Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Parts is parts.

For the past few days there’s been a lady teacher (is it too sexist to say “lady teacher”?) on the radio talking about Christian women and the way we dress. I haven’t heard all she’s said because this apparently has been a series over several days. I caught part of it last week and part of it yesterday as I was running errands in town. Anyway, she has stressed the need for Christian women to maintain modesty in their dress so as not to cause men to stumble. I’ve pretty much agreed with what she said. Christian women really don’t have any business showing off their parts to men they aren’t married to. She talked about how men can be very easily enticed, and we don’t want to be the cause of any man to stumble in his Christian walk, and we certainly don’t want to go around tempting other women’s husbands.

This all sounds good to me. You wouldn’t believe the way some of my female college students dress when the weather starts to get warm, and even when it’s still cold out. All that cleavage has got to be distracting to the guys in class. And some of these girls don’t need to be sitting on the front row wearing their low rise jeans with guys sitting behind them. So yes, I agree, women need to be a little more concerned about modesty.

Now here’s where I have a problem. This lady teacher started getting specific yesterday. She mentioned certain body parts that are alluring to men and how we need to keep them covered up. Of course, breasts. We don’t want our bosoms popping out for men to see. Thighs—no miniskirts or Daisy Dukes. The back—OK, I can see where that might be a problem for some men. The shoulders—so does that mean that Christian women shouldn’t wear tank tops? How far do we have to take this? What if some men find long, flowing hair sexy? If we have to consider every body part that a man might find enticing, then we shouldn’t even wear sandals! Heaven forbid that I tempt some man with my toe rings.

OK, I know I’m getting a little silly here, but seriously, how much do Christian women need to cover up? And what is the man’s responsibility here?


Tony Arnold said...

I feel each person bears total responsibility for their own actions and thoughts. Men must take complete responsibility for all thoughts and actions, regardless of the temptations before us. There are no excuses.

Likewise, women must take responsibility for the way they dress. They should ask themselves, "is what I am wearing, my body language, my behavior glorifying God? What is my motivation for what I just put on, how I carry myself, how I present myself."

I feel strongly that although others may be wrong or not completely sound in an action or behavior, I cannot control them, but I can control myself. It is my responsibility to control myself.
(it is debatable if I really can control myself, but for the sake of discussion I will stick with that term)

Tony's Blog

Unregulated Female said...

Where will this end? We will all be shrouded in Islamic Chadors - head to toe, as well as hand covered to "protect the men" from their own lust? I went to a bible school that enforced this type of dress standard: no shorts (1" or higher above the knee), no jogging outfits(may look too gangsta-ish), no pants whatsoever, hosery required at all times when on campus (even if it is 100+ degrees), no open toed sandles (men find toe cleavage too distracting, the correct bra (!)

I understand the concept of modesty, but who defines this? and why does it seem that it is the women who are the source of men's frustrations, rather than the men's own issue with lust?

Not trying to be argumentative, but I live in a city full of pretense where it's the 'jezebels' trying to tear down the men, when in reality men are responicible for their own thought life and where their eyes land...

Monk-in-Training said...

Hey what about how men dress? Studly construction workers with no shirts tempt women and gay men so there is a double whammy! Better get a Chador for them too!

Seriously, I am with UF, once we start requiring clothing to "protect" people, there is no end to it and we will be all covered in bedsheets. When well we get to make up? Can't have that now can we? A tempting eyeshadow can cause someone to fall!

I once heard a Protestant Preacher say one time, "A little paint never hurt an old Barn, daub it on honey!"

Can't we be like Tony said, and be responsible for our own sin/lurid stares?

elizabeth said...

I enjoyed your post. This is a very interesting topic. I also agree about covering breasts and not wearing low rise jeans with thongs. Very tacky.

But...as a female living in the great state of Texas, I am going to wear tank tops and shorts!

I think it is our reposibility to dress appropriately and act appropriately. If men have a problem with women wearing tank tops, perhaps they should move to North Dakota?

JMG said...

I'm with y'all. I do think that women need to exercise a little modesty, not go around flaunting their body parts for all to see. I think we Christian women need to be aware and not dress so that we call attention to our sexuality. However, as Tony said, men are responsible for their own actions, and thoughts, I might add.

I too had the image of an Islamic woman in her full body coverings, and I just have to say, it gets too darn hot and humid in Middle Tennessee for that nonsense.

Jana said...

Hey, I'm likin' your blog.

Yes, women should maintain a sense of modesty. I'm not sure how you define this. But men have a responsibility as well, to curb their lust if need be. Here's the thing...who knows what turns someone on? What if I have a gay friend who is attracted to my husband, no matter what he's wearing? Do we just cut off the relationship completely so said friend won't potentially lust after my husband?

We can't start making rules about what's appropriate and for whom and so on. It's an individual decision for each of us. Only God knows our true hearts. So let's forget laying down specific rules and start working on ourSELVES.

Clarissa said...

I found a neat site recently that has some examples of "rules of modesty" and makes it fun. I also like how they want the principles to be stressed, not the rules.


jettybetty said...

Sorry, this is late, but I have been away from my computer for a few days--and I have been thinking about some of these same thoughts.

I think attitude is so important here. One woman can wear a tank top and not draw much attention to herself--another includes the 'tude and she does.

I usually don't take up for men, but this is one place I think I will--they are very visual--and even though I generally don't struggle with tank tops and shorts--women can wear things that just really can make it difficult for him to keep his thoughts where they should be!!

GREAT blog!!!