Our sexual ethics need to begin with respect, and that respect needs to begin with viewing others as living, breathing beings, not objects.
I’ve posted about this before (and you can read it here and here), but I think this is a subject worth revisiting: How men treat women based on standards of modesty. I’m taking another shot at it because a) I can; and b) I apparently didn’t make myself clear the first two times.
Message for boys and men: I do not care how she is dressed, you have NO EXCUSE WHATSOEVER for not treating a girl or woman with respect. The old, “If you’re going to dress like that, expect men to treat you a certain way” doesn’t cut it. (And yes, this is what is being taught in many churches as “sex and relationships.” Trust me, I’ve been there and back.)
I don’t care whether she is a “working girl” or just working in your office. It makes no difference. You may feel that she is dressed inappropriately, “leading,” or just downright slutty, but your opinion doesn’t matter. If you decide that the way she’s dressed is an invitation to grope her, tell her dirty jokes, or suggest things you might do together in bed, you are in dangerous waters, my friend. Whatever she is doing “wrong” (which may boil down to your own sorry excuses anyway), you had better leave her alone.
For one thing, that’s called sexual harassment and it’s—get this—against the law when it is ongoing or severe, creating a hostile environment.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on to the concept of being dressed “like that.” What does that mean? I’ve asked this before, and I’ve never gotten a straight answer. I can see how wearing fishnets and a leather miniskirt might be provocative, of course. But I’ve heard all sorts of ideas about what is or is not acceptably modest on girls and women. Heck, I’ve been accused of being immodest myself, which ought to make anyone who knows me laugh themselves silly.
So someone, please, tell me what I should have my daughter avoid when she reaches her teen years. What clothes do I need to ixnay in the store? Where’s the line between pretty and trashy? I always thought this was obvious, but I’m hearing differently from some of the boys and men that I know. And the funny thing is, since my husband and I share an opinion about what we think is okay, then he is clearly not to be trusted either. So whose advice do I need?
Well, guess what? I’m putting my foot down. I’m saying right here and now that I will allow my daughter to dress the way I believe is appropriate. And if any boy harasses her, she has my permission to punch him in the teeth. (Those of you who know my daughter personally will have no trouble imagining her doing this. I’ve always maintained that she’s going to be the one to screen her brother’s potential dates, not the other way around. In fact, I think I’m going to send her as a chaperone.)
Beyond that, I’m going to demand that we stop telling our sons that it’s wrong to ogle girls, but that if they dress like sluts, then we understand that they couldn’t help themselves. You know what? Shut up about that already. We get it. Some girls and women don’t know how to be modest. Fine. We’ll work on that. And yeah, we get it that your eyes and your penis (yes, I said it, so sue me) are directly connected. (You keep reminding us of this, how could we forget?) However, there are no other circumstances where we tell people it’s okay to sin if you were “provoked” into it. It’s damn well NOT okay and we all know it, even if it has to do with sex. Stop blaming women for being whores and start teaching boys how to act like gentlemen.