Friday, July 12, 2013
Cover the Skin You're In! Modesty in Our Culture
The Church teaches us that modesty is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit...one of the “perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1832)
We also learn that “Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled...It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet." (CCC 2522, emphasis mine) Modesty is directly tied to purity, which “requires modesty” and is “an integral part of temperance”...“refusing to unveil what should remain hidden.” (CCC 2521)
Not to offend any of the ladies...BUT...why is it that MANY women I know or meet feel the need to show off their cleavage, thighs, shape-li-ness, etc...? OR maybe it's not so much they feel like the “need” to...but for some reason they just dress this way. It seems like we live in a "flaunt it if you've got it" culture. And sometimes it feels more like “flaunt it regardless of whether you've got it or not...or even if you've got too much”!
I have even spoken with female friends and family who have noticed this and who are just as uncomfortable with it (from a woman's perspective) as I am (looking at it from a married man's perspective). Our society seems to have lost the sense of secrecy and the desire to avoid temptation. In fact, it seems like the goal is TO TEMPT, to be noticed, to be seen. But I think we have allowed ourselves to get off track here. It's not so much that wanting to look good or be noticed is a bad thing...but when that is achieved by allowing ourselves to be objectified, then it can be. And it can be especially troublesome when we allow aspects of ourselves, those that should be reserved for our spouse (whether present or future), to be flaunted for all the world to see.
I believe that some women don't realize the power they have in determining how men view them. Other women probably do realize this, and some of those use this knowledge to purposefully draw attention to themselves...but it's those who might NOT be aware that I'd like to focus on.
Women, how you present yourself will directly affect how a man views and treats you. It's just as simple as that.
If you present yourself as a sex object, a man will treat you like one. If you present yourself as a daughter of God and a spouse (present or future) then men will treat you accordingly. If you dress in a way that draws attention to your countenance...your face, your smile, your eyes...then men will look at your face, your smile, and your eyes, and the thoughts they have about you will be focused on what they are seeing. If you dress to draw attention to your legs or your chest or your curves...take a wild guess at where men are going to look and what they will be thinking about. Regardless of whose fault it is or which person (the lady dressing a certain way, or the man acting like a pig) is responsible for the thoughts that come about, the fact is that a woman who draws attention to her sex appeal will become a sex object in the eyes of a man (in general). That's human nature, and it isn't about to change. You (the women reading this) might not be responsible for how a man treats or views you, but you DO have power over it and can greatly affect, by your dress, how a man will respond to you.
How many times have you heard a woman say, or how many reading this have said it themselves: “What a pig! Do you know what that guy said/did/etc... to me?” “Stop staring at my chest and look at me eyes!!”
Well, ladies...I hate to put the burden on you, but YOU have control over this...to some degree anyway. YOU can “force” a man to look at your eyes. YOU can have at least SOME control over whether a man squawks out cat-calls or degrading comments, or stares at your eyes instead of your chest, or does a turn-around as you pass by to take a better look at your back-side. If you want to be treated with respect and as a lady, and as a PERSON instead of an object...YOU can affect change here. That's not to let men off the hook...they are responsible for their actions to be sure...but how many men do you know that are going to read this and say to themselves, “Self, you should treat women better and not objectify them.”? Sadly, I only know a handful of guys that think that way, and they do not represent the general male population.
Ladies, if you want to be treated with respect, and not be objectified by men in our modern day culture...you DO have some control over that...you CAN effect change...you CAN force [some] men to see you as a person and not an object. Part of that control might just be as easy as this: cover the skin you're in.