We can’t Control What Women Wear – a Christian Perspective on Modesty

I understand…

I do. In fact, maybe I understand better than MOST women… You see, I’ve taken tests. I’ve been to counseling. I’ve told people who I trust what “turns me on” and how “triggered” I am. Supposedly, I’m quite a bit more so than many of the women I know.

Here’s a bizarre example. The other day, my husband and I were playing a video game together. It’s a zombie apocalypse game. And while there are topless “stripper zombies” that you RARELY if ever come into contact with (I stay away from most places that they are found)… there isn’t anything remotely sexual about this game. It’s basically MineCraft for adults. My husband’s character turns… and for some reason, his SHIRT (in game) and the way it was resting against him sent me reeling. I had to calm myself for a moment.

This might sound bizarre… but… this happens every day. All the time. I’m only giving you this example and prefacing all of this with this to show you… I get it.

Your eyes, your smile, the way you look at me, the shirt you’re wearing, your shoes, your boots, the way you talk to me… I’m heightened to ALL of it… and this is just one of the many things that I’ve had to grow up with in “sin” and struggle.

I HAVE fallen to porn (although I am not addicted to it in any way) I HAVE fantasized, I HAVE had struggles with masturbation… all of these things. I…get…it…

Do you know what I DON’T do? Blame you. Yes, you. Men…. I don’t blame you men. You are not / were not responsible for my lust, or making the hair on my arms stand up, (Well, one or two, but because there was an attempt at something nefarious…) You see… you don’t know me. You weren’t in my head. You didn’t know that I liked “that smell…” or that I was triggered by “those jeans” or “that shirt.” How could you possibly know that men with eyes that color drive me crazy? Or that I find glasses attractive to an unhealthy point? Maybe you didn’t know that if you have an earring, I’m instantly more attracted to you even if you’re ugly… or that if you’re wearing NICE black shoes or boots, I’ll look, and am trying NOT to think about it all throughout the day. And you CERTAINLY didn’t know that all of these things combined are an atomic disaster waiting to happen.

You didn’t know.

Guess what? Neither do we… (Women)…

I have a few wonderful male friends who I love with all of my heart… but I often see them complain about women’s clothing. I see them talk about how we don’t know the “STRUGGLE” that they go through, or that men are VISUAL, or that they’re “HURTING” etc… They say, “women can never understandddddddddddddddd…” (no, SOME women can never understand. And guess what, since we’re on that train of thought… some MEN can’t understand YOU)

Firstly… sexuality is a spectrum. I’ve met many types of BOTH genders.

I’ve met SOME men who were demure and didn’t have sex at all throughout highschool, college, etc… I know a few men who are asexual, and do not crave sexual attention, porn, or any such thing at all.

I know a few WOMEN who think about sex non-stop, struggle with porn, and are ALWAYS talking about how “hot” a guy is. I know a few who don’t think anyone is sexual at all, and seem like they grew up on little House on the Prairie.

What people find attractive (handsome/ beautiful AND sexually / tantalizing) and WHY is often a VERY layered subject that is PERSONAL to the person who feels it.

I’m triggered by certain things because of trauma, I know there are others like this as well (even though some of them have a hard time admitting to it). Other people are more likely to be obsessed with things that make no sense to me. My husband gets EXTREMELY bothered by high necked shirts. Not low cut plunging necklines… Let that sink in for a second. Because, when we’re talking about sexuality… what turns people on, clothing, and what “is” or “isn’t” appropriate… what do we do about people like this?

Sexuality is difficult to pin down, and this is why we can’t INSIST on standards of clothing, or blame the other gender for what is in ourselves.

We are “sexually” a product of our personal experiences, upbringing, fashion sense, natural attraction, religion, trauma, good times, bad times, the list goes on and on.

Let me share with you a little weird thing about myself. I am HIGHLY attracted to smokers. I know, gross, right? And I know this… I know that it’s gross. I’ve actually grabbed people and told them to STOP smoking because it was hurting them… and yet… something about it just drives me wild. If I SMELL smoke on a guy, I’m instantly drawn to him. It’s like a rich musk or cologne that I want to be part of… and I can’t explain it.

To me? … this is weird.

But enough with the analogies… let’s get to the point.

We are all different and all triggered by different things. Not only do I know this. God knows this.

Women will never be “covered enough” for men. We know this from countries in the middle east where they make the woman cover from head to toe, and yet… when the woman is raped, it’s “her fault” and they “execute her” because she “seduced him” somehow with her “eyes” or her “smile.” Even if a woman was being flirtatious? This does not give you permission to rape her.

When men came to Jesus in the bible to talk about how they were making them “lust”… do you know what He told them? Matthew 5 in context explains this perfectly- “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e]28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

Here’s the problem with “clothing” – When Christ gave this sermon, He knew very well that clothing had become “cultural” – much in the way that it is today. In Egypt many women wore hardly ANYTHING up top… yes, this means you could easily see their breasts. Today, many cultures STILL have no problems with women being topless, but in some tribes, if you show an ankle, it’s straight up porn.

 

 

Different cultures think of different things as “erotic” or “taboo” when it comes to what part of the body is showing (this goes back to some of what I was saying above… we are all different) and because of this, Christ never told these women to “cover more.” He told men to “stop looking” or at least to “stop looking with lust.”

Christ knows your struggle, He knows because He made you. He KNOWS that men are “visual” (because guess what, He designed it that way, and He’s also a man ^_^ ) but as a man, He NEVER put the blame for men and their lust on women and the way they dressed. At no point did he say to the adulterous woman, “Well, if you would just cover those darn ankles and put a shawl around those breasts!”

Instead, what Christ did was attempt to explain that the problem is and always will be in your heart, and with you. This is the REASON that the problem is the way it is in the Middle East. Because burqas haven’t stopped rape, or saved women, only good men or men who don’t act upon instinct do that, and Christ KNOWS this. That’s why the bible talks about A, not looking with lust, B, plucking out eyes, and C, being dedicated to the “renewal of your mind.”

I’m not going to lie, I honestly feel like Christian men in America complaining about women’s clothing is a joke. Everywhere you turn there’s a billboard for a strip club, and if you’re not looking, you’re watching movies full of tight suited or scantily clad women. (Marvel doesn’t get a pass… Black Widow’s outfits are QUITE tight, and for a reason) and she is FAR from the only mid-drift, cleavage, tight suited character in this series. Disney doesn’t really get a pass either. One glance at Ariel, or Jasmine and one would have to say that they’re wearing… well… something that’s a bit more revealing. Or Esmeralda’s erm… profession?

Strangely enough, however, I don’t see any “Christian men” COMPLAINING about the tightness of Gamora’s garments, or the amount of cleavage that Belle shows in her golden gown…

Christian men seem to only put the blame on women who are friends, or women they know… that’s kind of… unfair… don’t you think? Don’t you think it’s a little unfair to ask your women to be covered from head to toe because you can’t control yourself, and not for everyone else to be? Or perhaps not refrain from taking part in anyone else or any other entertainment?

This is sort of why this argument is also futile… because okay… let’s say that church had a massive “woke” moment… You’re right, men… ALL women are too exposed. From now on, women can only wear jeans, long skirts, turtle necks, or high necked t-shirts… We all obey these rules, sure… but the REST of the world around us is still uncovered. It’s in our entertainment, our grocery stores, etc… now what? Your problem isn’t solved. Why? Because your problem is YOU. (And now your women just look more homely for no purpose).

Someone the other day who posted about this, saying, “How I wish women could understand our STRUGGLE…” – I think I speak for all women when I say, “I wish as a Christian man that YOU could understand that many of us have been told over and over and over again that we’re ‘making our brothers stumble.’ When we’re often wearing VERY normal clothing.”

There is currently a “story” going around facebook and social media in which a woman has a conversation with her boss, and the boss is looking at a photo on a dating site and telling the woman that the woman in the photo looks like she’s “down to f***” and belittles her… SUPPOSEDLY this photo contains a picture of a woman wearing a gray t-shirt and smiling. A t-shirt and a smile… and men think that we’re trying to seduce them. How is this OUR fault? (I should state that I have doubts about the validity of this story due to wording, etc… however, I’ve seen it before, and been PART of it before…) I was told by someone not too long ago (last year) that I was “blue balling” because I apparently “wanted him…” – When he and I met (the only time) I was wearing a men’s graphic T, boots, and nearly knee length shorts… I’m really trying to tease you, now, am I? My sister and I were at a church event once, and a man was standing next to my sister, as she was coloring with CHILDREN, and said to his wife/ gf, “Why is this woman dressed like a whore?” – My sister was wearing jeans, boots, and a turtleneck…

Imagine for one moment… that you’re a woman… a woman with all of the insecurities about our looks that we have (which btw, are many many mixed messages within the confines of this speech) and we put some clothes on, and think for one moment, “Wow, I look beautiful today…” Only to go out and have someone claim that we’re “responsible” for their lust, or their uncontrollable urges, or to call us a “whore…” … we can’t win. We can never win. Because (well, again, the Middle East is a great example) but- Christ made it clear that this is a problem with MEN… and their hearts. The verses that talk about MODESTY – specifically 1 Timothy 2 which everyone tries to use to be covered, are about the spirit (if you read the context-) this verse is about what is appropriate for WORSHIP, and how to behave. It talks about how you don’t need to adorn yourself with loud make up, jewels, etc to go to church. It says NOTHING for outings with husband and friends.

Now, don’t misunderstand me… I am NOT the kind of woman who thinks that women should run around wearing “whatever.” I think that attire should be appropriate, and I also think that there are ABSOLUTELY things that take it too far, but understand that the following are my PERSONAL opinions.

As a Christian woman, I don’t think that women should be running around wearing leggings as pants, ESPECIALLY if you wear thongs, or nothing under. I think this IS inconsiderate of men and our brothers. I ALSO don’t think that women should wear bikinis to the pool or beach. I’ve heard it said many times, “panties or bikini top, what’s the difference?” … I agree. There isn’t much. So don’t dress that way to the pool. Wear a pretty, lacy, whatever, one piece. I don’t think miniskirts or tube tops are ever appropriate. I don’t think that shorts that are only two inches below your butt are, either (when you bend over, or sit, we can see it all. If no one’s told you, I’m sorry… but yes, we can. Doesn’t mean we’re looking, but we can).

But I personally think we need to stop attacking tank tops, spaghetti straps, form fitting dresses, etc… Believe it or not, women wore form fitting outfits in the bible. They might have started with a tunic, but they put belts around the middle to gather it all, and help themselves walk, etc. Tank tops, and backless things in the summer? I don’t see why this is an issue.

I PERSONALLY have an issue with people wearing spiked heals with tight sweater dresses, and too much make up, etc… I think it sends the wrong messages. HOWEVER, I have no problems with these lovely ladies, and I personally never judge them. They do look lovely.

I personally think that what is most likely is that many of the men who complain about women’s attire are many of the same men who didn’t get themselves under control earlier in life and had massive porn issues. They’ve trained their minds to look at women as “objects” for their desire, and now they blame women for the training that they themselves have caused. I remember a few years ago, a male friend of mine said, “Trust me, ALL of your male friends have thought about having sex with you…” – welp, while I certainly don’t think it’s “all” even if a few have, there you go. There’s the problem.

As a Christian, you should stop worrying SO MUCH about your “struggle” and start seeing women as your sisters who need your love, support, and friendship… not your “bullying them into dressing certain ways…”

Bottom line? Your lust is NOT my responsibility. It’s yours. I’m in my body, and I can’t control all of you, nor can I PLEASE all of you. Besides trying to be considerate for SOME things, I’ve just grown ill of it and stopped trying.

Be committed to the renewing of your mind, brothers.