautiful girl is a person, EVEN IF SHE’S DRESSED IN NEXT TO NOTHING! I don’t stop seeing her because I see her cleavage!
It’s time to stop focusing on what women are wearing and take a good hard look at the cultural mindset that allows men to think of women as “less than.” In the end, if, like this guy, you have a hard time seeing me as a whole person, it’s not my clothing that makes it difficult for you to view me as a whole person; it’s your prejudice that makes it difficult for you to view me as a whole person. And that isn’t my responsibility to change. It’s yours.
My world doesn’t revolve around men. When I get dressed in the morning, I’m not thinking of men. I wear what makes me happy or what serves my needs, regardless of whether someone else likes it or not. If I wear shorts, it’s not to get a guy’s attention. If I wear an ankle-length skirt, it’s not to “protect” a guy’s mind or prevent him from thinking about me. I dress for me and no one else.
Show a little modesty, guys, and stop thinking that everything to do with my body has something to do with you."
For more in-depth reading, I really liked this second link, which is a 12-part series. It was so interesting, read it all in one sitting:
I personally don't agree with his 1 Timothy interpretation, but anyway- both are very insightful and thought-provoking and I thought I would share.
I have observed quite a number of developing trends in our churches that beg the frightening question of who we are worshiping. Common among those trends are the tendency of persons to spend more time on their cell phones than they do in worship and the tendency to 'make an entrance' when entering the sanctuary. I can't help but ask myself - What kind of message are we sending to the world as Christians?
I'll begin this discussion with an understanding of the word 'worship'. Worship is derived from the Old English word 'Woerthship' which means to give worth to something. So when we worship God, we give worth to Him. Sadly, it appears that the saints are giving worth to other things in the house of the Lord. Here I will identify two obvious reasons that are rather disturbing to fathom but as it is a reality within the churches I will make mention of them today.
The 'cellphone syndrome'
We all need to communicate with others over the phone for different reasons. But I find it very disrespectful for the saints to perpetually excuse themselves from the sermon to be on the outside messaging and talking for an extensive period. Not that it is anybody's business to know the nature of these conversations, but when it happens more often than not I'm afraid that we are sending the wrong message to our unsaved visitors. Do we not show reverence to the Lord anymore? I especially observe this trend among our young people of which group I am a part. I fail to believe that our young people use their discretion for they excuse themselves in large numbers at once. It appears that the cellphones get the 'worth' that should have been given to God and therefore it automatically becomes the god that is worshiped.
Our God has feelings too. I am more concerned about His feelings than I am with the reputation of the church. For many saints, the time spent in the house of the Lord is the longest and sometimes only time spent with God. If the latter is the case then all the more reason why He deserves our undivided attention. Let's face it, three hours of prayer and worship is the least we can give to God considering all that He does for us on a daily basis. The church needs to be careful not to provoke the Holy Spirit and not to send the wrong message to those who are lost and in need of our guidance.
The problem with 'making an entrance'
By now many of us would have realized that persons go to church for different reasons; to spectate, to see friends, to wear a nice suit and a few to seek God. There are many other reasons but these are the few I could think of today. Having said that, there are many within the church who perpetually make an entrance under the influence of a 'disruptive spirit' I suppose. This trend may not be very evident in the larger churches, but as my church is small the trend is becoming more noticeable. Saints are not only expected to be present for sermons but are expected to be there on time. It is very distasteful when visitors arrive in the sanctuary before the members do and to make matters worse, our visitors are distracted each time someone walks through the aisle to take a seat.
What about respecting the time of the Holy Spirit? I understand that anyone can be late but when the same persons have heads spinning each week, their actions shift from just being late to 'making an entrance'. Leaders are often times included and I don't just mean Pastors, Bishops, Deacons etc. I mean any person within the church body who demonstrates his leadership abilities in even the smallest possible way. Why are persons making an entrance? It is certainly not because of a desire to be noticed by God but rather 'god', who is seated somewhere in the sanctuary.
This is one of the reasons why it is increasingly harder to convince an unsaved or even a backslider to return to God. These groups of persons are understandably confused by the double standards that exist within the church. No wonder there is a growing number of non-denominational Christians in our societies today. The church has a voice and we want to be heard, but let us consider addressing some of the ongoing issues among ourselves before we advocate for modesty and decency anywhere else.
These are two growing trends that I have observed in church. Have you observed any other?