Friday, September 14, 2012

Women should dress modestly for the poor, lusty men

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‘Modestie’ (William Bougeureau, 1902)
Still too much skin

So, there’s this gathering of Christian-Right wingnuts in Washington, DC at the moment called the Values Voter Summit, devoted to praising Yahweh in their heroic martyrdom against the liberal elites and the Big GayTM and all other manners of tired old schtick. And there’s a group at this meeting called Modesty Matters, who wants all you womenfolk to know how your scandalous necklines and visible fleshy limbs and whatnot are giving all the poor men some serious vapors [my emphasis]:

Women must “embrace MODESTY in dress and behavior,” one of the handouts read. Women dressed immodestly in church are “an insult to a holy God,” another said.

Other excerpts:

- From the “Modesty: It’s nothing to be ashamed of” pamphlet:“Since men are particularly visual, immodesty in church can trigger lustful thoughts.”

“My men’s bible study group talks frequently about controlling our lust, thoughts, and eyes. Yes the problem and responsibility are ours, but is it really reasonable for the women of the church to make it THIS difficult for us?

- From the “True Woman Manifesto”: “All women, whether married of single, are to model femininity in their various relationships, by exhibiting a distinctive modesty, responsiveness, and gentleness of spirit.”

The Family Research Council provided Modesty Matters with a table at the conference to distribute these pamphlets.

The whole thing is an embarrassment to anyone living in the 21th century, but that emboldened line is just the rotten cherry on top. Look, dear pearl-clutchers: Unless you’re either incredibly sheltered, afflicted with satyriasis, or a time-traveling Puritan who needs a fainting couch at the sight of an uncovered ankle, then nothing short of seeing said immodest church-going lady masturbating naked with a Bible in her pew is a reasonable excuse for being turned into a lust-addled horndog. And even then, it’s still not her damn responsibility to determine what she may or may not do based on your level of hormones.

So, yes, it is “reasonable” for women to act and dress as they bloody well please, just as men have enjoyed doing since the dawn of patriarchal civilization. Talk to them about manners and common decency all you want; it’s a free society. But that also means that in the end, no-one else has any shred of obligation to conform to whatever behavior you think is appropriate, no matter how many uncomfortable thoughts their oh-so-provocative attire may spawn in your susceptible minds.