Sunday, October 30, 2005

Proposing Modesty

Yesterday I wrote about Brio, where you can find all the bad advice offered to Christian teenage girls. Well Christian teenage boys can get just as bad advice from Breakaway.

Unfortunately it doesn't have many beauty or fashion tips, but it does tell you how to go deeper into your relationship with Christ by hiking, how to skate for God, or how to be all manly and christian by giving up soft drinks for a month (no I don't get that).

To the surprise of no-one where Brio tell girls how to look pretty and wait, Breakaway tries to make Christianity the most exciting action packed adventure this side of invading a country (although mutually exclusive those two are not).

But while I found Brio just amusing, and a little sad, I found Breakaway creepy. An Immodest Proposal*:

And what’s with [girls'] clothes? Skimpy tank tops and jeans so low they reveal way too much. And sometimes these are girls in church.

That’s the kind of thing that confuses guys like 18-year-old Mike Newcomb of Butler, Pa. When he sees a girl dressed “sleazy,” the first thing he thinks is that she’s willing to jump into bed with any guy. “I know that might not be true for all girls who dress like this,” he admits, “but girls need to be careful of what they wear. It really does have an effect on what people think about them — even if it’s not true.”

I mean it makes sense, if the magazine for girls says "you are responsible for boy's sexual response" then the magazine for boys would say "girls are responsible for your sexual response".

I guess I find that creepy rather than funny because I think you're much more likely to realise that your body actually belongs to you, than that someone else's body doesn't belong to you. It's easier to fight back than give up power.

* I'm trying to figure out what the relationship was between this article and the original Modest Proposal. I'm thinking the possibiliteis are there's a snarky non-christian sub-editor at Breakaway or someone read the article and thought 'he thinks eating babies is wrong, that must be a comment on abortion', or possibly they just don't know what they're referring to.


  1. Maia, it's just not that simple. Men would love to be able to control their thoughts, so that they're not distracted by the beauty and sex appeal of the female body. But the fact is, it is actually NEAR impossible if a woman is FLAUNTING it. Well, sure you can ignore the flaunting, but it takes an exceptional amount of willpower and stamina, and to do so for the entirety of a church service is damn difficult, especially if one is really tired and not feeling particularly spiritual.

    What the heck is the point anyway??? Especially at church. If a female is dressing in skimpy outfits you got to ask why. Surely it is to attract attention to themselves, otherwise they wouldn't complain about being encouraged to wear something more modest.

    1) Yes, men should be able to control themselves.

    2) Yes, they can, but it takes a lot of effort.

    3) In church, a man would like to think about God; why don't you just get over yourself and at least make it a bit easier for him?

    Just because men are distracted and fascinated by the female body doesn't mean that's all they consider a female to be (which seems to be the issue you have with these magazines).

  2. Anonymous10:42 pm

    This is exactly the view of conservative Muslims. Allan Chesswas would have us women wearing the burqa!

    Or perhaps women should be segregated in a separate section of the church? After all, ankles can be sexually inviting, too!

    Where on earth did a young guy in New Zealand learn such medieval views!

  3. Oh come one.... listen to yourself, taking things to extremes... who is this?

    I'm all for nice clothes, it's just there's a big difference between looking beautiful and looking sexy.... it seems girls only know how to look sexy these days.... and it ain't pretty

  4. A J today I wore a tight, low-cut singlet with spaghetti straps. Why I wore it is none of your business. I didn't go to church today, but I did go to two meetings and a protest. At each of these events all the straight men and lesbian women present did seem to be able to concentrate on the important matters at hand, despite the awesome power of my breasts. I don't think any of them have exceptional amounts of willpower and stamina, but who knows. If anyone found it harder to concentrate because of the awesome power of my breasts that's actually their problem and not mine.

  5. Anonymous11:57 pm

    Oh, the irony, A J Chesswas chiding someone for "taking things to extremes" !!!

    Go on, admit it. You would have been happier in Edwardian England, wouldn't you? Before women shortened their skirts and showed their legs.

  6. None of my business because it would prove my argument to be true. You were it because you are obsessed with yourself and will to what you can to draw attention to yoursel, even if it means dressing like a SKANK.

    Give me Edwardian or Victorian England NEW ZEALAND anyday! The days when girls actually made it to womanhood.

  7. You know what? Even if that were true, even the only reason I didn't wear loose baggy clothing at all time was because I was obsessed with myself, then it still wouldn't be my problem if some guy couldn't concentrate because of my breasts.

    Women are not responsible for men's sexual response.


    Also skank? Care to define that term.

  8. Well with that attitude you may as well join Club 574. They might be able to share with you the meaning of skank.

  9. Prostitution, by definition, claims that women are responsible for women's sexual response, as men are paying for women to induce that sexual response.

    But thanks for showing what your actual attitude towards women is.

  10. Prostitution, by definition, claims that women are responsible for women's sexual response, as men are paying for women to induce that sexual response.

    But thanks for showing what your actual attitude towards women is.

  11. It also claims, by definition, that women ARE NOT responsible for men's sexual response. This is the same attitude you display in refusing to help men in their battle against their animality, purely for the sake of ego.

    No man is an island Maia.

  12. There was a typo I meant to say: "women are responsible for men's sexual response."

    If men buy sex off women, then obviously women are responsible for men's sexual response.

    But you'll have to explain why you think that prostituation shows that women are not responsible for men's sexual response, and what the link is between wearing singlets and prostitution.

  13. Prostitution does not SHOW women are not responsible for mens' response - it CLAIMS women are not responsible for mens response. To escape this word salad and put it another way....

    The reason prostitutes can justify their work, "ethically", is by saying they're not forcing themselves on anyone - it's a man's choice.

    It doesn't matter that they're providing a "service" that is destructive to the character, social and relational life of that man - "it is his choice, thus I am not responsible" the prostitute claims.

    It's like the multinational corporation that pays its Indonesian labourers 5 cents a day. "It's their choice", they say, "if I didn't rip him off someone else would"

    A sinner is bad, but how much worse is the person who tempts someone to sin, and, even worse, exploits them ($$$) in that sin. This is exactly what prostitutes do, and it makes their misdeeds far worse than those of the purchaser.

    How does this relate to singlets? I'm just saying don't fall for the prostitute mindset - accept that your actions can affect another person's actions. Weight up the pros and cons - is it worth being a temptation and stumbling block for guys, for the sake of.... for the sake of what?

    Which is why I ask you, what is your motivation? If it's not to attract peoples' attention then why is it? Not that its wrong to want to attract attention, but you'll get the right sort of attention if you go for beautiful instead of "sexy". Sexy is just skin and bones, but beauty is the external expression of the beauty of the soul. When a girl has to use sex appeal to attract attention one can only assume her soul ain't much to look at.

  14. Incidentally, it's also the same sot of logic Cathy Odgers uses to justify having sex with married men.

  15. cathy odgers is cool. she's fucking hilarious. and what's wrong with having sex with a married man... all that practise he got with his wife probably made him good in bed.

    besides did you not feel the man may have had some say in whether or not he slept with cathy? you act as if she made him do it. everyone has choices in life, and when two people are in a relationship that they have decided is important to them, they are the ones who have to respect that relationship, not other people.

  16. Panda;

    It takes two to tango.

    No man is an island.

    In relationships there is always a power imbalance. Our level of responsibility depends on the power that we have. If we have the ability to lure somebody into something that is bad for them then we are as responsible for their actions as they are.

    It's only common sense.

    There is a myth floating around that all humans are equal in autonomy; equal in their ability to make "rational" choices. A myth.

  17. of course it takes two to tango. i'm not saying that cathy did not participate. all i'm saying is that cathy does not have to respect the marriage of someone who obviously doesnt respect it himself. i dont think her actions are wrong in any way.
    you're being very oppressive towards women by making this situation one in which cathy gets blamed for a mans impulses.

  18. I don't ever have to justify having sex with any man AJ, let alone a married one.

    Now be a good petal and get back into the kitchen and cook us some fucking eggs.

  19. "Women are not responsible for men's sexual response."

    No, they're not and the boys complaining that the way that girls dress is just too tempting for them know deep down just how pathetic that argument is.

    The problem is that men, no matter how noble and intelligent, are all to some degree utterly crap at containing their sexual responses; we are quite capable (or some of us are) of interacting with a women as a human being, but under the mental surface we are thinking about having sex with you.

    The idea that women are somehow to blame for this is preposterous, but I do think that women need to know about it.