Once again, as I peer into a ‘discussion’ between people who are supposedly in the same corner of protecting women’s dignity, I inevitably see someone who has that bent on just arguing blindly instead of listening and seeing the big picture. It’s why I, as a male feminist, removed myself very deliberately from certain circles and advocacies.
One would think a male would be embraced in this arena. One couldn’t be further from the truth. It was a horrible experience.
I am a feminist because Jesus is. It’s right, and He taught me how to dignify equally my counterparts as I grew to know Him. I am a feminist in the true meaning of the word, not in its varied ways of misinterpretation and misunderstanding. I simply believe in equality on all levels, and that includes the following example that often gets blurred together unnecessarily, and leads to avoidable argument and anger that forges division:
I firmly hold to the freedom of a woman being able to be in public without having to duck or defend or be on guard from unwanted attention and behavior. I hate the fact that women, perhaps some more than others based on their social setting and the people around them throughout their experience, have gone through stupid and immature things from men just because of their looks or demeanor. I can’t stand that men who have no moral compass or restraint feel like they can have their way with their objectifying mentality, born of self-centered, self-indulgent mentality and lifestyle.
Similarly, and/but totally separately, I believe in modesty for men and women. Modesty is simply a state of mind, an approach, stating that certain things are being reserved for only one other person. I believe wholly in the beauty of consecration and dedication to a spouse, significant, or a future spouse as a single. It is such a wonderful fulfillment to be on the giving and receiving end of such. It brings fullness and life on an amazing level.
And I believe that modesty should be practiced with this as the purpose, not because a person has to be afraid of ‘causing’ others to do wrong to them or privately.
You can’t ’cause’ someone to sin. It’s their choice. You can influence. You can exploit their vulnerabilities or weaknesses. But it is still their choice. Period.
For those of us who seek God out in His word, in the place where Paul talks about not causing our brother to stumble, he is referring to things that God had sanctified and made permissible in the transition from Old to New Covenant, not those things which were not permissible. And according to His word, immodesty is not permissible. So, what I’m identifying here is that we should not use this passage as a reason for modesty. This passage addresses the reason to be watchful over permissible things, not impermissible things.
If we want to use a few passages to address modesty and how to handle it, one would be where He specifically states that we are to dress modestly. Another is where it says our body belongs to our spouse, which means it’s no one else’s business, and, men, that body includes your MIND and EYES! (Don’t make lazy copouts for cheating in cheap ways.)
And as far as accountability in a case of immodesty, the onus is on the one staring! As it is written, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out!” Jesus put the accountability on the person observing. The person who is immodestly dressed is accountable to opening their special parts or intimacy to those other than their spouse. That is what they are responsible for, not the onlookers.
SO!, for example, that means that it is completely on the man if a woman decides to dress less covered in public. She may not be choosing guard certain things the same way another woman may choose, and that is between her and God and her spouse or future spouse, if she has one. But that is NO excuse for the man to do or say ANYthing that is inappropriate, i.e., unwelcomed and unwanted. Period.
I’m worn of the fighting…but this was a little too stirred within to not self-debrief a little. We have to understand that we really are so easily shooting ourselves in the foot when we fight. ALL ADVOCATES have to, at some point, ask themselves the honest questions…
* What is the true, root goal and passion of my advocacy?
* Am I trying to win a fight, or win the war?
* Am I more interested in winning an argument, or winning a heart?
Whether we are advocating for gender equality, racial equality, the gospel, the poor, the orphans, or whatever, our motives will largely affect our effectiveness.
I thought I would be embraced. Was I ever wrong.