zeborah: I believe in safe, sane, and consensual Christianity. (christianity)
[personal profile] zeborah
I'm wearing my favourite skirt, which is red and goes right to the floor and swirls and has pretty swirls embroidered. It's possibly fading a bit and has a stubborn stain but I can generally hide that, and the hem is a bit battered but what do you expect, and anyway it's awesome. With it I normally wear a white blouse that ties in a bow at the front and has its own embroidery on the breasts, the main disadvantage of which is that it's sufficiently short that it shows a bit of waist.

When I say "disadvantage" I don't mean that I care, just that when I'm considering my wardrobe in the morning I always have this vague idea that someone sometime might be all, "Ooo-er, Zeborah's showing a bit of waist!" which would be mildly embarrassing. Then I defy this hypothetical person and put it on anyway.

So the other day I was reading Guys on Immodesty, Lust, and the Violence of Women’s Bodies, a survey in which a bunch of Christian guys say that it's immodest when a woman shows skin, has embroidery drawing attention to an area, bends over so her bum is more prominent, stretches so her chest is more prominent, moves other than sedately so her breasts jiggle, or just dresses in any way that's designed to draw a guy's attention to her body or which he thinks is so designed because he's horny. And women shouldn't do this because it makes it haaaaaard for guys to think pure thoughts.

Sigh.

The thing is, I guess they're coming from that line of Paul's where, in a completely different context (talking about eating food sacrificed to idols), he says doing this isn't sinful in itself but some people think it is so when they're around don't do it because it could weaken their faith. Basically avoid it for their sake. (Note that I'm pretty sure he didn't say that it was a sin to not avoid it for their sake. He just said that avoiding it for their sake was a kindness and a virtue. In fact I think something can only be such a virtue if it's not totally obligatory.) And within the specific historical context where the issue was being hotly debated and was genuinely controversial I think that's a decent compromise and I rather like it, and also I think it can be applicable elsewhere sometimes maybe, if you're careful.

Not here. Not when it boils down to "You're immodest if I say you're immodest, now stop being immodest."

This is my theory on women's clothes and guys trying to think pure thoughts:
Dear Christian guys,

If you really have no control over your physiological/mental response to a woman's beauty then God's not going to send you to hell for it. OTOH, if you do have control over it then quit with the "It's all her fault" excuse. That didn't work in the Garden of Eden and it's not going to work on the Day of Judgement either.

Love,

Zeborah

PS You do have total control over your physical actions. Just so we're clear on that part.

Date: 2010-12-16 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ajk
"PS You do have total control over your physical actions. Just so we're clear on that part."

I suppose that's true in the sense that a man can (and should) train oneself to compensate for the effect women have on him. But make no mistake, the effect is quite real[*], even in non-sexual contexts. However, I firmly believe that the effect is no excuse: it's the man's problem, not any woman's.

[*] With the usual caveat about seemingly universal claims :-)

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