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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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191 Responses

  1. Hugo
    Hugo March 22, 2007 at 11:02 pm |

    While I am not sure I can embrace your final sentiment, Jill, once again let me say that these young men have misread Scripture. The fruits of the Spirit include self-control, boys, look it up:

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

    Whether lust is a sin is something you and I, Jill, might disagree upon. But we can stand together in saying that in either case, the moral onus for the lust rests solely on the shoulders (or elsewhere in the mind or corpus) of the luster.

  2. Sara
    Sara March 22, 2007 at 11:05 pm |

    Weird – I was just thinking about this today. What a bunch of pathetic douchebags.

  3. lucizoe
    lucizoe March 22, 2007 at 11:09 pm |

    *shudder*

    Reminds me of the pictures of the boys giving the wide-grinned thumbs-up at the forced-birth rally in D.C. “We are YOUR SUPERIORS AND OWNERS!”

    Again, *shudder*

  4. Sara
    Sara March 22, 2007 at 11:19 pm |

    That is incredibly creepy to read through. On the bright side, I never knew that I was so sexy. Here I am sitting with my legs apart, a bra strap showing, a bit of cleavage, and wearing makeup. I’m sure my husband is struggling with about a dozen boners right now.

  5. Elinor
    Elinor March 22, 2007 at 11:23 pm |

    Now I am really tempted to change a number of my online handles to “heathen prostitute.”

    Never before have I been so tempted to dress up in a booty shorts and boobie tassles and go shake my titties in the faces of some young Christian men.

    I wouldn’t want to risk making them happy. And you would, one way or another.

  6. Jodie
    Jodie March 22, 2007 at 11:33 pm |

    Oh dear. The ones who think women don’t own their own bodies are really disturbing.

  7. Bruce
    Bruce March 22, 2007 at 11:39 pm |

    Jill, this one deserve a gold medal.

    What strikes me most about one sector of evangelical culture is its unbelievable immaturity in tone and thought, more than its prudishness or its exclusive mindset. I mean, read the whole section again with the seriousness with which you would make a decision about, say, buying a house. Would you trust these clowns?

    Not all conservative Christians are Ned Flanders with an extra dose of childish namby-pamby, by any stretch. But you see it often enough. Orthodox Jewish culture commands modest attire, but they don’t engage in this sort of childishness unless I am mistaken. You do see it in Islam.

  8. Karley
    Karley March 22, 2007 at 11:44 pm |

    Sara- A dozen at once?…wow. That has to be in the book of world records. :)

  9. Random Observer 3
    Random Observer 3 March 22, 2007 at 11:46 pm |

    God these results are fucking hilarious.

    “It is okay for girls to wear tighter and/or more revealing clothes if they are working out.”

    Only 26% agree at all. LOL, have fun wearing sweaters in the gym girls. Wouldn’t want to force men to think impure thoughts with a tank top.

    It really is weird, I would point out that strict Judaism is much the same in that a wife isn’t supposed to “tempt” men by say showing her hair in public.

    Obviously sexist but it also doesn’t say good things about men, these supposedly upright God-fearing souls are so easy to lead astray!

    The phrasing is also really odd – a “stumbling block.” Oops I tripped on your skort.

  10. Adrian
    Adrian March 22, 2007 at 11:56 pm |

    >They will most likely cause me to sin? They also make him >physically sick and they display no value. I wonder what kind of >“sin” these women cause him to commit?

    My guess would be Wrath. Maybe Avarice as well. There’s something oddly sweet about these clueless boys trying to pay so much attention to the old sins the rest of their church seems to be steadfastly ignoring. Well, mostly odd. Not that it’s worth the cost to their mothers and sisters. That’s just horrible.

  11. Elinor
    Elinor March 23, 2007 at 12:17 am |

    Oh my, this is entertaining.

    It’s not their body to flaunt. It belongs to Christ and their future husband. How dare they flaunt something that God did not permit them to flaunt? How dare they write a check the Bible doesn’t allow them to cash?

    No comment…

    for any such girl, I get the clear idea she doesn’t care about attracting guys to herself as a person, but as a body. She probably doesn’t know this, however, which makes it very sad. She also exudes a selfishness which says “I am a worthy subject for your sight.”

    Unselfishness = thinking you’re too ugly to look at?

    Flaunting is the epitome of an immodest woman, and is one of the lowest and possibly most degrading things a woman can do for herself. On the other hand, the second worse thing a woman could do in regards to modesty is to hide the beautiful body God gave her because she’s scared or something. A modest woman presents herself as a beautiful example of God’s glorious creation, she does not hide it, nor does she flaunt her sexuality, which should be private.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…

    Girls who purposely flaunt their bodies will get no respect from me. I would not want to have a girlfriend, or get married to somebody like that, because there are other men looking at her and thinking impure thoughts about her.

    I only want to be married to someone no one else would want!

    They tend to get in trouble more often and cause lots of hurt by leading guys on and then breaking them apart.

    This guy’s 16. I sense an MRA in the making.

    I don’t respect them. They are trying to ensnare men. Thus means they are showing men no respect…

    Just as you wouldn’t give your most prized possession to everyone on the street, so you shouldn’t share the secrets of your body with any man other than your husband. Modesty will attract a man who is suitable to be your husband. Just as moths flock to a candle flame, so guys will flock to an immodest girl. But are you going to be satisfied with a moth when you can have a butterfly?

    Husband=butterfly? Wha?

    When you go fishing, the bait you use determines what kind of a fish you’ll catch. So, do you want to find a guy that’ll treat you like a lady or like a sex object?

    No, a husband is a fish.

    Deference is the key.

    I should say so.

  12. Sara
    Sara March 23, 2007 at 12:36 am |

    If I had any photoshopping ability whatsoever, I’d make a little cartoon with a stack of children’s blocks in the shape of a woman. That’s what these dudes see when they look at women, apparently.

  13. Elinor
    Elinor March 23, 2007 at 12:46 am |

    And it just gets better…

    A girl who is immodest presents her body as something that anyone can stop by and partake of. She is selling herself for nothing. A girl who is modest presents herself as a pure and beautiful prize that must be won. She will not easily give herself to any other.

    Commodification? Nah…

    Something attractive draws attention to a girl’s face, to her God-given beauty and femininity. Something immodest draws attention to a girl’s body.

    Man, they really do not want us to be at home in our bodies, do they? This statement is repeated over and over again — face good, body bad. “Natural beauty” is, you know, facial beauty. Apparently bodies are unnatural.

    Attractive: Subtly reminds me that she has a different way of seeing things and different desires in relationships. She’s softer, needs special consideration and protection, and is eager to accept the role of a woman in society and relationship as defined by God. Immodest: Screams that her body is different than mine. Attempts to manipulate me. Forcefully offers to trade what I want (in the flesh) for what she wants: attention.

    I want to scream at this guy…

    It is quite rare to find a woman who actually understands the affect her clothing has on others. Many truly do not grasp that they are candles among gunpowder.”

    Cree-peeee.

    Modest clothing covers those parts of the body that should only be revealed in sexual intimacy with one’s husband: chest, lower region, rear, and the back. Immodest clothing reveals or highlights that which should be covered.

    What on earth is the “lower region”? Or the back? As in, the thing with the spine in it? I wasn’t aware that spines were that exciting…

    On sleeveless shirts:

    I don’t think showing the arms is immodest, but usually you can see in through the sleeves and that is not helpful.

    Save me from the pursuit of sideboob!

    Skirts should be below the knee, else, when you sit down, we will see up them. We will. We are too good at this.

    *headdesk*

    Immodesty says, “take me to bed, it won’t cost you anything.” Modesty says, “respect me, win my heart, protect me.”

    A modest girl shows respect for herself in that she doesn’t have to try and bait me into pursuing her by activating the visual response system in my male brain AND shows respect for me so I don’t have to fight off devouring her sexually in my mind.

    A signal is being sent. A clear message is being presented. An immodest girl seems to be advertising herself; presenting an open invitation to sex. The idea created is that she is “on the make”. A harlot.

    Either you are private property or you are public property.

  14. Michelle M.
    Michelle M. March 23, 2007 at 12:48 am |

    I think it’s interesting to see the commonalities displayed in that survery and the justification some Muslim women make about totally covering their bodies: That men can’t control themselves when they see a pretty body.

    What crazy nonsense. As a modern woman, and just for the record an American covert to Islam, this idea infuriates me. If men are so prone to succumbing to ‘sin’, maybe they should just wear blindfolds so us ladies can walk around in the buff if we so feel like it.

  15. David
    David March 23, 2007 at 12:55 am |

    The phrasing is also really odd – a “stumbling block.” Oops I tripped on your skort.

    “Stumbling block” is a biblical reference. See Leviticus 19:14.

    Orthodox Jewish culture commands modest attire, but they don’t engage in this sort of childishness unless I am mistaken.

    I would point out that strict Judaism is much the same in that a wife isn’t supposed to “tempt” men by say showing her hair in public.

    It’s hard to compare what’s going on in evengelical culture with Judaism because the motivations are very different. DIsscussions surrounding modest dress in Orthodox Jewish circles tend to be more legalistic. In other words, there’s a long tradition debating what constitutes “modesty” and what purpose it serves. While some read the sources as being misogynistic, I think a good argument can be made that something else entirely is going on. Orthodox Jewish feminists have done a lot of good work in this area.

  16. Therese Norén
    Therese Norén March 23, 2007 at 1:00 am |

    Hugo, I’m a Christian woman, and I want to walk around in underwear in front of these little wankers.

  17. Norah
    Norah March 23, 2007 at 1:06 am |

    If men are so prone to succumbing to ’sin’, maybe they should just wear blindfolds so us ladies can walk around in the buff if we so feel like it.

    I’ll go you one better, Michelle; when I was a kid and I first learned of such modest dress for women, I would wonder aloud why the men didn’t just have their eyes poked out. My mother thought it was hilarious.

  18. Mamid
    Mamid March 23, 2007 at 1:18 am |

    Why doesn’t he just tell us to put on a fragging burqua? Completely hide any semblance of a female form – or for that matter human form – from view.

    and why is it always women who are told to be modest but men aren’t told the same?

  19. raging red
    raging red March 23, 2007 at 1:19 am |

    Okay, some of these responses are hilarious.

    “Shirts with messages across the front draw too much attention to the bust.”

    Try this at home: Take a unblown balloon and on it write, in large print, something like this, “Someday My Prince Will Come.” Now blow up the balloon to about the size of your bust, and try to read the words. Does it draw attention to the curve of the balloon? Yes! Especially with a longer message. A message printed your upper chest may be a less distracting choice.

    I laughed my ass off at that.

    But then I got very sad and enraged about the questions that pertain to restricting girls’ everyday behavior. What kind of message is this sending to them? I mean, read through those questions — apparently these girls are supposed to be worrying about where and when (if at all) they should: remove their sweatshirts if they get hot, bend over to pick something up while wearing a v-neck shirt, work out at the gym in tight-fitting clothing or while wearing a sports bra, put on lip gloss, adjust their bra straps, walk a certain way, lift their skirts in order to step over something, allow their chests to bounce when they walk, et cetera, et cetera.

    Now, every guy in that survey doesn’t think that all of those things are immodest, and a lot of those statements have “disagree” as the most popular answer. But some of them do think those things are immodest, and the majority of these boys “strongly agree” that: modesty is important for all girls, modesty is an important quality for a future wife to have, and they respect immodest girls less than modest girls. And a girl can’t really tell which category a boy falls into by just looking at him, can she?

    Oh, and don’t worry girls — “character, intelligence, and personality are more important than physical beauty.” But, you can “dress attractively without being immodest.”

    So, look attractive for boys, but not too attractive. Your entire future — which we’ve told you hinges on your ability to snag a man, get married, and raise babies — depends on this.

    Seriously, this makes my head spin. I feel very sorry for girls who are taught this kind of shit and buy into it. I’m sure a certain number of them will change their outlook as they get older, but it’s so fucked up that any girl would have all of this conflicting crap swirling around in her head at all. I mean, how’s she supposed to just live her life when there’s this “modesty” burden on her all of the time, which boys don’t have to deal with?

  20. Random Observer 3
    Random Observer 3 March 23, 2007 at 1:31 am |

    It’s hard to compare what’s going on in evengelical culture with Judaism because the motivations are very different. DIsscussions surrounding modest dress in Orthodox Jewish circles tend to be more legalistic. In other words, there’s a long tradition debating what constitutes “modesty” and what purpose it serves.

    Uh…no, it’s very easy to compare, they are essentially identical. In all cases the evil Lilith wanna-be is tempting weak-willed men who just cannot help themselves.

    The fact that there is a long tradition – says what exactly?

    The purpose of modesty in Orthodox Judaism isn’t a big mystery. Immodest women tempt men.

    The site you link to is quite hilarious. This is a feminist site?

    http://www.jofa.org/pdf/Batch%201/0065.pdf

    Girls should be guided to understand that the learning is valuable in as much as it enhances our main function, not replaces it.

    One guess what the “main function” is. You can’t make this shit up folks. You can call this feminism without laughing?

    “Learning is great as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the cooking and cleaning!!” That is some powerful feminist insight there.

  21. Random Observer 3
    Random Observer 3 March 23, 2007 at 1:35 am |

    Well I screwed up the quotes above. Pretend the first quote is closed after the first paragraph. My part begins with “Uh..”

  22. Sara no H.
    Sara no H. March 23, 2007 at 1:39 am |

    I don’t know that I’d have time for tassles, but I wonder if simply divesting myself of clothing would do the job. At the very least I’d consider it a success if they blushed and had to stop preaching lest their “impure thoughts” contaminate their holy message.

  23. David
    David March 23, 2007 at 1:44 am |

    The site you link to is quite hilarious. This is a feminist site?

    http://www.jofa.org/pdf/Batch%201/0065.pdf

    You do realize that the article and the letters to the editor are critical of JOFA, right?

  24. joel
    joel March 23, 2007 at 2:19 am |

    I would just like to throw in an “I’m sorry.”
    As a Christian man and a son and brother to two women who were on the front lines when the feminist moment started, I apologize for those people who represent my gender and religion in this study.
    But I will ask for patience and understanding. They are fools, that is most certainly true, but you should not hate a fool if they can be educated. And please remember not all Christian men think like this. The bible teaches equality and understanding. If anyone tells you this is not so please direct them toward Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21.
    I’m sure no one will get this far down the page, but if you do please try to be patient with all people of any religion no matter how insane they are, they are still people.

  25. Interrobang
    Interrobang March 23, 2007 at 2:26 am |

    Despite being a stone atheist, I think I’m going on the offensive against these guys from a Biblical perspective. They’re rousing my Inner Fascist, who insists that anyone who doesn’t believe that women own their own bodies ought to be shot, which violates the commandment against killing, at least from the perspective that if you think about a sin, you’ve already committed it. Boys, you’re inciting me to sin. Stop it. Shut up and sit down.

    My ever-clever boyfriend saw this article and at first didn’t agree with me that it was misogynistic; he said it was just craziness masquerading as woman-hatred, but has since revised his opinion to “it’s a crispy nuts coating on a chewy misogynistic centre.”

  26. Random Observer 3
    Random Observer 3 March 23, 2007 at 2:30 am |

    A tour of the articles:

    Haberman explores how to approach and respond to particular Jewish texts that may make women feel uncomfortable, wounded and alienated.

    Translation: come on, they aren’t *that* bad! It’s probably just you being hysterical!

    The mystics tell us, following images used by the prophets, that our relation to G-d, as a people, can be conceived in sexual terms. G-d is male, the Jewish people is female. The Shir Hashirim, Song of Songs, which accompanies the celebration of Pesach [Passover] and which, in some communities, is sung every Friday night, represents G-d and Israel as two lovers.

    Well that sure says nice things about women. Men are godlike, women are not. This entire article (http://www.myjewishlearning.com/ideas_belief/genderfeminism/Fem_Theology_TO/Fem_SurveryThought/Fem_Frankiel.htm) is merely support for the status quo and reject feminist cries for change.

    “Twersky emphasizes the role of women as being low-profile but high impact in another article”:

    King Solomon must have prophetically envisioned my mother, Rebbetzin Sara Stein, when he wrote his exalted “Aishes Chayil”. She was the ultimate modest, self-effacing and low public-profile person. It wasn’t that she thought less of herself – just that she thought of herself less. She had her priorities straight: husband first, then children, and only then, the rest of the world.

    My mother’s legacy to me through me to those I am priviledged to teach is the antidote to the contemporary Americal illusion that cripples the real power of Jewish wives and mothers. It promotes the healing effect of humility as the remedy to power and the soothing quality of modesty to stem the corrosive effect of ambition.

    These are feature articles at the top of the website.

    I added the bold in the quote above. Note that she isn’t even talking about Jewish women but only wives and mothers, who need to focus on their priorities, be modest (there is that word again), and fight against ambition.

    This is the wackiest form of feminism I’ve ever seen! I don’t see any actual advocacy for women’s rights anywhere, all I see is explanations about how the home is really important and how women are good at home-centric tasks like pleasing their husbands.

    This article, written under the guise of a letter to a bride, discusses the role of women in a marriage and provides suggestions to maintaining a strong household.

    Nannas discusses the growing impact of feminism in the yeshiva world. However, she maintains that the true sanctity of women remains at home.

    This essay discusses Jewish Legal Writings by Women as it relates to the basis of feminism and its place within Orthodox Judaism. He discusses the importance of the Jewish home and how that will provide the basis for the continuity of the Jewish people.

    See a pattern?

    This (http://www.jofa.org/pdf/Batch%201/0005.pdf) is another good one, read the last few paragraphs. My summary:
    “Sure, women can do things other than be housewives, but we should make sure to explain to them that housewife is far preferred.”

    You do realize that the article and the letters to the editor are critical of JOFA, right?

    That is just flat out incorrect. Are you purposely attempting to mislead people or are you not familiar with the contents of the site? These are articles on the JOFA main page.

    Orthodox Feminist Alliance makes as much sense as Augusta National Feminist Alliance, so it is no surprise that the JOFA site is essentially anti-feminist. It may appear feminist to the extreme Orthodox but to anyone else it isn’t feminist in the least, it is a step backwards.

    I have no idea what the “good work” is that you refer to. The explanation that women should cook and clean not because they are inferior but because pleasing a man is just that important?

  27. Argent
    Argent March 23, 2007 at 3:11 am |

    See, this whole thing confuses me greatly. Until I was about 20, I wore loose, too big, deliberately chosen unflattering clothes because I had no idea how to deal with male sexual interest in me. (Female sexual interest, though no forthcoming, didn’t scare me in the slightest. Maybe because whoever heard of woman abducting someone to rape). Quite frankly, sexual attention terrified me, as I had no sexual interest in boys (or girls )until about 20. (I guess my hormones finally kicked in).

    Anyway, the point of all this lead up was that I *still* got male attention. Wearing loose, what these boys would classify as ‘modest’ clothing I stil ‘tempted them’. Like someone said before, you can’t win. If you cover your legs, it’s arms that are immodest. Cover them, it’s bust curves. (Somehow) conceal them, it’s ankles. When will they realise that maybe they’re just horny and it’s not some random woman’s fault?!

    Not to mention the ‘immodest woman = ‘slutty’ behaviour’, which no (pseudo) Christian man would approve of… jeez. I can wear a tight t-shirt and jeans and be sexless as a nun. I can wear loose skirts and a too big shirt and get a threesome. Appearance does not equal behaviour.

    Shorter rambling: Wow is this ever messed up.

    (As an addenum; I now wear nice, flattering (if odd) clothing that I like, is comfy, because I came to realise that it doesn’t matter what I wear, I will still be ‘girl’ with all that entails. Might as well dress the way I like, instead of in protective camoflague which didn’t work anyway).

  28. Jessica J.
    Jessica J. March 23, 2007 at 3:16 am |

    I was a member of The Rebelution discussion forum (the forum that spawned the Modesty Survey) for seven or eight months, from last summer up until they temporarily shut down a month ago (I am a liberal Christian and joined out of an interest in the online fundamentalist/evangelical culture). One feature of the forum was segregated discussion areas: there was a main, co-ed area, “The Living Room;” a girls-only area, “The Attic;” and a guys-only area, “The Garage.” The sex-segregated areas were locked, and one had to request permission from a moderator to be admitted. Out of the many fucked-up threads in The Attic, one of the ones that most stands out in my mind was a discussion of whether standards of modesty still applied around the girls’ own family members. The consensus was that coming down to the breakfast table in your pajamas might tempt your brothers to rape you. Very, very sad.

  29. Catherine Martell
    Catherine Martell March 23, 2007 at 4:35 am |

    To enlarge on what Mamid said above: I think that the moment anyone uses the word “modesty” with regard to dress, that’s a red flag. What would “modest dress” constitute for a man? And why is the assumption that anything I wear has to be judged on a scale of modest -> slut, rather than, say, practicality? If the weather is hot, I’m going to wear shorts and a vest. Tempting Christian men is the furthest thing from my mind. Why do these crazies assume that it’s all about them?

    Incidentally, before we get too involved in sidetracks about whether orthodox Judaism is feminist or not, there is a very serious harassment situation going on at present for women in Jerusalem at the hands of orthodox Jewish “modesty patrols”, which I would certainly say is comparable to the worst Christian or Islamic misogyny. I believe this was blogged about somewhere (possibly even here), but I can’t find the link, so this will have to do: haaretz.com

    As for joel’s comment:

    The bible teaches equality and understanding. If anyone tells you this is not so please direct them toward Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21.

    I don’t doubt that you’re very sweet, and nor would I assume that all Christian men would agree with the comments in the survey. However, if you read Gen 1:1 to Rev 22:21, you will find a massive and extensive basis for their misogyny and intolerance. There’s plenty of slave-beating, rape-victim-killing and so on in the Old Testament, of course, but personally I always find that the writings of St Paul are a real humdinger. Ephesians 5:22-24 and 1 Timothy 2 justify most of what these asshats are saying.

  30. R. Mildred
    R. Mildred March 23, 2007 at 4:38 am |

    A girl’s dress proclaims her priorities and values louder than if she got on a chair and screamed them to the world.

    So we need to wear sandwich boards with our viewpoints written on them in catchy slogans, okay…

    Thank you so much for desiring to serve us!

    IT’S A COOKBOOK!

    They make men like me fight and struggle, and cause many to fall.

    And then we laugh at you, cuz we’re such bitches.

  31. Anna
    Anna March 23, 2007 at 5:02 am |

    Can I start requesting that the really hot guy at the petrol station down the road stop wearing tight tops because it’s a stumbling block for me? Can I start talking about how Daniel Radcliff is ruining himself for Christ by doing a play that involves nudity? Can I demand that my Christian male friends stop looking attractive? I mean, I’m currently living on the opposite side of the planet from my husband. What’s a woman to do? I can’t be expected to just *control myself* – that would be ridiculous, right?

    Right?

    *sigh*

  32. Em
    Em March 23, 2007 at 5:04 am |

    Unselfishness = thinking you’re too ugly to look at?

    Um, yes.

  33. Bruce
    Bruce March 23, 2007 at 6:52 am |

    Joel –

    Many of these folks have invincible ignorance – ignorance that is self-righteous and ostentatiously proud, ignorance with a “Moron Pride” movement, statues of Dumb and Dumber licking frozen metal poles a la Jim Carrey, It’s not merely a movement of aggressively stupid and childish people, but one motivated by a supreme sense of Stupid Pride. Nothing to do with Christianity as such; indeed, the 2000 years of Christian history, good and bed, are part of what the “Stupid Pride” activists are proud to be stupid about.

    The Jesuits who taught me in high school would slap these sorts of morons bloody, but they’d be the better for it.

  34. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth March 23, 2007 at 7:01 am |

    I went to the result page itself and found these 2 “gems” under the question “Leotards, sheer skirts, and tutus in theatre or dance performances are immodest.”:

    By a 19 year-old:

    These sorts of clothes are fine in their context. Being distracted by them is a problem on the guy’s end, not the girl’s.

    And by a 16-year old:

    Let me explain, I strongly believe that modestly does not change with activity. It does not matter if you are exercising, swimming, or dancing God (the one who will ultimately hold you accountable for what you wear) still requires modesty. If you would not wear the dance outfit to church, don’t wear it in a performance where you will be up in front of an audience. Our culture has put it in our minds that “I am going to be dancing (or swimming or whatever)” is an excuse to be immodest. It is not. I have twice seen ballet dances in which the dancers wore modest dresses. Considering that I am not a great fan of ballet, I enjoyed it. I could not have enjoyed it if they had been wearing what dancers normally wear. (I would have left.) Now don’t think that I don’t understand that you will be criticized for dressing modestly when our world expects you to dress immodestly. You will be! Jesus promises ridiculing for those who obey Him. But I will respect you more because you care more about what our LORD thinks about you than what the people of this world think of you. And you will receive a much greater reward than the praise of men (whose character is most likely questionable). Thank you to all of you that choose to dress modestly even when you might be ridiculed.

    My conclusion; All hope is not lost yet. Altough, if I had been sitting at a desk right now, it would have a few extra dents in it, thanks to a few responses. (I’m sitting in the sofa at home, in what many of the above guys probably would deem inappropriate ^^)

  35. Disgrunteld Ladye
    Disgrunteld Ladye March 23, 2007 at 7:23 am |

    I’d also keep in mind that the respondents to this survey are teenagers, make that horny teenagers. Teenagers can hardly speak for an entire religion. Even if they do speak for the evangelical subsection of Christianity, they do not speak for all evangelicals.

    Count in another Christian who wants to parade in front of these boys in underwear. The Bible teaches self-control. It’s not just the woman’s job to dress in a manner that will not cause her brothers in Christ to stumble, it is the man’s job to control his lust and impure thoughts.

  36. johanna
    johanna March 23, 2007 at 7:57 am |

    It’s also telling that they under-value men so deeply.

    The more time I spend around religious conservatives, the more I find this to be true. No one else thinks so little of men, assuming that they are incapable of controlling their sexual urges, or even relating with women in an adult way.

    And we’re supposed to be the manhaters?

  37. arielladrake
    arielladrake March 23, 2007 at 8:11 am |

    Anyway, the point of all this lead up was that I *still* got male attention. Wearing loose, what these boys would classify as ‘modest’ clothing I stil ‘tempted them’.

    Argent, I was the same. I spent most of my teen years really uncomfortable with my body, and dressed in too-big/loose clothing on purpose. I would still have creepy strange men in their forties trying to hit on me with disturbing regularity (there were periods where it was a weekly occurrence, and it freaked the fuck out of me).

    Also, aside from the damned if you do, damned if you don’t aspect of it? (emphasis mine below)

    Flaunting is the epitome of an immodest woman, and is one of the lowest and possibly most degrading things a woman can do for herself. On the other hand, the second worse thing a woman could do in regards to modesty is to hide the beautiful body God gave her because she’s scared or something. A modest woman presents herself as a beautiful example of God’s glorious creation, she does not hide it, nor does she flaunt her sexuality, which should be private.

    Because we can’t have women who remind us that they have any reason to be afraid of male attention. Particularly when we’re telling them bad things happen when they ‘dress like sluts’ and attract male attention.

  38. A Pang
    A Pang March 23, 2007 at 8:15 am |

    75% of them agree with the statement “You have less respect for an immodest girl than a modest one.” That kind of says it all, doesn’t it?

    Age 17: Haha, started out on “disagree”, but when I thought about it, every time a friend of mine wears a two-piece I think less of them.

    Age 23: Isn’t there an option for Strongly Strongly Strongly Agree?

    Age 16: When I see an immodestly dressed girl, I am forced to think of her as an object rather than a human being created in God’s Image.

    Gah.

  39. Elinor
    Elinor March 23, 2007 at 8:22 am |

    This is the wackiest form of feminism I’ve ever seen! I don’t see any actual advocacy for women’s rights anywhere, all I see is explanations about how the home is really important and how women are good at home-centric tasks like pleasing their husbands.

    Seriously. And what a marvellous amount of rationalization. These ultra-Orthodox women sound a little like the famous college-educated housewives of the 1950s — women who are used to studying and being challenged intellectually and then have all that taken away.

    The advocacy for women’s rights is sort of there, within the religious framework — there seems to be a lot about husbands who abuse their patriarchal powers during divorce. This is a good example of what they seem to want to do. I can sort of understand the appeal of using religious law to get your desired results, even if it seems maddeningly roundabout to those of us who think outdated and unjust rules (like the one that says a man can marry his preadolescent daughter to anyone he wants, without her knowledge or consent) should just be struck down.

  40. Elinor
    Elinor March 23, 2007 at 8:31 am |

    I mean, read through those questions — apparently these girls are supposed to be worrying about where and when (if at all) they should: remove their sweatshirts if they get hot, bend over to pick something up while wearing a v-neck shirt, work out at the gym in tight-fitting clothing or while wearing a sports bra, put on lip gloss, adjust their bra straps, walk a certain way, lift their skirts in order to step over something, allow their chests to bounce when they walk, et cetera, et cetera.

    I’m amazed at how much these men seem to think about women’s clothes. Most of the secular men I know wouldn’t be able to tell you what an Empire waist even is, for example.

    When I see an immodestly dressed girl, I am forced to think of her as an object rather than a human being created in God’s Image.

    These people’s sex lives are going to be dreadful. Somehow they’re supposed to do a 180 when they get married and stop thinking that being sexually attracted to a woman dehumanizes her? I don’t see how it’s possible. Of course they do dehumanize “good” women as well — the “modest” woman is a piece of valuable property, a custom-made sex toy, a baby dispenser, a housekeeping machine with about the level of agency most of us would ascribe to a beloved pet.

  41. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 8:46 am |

    Sour grapes, anyone?

    Also, and this is something that I’ve been thinking about as of late – it’s interesting how some of these ah, lovely boys’ (not men, dammit) arguments are similar to certain feminist arguments, i.e., if you’ve put on some lipstick and a tank top – you are doing it for men, and you are a fool, or worse. The motivation, I believe, is different, but there’s something to this, no?

  42. Vera Venom
    Vera Venom March 23, 2007 at 9:04 am |

    “it’s interesting how some of these ah, lovely boys’ (not men, dammit) arguments are similar to certain feminist arguments, i.e., if you’ve put on some lipstick and a tank top – you are doing it for men, and you are a fool, or worse. The motivation, I believe, is different, but there’s something to this, no? ”

    BINGO. It doesn’t matter who is telling you “what not to wear” they all doing the same thing. “Girl, you can’t wear that – men might like it.” Because everything is always about the menz.

  43. spatzle
    spatzle March 23, 2007 at 9:09 am |

    Reminds me of a song by Jars of Clay~ “this old scarlet letter won’t keep me from holding you, no there is nothing you can do”

    Oh look, puritanical imagery in a message about forgiveness and understanding. Things that actually having something to do with Christ. O:

  44. Elrenia
    Elrenia March 23, 2007 at 9:10 am |

    While the Bible does mention a lot of what they say, the same rules apply to men. I suppose they should not wear tight jeans, or jeans of any type for that matter. However, I happen to find a man more sexy in loose fitting clothes, leaves more to the imagination. I am married and have never had the desire to shag another man in almost thirty years.

    Now, if we are talking about men, then this whole thing is at least hogwash. As someone else pointed out, a man is still responsible for his own actions. So, if he lusts after a woman, how is that her fault. On the other hand, if we are talking about boys, then they should all be locked away until they can determine the difference between lust and admiration. I so enjoy seeing a fine looking man. Does that cause me to lust? No, no more than seeing a fine horse. I can admire the attributes of anything without wanting to have it.

    As for women saving themselves for their husband and marriage, I for one agree with that. However, that holds true for the man, also. He should be as modest and as much a virgin as he demands in his wife. And, that happens a lot less that the other way around.

    Women belong to men only as much as men belong to women. We are not servants or slaves or property. We are equal in the partnership. And, that comes from Genesis. So, perhaps these young “men” need a good Bible lesson.

    Was there any denomination or particular religious sect that this study was aimed at; because it sounds geared for the more radical sects.

  45. Elrenia
    Elrenia March 23, 2007 at 9:10 am |

    While the Bible does mention a lot of what they say, the same rules apply to men. I suppose they should not wear tight jeans, or jeans of any type for that matter. However, I happen to find a man more sexy in loose fitting clothes, leaves more to the imagination. I am married and have never had the desire to shag another man in almost thirty years.

    Now, if we are talking about men, then this whole thing is at least half hogwash. As someone else pointed out, a man is still responsible for his own actions. So, if he lusts after a woman, how is that her fault. On the other hand, if we are talking about boys, then they should all be locked away until they can determine the difference between lust and admiration. I so enjoy seeing a fine looking man. Does that cause me to lust? No, no more than seeing a fine horse. I can admire the attributes of anything without wanting to have it.

    As for women saving themselves for their husband and marriage, I for one agree with that. However, that holds true for the man, also. He should be as modest and as much a virgin as he demands in his wife. And, that happens a lot less that the other way around.

    Women belong to men only as much as men belong to women. We are not servants or slaves or property. We are equal in the partnership. And, that comes from Genesis. So, perhaps these young “men” need a good Bible lesson.

    Was there any denomination or particular religious sect that this study was aimed at; because it sounds geared for the more radical sects.

  46. Elinor
    Elinor March 23, 2007 at 9:11 am |

    it’s interesting how some of these ah, lovely boys’ (not men, dammit) arguments are similar to certain feminist arguments, i.e., if you’ve put on some lipstick and a tank top – you are doing it for men, and you are a fool, or worse. The motivation, I believe, is different, but there’s something to this, no?

    No, I don’t think there is.

    While I personally am quite fond of lipstick and tank tops, I’m really offended by the notion that motivation doesn’t matter. And the number of feminist women who’ve actually given me crap for the way I look, as opposed to pointing out the misogynist nature of the beauty industry, is, hmm, zero.

    It doesn’t make sense to decide the feminist agenda by playing Opposites Day with the religious right agenda.

  47. Ugly in Pink
    Ugly in Pink March 23, 2007 at 9:12 am |

    Oh pfft. All I see from the hairy armpit androgynous feminists (of which I am one) is to examine your choices and not just make the knee-jerk defensive rationalization that you’re wearing those three inch heels solely for yourself to celebrate your wonderful empowerful womanliness, or something. I think there’s a great difference in saying (as these people are) dress for men’s whims or we’ll treat you like dirt, and saying maybe give a second thought as to who you’re dressing for and why, because shouldn’t it be mostly for yourself?

  48. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 9:15 am |

    I didn’t say motivation didn’t matter – I said it’s different. And I have been treated like dirt – both by religious men and supposed feminists, because my wardrobe just didn’t fit the bill.

  49. Elinor
    Elinor March 23, 2007 at 9:19 am |

    BINGO. It doesn’t matter who is telling you “what not to wear” they all doing the same thing. “Girl, you can’t wear that – men might like it.” Because everything is always about the menz.

    Frankly I don’t see a problem with occasionally dressing for the menz. I’m attracted to men. I want men to be attracted to me; of course, naive little tart that I am, I think it’s possible for a man to think “nice person” and “nice body” at the same time.

    I don’t know why it’s necessary to get so defensive about the notion that you might be dressing to get a reaction from other people — unless you pick your clothes in the dark out of a closet stocked by somebody else, that’s what you’re doing.

    There are people out there telling us we have to wear sexy clothes (or we’re unattractive), as many if not more than are telling us we can’t wear them. You’re making it sound as if tank tops, lipstick, push-up bras and high heels arrive in the stores without any fanfare, or maybe just drop out of the sky, who knows.

  50. Ugly in Pink
    Ugly in Pink March 23, 2007 at 9:21 am |

    Really? What’d they say?

  51. Elinor
    Elinor March 23, 2007 at 9:23 am |

    And I have been treated like dirt – both by religious men and supposed feminists, because my wardrobe just didn’t fit the bill.

    I’m going to assume you weren’t wearing a “Who Needs A Brain When You Have These?” t-shirt…

    I’m sorry some self-described feminist women were mean to you.

  52. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 9:25 am |

    “Barbie.” For starters.

  53. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 9:29 am |

    I’m going to assume you weren’t wearing a “Who Needs A Brain When You Have These?” t-shirt…

    I don’t really dress provocatively either way.

    I’m sorry some self-described feminist women were mean to you.

    It happens. I can’t say I’ve never been mean to anyone because of their appearance – I can be quite the bitch – but I sort of figured things out by the time I left my teenage years behind (or so I like to think). When adult women do this, especially adult women who have power over you, it can get disconcerting.

  54. purpleshoes
    purpleshoes March 23, 2007 at 9:30 am |

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – covering up just makes the covered more significant. I’ve got a tiny little academic obsession going with the modesty movement, and I genuinely believe that once we’ve all covered our shoulders and cleavage, next it’s going to be our elbows and collarbones that are tempting. Once we’ve covered our elbows, elbows will get all eroticized in the culture. There will be saucy elbow pinups. Rolling up your sleeves will be “asking for it”. Soon we’ll all be in burquas, or better yet, in that all-encompassing modesty garment, the windowless kitchen. Which we will never leave.

    The only way to desensitize people to any given body part, to move it from “temptation” or “stumbling block” to “part of God’s gift”, is for those parts to be part of the everyday scenery, like breasts in a culture that nurses publically. Therefore I move that in the name of saving us all from lust and temptation, we embrace widespread public nudity. Only thus can we make the body boring again.

  55. prairielily
    prairielily March 23, 2007 at 9:32 am |

    Attractive: Subtly reminds me that she has a different way of seeing things and different desires in relationships. She’s softer, needs special consideration and protection, and is eager to accept the role of a woman in society and relationship as defined by God. Immodest: Screams that her body is different than mine. Attempts to manipulate me. Forcefully offers to trade what I want (in the flesh) for what she wants: attention.

    I’m forced to remember that she’s not male and doesn’t have a penis! DISGUSTING!!!!

    I said this the last time this was discussed, but my mom wore a burka growing up, and so did most of her friends. They still got harassed.

  56. sylvie
    sylvie March 23, 2007 at 9:34 am |

    vaginas vacuum-sealed for freshness. that completely cracked me up. like giving the girls a little silver ring AND some very specially designed Tupperware to go with it…

  57. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 9:46 am |

    I said I don’t dress provocatively… But I used my definition. No cutesy t-shirts – but hey, I do wear lipstick and lace. That’s bad enough for some people.

    That’s the problem with these things – one person’s “whore” is another’s “madonna.” Even if you did try to please everyone – you’d never win. The windowless kitchen seems like a possibility in this instance.

  58. Elinor
    Elinor March 23, 2007 at 9:49 am |

    I’m forced to remember that she’s not male and doesn’t have a penis! DISGUSTING!!!!

    You know, I do wonder how many of these young men are in the closet. Not to stereotype, or to underestimate the amount they’ve been warped by being told that all sexual feelings are bad, but I have known young gay men who were deeply in denial about their orientation and who tried to conceal their basic lack of sexual interest in women with this kind of language. “Oh, I don’t find cleavage attractive because I’m not as shallow as other guys. Really it’s all about a girl’s mind to me, why do girls think they have to dress like sluts, blah blah blah.”

    When adult women do this, especially adult women who have power over you, it can get disconcerting.

    For sure. And I don’t think that trashing another woman for the way she dresses is a properly feminist thing to do. (Which is not to say I wouldn’t be seriously pissed off at a woman in a “Who Needs A Brain When You Have These?” T-shirt, because I totally would.) But I think it’s important for feminists to be able to criticize the fashion and beauty industries. A lot of the clothes that make it difficult for you to do the housework and play with toddlers, as God intended, can also make it difficult for you to walk more than a few blocks, can harm your feet and back, can consume time and energy and money that you might want to spend elsewhere, etc.

  59. dee
    dee March 23, 2007 at 9:52 am |

    My stumbling block is about 6’2″, 190 pounds, dark hair and skin, shirtless, and looks like he has a baked potato stuffed down the front of his jeans.

  60. Ugly in Pink
    Ugly in Pink March 23, 2007 at 9:58 am |

    I have to admit I laughed at the “Barbie” comment. But I felt guilty about it. ;-)

  61. Elinor
    Elinor March 23, 2007 at 10:03 am |

    dee, really, stop lying. You’re only saying that to get attention. Women don’t have sexual feelings! We just want to be cuddled and protected. If your dad had paid enough attention to you, you wouldn’t need to engage in this charade where you pretend you have desires and drives, as if you were an actual person.

  62. Suz
    Suz March 23, 2007 at 10:04 am |

    I went to the result page itself and found these 2 “gems” under the question “Leotards, sheer skirts, and tutus in theatre or dance performances are immodest”

    Well, yes. It makes guys want to look at the crotch *grin*

  63. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 10:08 am |

    A lot of these men think that they OWN public spaces – and cannot conceive of being “stumbling blocks” themselves. Yeah, right. Honey, if you’re mowing that lawn of your shirtless – don’t pretend that the ladies aren’t looking.

  64. Lune
    Lune March 23, 2007 at 10:09 am |

    I personally find “stumbling blocks” to be hot. Seriously though, the worst part is the implication that men are ravenous beasts that need women to behave in a certain way to be faithful. LIke they think they can tell Jesus that they would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling skirts.

  65. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 10:10 am |

    I have to admit I laughed at the “Barbie” comment. But I felt guilty about it. ;-)

    It wasn’t funny to me – because it wasn’t meant in a fun way (I mean, it should have been – considering the fact that I’m about as Barbie-esque as the next chick), but in a “who does that idiot think she is?” sort of way.

  66. Ugly in Pink
    Ugly in Pink March 23, 2007 at 10:12 am |

    Elinor – I agree. To a certain sort of closet case, religion is an excellent and handy excuse for why they aren’t attracted to women. They’re just holy! And it fits in so nicely with the anti-gay propaganda about homosexuality being a sinful temptation, which just confuses straight people but rings very, very true to a significant proportion of fundies. A decent number of these guys probably view women sort of like children view brussels sprouts. Poor guys.

  67. magikmama
    magikmama March 23, 2007 at 10:14 am |

    The only proper response to this is a quote from Buffy.

    “I’m 16! Linoleum makes me think about sex!”

  68. DAS
    DAS March 23, 2007 at 10:15 am |

    The female body is a powerful gift, intended for one man.

    I know you said not to respond to this, but given my (Reform Jewish, but still in some ways a bit traditional about “morality”) upbringing I cannot help but respond how they would have taught us in my shul:

    The female body is a powerful gift, intended for one man or one woman. The male body is a powerful girft, intended for one woman or one man.

  69. Jenny Dreadful
    Jenny Dreadful March 23, 2007 at 10:16 am |

    Those results have been available for a while, haven’t they? I remember reading through them when they first came out. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  70. ginmar
    ginmar March 23, 2007 at 10:19 am |

    Also, and this is something that I’ve been thinking about as of late – it’s interesting how some of these ah, lovely boys’ (not men, dammit) arguments are similar to certain feminist arguments, i.e., if you’ve put on some lipstick and a tank top – you are doing it for men, and you are a fool, or worse. The motivation, I believe, is different, but there’s something to this, no?

    It’s a strawfeminist. Heard it a million times. “OMG, feminists were mean to me because I LOVE men AND lipstick and…..” Dude, I got mugged by a black guy once. Doesn’t make me hate black guys, it makes me hate MUGGERS. That’s assuming that there are feminists out there acting like, you know, strawfeminists do. According to their alleged victims, strawfeminists go around kicking puppies with their combat boots covering their hairy legs, spitting on babies and beating up men and housewives. They also have bonfires of books, pretty dresses, and makeup. I’ve been a feminist for twenty years and I’ve never seen one or heard this sentiment first hand; it’s always second hand.

  71. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 10:19 am |

    But I think it’s important for feminists to be able to criticize the fashion and beauty industries

    Hell yeah.

  72. dee
    dee March 23, 2007 at 10:22 am |

    Elinor, you’re right. I repent.

    Did anyone else notice that this survery was ‘endorsed’ by none other than Albert Mohler head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary? He’s the guy who wants to treat in utero fetuses who carry the homosexual gene . Too creepy for me.

  73. ginmar
    ginmar March 23, 2007 at 10:22 am |

    HIt submit too fast. You know who I hear about the strawfeminist from? Guys. There’s a few other types of people who do this, but it’s mostly guys, usually. Stupid, ignorant guys who believe what Faux News says about ‘feminazis’. Actual quote: “You can’t be a feminist! You like fancy underwear!” This was from a dumber-than-a-box-of-rocks guy. He hadn’t met any feminists, he admitted; he hadn’t read any books; he’d just accepted bullshit from people who hated feminists.It made his world a whole lot nicer if he could imagine a certain percentage of women—the ones who complained about him—-were evil creatures.

  74. Frumious B
    Frumious B March 23, 2007 at 10:23 am |

    The assumption is that men are so animalistic that they’re unable to control themselves at the sight of a fitted t-shirt, and so shallow that they place a woman’s fashion choices and the status of her hymen above her personality, intelligence, independence and general humanity.

    I disagree. The assumption is that men are so priviledged that they don’t need to control themselves. They are not just free but encouraged to pass this burden onto women, thus relieving themselves of the onerous duty of acting like decent human beings. Reason #3758 why Patriarchy benefits men.

    Today I am wearing a semi-sheer, long-sleeved, button-down shirt with a spaghetti-strap tank top underneath. I am thrilled to learn that I am driving off all the Christian nutjobs with this outfit. I shall make a point of wearing it more often.

  75. Sirkowski
    Sirkowski March 23, 2007 at 10:24 am |

    Ask your Dad and brothers about everything.

    EEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!
    There’s things I don’t want my sister to ask me.

  76. emjaybee
    emjaybee March 23, 2007 at 10:29 am |

    What’s mind boggling is how these guys go on and on…and never seem to hear how ridiculous they sound, OR ever consider what it would cost a girl to live up to their “standards”–wearing burqas and never leaving the house, for one, and in reality, just not existing at all. Because even a house bound burqa’d woman who never looked anyone in the eye would still incite lust in these bozos, if she was the only woman around. And they still wouldn’t clue in that it was something that happened in their tiny brains, not something she was in any way responsible for. There is no winning in the game they are playing, if you’re a woman. And there’s never any responsibility for controlling your own thoughts and actions, if you’re a man.

    Sheebus.

  77. Sarah
    Sarah March 23, 2007 at 10:52 am |

    A lot of young Christian men are gay and struggle for years with it…even marrying some poor girl who has to wonder why her body isn’t attractive to her mate. It’s sad how the evangelical culture has made a vengeful god out of sex and purity to the extent that kids are literally getting married to have sex, and they’re confusing this with “really powerful, God-given love”. And then, the natural outcome is they’re stuck in this marriage with someone they either have a) no chemistry with or b) never really loved in the first place, and with no means to fix the problem, without suffering repercussions not only in their own lives, but from the community around them.

    Here’s what is so disturbing to me: these thought processes, while, yes, extremely damaging to women, are just as damaging to men. I went to a Christian college and had a very good friend admit to me that he was gay, and through his tears, explained to me how hard it was in chapel not to look at all the fine young men around him, going so far as to fold his hands in his lap and not raise his eyes at all. Guess what? He ended up marrying a very nice Christian girl in an effort to “cure” himself.

    Soon, these poor boys get so horny, that to talk on a forum in this manner is erotic. And, it’s much easier to shame the woman than to admit that they’re going out of their minds. The issue at hand is not modesty, it’s the fact that they’re taught an extremely unhealthy view of sex, first, that it’s for a man’s pleasure with his wife (and no one else, not even himself or a girl he’s dating…who could potentially be his wife, but WAIT, WAIT! they’re not married yet), and second, that it’s a girl’s fault if they should “fall” into temptation (the girls, on the flip side, are taught that in order to not make a man stumble, they should not want sex at all…since they’ll never want it as much as a man, it’ll hurt anyway, and it’s a dirty, dirty thing outside of marriage…a thought process which, funnily enough, still follows them into marriage.)

    As angry as I want to be, I’m so much more saddened. It’s a sick, sick harmful environment, and it’s breeding sick people.

  78. Kas
    Kas March 23, 2007 at 10:53 am |

    At least one of those guys gets it. In response to “As a guy, what is your responsibility in this area? What is your role in guarding your eyes and mind (as opposed to the women’s role of dressing modestly)?”

    The ultimate responsibility is absolutely my own. No matter how a woman is dressed, it is my responsibility to treat both her and myself with respect and to honor Christ with all my actions. If I ever feel that I might not be able to control myself or my thoughts, it’s my responsibility to leave the situation. Guys who blame women for their own bad behavior are a major problem. Furthermore, it’s my responsibility to dress and act modestly as well; women have their own God-given sexuality as well, and if I ask them to help me control my libido, I am honor-bound to do the same to help my sisters in Christ.

  79. Rilee Morgan
    Rilee Morgan March 23, 2007 at 11:10 am |

    “Modesty is always important, but the practical application of the principle (i.e., what type of clothes) varies with build.”

    Translation: “Modesty is important, and since, as a woman, your every action must refer to the opinions of others on your body, you really have a greater responsibility to cover up those tits than the A-cup darling next to you does, you filthy fucking succubus.”

    A translation that captures the original thought more accurately might read: “I can see your dirty pillows!”

    Classy~

  80. Lizard
    Lizard March 23, 2007 at 11:17 am |

    Most of the secular men I know wouldn’t be able to tell you what an Empire waist even is, for example.

    The Modesty Survey helpfully provided photos of most of the types of immodest clothing it named….just in case the boys didn’t know what they were referring to .

    What’s particularly disheartening (though certainly not surprising) is the blind buy-in of the “girls” on that site. When the survey was still in progress (and just after the results were released), there were several discussion threads on the Rebelution website in which hundreds of young women wrote to say “Thank you, thank you, thank you, brothers in Christ, for helping us be godly!!! We couldn’t possibly do it without you!!!!” or variations thereupon.

    If a poster dared to suggest that this survey might be insulting, reductive, or otherwise troublesome, she was quickly set straight and prayed for by the others. When one girl submitted a gushing, squeeing post saying that she just couldn’t wait for the results to be published, one of the site’s nauseatingly paternalistic 18-year-old creators responded by chiding her gently for her overeagerness, and she quickly replied with a blushing apology for her sin of impatience.

    The same moderator (or perhaps the other one, his twin brother) tossed out a handful of comments along the lines of “Isn’t it funny that all these feminists think we’re insulting women, when in fact we’ve got 1,100 GUYS admitting their weakness and asking for the help of their sisters in Christ?” Oh, yep, they’ve got us there.

    And that’s the extent of their understanding of gender roles: Women tempt; men lust. (Cf. John Berger: “Men look at women, women watch themselves being looked at.”) We’re all sinners, but fortunately, both sexes can be saved through the magic of burlap and A-line skirts.

    (I was cruising the site in the guise of a 21-year-old Jesus-loving male. I am none of those things.)

  81. greensmile
    greensmile March 23, 2007 at 11:20 am |

    Couldn’t get past your 2nd paragraph. You are describing the Taliban, Tennesee division. Why all the Xtian trappings I wonder.

  82. Matt
    Matt March 23, 2007 at 11:27 am |

    This is pretty huge in Muslim West African countries too, I’m on my seventh month in West Africa. The ‘natural’ differences between men and women are used to justify taking 2nd, 3rd, and 4th wives in supposedly Prophet-approved polygyny. Men’s sexual needs are conceived of being on the same level of need as food, water or shelter. And women can only satisfy you so much, so you’ve got to have multiple wives or at least a mistress (of course polyandry (even casually) is still the province of harlots because women that do that destroy themselves, physically and morally). This is interesting because it’s the same deal as with these misguided folk: Women must be these bastions of self-control while men just have to do their five pillars and aside from that you can get off with whatever nice gazelle ‘wiggles on her merry way’ in front of you like you were picking up a sandwich at the deli. Double standard hell. Of course there are other peripheral things to all of that, but that’s essentially the heart of the matter. I especially don’t want to open the can of peanut brittle that is purity and its inherent misogyny. It would seem as though that patriarchy’s got leg up on us of sorts, not like that’s news.

  83. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne March 23, 2007 at 11:32 am |

    When the survey was still in progress (and just after the results were released), there were several discussion threads on the Rebelution website in which hundreds of young women wrote to say “Thank you, thank you, thank you, brothers in Christ, for helping us be godly!!! We couldn’t possibly do it without you!!!!” or variations thereupon.

    The sad part is, they probably are very relieved to feel like they finally have “rules” to follow that will stop these supposedly Christian guys from staring at them and harassing them.

    Of course, the day quickly follows when the girls realize that the guys aren’t respecting the rules that they themselves insisted on, and are still staring/commenting even if a girl is dressed with perfect modesty as the guys defined it.

    Some girls will finally wake up at that point but, sadly, others will continue to blame themselves for being sinners who are so powerful that they can tempt men even through modest dress.

  84. Robert M.
    Robert M. March 23, 2007 at 11:37 am |

    I have quite a bit of sympathy for some of the survey’s respondents. Most of them sound like they’re trying to square having a libido with their (admittedly externalized, patriarchal, and misogynist) sense of morality.

    My ire is really reserved for the adults, who should know better, helping to propagate this nonsense. It’s brainwashing: using the human desire to belong to a group, along with the desire for purpose, to prop up their nasty little hierarchy.

    This is one of the many things that has led me to believe that religion, despite the claims of its defenders, is not a net force for good in society.

  85. brynn
    brynn March 23, 2007 at 11:49 am |

    Wow, there is so much disturbing and scary about these guys and their immature, rigid, and ridiculous attempts to cut off from their sexuality and then blame women when they–predictably!–don’t succeed.

    Most of it’s been said in this thread. But I’ll add just one small comment. I really never knew that modern people still used the word “harlot” other than in a humorous context!

  86. bmc90
    bmc90 March 23, 2007 at 11:56 am |

    So if I’m good if I let my leg and under arm hair grow out, wear a loose shirt with both Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem on the front, Berkinstocks and baggy camo pants, because I’m fairly sure that not many man are going to be offering to pick up my bar tab, right? Problem solved for these poor easily misled lambs. Of course, we all know that this getup would evoke screams of “be feminine”, right? Could these guys please just spank off before leaving the house and quit bugging the rest of us?

  87. Alan
    Alan March 23, 2007 at 12:07 pm |
  88. DAS
    DAS March 23, 2007 at 12:08 pm |

    I’m fairly sure that not many man are going to be offering to pick up my bar tab, right? – bmc90

    If I didn’t already have a gf, I would. ;)

    But then, the manly Christian types would not consider me a “real man”, ’cause I like show tunes and cooking a bit much and I’m non-Christian besides.

  89. lindsay
    lindsay March 23, 2007 at 12:18 pm |

    They talk about how their soooo not concerned with sex. But these types of men are the most perverted, sex obsessed bastards on the planet. They really have no will power. These are the types of men that would rape a woman and blame it on the short skirt she was wearing. Sons of bitches. I’m proud of my body and I like to wear cute clothes and fix my hair to show it, and if that makes these men feel dirty inside, that’s all the more reason for me to continue doing it. I hope they go home and scrape their eyes out.

    This stuff doesn’t scare me though, because this view is definitely a small minority. I don’t really believe that the vast majority of men, at least in the US, would go for someone that looks like their bound for the lord’s house 24/7. That doesn’t exactly reek of hotness.

  90. bmc90
    bmc90 March 23, 2007 at 12:20 pm |

    Jill, I make zero apology for any gender normative behavior I choose to engage in. This is the hand I have been dealt and learend to cope with for nearly 4 decades, and I would find it deeply uncomforable to have to wake up tomorrow and have to act the way men are socialized to act, or just reject all gender . I just don’t sit at the back of the bus, accept less pay for the same work, do more than half of the domestic chores, allow others to make decisions about my own health, or tolerate anyone treating other women that way. I think that’s a pretty tall order without worrying about whether St. Peter will let you into the feminist section of heaven for having worn eye shadow.

  91. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 12:28 pm |

    When she visited campus, Joyce Carol Oates said that “strong feminists, can, and should, critique various avenues of feminist thought.”

    That was a few years ago, and it made me flinch at the time, but she had a point.

    What I’ve encountered wasn’t plain meanness – it was an exercise in power, in questioning my abilities, and in a workplace environment no less. It wasn’t a feminist pow-wow where I showed up wearing heels and the other women didn’t. It was a whole lot closer to home, and a whole lot more pointed and specific.

    I personally don’t believe in a warm and fuzzy and diverse “sisterhood” that can bridge all divides and empower all. I have my way of doing things, and other people have theirs. I don’t apologize, and neither should they. But if an accomplished older woman is going to threaten me professionally because I’ve a predilection for the colour pink and whatnot, or, in a different scenario, practically pat me on the head and tell me what a “victim” I am – I am not going to trust that woman, like I wouldn’t trust a man who says that I am a “victim” (of my own wanton sexual nature, of course) because I generally don’t conform to HIS standards of appropriate dress.

    Other people’s standards are not going to be my problem in this instance. Period.

    I think that there is definitely a link between women who say that “you’re dressing solely for the men” and men who say “you’re dressing solely for us.” I don’t think that women who say these things are thinking about throwing me down and raping me a la those nice Christian boys who are thinking “bad thoughts” and wanking off in the corner – but having someone try to railroad you with the “Barbie” offense still sucks, especially if you’re just trying to get by and earn a living.

  92. Nicki
    Nicki March 23, 2007 at 12:46 pm |

    I haven’t read all of the comments here, so I may be repeating somebody else’s point, but I did find this interesting:

    The ultimate responsibility is absolutely my own. No matter how a woman is dressed, it is my responsibility to treat both her and myself with respect and to honor Christ with all my actions. If I ever feel that I might not be able to control myself or my thoughts, it’s my responsibility to leave the situation. Guys who blame women for their own bad behavior are a major problem. Furthermore, it’s my responsibility to dress and act modestly as well; women have their own God-given sexuality as well, and if I ask them to help me control my libido, I am honor-bound to do the same to help my sisters in Christ.

    While I clearly don’t agree with most of the survey results/comments, there are a few like this one in the Open Question – “As a guy, what is your responsibility in this area? What is your role in guarding your eyes and mind (as opposed to the women’s role of dressing modestly)? ” answers. It’s good to see them there.

  93. Lynet
    Lynet March 23, 2007 at 12:57 pm |

    At least one of those guys gets it.

    Yeah, the open question about “as a guy, what is your responsibility in this area” is slightly heartening. It seems to show that, at least when asked to consider the possibility, a lot of these men will concede that they have responsibility for their own actions. Many of them say that they have a responsibility to dress modestly, too. I was happy to read several like this:

    We need to keep our thoughts pure and stop blaming girls for our impure thoughts. And guys can be modest too. Nobody EVER touches on that. We can be just as distracting to a girl as they are to us. Keep your shirt on. Pull your pants up. Seriously.

    I guess the ones we should be worried about are those that don’t take responsibility for their own feelings even when the idea is sugested. There are lots of good replies to that question (at least when you take into account that believing that lust is bad is basically a given for these people), but there are a few stinkers, too.

  94. Elinor
    Elinor March 23, 2007 at 1:09 pm |

    I went to a Christian college and had a very good friend admit to me that he was gay, and through his tears, explained to me how hard it was in chapel not to look at all the fine young men around him, going so far as to fold his hands in his lap and not raise his eyes at all. Guess what? He ended up marrying a very nice Christian girl in an effort to “cure” himself.

    God, what a sad situation for both of them.

    My first serious boyfriend was gay and heavily closeted and thought I could “fix” him if I would just be attractive enough. It was a painful experience, and also incredibly true to stereotype — watch the early episodes of Six Feet Under, or the Angels in America miniseries where the closeted Mormon character is berating his wife for not being “pretty” enough to have sex with, or the movie with Julianne Moore as a 1950s housewife with an angry closeted husband (Far From Heaven?) and that’s my ex up there on the screen. It’s ugly.

    Soon, these poor boys get so horny, that to talk on a forum in this manner is erotic.

    I definitely got the feeling they were getting a sexual charge out of writing this stuff. I mean! Finally! A “godly” excuse to think, read, and write about boobs! And legs! And underwear!

  95. dee
    dee March 23, 2007 at 1:15 pm |

    I definitely got the feeling they were getting a sexual charge out of writing this stuff. I mean! Finally! A “godly” excuse to think, read, and write about boobs! And legs! And underwear!

    BINGO!

    And I suspect there are more than a few ‘sexual charges’ flying off the pulpit, as well.

  96. nausicaa
    nausicaa March 23, 2007 at 1:17 pm |

    I actually feel sorry for these boys — the standards they’re laboring under are damaging to their own sexuality and the prospect of forming strong relationships with women as equals. It’s really the adults who are to blame. And no matter how repulsive some of their sentiments are, I can’t help but prefer them to the frat boyz who are all, “bitches and hos, yeah, do me!” These kids are at least somewhat countercultural, which counts for something — they’re already thinking about gender roles, and so with a little education and a little worldly experience, some of them may grow up into thoughtful feminists

    But if an accomplished older woman is going to threaten me professionally because I’ve a predilection for the colour pink and whatnot

    The “accomplished older woman” might be (in part) projecting — she may have come up in an era where she felt she had to scrupulously protect a nonsexualized image in the workplace in order to be taken seriously. And she might be jealous and angry that you don’t have the same hurdles to face. And, like it or not, she may also be giving you advice that’s still relevant in today’s workplace — a sexualized or girlish image, expressed through clothing or doing things like baking cookies for the office, just isn’t good for career advancement.

    Then again, she may just have an Althouse-like boob obsession.

  97. DAS
    DAS March 23, 2007 at 1:21 pm |

    Far From Heaven

    Yes. I do believe that’s the title. In general, a very good movie too. It plays around with stereotypes in an interesting way. Everybody is so shocked that such a “manly” man as Quaid’s character in the film is gay, yet if you look closely, many of his mannerisms (e.g. how he sits) are stereotypically effeminate. I’m not sure how purposeful this was, or what the message is, if anything, but it’s interesting to note.

    Also, for a more comic take on that sad situation, consider the movie Saved!.

  98. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 1:30 pm |

    Just to clarify – I think it’s perfectly fine to tell me, “hey Natalia, why the hell are you wearing those high heels if they hurt your feet so much?” (I don’t wear high heels, but let’s pretend I do). Or, “why did you spend your hard-earned cash on that Chanel powder compact, Natalia?” (have definitely done that – status and luxury, baby, status and luxury) etc.

    It’s not OK to say – “Natalia’s a skank who can’t do her job because she wears high heels.”

    Also OK, “Natalia, the way your legs look when you wear those heels? Hot.”

    Not OK – “Natalia, you’re turning me on with your heels. You are a harlot. If you get raped, that’s totally your fault. Also, you’re going to hell.”

  99. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 1:31 pm |

    Then again, she may just have an Althouse-like boob obsession.

    Mmmm…. boobies….

  100. Heraclitus (Jeff)
    Heraclitus (Jeff) March 23, 2007 at 1:37 pm |

    I think there’s a big difference between feminist critiques of beauty rituals and this rebelutin’ site. Feminists criticize other women’s behavior because they respect them and think they can and should know better (although any argument of this sort will inevitably be abused by a handful of jackasses and wielded as a weapon); it’s an argument addressed to women as thinking beings who can understand the consequences of beauty culture and act accordingly. The modesty patrol are telling women how to dress because they consider women subservient; they’re addressing women as if they’re too stupid to make their own decisions, and as if they have no right doing so in any case. It’s like teh difference between telling a woman she shouldn’t worry about something because she should be able to see how unimportant it is and telling her not to worry because it will give her wrinkles.

  101. arielladrake
    arielladrake March 23, 2007 at 1:43 pm |

    What I’ve encountered wasn’t plain meanness – it was an exercise in power, in questioning my abilities, and in a workplace environment no less. It wasn’t a feminist pow-wow where I showed up wearing heels and the other women didn’t. It was a whole lot closer to home, and a whole lot more pointed and specific.

    So a woman you worked with was an asshole and this extrapolates to “feminist arguments” that lipstick is inherently bad – how, exactly?

    Natalie, I do think feminist critiques of the beauty industry require a certain sensitivity (whilst not relinquishing their critical power), and I hate people who jump on women for performing aspects of stereotypical (white, middle-class) femininity without any knowledge of the woman they’re heaping shit on. But I think better of feminism than to label such behaviour as ‘feminist’. As far as I’m concerned it’s decidedly unfeminist behaviour, because part of feminism is eradicating the kind of culture that rewards us for tearing the crap out of each other and enacting the catfight rubric.

  102. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 1:53 pm |

    So a woman you worked with was an asshole and this extrapolates to “feminist arguments” that lipstick is inherently bad – how, exactly?

    You can use any ideology as a weapon, if you know what you’re doing. It doesn’t make said ideology “bad.” Did I imply that anywhere?

    and I hate people who jump on women for performing aspects of stereotypical (white, middle-class) femininity without any knowledge of the woman they’re heaping shit on.

    Ah, but mine is an “ethnic-flavoured,” Ukrainian, insidious femininity… Or so I’m told.

    But I think better of feminism than to label such behaviour as ‘feminist’.

    I think feminists are very diverse. I don’t think we should all be required to get along. Should we? I mean, I’m open to any idea here, honestly, because all of this is very dynamic. And I did point out that this behaviour is not representative of feminism as a whole – but certain strands of feminism. But where I’m living now – said “strands” are dominating the landscape.

    Oh, and it’s Natalia. Not Natalie… It’s a pet-peeve of mine. :-)

  103. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 1:56 pm |

    Oh, and it wasn’t one woman… It was… I don’t want to give too much away – this stuff involves very real instances in my life, and I do blog under my real name. But it’s happened a handful of times over the past few years, and it’s sort of got me thinking that I need a fresh start somewhere else. And I hope to get one.

  104. Natalia
    Natalia March 23, 2007 at 1:59 pm |

    Gah! I think I’ve totally hijacked this thread. I’m sorry.

    It’s nvantonova@gmail.com – if you want to talk more.

  105. BunBun vonWhiskers
    BunBun vonWhiskers March 23, 2007 at 2:08 pm |

    Speaking as a heterosexual male, I find this survey unbelievably silly. It really doesn’t matter what a female wears, as there will be somebody who finds it alluring. A woman can dress herself up in a steel-reinforced armored muumuu and there will be some horny guy saying, “Whoa, check out those rivets!” This survey is simply a way to redirect male guilt over thinking impure thoughts into blame towards women.

    Men have impure thoughts, that’s just life. What we do with them is what is important. Any male who takes this stuff seriously is going to be taking a huge step back.

  106. Christina
    Christina March 23, 2007 at 2:28 pm |

    Something bad happened in my brain when I read this:

    That will help all of us so much. Thank you so much for desiring to serve us!

    I think something important burst.

  107. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom March 23, 2007 at 2:31 pm |

    vaginas vacuum-sealed for freshness. that completely cracked me up. like giving the girls a little silver ring AND some very specially designed Tupperware to go with it…

    So that’s why it makes that burping noise when you – er, nevermind.

    Just as you wouldn’t give your most prized possession to everyone on the street, so you shouldn’t share the secrets of your body with any man other than your husband

    Actually, I thought that, well, the New Testament sorta encouraged giving your most prized possessions to everyone on the street. I can see where that might not be the most popular part, though.

  108. DAS
    DAS March 23, 2007 at 2:56 pm |

    you shouldn’t share the secrets of your body with any man other than your husband

    That should be the next thread here, nu? What secrets of your body do you wish to share?

    I’ll start (although I know thanks to ye olde double standarde a man sharing the secrets of his body is no big whup to them):

    my GI system has a malevalent intelligence that wishes to embarrass me and thus gurgles at the most inopportune times.

    I’m sure I could share other secrets with y’all and my gf wouldn’t mind.

    BTW — Ledasmom: you do have a point. IIRC, while some of the Gnostic Christians eschewed sex as something evil relating to bodily urges, others pretty much did take your reasoning to that conclusion …

  109. arvan
    arvan March 23, 2007 at 3:01 pm |

    Uh…this survey is complete crap. Another example of men banding together to declare women as responsible for the actions of men. They say things like:

    “It’s her fault she got raped – she was dressed like a whore!”

    “She’s marriage material – she keeps a clean house, covers up and keeps her mouth shut”

    God forbid these ignoramus men stand up and say what they really think:

    “I grabbed her ass because I knew I could get away with it and she is just a f’in woman!”

    Or, by some miracle they say:

    “Jesus F’in Christ, I am responsible for my own actions and NOT YOU!”

  110. Oni Baba
    Oni Baba March 23, 2007 at 3:08 pm |

    It’s interesting to see that their website illustrates the survey with a picture of a woman veiling her face.

    Fundies are the Taliban of the Western world.

  111. W. Kiernan
    W. Kiernan March 23, 2007 at 3:25 pm |

    goofin’…

    Xtian dude: Could she get down on the floor and play with a group of toddlers without losing several articles of clothing? Could she get away from a threatening situation without spraining an ankle? Could she prepare and maintain a house and its members easily? Could she be the Proverbs 31 woman dressed like that?

    Could she climb a gol durned bob wire fence without gettin her frillies all hung up? Can she wade thu a durn cypress swamp and not get no bugs in her undies? Can she walk in clay mud without gettin her shoes sucked right offen her feet? Has she got leggins for protection against snake-bite? If so, my company’s takin applications for a job as a survey rodman, I mean rod person.

    another Xtian dude: you’re a girl and you were created much, much differently than a guy.

    It’s funny how some people, in order not to seem ill-spoken by using an adjective as an adverb, over-correct and use the adverb where the adjective would be correct. Girls and guys are not created differently, the delicious act of creation being identical for either. They are, however, created different.

    another Xtian dude: If you don’t have a dad or brother to ask about the propriety of specific outfits or articles, try to find a brother in Christ who you can ask. As helpful as surveys and things like this can be, they can’t ever answer a question like “Does THIS pattern draw too much attention to my chest?”

    Oh man, I’m sure glad neither of my daughters ever asked me a cringe-o-matic question like that. It would have been particularly embarrassing if they had pointed.

    another Xtian dude: They take advantage of something that God intended to be beautiful.

    Great job, “God”! What a success!

    another Xtian dude: The female body is a powerful gift, intended for one man.

    And this is that man.

    another Xtian dude: It drives me crazy. They are the type of girls that I do not want to be around. Not only will they most likely cause me to sin, but they will not help me to grow as a follower of Christ.

    But what about St. Swithin, who used to sleep with not one but two nubile young misses specifically so as to steel himself against temptation? He’s a saint and you aren’t, Xtian Dude, and remember: that which does not destroy you only makes you stronger!

    Our host: Never before have I been so tempted to dress up in a booty shorts and boobie tassles and go shake my titties in the faces of some young Christian men.

    Don’t do it! That’s what they’re trying to trick you into doing! It’s reverse-psychology!

  112. Sniper
    Sniper March 23, 2007 at 4:00 pm |

    My stumbling block is about 6′2″, 190 pounds, dark hair and skin, shirtless, and looks like he has a baked potato stuffed down the front of his jeans.

    dee, are you talking about the only reason I watch Lost, or is this person in your actual life. If so…. jealous.

    Oddly enough, I find myself watching young men more than ever, and I’m older than most of these kids’ mothers. Is it my fault all the new hires are so cute?

    The only really funny part of this is that the poor young idiots really seem to think that women are attracting them on purpose in order to screw up their lives. Honey, it’s not them, it’s you.

  113. Katie
    Katie March 23, 2007 at 4:00 pm |

    Just as you wouldn’t give your most prized possession to everyone on the street, so you shouldn’t share the secrets of your body with any man other than your husband

    Actually, I thought that, well, the New Testament sorta encouraged giving your most prized possessions to everyone on the street.

    *starts laughing and doesn’t stop for a day*

    Right on!

    (By the way, I’ve heard from a preacher that Jesus talked more about money and what to do with it than anything else. Unfortunately, preachers don’t get to talk more about money and what is moral to do with it than anything else because if they did, they wouldn’t have enough attendees to keep the roof patched.)

  114. bekabot
    bekabot March 23, 2007 at 4:14 pm |

    It actually really angers me. I find it disrespectful. I don’t think they get it. Do they realize that they have just caused someone to have sexual thoughts about them in their mind? Now the guy feels bad because he fell AGAIN and the girl wiggles on her merry way.

    If I could say anything to any one of these young men, I’d remind him that the Scriptural path is not as arduous his Evangelicism makes out. A life in Christ difficult enough, God knows; it’s difficult enough that I myself abandoned it. (Vengefulness and not lust was my impediment, and it’s an impediment that I did not in the end manage to overcome, but that’s just me, and that’s another story.) However, Jesus never intended that His strictures be impossible to observe. He said that a man who committed adultery in his heart had in fact committed real adultery, and from that basis it’s not difficult to conclude that a man who has committed fornication in his heart has committed real fornication; but Jesus also said, not only that forgiveness for sin was possible, but that angels rejoice more over sinners who are forgiven than over the righteous conduct of those who do not require forgiveness.

    When Jesus made his observation regarding adultery, He must have made it knowing that not only men but women constantly commit adultery in their hearts, and that (consequently) pretty much the entire body of married folk were guilty, at least in thought, of the very promiscuity their marriages were intended to obvert. The Christian rule says that innocence in deed is not sufficient, though to the inwardly pure, all things are pure. The Christian rule allows for no evasions and would be intolerable, were it not for the fact that what it demands is not a peerless legalistic correctness of behavior but an alteration of the spirit under which (so it is promised) the pitfalls and pratfalls of human life will appear in another light, in a different guise.

    So I’d tell any one of these young men or all of ‘em en masse to buck up and pull themselves together. I’d remind them that it’s not just them, I’d remind them that practically everybody “falls” (girls too), and I’d remind them that they’re bound to meet more formidable challenges in life than those posed by young women whose T-shirts are too tight. (Honestly.) Don’t waste your spiritual strength (as streams on the ground) battling these spiritual phantoms, boys. Real spiritual challenges abound: just look around, and you’ll see them everywhere. After which, I guarantee, though you’ll still be young and male and horny, and though you’ll still be apt to get distracted by girls, you won’t be so hopelessly preoccupied with the decorations on your sister’s shirt.

  115. Michelle
    Michelle March 23, 2007 at 4:19 pm |

    If you don’t have a dad or brother to ask about the propriety of specific outfits or articles, try to find a brother in Christ who you can ask. As helpful as surveys and things like this can be, they can’t ever answer a question like “Does THIS pattern draw too much attention to my chest?”

    I’m sure he’ll be happy to do it and do a very thorough inspection of your clothing and how closely it fits to your breasts. Then he’ll complain that you tempted him.

  116. Sylvs
    Sylvs March 23, 2007 at 4:55 pm |

    Oh boy. Okay, here goes. First a Disclaimer: I wear a hijab (Islamic headcovering) so take this for what it’s worth.

    1) You will *without fail* get attention no matter what you wear. I’ve literally been pinched when I wore a Burqa and I’ve been pinched when I wore my tight t-shirts and jeans. However, I can say, based on my experience, that I do not get stared at as often now that I wear looser clothing and cover my hair. And in all honesty, that depends on who is near me. In the summer, I get very little attention because most women around me wear less clothing (generally speaking) and most men (and women) focus on them. (This is not excluding the “Oh my god- I can’t believe she’s dressed like that in this heat, and she must be so hot, and I bet her dad/husband/Mullah makes her wear it, you know. I wonder if they wear it to sleep?” :: This was a real conversation I was honored to have overheard because they assumed I did not speak English. :: ) But if I were in a Muslim country and all the women looked like me, I would garner the same attention as a normally dressed woman in shorts and a t-shirt. It’s not black and white, but many shades of gray.

    Orthodox Jewish culture commands modest attire, but they don’t engage in this sort of childishness unless I am mistaken. You do see it in Islam.

    I don’t agree, I’m sorry. Every religion and culture puts the onus on women, and every single one of them derides women for being temptresses.

    I can only speak from experience but within my culture (I’m Arabic) men are continuously being labeled as “helpless” in terms of sexual impulses, but women are not sexless (in any, way shape or form.) If anything, they’re scared shitless because they’re afraid that women are so “naturally” sexed up that they have to be held back or made to marry ASAP because they are that lustful, and yet they can be taught or reared (like a child) to follow obedience which they are “naturally” inclined to do. An oxymoron to say the least…

  117. Argent
    Argent March 23, 2007 at 5:01 pm |

    Gah, reading more of the exerpts is bringing back nasty teenage memories. (I was shy, mentally young but physically developed and when a couple of older boys watched me walking home from school it really started. I was 11, they were almost 18. I was a CHILD. Ahem).

    Trying to look at this logically…so basically, lust = badness. Women’s bodies create lust. Therefore women’s bodies = badness.

    ….we’ve come a long way, baby…

  118. AnthroBabe
    AnthroBabe March 23, 2007 at 5:27 pm |

    Delurking to just post this…

    “wet cleavage is more of a stumbling block than dry cleavage”

    Gawd.

    This whole survey is creepy and woman-hating to the extreme. Who knew we had so much POWER on innocent men? Perhaps these Xtian boys are really feminists in disguise? Erk.

  119. a second kate
    a second kate March 23, 2007 at 5:29 pm |

    I also have the experience of getting less unwanted male attention when “modestly” dressed. However, I found that in American cities those who do pay attention to me are more dangerous, actually seeking to violate someone. They are more likely to break major boundaries like touching and following. The meatheads who make comments when I’m dressed more in average range are annoying, but generally not dangerous in public while sober.

  120. luxdancer
    luxdancer March 23, 2007 at 5:50 pm |

    This is kind of a tangent, probably simplistic and overgeneralized, but semi-related:

    About the concept of modest clothing – I wonder if there is any relationship with the concept of boundaries. In establishing “modesty”, is one, in fact, erecting a visual boundary between the viewer and the viewed?

    And in that context – isn’t there some underlying desire for people to break boundaries when they come across them? To desire that which is forbidden? And especially socialized in men (in our war-mongering, military language – re: Christian Soldiers) to conquer, that is to breach those walls, those boundaries?

  121. Lauren
    Lauren March 23, 2007 at 5:51 pm |

    Try this at home: Take a unblown balloon and on it write, in large print, something like this, “Someday My Prince Will Come.” Now blow up the balloon to about the size of your bust, and try to read the words. Does it draw attention to the curve of the balloon? Yes! Especially with a longer message. A message printed your upper chest may be a less distracting choice.

    Someday My Prince Will Come…
    All Over My Luscious Harlot Titties.

  122. Steven
    Steven March 23, 2007 at 5:57 pm |

    Reich-wingers?

  123. Cara
    Cara March 23, 2007 at 6:00 pm |

    Sylvs, when you said:

    I wear a hijab (Islamic headcovering) so take this for what it’s worth.

    1) You will *without fail* get attention no matter what you wear. I’ve literally been pinched when I wore a Burqa and I’ve been pinched when I wore my tight t-shirts and jeans

    I wondered if you weren’t pinched when wearing the Burqa precisely BECAUSE of what you were wearing, rather than in spite of it. I have encountered attitudes of resentfulness and spite towards women in religious dress, something like, “Look at this bitch who thinks she can avoid getting harrassed by me” or maybe something even simpler like, “What a prude! I’ll show HER…” I know that sometimes modest dress actually elicits MORE sexual harrassment, because the harrasser wants to humiliate and demean a person they assume to be especially modest and easily embarrassed…

  124. Elinor
    Elinor March 23, 2007 at 6:06 pm |

    Ah, check out the survey item about whether women should wear baggy jumpers all the time!

    Girls find joy in looking pretty (I have 7 sisters from that ages of 3 to 20). Even if it’s a modest pretty. It helps them with their somewhat melancholy hormones to dress up and look like, well… a girl!

    Melancholy hormones! I love it!
    \
    And in the “hypocrisy” column:

    Sorry, as much as I hate it when people are showing too much, I hate it just as much when people look fat, lazy, unproffesional, and appear like a bag of potatoes. There is a line between immodesty and modesty. But I find it absurd to take modesty to the extreme in that women can’t show their skin any sunlight. An example can be that of the Islamic culture of the Middle East. Instead of modesty being an avenue for people (women) to practice holiness and righteousness, it gets turned into a way of oppression. Specifically a way for men to oppress women.

    Man! These poor girls don’t even get the questionable relief of being able to put on a long loose ankle-length dress and go about their business — they have to show just the RIGHT amount of curves and the RIGHT amount of skin. And they have to be thin, too.

  125. Michelle
    Michelle March 23, 2007 at 6:17 pm |

    Well just because the girls have to be modest doesn’t mean they’re allowed to not be pretty. Prettiness is obviously essential, they just have to be naturally pretty and wear feminine but not too revealing clothes. It’s very simple really….

  126. Henry Holland
    Henry Holland March 23, 2007 at 6:25 pm |

    Never before have I been so tempted to dress up in a booty shorts and boobie tassles and go shake my titties in the faces of some young Christian men.

    You should have been at the Subway on Western in the Adams District here in Los Angeles today then. I went in to get my lunch and there was about 10 Mormon guys, ages about 15-19, in there. The nicely pressed white short-sleeve shirts, the name tags with “Elder Juddson” on it, the whole bit. There were also four girls/women, dressed like it was still the Little House on the Prairie days. *sigh* cute Mormon guys.

    Note to Mitt Romney: the other patrons kept stealing glances at them, like they were from a planet in the Crab Nebula or something.

  127. Alarming Female
    Alarming Female March 23, 2007 at 6:26 pm |

    I think that girls who flaunt their bodies are struggling with the concept of true beauty.

    Geez, why would “girls” struggle with the concept of “true beauty”? Could it be the impossible standards? The double messages? The objectification?

    Maybe it’s America’s Next Top Model and their latest crime-scene-inspired photo shoot that Feminists To The Rescue just posted about. I’m struggling with that. Struggling with my desire to slap someone stupid enough to come up with that idea.

  128. raging red
    raging red March 23, 2007 at 6:49 pm |

    Someday My Prince Will Come…
    All Over My Luscious Harlot Titties.

    Ha! I wish I had said that.

  129. brynn
    brynn March 23, 2007 at 6:49 pm |

    W. Kiernan, why do you have to put down transsexuals to make your point (by linking to the story of the city manager of Largo, FL)?

    We don’t exist for your amusement, anymore than women do.

    Please evolve.

  130. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne March 23, 2007 at 7:04 pm |

    However, I found that in American cities those who do pay attention to me are more dangerous, actually seeking to violate someone. They are more likely to break major boundaries like touching and following.

    Yep. Because, sadly, those guys look at women in religious modest dress and think that they can be easily controlled and coerced. After all, look at the way they dress!

    It’s like the way it’s not uncommon for girls from conservative homes to be targeted for sexual assault and harassment on college campuses; the guys who do it assume that they’ll be too embarrassed to resist or complain. And, too often, they’re right.

  131. Casey
    Casey March 23, 2007 at 7:05 pm |

    As for women saving themselves for their husband and marriage, I for one agree with that.

    what do you propose we do w/ all the sluts? the girls who like sex, and don’t want to be married to their first boyfriend? and the gay folks, who CAN’T get married?

    or do you just pretend we all don’t exist? or that we don’t deserve sex?

  132. Norah
    Norah March 23, 2007 at 7:33 pm |

    Browsing thru these comments (at Rebelution) makes me feel sick and sad. It seems that just existing and being female is a “stumbling block” to these people, so why even bother to try?

    Second whoever said that these guys will have dreadful sex lives someday.

  133. W. Kiernan
    W. Kiernan March 23, 2007 at 7:42 pm |

    Sorry, I wasn’t trying to put down either transsexuals in general or Steve Stanton in particular. I was responding the fatuous assertion that “the female body is a powerful gift, intended for one man”. That’s obscene, isn’t it, the idea that any Person A’s body is intended for the use or possession of some other Person B? Clearly the one and only body “intended” for you is your own. Other human bodies unalienably belong to their various tenants and can not be yours, no matter what rubbish it says in Leviticus. Thus the only way a female body can rightly be “intended” for a man’s use or possession is if he wants to surgically render his own body female.

    That Steve Stanton case is some bullshit, isn’t it? No sooner did he announce he was going to do that thing than the Largo Moron’s Brigade, whose numbers, apparently, are legion, rose up and howled that he must be canned due to his “immorality”! Like Stanton’s personal business is any of their God damned business, either personal or official. That’s really immoral, for those jerks to wreck a stranger’s career because they’re compulsively incapable of keeping their noses out of other people’s bedrooms. Those purity freaks wouldn’t recognize moral decency if it came up and bit them on the ass.

  134. Hugo
    Hugo March 23, 2007 at 7:44 pm |

    Let me link to this piece by a young woman, fresh out of college, who writes for Christians for Biblical Equality. Marissa Cwik writes:

    The conversation about modesty in churches tends to focus on the biology of men and women—aspects that cannot be changed, only controlled. The conversation starts with biology and then transitions to “because of these aspects, therefore you should police your clothing.” Placing the blame on innate aspects of our identity contributes to the shame, helplessness, and distorted images of the body in the American church.

    And that’s from a young, bright, committed evangelical woman.

  135. Sayna
    Sayna March 23, 2007 at 8:30 pm |

    FSTDT Fodder!

  136. Benji
    Benji March 23, 2007 at 9:14 pm |

    FSTDT fodder indeed.

    I don’t suppose anyone has been in a IFB church? Those guys make these cretins look positively sane.

  137. Random Observer 3
    Random Observer 3 March 23, 2007 at 10:11 pm |

    what do you propose we do w/ all the sluts? the girls who like sex, and don’t want to be married to their first boyfriend?

    Send them my way.

    /rimshot

  138. oakland
    oakland March 23, 2007 at 10:43 pm |

    When I see an immodestly dressed girl, I am forced to think of her as an object rather than a human being created in God’s Image.

    I always thought God looked pretty hot in a bikini.

  139. Sylvs
    Sylvs March 23, 2007 at 10:49 pm |

    Sylvs, when you said:

    I wear a hijab (Islamic headcovering) so take this for what it’s worth.

    1) You will *without fail* get attention no matter what you wear. I’ve literally been pinched when I wore a Burqa and I’ve been pinched when I wore my tight t-shirts and jeans

    I wondered if you weren’t pinched when wearing the Burqa precisely BECAUSE of what you were wearing, rather than in spite of it. I have encountered attitudes of resentfulness and spite towards women in religious dress, something like, “Look at this bitch who thinks she can avoid getting harrassed by me” or maybe something even simpler like, “What a prude! I’ll show HER…” I know that sometimes modest dress actually elicits MORE sexual harrassment, because the harrasser wants to humiliate and demean a person they assume to be especially modest and easily embarrassed…

    I’ll grant you this is sometimes true. I’m extremely disgusted by the men who keep searching/staring/leering in the hopes they’ll find something “illicit” to look at. Although I do fancy my “raised in the South Bronx” stare has them thinking twice about doing anything (or I could just be really blessed-a toss up really.) I think men will continue to treat us like animals (or worse) until we raise them otherwise, in all honesty.

    When I was pinched in the Burqa, it was because we were in a crowded open Souk in Yemen and he thought I wouldn’t say anything (most women are “trained” to.) But Sylvs doesn’t do silent, so I cursed a blue streak and the MoFo ran like a bat out of hell. I can only hope he was scared shitless every time he encountered a woman in a Burqa thinking I was out to get him still… :: sigh :: I can dream.

  140. Sylvs
    Sylvs March 23, 2007 at 10:52 pm |

    Ok, slightly off topic but what are some opinions about women who choose to wear “provocative” clothing at work (ie low cut blouses, unusually high skirts, etc)? (In a Corporate/office environment?

  141. evil fizz
    evil fizz March 23, 2007 at 11:03 pm | *

    what are some opinions about women who choose to wear “provocative” clothing at work

    I think you’d first have to define provocative. As a first year law student, I was told to wear knee length skirts with my suit for interviews. Anything shorter was too racy and some of the big firms frowned on pants on women. If suit trousers are pushing the envelope, then I’m sort of at a loss.

  142. evil fizz
    evil fizz March 23, 2007 at 11:08 pm | *

    P.S. I think these guys would faint dead away to hear The Donnas sing Take It Off. I think that should be our theme song for the prancing in booty shorts.

  143. Sylvs
    Sylvs March 23, 2007 at 11:43 pm |

    Jill,

    Sadly I did it because I had my ex-husband with me at the time. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise (given that I was in Yemen at the time -US Citizenship notwithstanding.) If I did it while alone, I’m relatively sure I would’ve been verbally accosted by other men who would’ve looked at me like, “Lady-shut up and stop being so disrespectful!” :: hurl ::

    Thanks Evil. I guess I mean I find myself battling all kinds of demons in my head when it comes to women and the workplace. I look at women and say to myself, “Why on earth is she wearing such (insert: tight pants, a low cut blouse, etc)” I don’t want to judge but its like I have two battles raging in my head. One is screaming “That is so unprofessional and she’s making all women take a step back” and the other is saying, “Whatever. Until women stop being looked at as sexual beings only, then what does it matter if she wears a turtleneck or plunge line?”

    Bah…

  144. evil fizz
    evil fizz March 23, 2007 at 11:59 pm | *

    I don’t want to judge but its like I have two battles raging in my head. One is screaming “That is so unprofessional and she’s making all women take a step back” and the other is saying, “Whatever. Until women stop being looked at as sexual beings only, then what does it matter if she wears a turtleneck or plunge line?”

    I admit to having an ongoing mental dialog in my head. “What are you wearing!? Put on some clothes!!” “But why does it matter if her skirt is shorter than you’d be comfortable in?” and so on. Of course, I am inclined to think this far more about other women than I am about men. My thoughts on men tend to be more along the lines of “Wear a goddamn belt!” and “Chest hair cannot be worn in lieu of a shirt!”

    It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but there you have it.

  145. Stephanie
    Stephanie March 24, 2007 at 12:40 am |

    Ah, the arrogant lustfulness of the self-righteous. It’s all our fault, ladies… err… going by the verbiage of this study guess I should say “girls”.

  146. arielladrake
    arielladrake March 24, 2007 at 12:46 am |

    Natalia, firstly, My apologies for getting your name wrong.

    Ah, but mine is an “ethnic-flavoured,” Ukrainian, insidious femininity… Or so I’m told.

    *raises eyebrow* That’s awful. I’m sorry you’re being treated so badly.

    I’m not sure if we’re talking across each other, here. I guess the point for me is that yes, there are diverse feminisms, but I’m honestly not seeing where insulting women and insinuating gender norms (whether than norm is to wear lipstick or not wear lipstick) that must be adhered to is ‘feminist’ (meaning: in line with feminist principles), as opposed to something done by assholes who might be feminists.

    I don’t know if I’m making sense, here. Basically, someone might well believe that women should be empowered and respected equally, and still behave horribly to other women. We’re people, not moral superhumans. My point is that their behaviour is in contradiction to that belief, and perpetuating the idea that such behaviour could be considered consistent with such a belief seems damaging and counterproductive, to me. Your mileage may vary, but there it is.

  147. kali
    kali March 24, 2007 at 12:46 am |

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – covering up just makes the covered more significant. I’ve got a tiny little academic obsession going with the modesty movement, and I genuinely believe that once we’ve all covered our shoulders and cleavage, next it’s going to be our elbows and collarbones that are tempting. Once we’ve covered our elbows, elbows will get all eroticized in the culture. There will be saucy elbow pinups. Rolling up your sleeves will be “asking for it”. Soon we’ll all be in burquas, or better yet, in that all-encompassing modesty garment, the windowless kitchen. Which we will never leave.

    The only way to desensitize people to any given body part, to move it from “temptation” or “stumbling block” to “part of God’s gift”, is for those parts to be part of the everyday scenery, like breasts in a culture that nurses publically. Therefore I move that in the name of saving us all from lust and temptation, we embrace widespread public nudity. Only thus can we make the body boring again.

    Like there aren;t enough hot button issues on this thread already but I felt like I HAD to respond to this and drag in yet another one. Purpleshoes, this is exactly why I felt like there possibly might be something to the “porn descreases rape” study that was floating round a while ago. I mean, the numbers looked sufficiently dodgy that there probably was nothing there either way, and I am definitely not denying the dehumanising effect of porn, but it occurred to me that the demystification-of-the-female-body effect might somehow trump the dehumanisation. Except I couldn’t express the mechanism exactly. But you just did it for me. Thanks so much for providing my missing logical link ( of course I understand you may not agree with the reasoning as a whole.) I’m really happy to have that thought finally FINISHED, even if it is utterly wrong.

  148. britgirlsf
    britgirlsf March 24, 2007 at 1:30 am |

    Shorter survey results – If I get a boner then makes me a bad person, and it’s your fault for having boobs. Cover those things up before you make God angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry…

  149. britgirlsf
    britgirlsf March 24, 2007 at 1:36 am |

    Sylvs – Good on you! That guy’s probably still looking over his shoulder every time he sees a burqua, wondering if you’re coming to get him…
    I was once backed up against a wall in a souk in Saudi Arabia by a creep convinced that all western women are easy (I was wearing jeans and a loose tee, with an ABAYA on top). When I started yelling an old guy came running out of one of the shops and chased him off with a broom. Funniest thing I’ve ever seen.

  150. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers March 24, 2007 at 10:53 am |

    That’s assuming that there are feminists out there acting like, you know, strawfeminists do. According to their alleged victims, strawfeminists go around kicking puppies with their combat boots covering their hairy legs, spitting on babies and beating up men and housewives. They also have bonfires of books, pretty dresses, and makeup.

    I’ve never seen this exactly, but over on Feministing, someone in comments actually did say, recently, that only men benefited from the sexual revolution — that women’s freedom to have sex with whom and when they wish is nothing but men’s freedom to further exploit and pressure women into sex.

    And I’m pretty sure it was a regular, not a troll.

    So there are actual feminists making anti-sex arguments that would sound fine coming from the mouth of a religious wingnut. Hopefully not a *lot* of actual feminists, but they are out there.

  151. ginmar
    ginmar March 24, 2007 at 11:28 am |

    Huh. See, I can read that and see what they’re trying to say, because my older sisters would talk about guys who seemed to think that BC pills removed womens’ last excuse not to have sex with any guy on demand. They’d just get called prudes if they didn’t put out. And having read some books about the feminist revolution in the Late Sixties, it’s obvious that there were lots of men trying to exploit women. Why is that a shock?

  152. brynn
    brynn March 24, 2007 at 12:33 pm |

    W. Kiernan, I apologise for misreading your comment.

    Your intent was unclear. But so, too, was I hot under the collar for having just read this account of yet another transsexual viciously assaulted. In a week in which Michael Savage verbally savaged a transwoman who’d already been brutally murdered. And the Largo FL city commissioners voted 5-2 to definitely fire Steve Stanton.

    I’m tired of feeling like one of the right wing’s favorite punching bags.

  153. Elinor
    Elinor March 24, 2007 at 2:49 pm |

    Purpleshoes, this is exactly why I felt like there possibly might be something to the “porn descreases rape” study that was floating round a while ago. I mean, the numbers looked sufficiently dodgy that there probably was nothing there either way, and I am definitely not denying the dehumanising effect of porn, but it occurred to me that the demystification-of-the-female-body effect might somehow trump the dehumanisation.

    I must say, I don’t buy that, because I don’t see how not being able to see women naked would contribute to a man’s desire to hurt us. If we all wandered around naked all the time, the prospect of seeing a naked woman might be less titillating to the average man, but in order to believe that would make a difference in the rape rate, you pretty much have to believe that rape is caused by sexual attraction and/or sexual frustration.

    Besides which, porn is frequently unrealistic in its depiction of women — the way we look, the way we behave. I don’t think it necessarily serves to demystify the female body.

  154. Elinor
    Elinor March 24, 2007 at 3:04 pm |

    someone in comments actually did say, recently, that only men benefited from the sexual revolution — that women’s freedom to have sex with whom and when they wish is nothing but men’s freedom to further exploit and pressure women into sex.

    I have seen the odd comment that takes that into absurd territory, but it’s my observation that “sex-positive” people often don’t see the coercive and judgmental elements in their own attitudes, and this was especially true in the early days of the sexual revolution, before second-wave feminism really took off. The sexual revolution was certainly not “nothing but” a tool to enable men to exploit and pressure women into unwanted sex, but that was definitely an element of it.

    As a first year law student, I was told to wear knee length skirts with my suit for interviews. Anything shorter was too racy and some of the big firms frowned on pants on women.

    I’ve heard similar things about some firms here in Canada. I figure it’s a good way to figure out which jobs I would never, ever want — if they won’t even let me wear pants, what are the odds that the rest of their policies have progressed beyond 1970?

  155. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte March 24, 2007 at 5:30 pm |

    How many tattoos showing at once is immodest? I looked up and down that site and couldn’t find an answer to my question.

  156. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte March 24, 2007 at 5:34 pm |

    What kind of a guy would be interested in a marriage with a loose girl?

    A smart one.

  157. Frumious B
    Frumious B March 24, 2007 at 6:22 pm |

    Ok, slightly off topic but what are some opinions about women who choose to wear “provocative” clothing at work (ie low cut blouses, unusually high skirts, etc)? (In a Corporate/office environment?

    This recently came up in my office when some people criticized a woman for wearing hot pants to work. While I don’t think hot pants are appropriate for an office environment, I don’t really care if women (or men) wear them. If we’re so professional, we shouldn’t judge people for what they wear. I didn’t say as much as I should have, but I did say that if a dress code was imposed, I would be honor bound to violate it.

  158. Alix
    Alix March 24, 2007 at 6:30 pm |

    Ok, slightly off topic but what are some opinions about women who choose to wear “provocative” clothing at work (ie low cut blouses, unusually high skirts, etc)? (In a Corporate/office environment?

    I’m of the opinion that proper attire for most jobs, period, is something that doesn’t make you stand out. Obviously, what exactly that is depends on the job and the area. At the library where I work, for example, dressing in casual, somewhat loose clothes makes you blend in well, not only with other workers but with patrons. In a warmer area, I wouldn’t be surprised if blend-in attire bared more skin than blend-in attire here.

    Provocative clothing, whatever it is, is designed to provoke a reaction. That in and of itself is morally neutral, but the workplace is the place to work, dammit, not disrupt work for any reason.

    And for the record, guys can dress provocatively too, and it’s just as wrong in the workplace, IMO.

  159. zuzu
    zuzu March 24, 2007 at 6:48 pm | *

    I’m sorry — hot pants at work? Who the hell does that?

    Granted, I work in a law firm, and thankfully pants haven’t been an issue for oh, six-seven years now, but I find most people know that, you know, hot pants aren’t appropriate. And if you think they are, perhaps you belong in a more creative field.

    I mean, dude, I can’t color my hair pink or pierce my nose like I’d like to because it would freak out the clients.

    I will say, when I worked at the City, there was a paralegal who work completely, utterly inappropriate clothing, but with such flair that everyone looked forward to seeing what LaVonne would turn up in that day. It was a spectator sport. The color coordination was probably the singular feature of these outfits; everything, and I mean everything (hair extensions, eyeshadow, mascara, nails, stitching and overdye on the jeans, socks, jewelry) all color-coordinated with the outfit. On Purple Week, all of the above was purple. Green Week? Ditto, only there was also a feminized Jets uniform into the mix.

    I think LaVonne got away with this for a few reasons: One, she was really, really hot and all this stuff looked good on her. Two, the aforementioned flair. Three, she was goddamned good at her job.

  160. Longhairedweirdo
    Longhairedweirdo March 24, 2007 at 7:16 pm |

    Number one, pay attention to what you are wearing. Something you have on may seem fine to you, but that’s because you’re a girl and you were created much, much differently than a guy. And two, listen to a guy if he tells you what is modest and what is not. Once again, his opinion may be completely different, but he’s right when it comes to modesty. He’s the one immodest clothing affects.

    Warning: I’m taking this out of context, haven’t read other comments, and otherwise I’m otherwise being naughty by posting a rant here.

    Guys, go into the bathroom. Strip down. Look at your dick. Do you see a leash on it? If you do, quit playing bondage games and get serious.

    There ain’t no leash on the dick. There ain’t no connection from that dick to anyone else’s body. It’s your dick, no one elses, and it’s your responsibility, and no one elses.

    You see something that makes your dick get hard and makes you feel goofy when it’s not time for hard dicks and goofy feelings? There are untold billions of things you can look at, quit looking at the thing that makes your dick get hard. Learn a little self control. And if you can’t help but be aroused, remember you’re aroused, and recognize that everything you say about sex is probably going to be stupid (because, remember, we’ve just assumed we’re at a place, in a time, where hard dicks and goofy feelings aren’t appropriate).

    It’s your dick, no one else’s, and you’re responsible for the care, feeding, and upkeep. You want an orgasm? That’s your problem; no one else’s. Take care of it in your own time and your own way, or find someone who’ll cheerfully help, but it’s your problem, because it’s your dick.

    I don’t want to hear about sluts, or temptresses or immodest women or any other crap that’s an excuse to pretend that you’re not in control of your own actions; they don’t own your dick, they can’t even *touch* your dick under normal circumstances without your permission, so quit pretending that they have control over it.

    It’s your dick; keep it under control. If you can’t, then hit up your doctor for depo, it’ll probably take good care of the problem. But if you don’t need that, then be a man, not an overgrown whiner, and assert ownership over your dick, and accept responsibility for your actions.

  161. The notion of feminine modesty « I Feel so welcome in the real world of Maryland

    [...] can view the actual survey here. The survey also had some comments attached. You can view the hig [...]

  162. Feministe » Friday Random Ten
    Feministe » Friday Random Ten March 24, 2007 at 10:54 pm |

    [...] by’s Arms And a video, dedicated to the Christian Modesty Warriors, and courtesy of Alan. [...]

  163. Divided by a common language « Not Saussure

    [...] ght in the future become jihadis. However, we would be mistaken. Via Andrew Sullivan and Feministe; the latt [...]

  164. Not Saussure
    Not Saussure March 25, 2007 at 8:37 am |

    Were such a survey conducted over here in the UK, or in any other EU country, and were the specifically Christian references removed from the replies, I think some people would jump to an incorrect conclusion about the religion of the young respondents, become most concerned about the implications and start burbling on about the dreadful warnings Americans should draw from the impending Islamification of Eurabia.

  165. raki
    raki March 25, 2007 at 9:14 am |

    “I would point out that strict Judaism is much the same in that a wife isn’t supposed to “tempt” men by say showing her hair in public.”

    The law is based on the social norm inTalmudic times that married women, Jewish and Gentile, covered their hair to signal marital status. For example, the talmud relates that Gentile women would effect common-law marriages and would exit them and be considered divorced when they started walking bareheaded in public (marketplaces). Married women who didn’t cover their hair in public were doing something on the order of removing a wedding ring when going into a bar- not tempting men with their bare fingers/hair, but signalling availibility. The requirement to cover hair persists as a legal requirement, but you misunderstand its function.

  166. W. Kiernan
    W. Kiernan March 25, 2007 at 10:02 am |

    Sylvs: Ok, slightly off topic but what are some opinions about women who choose to wear “provocative” clothing at work (ie low cut blouses, unusually high skirts, etc)? (In a Corporate/office environment?

    Well, that is a very serious problem indeed! But I’ve thought it through, and I have a sound solution.

    Surely everyone who works in a sexually-mixed site of employment has seen male employees ducking and jockeying and maneuvering to look down the blouse or up the skirt of a female co-worker as she bends down to retrieve files from the bottom filing cabinet, or leans over a drafting table, or crawls under a desk to toggle her computer’s power strip. And how risible the looks and blushes when she sees his questing eyes and slack gaping mouth and he in turn sees her angry stare and compressed lips! Not to mention the millions or even billions of worker-hours squandered, and the valuable spool space consumed on corporate intranet mail servers, as the gossip, derogation and innuendos flash back and forth across the office in consequence. So this problem transcends the merely social and becomes a serious threat to the all-important corporate bottom-line (pun not intended, for sure!).

    This is a problem which demands more than trivial cover-up; instead what is wanted is a radical, revolutionary cure. The obvious solution would be complete nudity for men and women in the workplace. Have you ever gone to a nudist camp? If you do, you will see that, despite the presence of many attractive young women in complete undress, as an almost universal rule the male nudists do not suffer that embarrassing venular engorgement.

    What’s more, this scheme lends a new air of transparency to the enforcement of just anti-harassment policies. Iin the unlikely event that a shameless, perverted male employee (and we all know there are a few bad apples in every barrel) does permit himself to enjoy the sensual pleasure of an irregulationary erection whilst gaping and drooling at his female colleagues’s shapely nates and bosoms, rather than the situation devolving into nothing but a feeding-ground for predatory lawyers opposing unprovable claims against equally unprovable denials (“But your Honor, Mr Davies had, he was, o I blush to say, he was clearly sporting, a, a, boner!” “No, no, your Honor! I swear Ms Walker was mistaken; I was just carrying my cell-phone in my pants pocket.”) the guilty evidence will be undeniably visible for all to see and condemn.

    Yours Johnny A.

  167. Too many topics, too little time. » Modesty Survey :: Main

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  168. TCinLA
    TCinLA March 25, 2007 at 1:31 pm |

    There’s a reason why these pathetic little twits get called “The American Taliban.”

    Christian. Jew. Muslim. Hindu. Alone, they are nouns that represent great and powerful movements that have affected society profoundly. Put the word “fundamentalist” in front of them and they become adjectives; the noun is “fundamentalist”, and thus they are all the same sort of whacked-out revelry-in-ignorance that has given organized religion a bad name for as long as there has been organized religion.

  169. kali
    kali March 25, 2007 at 6:22 pm |

    Elinor, I mostly meant that it might lower the perceived “asking for it” threshold. Not the other reasoning you attributed to me, which would indeed be dumbassed. Also these guys in the survey have a clear and very obvious rapist mentality that is linked to their sense of sexual shame. Anything that could have the effect of reducing that sexual shame might help lift the rapist mentality too.

  170. Sniper
    Sniper March 25, 2007 at 6:59 pm |

    This is a problem which demands more than trivial cover-up; instead what is wanted is a radical, revolutionary cure.

    It’s 2007. Shouldn’t we all be wearing unisex silver jumpsuits by now?

  171. Rick
    Rick March 26, 2007 at 9:07 am |

    Ok… so the same people that think homosexuality is a choice are blaming women for dressing in a way that makes them unable to resist? Distracting?

    Can’t you smell that smell?

  172. Desire (part 2 of a series of posts) « Japan Ego

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  173. dejah
    dejah March 26, 2007 at 12:25 pm |

    If you don’t have a dad or brother to ask about the propriety of specific outfits or articles, try to find a brother in Christ who you can ask. As helpful as surveys and things like this can be, they can’t ever answer a question like “Does THIS pattern draw too much attention to my chest?”

    Okay, let me understand this… I am going to ask for fashion advice from someone who can’t match his own socks?

    (shakes head)

  174. Ken
    Ken March 26, 2007 at 3:23 pm |

    Speaking as a Christian with a Y chromosome and little experience with women (not what you think, I was too much of a nerd for women to find me attractive), just WHERE did all these replies come from? Left Behind Land after the Second Coming? I know these days it’s hard to tell whether I’m watching CNN or South Park, but these sound like they come from the Christian lunatic fringe!

    Or the media stock character of the sexually repressed-yet-predatory, utterly corrupt Televangelist type.

    A lot of these Christian men sound like they’d be happier in Extreme Islam; as Chesterton said during Prohibition, it’s also “the teetotaler’s religion”.

  175. Bucky
    Bucky March 26, 2007 at 3:26 pm |

    I’ve been poking around on therebolution.com and the guys who run the site are going on a nationwide speaking tour this summer. C’mon “harlots,” strut your stuff and see what damage you can do.

  176. Brett Harris
    Brett Harris March 26, 2007 at 3:45 pm |

    Let me begin by thanking you for your criticism. Alex and I have much to learn, even from our feminist friends. By submitting the following clarifications regarding the Modesty Survey, we hope you can gain a more accurate understanding of its purpose:

    1) The survey questions were submitted by Christian teenage and college age women. The guys did not decide to scrutinize every little detail of female dress and design a survey about them. In fact, if guys had written the survey questions you can be sure it would have been much, much shorter. As it was, we cut the 148-question survey down from over 360 submitted questions. It should also be noted that we (and 99% of the guys) had no idea what gauchos, sheer sleeves, or empire waists were until this survey. The items and terms were appropriately photo-illustrated or defined throughout the survey to avoid confusion.

    2) TheRebelution.com merely facilitated this conversation. We had no control over the results. We tell young ladies that the results are accurate of what the respondents think, but are not necessarily true of what God desires for men and women in their interaction with one another. It is a resource—a glimpse into the minds of a group of 1,600 men—not a list of rules.

    3) I believe you could benefit from looking for the good in the survey, rather than just looking for the bad. It’s unreasonable to expect every single one of 1,600 men (many young teens) to have an accurate view on this issue. There are many inaccuracies (on both extremes), but there are also many balanced and reasonable answers. If you view it as a resource (not a dress code) you have the freedom to keep the good and disregard the bad.

    4) If you read our two-part series, The Responsibility of Modesty, you will understand the view Alex and I actually promote. I still don’t expect that we will agree on everything (or anything), but I want to be honest about where we really stand. Combating harsh male dominance and promoting equality between the sexes are goals we share.

    5) Finally, if you read the responses to the question, “As a guy, what is your responsibility in this area? What is your role in guarding your eyes and mind (as opposed to the women’s role of dressing modestly)?” you will find that most of the respondents identify themselves as primarily responsible for their own lust.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. Our only desire is to improve in representing accurately the truth of God. Our goal will never be to please feminists, but we welcome constructive criticism wherever we find it.

    In closing, Alex and I don’t believe that Christianity has ever perfectly modeled God’s beautiful plan for men and women. I hope that you can think of Alex and I as young men who are trying to love and respect women the way Jesus demands and who aren’t satisfied with the status quo. If nothing else, we are all devoted to change and have a common enemy in those who want to keep things the way they are.

  177. Norah
    Norah March 26, 2007 at 4:37 pm |

    Finally, if you read the responses to the question, “As a guy, what is your responsibility in this area? What is your role in guarding your eyes and mind (as opposed to the women’s role of dressing modestly)?” you will find that most of the respondents identify themselves as primarily responsible for their own lust.

    “Primarily”? How about “solely”?

    I wonder why you folks at Rebelution didn’t feel a survey about modesty for men was as important. Do you think women don’t have sexy thoughts when we see hot guys? When I see a good-looking guy, I can appreciate him, and then go on about my business. It doesn’t ruin my life or my marriage. It doesn’t devalue me or him as a person. It doesn’t need to be a big shitty struggle.

    All due respect, Brett, but you do know it’s possible to be attracted to someone mentally AND physically, and that sexual feelings alone don’t turn people into pieces of meat? What a terrible attitude to carry into marriage. “I love and respect my wife so much I don’t think of her sexually”? How do you live a lifetime of “anything remotely sexual is bad and should be avoided” and then just flip a switch once the vows are taken?

    Women make up 50% of the world’s population. And it’s not our job to police our clothing and attitude all so you men won’t get boners. I personally wear what I want, for my own personal pleasure. Don’t like it? Don’t look.

    If all these fine young Christian men are so worried about women causing them to “stumble”, maybe they should stay home until they can master self-control. Really.

  178. ekf
    ekf March 26, 2007 at 5:45 pm |

    Huh. Well, that’s either a good fake or an honest reply, and if it’s the latter I give some props for coming here and posting.

    That being said, the results are still damned creepy, and I fully agree that the putting forth of female modesty as anything like a positive thing is really a veiled effort at obtaining more male sexual/property entitlement and control over women’s bodies (whether it is veiled to a conscious or subconscious level is hard to say). Given that nuns and elderly women are raped, the harlotry and connection of it with “consequences,” especially rape, are false on their face and misogynist.

    With respect to the issue that feminists will sometimes criticize women for what they wear and how it fits with a feminist outlook, I have been there too, Natalia. In my first job out of college, I worked for a woman who was a self-proclaimed feminist, but she was very first generation about it. She ran a regional office for a first-tier global investment bank and kicked a lot of ass, but her approach was that to succeed, women had to play the men’s games the way men played them. It had worked for her, so, in trying to help women succeed, she wanted all women who worked for her to fit within her narrow band. She set the double standard for expressions of femininity, and if you were more “girly” appearance-wise, like I happened to be, or even if you were more boisterous and willing to be contrary to one’s peers and betters, like I also happened to be, you were criticized, and it was for your own good, because her path was the only possible path to success, and deviating from it would damage not only your own success, but also the view people had of her success as this female business leader.

    This all happened 14 years ago, and things have gotten better in a variety of respects. But there are still women who, while claiming to wave the banner of feminism, will be critical of women’s personal expressions to the extent they appear to be not-feminist-enough. It’s not a critique of feminism to recognize that this happens. It’s a critique of those particular feminists and their misguided efforts to think of themselves as the sole arbiters of what is an is not acceptable for other women or, especially, other feminists. It’s okay — it just means feminists, like every other type of human, can count among its number people who are also hypocrites and crackpots.

    On a different note — you can totally wear pants to law firm interviews. Even the “white shoe” firms have given up caring about that. Fine if people wore skirts, but really not a problem. I don’t know why law school placement office people make a big deal about it, because lawyers really couldn’t give a shit.

  179. Hugo
    Hugo March 26, 2007 at 6:26 pm |

    I got the same exact reply from Brett Harris at my blog to my post. And I thought I was special…

  180. mythago
    mythago March 26, 2007 at 6:32 pm |

    Our goal will never be to please feminists

    Because treating men and women as equals in the eyes of God is, like, totally not the part of Christianity we dig!

  181. This Is SERIOUSLY... « In One Ear…

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  182. pachakuti
    pachakuti March 26, 2007 at 9:45 pm |

    To their credit, there is a section entitled “what is your responsibility”. Of course, that doesn’t keep them from saying “Well, you know, in the end it’s my responsibiltiy but DRESS BETTER SLUT”. Urgh.

  183. Antigone
    Antigone March 27, 2007 at 12:14 am |

    Datta, dayadhvam, damyata. (from the Upanishads)

    Charity, sympathy, self-control.

    Oddly enough, the very Scriptures they tote are just like this. Kind of funny how men are suddenly unaccountable when they are unattached,and women need to be protected until they are.

    Having married a good Christian boy while I was young and stupid, I learned that he wanted me to be the virgin and the whore; that is, I was supposed to save myself for him (which I did) but I was also supposed to be very sexually exploratory. While I am somewhat bothered by promiscuity, I don’t think it’s the clothing that’s the problem, it’s the casualness with sex period.

    Not saying you should marry the first person you screw (bad idea kids unless you are very very lucky) but there’s got to be a happy medium. If society can only come up with prudes and sluts, there’s something off about our thought processes. I think to some extent we create men like this just as much as they create “harlots” and the like.

    Being open about sex and sexuality isn’t always about actually doing everything you can. Only thing I can really agree with on this survey is this: modesty is about attitude. Doesn’t mean you have to look like a school marm or hang all out like Paris Hilton. I think it’s the confidence in yourself that makes you modest. Knowing that you are comfortable in your own skin.

    It’s not the clothes. It’s how you feel in them. I’m all for bringing sexy back, but my definition of sexy doesn’t mean I’ll screw you. Just means you display your body in an artful manner that is pleasing. When we can own up to this and be comfortable with it, I think a lot of issues on the super crazy conservative and super lax liberal sides can be solved.

    God, this sounds preachy. Forgive me. Just got me going on one of my favorite rant subjects.

  184. ekf
    ekf March 27, 2007 at 2:34 pm |

    It’s not the clothes. It’s how you feel in them. I’m all for bringing sexy back, but my definition of sexy doesn’t mean I’ll screw you. Just means you display your body in an artful manner that is pleasing. When we can own up to this and be comfortable with it, I think a lot of issues on the super crazy conservative and super lax liberal sides can be solved.

    Pleasing to whom? Who gets to judge? This is the heart of the matter. The boys in this survey think that they are the right people to judge what is pleasing to them in the clothes chosen by another, independent human, because she happens to be female. That’s sexist and wrong, and there’s no getting comfortable with that AFAIC.

    And what’s wrong with a woman dressing in a manner that conveys she wants to fuck someone? What if she does want to fuck someone? The assumption generally entertained by our culture of male privilege is that, upon making the decision that a woman wants to have sex, she loses the right to choose with whom she might want to have sex. She is branded a slut (or a “harlot”) and made sexual property of all men, of the community of men, and that too is sexist and wrong.

    It’s just not as simple as drawing some subjective line in the sand and saying that, for example, a skirt that is 2″ above the knee is modest enough and allows a woman to maintain her independence as a human, but a skirth that is 5″ above the knee makes her a whore and the property of all men to do with as they will. Either women are independent and allowed moral agency or they are not. It cannot be conditioned on the choices they make, and it most certainly cannot be conditioned on the choices that others would make for them, for in each case the conditioning denies the inherent personhood of women in the entirety.

    Lastly, the term “modesty” sickens me as it is used to encourage women to be so. That this survey discusses clothing and personal modesty does nothing to hide the baseline agenda of shaming women and reducing the ability of women to be proud of themselves, in each case because women have committed the crime of being female. I need not be modest — not of my body, not of my mind, not of my outspoken personality, not of my accomplishments, not of my irrepressible spirit. Anyone who suggests that I, as a women, need to incorporate modesty into an aspect of my life is trying to reduce my capacity to achieve greater heights, and such a reductive person’s efforts should be rebuffed at every opportunity.

  185. Manda
    Manda March 27, 2007 at 4:17 pm |

    The ultimate responsibility is absolutely my own. No matter how a woman is dressed, it is my responsibility to treat both her and myself with respect and to honor Christ with all my actions. If I ever feel that I might not be able to control myself or my thoughts, it’s my responsibility to leave the situation. Guys who blame women for their own bad behavior are a major problem. Furthermore, it’s my responsibility to dress and act modestly as well; women have their own God-given sexuality as well, and if I ask them to help me control my libido, I am honor-bound to do the same to help my sisters in Christ.

    Well played, anonymous 23 yr. old. Well played.

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