This is a post I ran on www.peacefulwife.com and asked the men for some feedback. I’d LOVE some feedback from the single guys, too, for any of you who would be willing to help the ladies understand your perspective better. If you comment – I may add your comments to the post so that the ladies don’t miss anything! Y’all are kind of a mystery to us – and we benefit greatly when you are able to explain what life looks like from a masculine perspective:
I have been talking about modesty- a pretty rare concept in our culture. But what women think of this topic is nowhere near as important as what men think. You are the ones who must wrestle daily with visual temptation. And I don’t envy the hardships you face. In fact, I pray for you often!
If any of you are willing, would you please post a comment.
We as women need to know how we could bless you with modesty.
1. What would it mean to you if your Christian sisters were thoughtful and considerate about their dress and decided to not put stumbling blocks in your path?
2. What is immodest to you?
3. What is modest to you?
4. What do women do that causes you the greatest struggles?
5. Does the way women dress at church distract you from worship?
6. How can your sisters in Christ and your wives better support, encourage and pray for you in this area?
I want to see us dialogue about these tough issues and work together as a team to build the entire body of Christ! When are men are at their best, we have the strong, godly, wise leaders we need at church and at home. We need our men to be able to live holy lives! Our marriages, families and churches are counting on them.
Thank you for taking the time to answer any or all of these questions. It is the opinions of the men among us that matters most on the issue of modesty. We appreciate your insights, wisdom and perspective greatly!
Here are some of the responses I received:
1. I am glad about their consideration.
2. Modesty = When they dress in a way to bring attention to certain areas of their bodies.
4. Greatest struggles = low cut blouses, short shorts, midriffs showing, exposed underwear
5. the youth could dress better at church
6. Women could acknowledge that men are going to notice that women are attractive. But a lot of guys don’t undress women in their minds. There are guys that do that, but not all guys do. A woman can be attractive without being a stumbling block – absolutely. A woman can dress attractively and have modest mannerisms and a beautiful personality and be attractive and feminine but not be a stumbling block for me.
If a guy’s mindset is to look at women in a sexual context, he will look at every woman as a sexual being. But many guys look at women as people first and don’t try to use their imagination to undress women unless the woman makes it extremely easy for him to imagine her naked (by dressing immodestly). Immodest clothes can feed a lustful man’s mindset.
Some guys struggle a lot more with this than others. For me, I don’t have that many problems seeing that women are attractive and noticing them but not taking that second look.
That’s a tough question to answer. What distracts one man may not get a first glance from another. General suggestions might include avoid showing cleavage, tight pants/skirts, bellies and lots of leg.
The reality is that most men are pretty adept at “looking through” any clothes with their imaginations. A woman generally cannot hide her body “type” without wearing a tent over her body. When a man wants to, he just sizes up her general body type and applies his imagination to that “template.” It simply is not possible for women to keep men from objectifying them. It is the man’s job to employ self control. Nevertheless, if a woman puts her cleavage on display, it just gives a man’s imagination “more to work with.”
You may remember a TV show from the 80s called “Night Court.” John Larroquette played a sleazy, perverted lawyer on the show. In one episode, he found himself intensely attracted to a woman that had tons of clothes on. The more clothes she covered herself with, the more he was “turned on” by her because it gave him more to “undress her with his eyes.” Although intended to be humorous, it did illustrate the futility of placing too much responsibility on women to control men’s wondering eyes and lustful tendencies.
So, it comes down to balance. God made women to be beautiful and attractive to men. No need to try and deny that or hide that fact. Just don’t show too much skin in certain places or flaunt your form too much (I know, that might not be “specific” enough for some of you). The rest is up to the men. Self control is a fruit of the Spirit. The female body is designed to give men practice at self control. There is an expression that says, “Pornography is hard to define, but you know it when you see it.” I think the same holds true for modesty.
(The last response is from Thomas – a marriage counselor.)