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How Creepy Conservative Christian Modesty Doctrines Harm Young Women

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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-11 06:51 AM
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How Creepy Conservative Christian Modesty Doctrines Harm Young Women



How Creepy Conservative Christian Modesty Doctrines Harm Young Women
RH Reality Check / By Sierra
November 27, 2011

This isnt a story about how modest clothes allowed me to let myself go and conceal a growing figure. Its not even a story about how wearing modest clothes kept my self-esteem at rock bottom and thrust me into a too-close relationship with Ben & Jerry. Its a story about how modesty doctrines impacted my mind, in ways that had real, negative effects on my body. Modesty was one of the reasons my defining relationship with my body became whether or not I was fat. Modesty was one of the engines that pushed me into a full-blown eating disorder. Its not just a dress code: its a philosophy, and its one that destroys young women, mentally and physically.

Modesty taught me that my first priority needed to be making sure I wasnt a stumbling block to men. Not being sexually attractive was the most important thing I had to consider when buying clothes, putting them on, maintaining my weight (cant have things getting tight!), and moving around (cant wiggle those hips, or let a little knee show). Modesty taught me that what I looked like was what mattered most of all. Not what I thought. Not how I felt. Not what I was capable of doing. Worrying about modesty, and being vigilant not to be sexy, made me even more obsessed with my looks than the women in short shorts and spray tans I was taught to hate.

Modesty taught me that I was always on display. There was no occasion in which it was acceptable to be immodest. Not the beach, not at the pool with friends, not in my own backyard (sunbathing was out because a neighbor might glance over and see me). This took my normal self-consciousness as a teenage girl and amped it up to an impossible degree. I once had a bee fly down my (acceptably loose) shirt and, in flailing around to get it out, had a family member comment that Id just flashed my own grandfather. I was horrified for the rest of the week. Thats not normal. The normal order of priorities is getting dangerous animals out of your clothing first, and then worrying about making your own relatives perv on you second. Not so with the modesty doctrine. I should have let it sting me, apparently. Getting stung was the lesser risk.

~snip~

Modesty made me fat because it defined my relationship with my body in terms of appearance. Not action. Not gratitude. Not the joy of movement. Just appearance. It also defined my relationship with men as one of predator and prey. It was my job to hide from men so that their sex drive would lie dormant, like a sleeping wolf. But if that wolf ever awakened, it was not because it had been sleeping for a long time and its circadian rhythm kicked in, or it was just naturally hungry. It was my fault because I had done something to bait the wolf. Just by being visibly female, or by moving in unladylike ways. You cannot consider women full human beings unless you recognize that their lives do not revolve around the male sex drive. Modesty is a philosophy that dehumanizes. It incites constant fear and vigilance in one sex while excusing the other of all responsibility. Its immoral.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-11 07:19 AM
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1. be it modesty or slutty, when a womans role consists solely on fuckability, there is going to be
issues.

girls are being hit from two fronts. need to just say no, and live life.
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get the red out Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-11 07:53 AM
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2. Religion rests on "Eve"
She has caused all the problems in the world, no MAN can be blamed for anything. Religion destroys women.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-11 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. i keep being told it is the feminazi's that have wreaked all havoc in this world. nt
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-11 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. I can never understand how women can indoctrinate their daughters
into all these religions which teach that women are less than.

It does tend to explain a lot, though.
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get the red out Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-11 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Fear
It's the "eternal damnation" angle, better to suffer now than burn forever. It is hard to mentally break from that because what keeps going through one's mind is "what if they are right?".
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-11 10:53 AM
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4. This "Christian modesty" sounds just like Muslim "modesty" --
holding women responsible for controlling men.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-11 11:14 AM
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5. So it's not the everpresent media bombardment of women as objects
that teaches us that women are always on display... it's the concept of modesty.

Yeah, right. That makes tons of sense.

Sorry but no, it is not modesty that teaches women that their relationship with their body is defined by what men think of the way they look. It is almost everywhere around them, nearly all the time.

What a huge mistake this woman makes. I hope she sees the big picture soon.

It isn't 'modesty' that dehumanizes... it is objectification. *sigh*

At least this part is right:

"You cannot consider women full human beings unless you recognize that their lives do not revolve around the male sex drive."
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BlancheSplanchnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-11 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. well, this one time I have to disagree with you, redqueen
or, rather, just modify your post a bit, at least as per my opinion:

excessive modesty is just the opposite side of the hypersexualization of women...but in both cases, the woman is still treated as an object, and internalizes the same perception of self (and of all other females): as an object, defined solely by the male-patriarchal concept of female-being.

In both cases, the male sex drive is the deciding factor in how women are to be treated, how women are to be restricted regarding their participation in society: their behavior, rituals, socialization, clothing, public life, private life, and all other activities.

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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-11 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Yes, in both cases it is definitely objectification.
I have much less experience with this modesty business, seeing as how it's not anywhere near as prevalent as the flip side... not even in the same galaxy, prevalence-wise.
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BlancheSplanchnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-11 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. true. It was pretty interesting
to see that perspective, since it's the same for me--I don't have any personal experience with that manifestation of patriarchal poison. I can totally see how it would twist a young woman's mind....what a loss, so many girls twisted and derailed from developing as human beings
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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-28-11 08:52 PM
Response to Original message
11. It would be so much easier to just cover up everything
like Muslim women do than try to be modest in Western clothes.
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Feldspar Donating Member (45 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-02-11 03:41 PM
Response to Original message
12. Wish I had recc'd when I first saw this because
Edited on Fri Dec-02-11 03:44 PM by Feldspar
I have been rather a fan of Sierra's for some time and her writing continues to evolve.

Nice to see her again. :loveya:
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