Modesty & Responses to Responses.

I just wanted to call everyone’s attention to Emily Maynard’s response to my response.

If you’re not keeping up, Emily first published this post, I responded to it here, and today she responded here.

Our responses to responses could go on forever, but for me at least, I’m probably coming to the end of what I can convey well through this medium.

I will say, that I could have done a better job in my response of making a point to say that men owe the same thing to women, and acknowledge that there are women struggling with lust & pornography as well.

I’m not going to lie, hearing Emily say that my post sounded a lot like Rape Culture and sexism, hurts.

I suppose the sum of my original argument was meant to be that things (in this case the human body) can be good, unequivocally good, and yet aren’t meant for everyone. This includes the male body as well. Mine body, in its entirety, belongs only to my wife.
Can someone believe that without contributing to rape culture & sexism. I think so.

Still, if I’m wrong, I’m praying earnestly that God will convict me. I would never want to contribute something so vile, and insidious that denies the image of God in someone.

I’m thankful for Emily and her words. To be clear I don’t see myself and the counter-voice to her words, on this issue or any other. In fact I mostly find myself cheering on her blogs and tweets. So for that and this conversation, thank you Emily.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

8 thoughts on “Modesty & Responses to Responses.

  1. You’re not wrong, Shane. And you’re NOT contributing to rape culture. The basic question we should ALWAYS be asking ourselves is “how do I love my neighbor.” I think that was your point. And the apparent answer, in this situation is “Don’t think about it or the puritans win!”  I like Emily’s writing, too, and she’s made some welcome critiques on this subject, but the pendulum has swung too far.

  2. A very interesting reading experience. Reading this makes me cringe a bit as I look back at my upbringing, which was similar to yours (Big spring in da house). <— sorry for that. I’m in the fight against religion and legalism and I’m  chasing the heart of Jesus. To me thats the very simple answer to this question. In an ideal world (The kingdom of God) we wouldn’t need these conversations. But the reality is we are fallen and this is going to be a battle until all things are restored. So, to me we have 2 problems: 1. Men have a hard time seeing things from a Woman’s perspective. 2. Women have the same problem, except towards men. I may be oversimplifying things but I’m having a hard time coming to any other conclusion. In light of that It seems that based on scripture and the very simple command of loving God and loving our neighbor, Men should strive to love women because they are our neighbor and Women should strive to love men because they are their neighbor.Emily’s post opened my eyes to the way the Church has placed the burden of lust on the shoulders of women. I remember in the not to distant past having this same conversation with our youth group and trying to explain how the way girls dressed effects the opposite sex. Looking back I can see Emily’s point and all I can do is learn and strive to be different. Shane, you recognized that and I feel you celebrated and cheered her sentiment on as your own, which I do as well. You also, in my opinion did a fantastic job of offering an addition to what she wrote. It’s simply wrong to put the full burden on one sex, period. But it is equally wrong to say it’s not my problem how I effect you. Which is basically what Emily wrote! If we changed the subject matter to something different I think we would agree that the decisions we make and the lives we live can effect  people in a negative or positive way. So why is it wrong to place our modesty in that same light? It seems like there is no room in her argument for that. Our Culture has a lot to do with the way we live and our social norms. But Jesus was not influenced by Culture he was influenced by the Father. I believe He would lovingly and gently tell us all that the answer to this is to serve the other and place higher value on them than yourself. That call is equally on men and the way we look at Women clothed modestly or not. The call is equally on women and the way they are mindful of the heart of men. We can and should flip that last point for men and women as well. When we don’t we are being unfair to the opposite. Loving our neighbor plays a role in every aspect of our lives and I don’t think as a follower of Jesus we can argue any different.

  3. Dear Shane,
    You say:
    “The sum of my original argument was meant to be that things (in this case the human body) can be good, unequivocally good, and yet aren’t meant for everyone. This includes the male body as well. Mine body, in its entirety, belongs only to my wife. Can someone believe that without contributing to rape culture & sexism. I think so.”
    Yes, Shane, you’re right. You can believe that without contributing to rape culture. It’s when you connect this belief to modesty that you contribute to rape culture.
    There’s nothing wrong with believing that the human body isn’t for everyone, just for a spouse. But when you imply that the idea that your body is just for a spouse somehow is incompatible with “immodest dress”, then you do contribute to rape culture.
    Let’s go back to what rape culture is.
    At its root, rape culture is the idea that, where women’s bodies are concerned,  visibility/availability = ownership / right to use.
    It’s the idea that a woman who “makes herself visible/available”  is inviting men to use her.
    That’s rape culture in a nutshell.
    It has many forms. It supports the idea that if woman was drunk, her rape was her fault because alcohol makes her more available. Or, if a woman was walking alone at night while raped, it was her fault because she made herself available. Or, if a woman was dressed immodestly, she was inviting a man to rape her. Or, if a woman was dressed immodestly, she is (perhaps unintentionally) provoking a man to lust/mentally rape her.
    Rape culture is the idea that visibility is an invitation. It is completely specific to women’s bodies because in *no other part of society* do we imply that visibility is an invitiation to use.
    If you park your car in public, are you inviting people to steal it? No.
    Let’s bring it closer to home. If you park your new car in the church parking lot, are you inviting your brothers in Christ to lust after it? If you park your car in the church parking lot, are you implying that it doesn’t belong just to you and your wife? Clearly not!
    If you eat an ice cream cone in public, are you implying that the cone doesn’t belong just to you? Are you inviting other people to lust after your ice cream cone by eating on in public? What if you’re eating it on a hot summer day, when many people might be especially susceptible to lust after ice cream cones?
    If your wife wears an engagement ring (some couples don’t), is she implying that the ring belongs to people other than the two of you? Is she inviting other girls to wear it by keeping it on her hand in public? Is she inviting single girls to lust after her ring by wearing it in public?
    Only in the case of women’s bodies   is visibility construed as implying ownership by others. Only in the case of women’s bodies is visibility construed as an invitation to lust.
    Even if you apply the principle to men’s bodies (as you suggested you should have), it’s just an extension of a principle that was faulty from the start.
    Visibility has nothing to do with ownership. If you drive your car in public, the very fact that you’re driving it  implies that it’s your car, not anyone else’s. If a woman walks around in her body in public, the very fact that she is directing her body’s movements implies that it is her body and isn’t “for” anyone else unless she has given it in marriage.
    If a woman makes her beauty visible, it is not an invitation to lust any more than driving a car in public is an invitation to lust. Nor is inviting single girls to your wedding an invitation for them to lust after your wedding. [And yes, lust after other people’s weddings is *totally* a thing!]
    Your belief that one’s body belongs only to a spouse is not rape culture. Not at all.  Your (implied) belief that wearing “immodest dress”  communicates  that a (wo)man’s body  does not belong exclusively to a spouse    IS rape culture.
    It’s the same elision between visibility and ownership that  we NEVER apply to any other physicial item.
    As long as you argue that a woman who dresses “immodestly” is (unintentionally) inviting men to lust, or implying that her body does not belong solely to herself or her future husband,   you are supporting rape culture.

    • P.S.
      I noticed that I used “belong to” instead of your original expression: “for anyone else.” Please read  “for” whereever I incorrectly used “belong to.” Trying to quote you accurately here.
      My point is that revealing the body is not incompatible with it being exclusively “for a spouse” anymore than any other public display (driving a car, weddings, engagement rings, ice cream cones, etc.)  is incompatible with the items being “for you.”

    • I’m not saying I disagree, but the car analogy got me thinking.  I do leave my car in public, but I also lock the doors because I don’t want anyone to steal it.

      • @UpsideDownKate But locking the doors applies to *entry*, not to *visibility*.  Immodesty is a question of visibility.  You don’t put a drape over your car to conceal its shape so that other people don’t lust after it. In the same way, women don’t have to feel responsible to hide their bodies so that others don’t lust after them.

  4. @UpsideDownKate I don’t see modesty as a simple question of “visibility”; I see it as “visibility + positioning”. Parking my car in the church parking lot is statistically less likely to trigger the desire to steal than, say, parking it in a high-crime area of a major city. In either case it may not be *my fault* if my car gets stolen, but the paradox is that I might have been able to prevent its theft if I had not parked in a high-crime area. Similarly, if I make a habit of carelessly crossing a busy street without regard for oncoming traffic, the statistical probability that I will someday be hit by a car is greatly increased. I can’t just say, “The other drivers need to take responsibility for their actions” without taking some basic, common-sense responsibility for protecting myself. Reality is that when sexually attractive women dress immodestly in public (around straight men or lesbian/bisexual women), they are making themselves more visible and putting themselves in a position where their visibility is more likely to be abused (overtly or covertly). It’s not a question of “fault” or “blame” or even religiosity; it’s one of common sense.

  5. KimOsburn1 UpsideDownKate Yes. Agreed. Responsibility and common sense go a long way in a fallen world. But at the same time, it would be ridiculous for the tempted car thief to insist that all car owners park elsewhere and/or cover up their cars, right? I think that’s the crux of the issue here.

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