The admonitions regarding “what should/should not women wear so as not to cause lust in men” have always struck me as misguided at best and damaging at worst. Last week The Salt Collective ran a satirical post on this issue. The ensuing debate in the comment section inspired my On Modesty bit of fiction, but I still couldn’t articulate my thoughts in plain prose. The discussion on Gina Dalfonzo’s post, Those Seductive Suits, at The BreakPoint Blog has come to my rescue.
On the central “modesty dress” debate, LeeQuod remarked:
Why do we keep thinking that we can solve a sin problem with only human willpower, human ingenuity, or human training? Men who make this purely a problem of modesty are asking all women to be filled with the Spirit. Women who make this purely a problem of lust are asking the same of all men. That won’t happen on this Earth.
And to a joking “hotness” remark, Gina Dalfonzo replied:
… this isn’t really about hotness at all. The point is that, no matter how carefully and thoroughly a woman considers others’ viewpoints when she dresses, she still has no control over whether someone else makes the decision to lust for her. (And vice versa.)
To both of which I say, AMEN!
Jason Taylor then remarked, “there should be a rule of thumb you can find that is not to [sic] onerous.”
And Gina’s response is beautifully apt and succinct:
Suggested rule of thumb: Dress like you respect yourself. That’s what I was taught to do. It *might* seem a little vague, I suppose, but the beauty of it is that it removes all thoughts of trying to control what others think and do — which is impossible anyway — and puts the emphasis on the self-respect and dignity of the individual.
There will always be those who dress and behave seductively. There will always be those who lust and seduce. The wise are those who have cut their losses and run from that game. Even wiser are those who never played it at all — would that I were one such!
This world has temptations, pitfalls, and snares. Jesus didn’t promise us easy street. Rather, he said:
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)
- Respect yourself.
- Respect others.
- As much as possible, guard yourself from users.