A Mini-Skirt Revolution

It bothers me that modesty is so heavily guilt laden. Modesty is completely subjective from person to person and culture to culture, yet we draw a line in the sand. It is understood that good girls don’t cross that arbitrary line.

You know what I say? Fuck it.

I was raised in that atmosphere as a child, I was instilled with that understanding as a teen, and I still get waves of that stench as an adult.

I remember getting pulled aside on a monday night as a young teen girl and lectured about how my sunday apparel had been inappropriate and caused an adult man some issues the day before. His wife had called my parents to alert them to the problem & my parents quickly disposed of the offending outfit. This was nothing out of the ordinary, either. My friends and I would swap stories about similar phone calls.

No one seemed to ask the questions we were asking. Why was an adult man unable to control himself around teenage girls in knee skimming skirts? Why was his wife calling our parents to complain instead of searching the phonebook for therapists? Why were our parents not outraged at the admitted ogling of teenage girls by an adult man?

Why? Well we have an understanding that men have issues with their wandering eyes. And, instead of training our boys and young men to learn to control their urges, instead of equipping them with tools to control themselves, instead of holding them to high standards, we blame women and seek to control their sexuality. We tell women that their bodies must be hidden. That their sexuality is a problem. That when men stumble it is because a woman was lurking in the shadows waiting to trip him up with a short hemline.

Of course, though, women’s responsibility doesn’t end there. Once married, we must keep our husband’s interest. After all, men have issues with their wandering eyes. So we, as women, must dress ourselves in such a way as to keep his eyes on us (instead of those teenage hussies singing hymns in the next aisle over). We must keep our bodies lithe and our faces young. We must meet his every sexual need. In short, we must entice our husband with our sexuality.

What a tightrope, no?

Don’t let your body entice a man! If he stumbles, it is your fault! Be sexual to entice your husband! If he stumbles, it is your fault!

When is it a man’s fault?

Oh, I know the rhetoric. “By dressing modestly, women are helping men control themselves.” How exactly is the man controlling himself, though, if the woman is doing all the work? That is certainly not self-control.

This thought pattern causes a host of other destructive issues. Women often become ashamed of their bodies. Sexual issues creep up in marriages. Women’s bodies become one-dimensional in men’s eyes and subsequently, in their own. Breastfeeding rates drop. Women are held accountable when raped (after all, she was asking for it in that outfit). Women become haters of other women, constantly seeing an enemy out to make her husband stumble. Men become controlled by only one facet of their humanity – sexuality. Men begin to loathe and fear the god-given draw they have to a woman’s beauty and sexuality. Women become afraid of men, believing that they can’t control themselves.

Is this a problem in every man? Not at all. Is this a problem in every woman? Not at all. Is this a problem in every relationship? Not at all.

But it is still a problem. And it is a heartbreaking one, because it strips both women and men of their worth and their wholeness. As Christians, instead of looking at the few scriptural points of modesty and lust and ¬†interpreting it as “don’t actively try to temp a man” & “don’t turn a woman into a sex object in your brain”, we put the weight of a man’s purity on the shoulders of innocent girls and we demonize men who are naturally and physically attracted to the female body.

In other words, this is a problem.

In other words, women and men need to take back control of themselves.

In other words, we need to teach our little girls to love their bodies, instead of shaming them into ridiculously small boxes of “modesty”. We need to empower our sons to control themselves. We need to breastfeed openly. We need to reclaim our bodies. We need to reclaim our minds.

In other words, I think we need a revolution.

What do you say, ladies? A mini-skirt revolution? ;P