OH FOR THE LOVE OF LITTLE. GREEN. APPLES.
There are days, most days, when I am proud to be a relatively conservative, traditional Catholic.
And then there are days where I am ashamed to be even Christian because of such WONDROUS pages as this one
Reading that page, as well as it's related ones, have made me angry beyond words. That is the sort of misinformation that leads people to believe the Church is misogynistic and all for men ruling everything and women being silent little servants to the whims of men. In actuality, it is INCREDIBLY misandrist in it's translation of everything being, "Oh, women must always think of the poor, weak men and how they will be driven to lust at the mere sight of a woman!". Fuck. That. Shit. Men are just as responsible for their thoughts and deeds as women are. Likewise, women aren't so bloody special that a man dressed immodestly won't incite feelings of lust in them. I think that pisses me off the most; the implication from the author of this page that it is only women who must concern themselves with modest dress because they incite the men to lust, and that it isn't possible for it to be the other way around.
Ask me how often I have heard a woman being muttered about in church for wearing a sleeveless dress that is otherwise quite modest and dignified, yet there are no complaints about the men who wear shorts and t-shirts beyond that their clothing is perhaps too casual and they should wear a dressier shirt? Just ask.
Can you say double standard?
While you're at it, you can ask me about sports at school, and how all the men were "allowed" to practise in shorts that were practically falling off their hips and no shirts whatsoever, yet girls would get yelled at for wearing a tank top to practise in. I can tell you that the girls were too busy cat-calling the boys to practise much, and when the girls finally were allowed to wear tank tops for practise? Not ONE of the boys commented on it. In fact, the boys rarely made untoward comments to the girls when they were dressed for sports practise, and when one coach required the boys to wear shirts and properly fitting shorts at practises? The girls stopped objectifying them and cat-calling.
Certainly women do need to be responsible with their dress. However, men have that SAME responsibility to dress modestly. If they cannot take it upon themselves to dress in a manner dignifying themselves, then who are they to decry a woman for dressing even slightly immodestly? If Church leaders will not impress upon men that they too ought to dress in a modest manner, then they ought to shut up about how women dress and how it is the fault of women that society is going down the drain. If they claim that men and women are equal in Christ, then should the standards not be equal as well? A woman is only more sacred than a man in that a woman has the possibility of bringing a child forth into the world. Beyond that, a woman is a human being, a woman is fallible, and it should not be the responsibility of woman alone to make sure a man does not think sinful thoughts. There are men out there who, no matter HOW a woman is dressed or how she conducts herself, will think sinful thoughts about women. Likewise, there are women who will think sinful thoughts about men no matter what the man does or wears.
There is a good reason why there are those who proclaim Christianity as being degrading towards women. When you have many men interpreting Scripture to only apply modesty towards women and make it the job of women to control men's thoughts, it IS degrading to women. It also degrades men. It is worth noting that Jewish and Muslim culture enforce modesty for BOTH sexes, yet modern Christianity is peculiarly focused on women and their modesty at the expense of male modesty. In fact, another point worth mentioning is that even the same Christians who decry the Taliban and similar extremist regimes for forcing an extreme standard of modesty upon women, yet allow a relaxed amount of modesty for men (although nowhere near as relaxed as in modern Christianity), as being sexist and extremely misogynistic for placing sole responsibility on the woman for a man's actions will then turn around and expound at length on how women must be modest in attire whilst ignoring that the same Scriptures can and indeed DO apply to men as well.
Of course, no discourse on female modesty can go by without bringing up the fact that women ought not to wear pants or similarly "male" attire. Yet those same Christians who insist women not wear pants lest it bring about the downfall of society because men do not respect women anymore seem to have absolutely no complaints about the kilt, for example. And what is the kilt but a skirt? Yes, there is the tradition behind the kilt of being a man's article of clothing, however, that is besides the point. It is still, fundamentally, a skirt. Likewise, at the time the Bible was being written, both men and women wore the same basic style of clothing. Robes, tunics, that ilk. The difference between the clothing was a matter of cut, decoration, and such. Even in modern times this holds true. Is not the cut, fabric, and decoration for a men's dress shirt different from a women's, even if they are both long-sleeved buttondown shirts? Is not the cut of a kilt different from the cut of a knee length A-line skirt? As such, it stands to reason that pants can be worn by women, it is just more proper that they be of a different styling than men's pants.
I will say now that I do not tend to wear women's clothing as it is all too often ill-fitting or too revealing for my body, and that I really can't afford to tailor all my clothes to fit right, so it is just simpler to buy men's clothing. Is this proper? I would say that it is better to be modest than it is to be concerned about the exact cut of clothing.
The argument concerning pants then leads to the argument that men do not respect women who wear pants. I suppose men who hold views as I have decried and argued against in this rant would not respect a woman in pants, yet the majority of men I know respect me MORE when I am wearing pants and work shirts than when I wear skirts and pretty blouses. Certainly it surprises them to see me dressed in a more feminine manner, but I am treated no differently when I dress in a very feminine manner than when I dress in a more masculine manner. In some instances, I am treated BETTER when I dress in a masculine manner as I am not subjected to comments on how "sexy" I look and how I have such a "lovely hourglass figure". Those comments have come not when I am wearing a relatively tight fitting women's polo shirt and low-rise jeans, but when I am wearing an Air Force Class A uniform with the skirt instead of pants. Essentially, I am wearing a wool suit. Such comments come far less frequently when I wear male clothing.
The males in question who made such comments about me in both a suit and in male clothing support my belief that there are men out there who simply will not respect a woman no matter how she is attired. Such men should still be treated courteously and attempts should be made to correct their disrespectful view of women (as indeed should such views of men be corrected when held by women), yet the fact that there are men who are disrespectful no matter what should not mean that women should not wear pants or suits. Again, I point to the fact that I receive far less disrespectful comments when in more masculine attire.
Anecdotal data aside, in the end it simply comes down to how a person acts. Men do not respect women just because they wear dresses. They respect women who have respect for themselves. This is why I am treated more respectfully in male attire than some of my female peers are when dressed in female attire. I respect myself. I do not let people push me around and lord their strengths over me. I stand my ground. I act in a fashion appropriate to the situation, yet do not compromise on my morals or myself. I do not pander to anyone's sensibilities.
The entire point of modesty in attire is as an outward display of self-respect. Indeed, it is those with the MOST self-respect who dress modestly, not because of any Scripture or law but because they CHOOSE to. Part of gaining self-respect is to control how you are perceived by others, and modest attire is an easy way to begin creating more positive perceptions. This was recognised by the writers of the Bible because it is a natural law, something fundamental across all cultures that, whatever their idea of proper attire, one ought to wear that as respect for the self and the creator(s).
All considered, I'm sure it's plain to see why that page got my goat. It simply perpetuates some very sexist notions that I would like to think, as a society that recognises more and more the equality granted to the sexes by God (whether society recognises God or not is not the point), would be considered outdated and receiving of much scorn and contempt. Yet these notions are perpetuated by the same people who scorn more extreme versions of the same notions in other cultures.
Really, this is a case where it is plain to see men and women are equal (yet different, and such differences should be respected, but that's another rant entirely), and should be held to the same standards wherever applicable.
Now, don't get me started on contraception. Or the overemphasis on the headship of men. Or women in the military
, particularly when discussed by those who have no freaking idea.