The Modesty Doctrine

On the surface, what this woman says sounds well, rational. As a person who has come from a fundamentalist Christian background, it sounds very familiar to me and, actually, I had to catch myself in the middle of watching it to ask myself some very important questions.

1. Instead of subjecting men to visual stimuli of women in bikinis and measuring their brain activity why don’t we teach them how to not overly sexualize women and girls?

2. Do we not all deserve respect simply for being made in the image of God no matter what we wear?

3. Where is the male responsibility in this modesty doctrine? Are we supposed to relegate all males to the status of slathering beasts who can’t control themselves under any circumstances?

4. How is a man supposed to function sexually within marriage when all of his life, he has been programmed to fear and hate women?  If all of his life, he has been told that he is under a constant barrage of attack from women who are tempting him, he learns to fear them because he is supposed to keep all sexual urges out of his mind in order to be godly. At the same time, doesn’t he learn to hate women simply because he sees them as a threat to his godliness? If women lead him to sin via lust and immodest dress, doesn’t he then begin to see them as the cause of his sin? He would go from a lifetime of “no” to a big “yes”. He would be expected to perform sexually at least to produce offspring. What if he can’t get past his fear and hate? What happens then?

5. What happens to girls who become women within this doctrine? Because they are set aside as objects of fear and hatred, do they then learn to fear and hate themselves? And again, how are they supposed to function sexually within a marriage if all they know is that they are supposed to fear and hate their own bodies? If one of these women then gets raped or beaten by her husband, will she think it’s her fault for dressing too immodestly or adorning her hair or walking to proudly? This is Rape Culture 101.

6. What happens to those in this doctrine who are gay/lesbian/transgender/gender neutral/gender queer/bisexual? How must it feel to be told every day that you are an abomination in the sight of God and that there is no place for you in this world? There is no place for these people in the modesty doctrine.

I would suggest that instead of trying to keep women’s sexuality under control that we let people wear what they feel most comfortable in and learn to see them for what they really are: beautiful spirits who happen to be encased in flesh. I think that we should teach that sexuality and sexual attraction is normal and natural. If you happen to be attracted to someone, instead of fearing it, you can instead process it as just a part of your day and move on. Instead of focusing on sexuality as the “demon” that we focus on things that are more pressing like feeding the poor and housing the homeless.

Finally, if you look for a demon behind every bush, you will find one. Alternately, if you look for God and His divine nature within people, you will most certainly find it. It’s all a matter of focus and perspective.

James 1:27  A religion that is pure and stainless according to God the Father is this: to take care of orphans and widows who are suffering, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. ~International Standard Version

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