Tempting others with our choice of clothing II - the girl.

A teenager/young adult (let’s call her Jen) is much like any other girl living in a Southern state. She’s the typical girl next door, goes to school, is polite, has friends, and is fairly average overall except for in the way she looks. She’s highly above average in the looks department and is pretty much built like a super model.

Despite her natural beauty, Jen still grooms herself and dresses in the same way as all the other girls in her town. Jeans and a sweater for the winters, shorts and a tank top for the summer, a collared shirt for work, a bikini for the beach, some make up for school, etc etc. Even though she dresses like all the other girls, she stands out more because of her beauty.

She is known as the babe amongst her peers, the men often whisper about her and sometimes make suggestive remarks, she often catches men looking at her regardless of where she is or what she is doing, sometimes a guy will come up to her and introduce himself, and she’ll get the occasional whistles and “so sexy” comments from strangers as she walks by. Sometimes it is just genuine physical attraction on the men’s part, and that’s fine… but other times the more perverted men will proceed to lust/objectify her by imagining her in their sexual fantasies, or saying inappropriate things about her to their buddies.

We all know, of course, that it is sinful for these men to view Jen as an object to be used to satisfy their own selfish desires rather than as a whole person.

Jen does not ask to be objectified in this way. She’s just a regular girl, doing things that regular girls do. She styles her hair, wears clothes, and does her makeup all in a way that is compatible for the area she lives in in 2013.

Unfortunately, because she is so beautiful, this will sometimes cause certain types of men to view her as an object to be used rather than as a human being. Jen could, I suppose, do certain things to make herself look less attractive. In the winter, she could ditch her jeans and flattering sweatshirts for baggy pants and hoodies. In the summer, she could ditch her cute shorts and tank top for long goofy looking shorts and tshirts. For work, she could ditch her girly collared shirt for one off of the “men’s section” at the store to unsure they hide her curves rather than accentuate them. For the beach she could invest in the same style of one piece as is worn by female olympic swimmers. She can stop wearing make up all together, and just tie her hair back in a pony tail everyday. But she figures she’s comfortable with herself, she likes her style, and if some men out there want to be pigs, that’s their problem.

Now the question is this…

Is Jen being selfish by continuing to look the way she does despite causing others to sin by viewing her as an object for their selfish gratification? Or better yet, is Jen AT ALL responsible for the sins of those who choose to lust after her?

Which do you think needs to happen from a moral standpoint?

A. Jen needs to get a makeover (or makeUNDER) as explained above so that she will not cause others to sin.
B. Jen does not need to change. It is the men’s responsibility to see Jen as the human being that she is, regardless of how Jen looks/dresses.
C. They should meet in the middle. Perhaps Jen can just make it a point to try to wear baggy sweaters and t-shirts for casual occasions where she’d normally do flattering sweaters and tank tops (though keeping everything else the same), and the men should make the effort to stop perceiving her as an object since it’ll be easier to do so if she doesn’t look as good.
D. Other (explain below)

Please vote up top and discuss your vote below.

If the clothing is immodest or exposes anything intimate, then it shouldn’t be worn in public. Jeans and a sweater aren’t immodest (not necessarily, anyway), so she doesn’t need to change that.

B. As long as Jen’s business is covered, it’s someone else’s problem. The only thing she might want to do is wear a modest swimsuit, but even if she was homly and pudgy, I think she should wear a modest swimsuit. Women are not obligated to uglify themselves for the sake of piggish men, nor the sake of mean, insecure women.

I voted B. I will admit that the reason why I voted that is because I have recently become sick of the tone of modesty discussions in Christian circles. I was the girl from your scenario, and despite the changes to my appearance that age and motherhood have brought, I still am a mature version of her. I wouldn’t even be able to describe my appearance without sounding horribly vain or as if I was trying to tempt someone. I became neurotic about hiding my appearance. I became super-frump. And still I got the leering and the “eye candy” comments.
I am beginning to realize that there is nothing that I can do, so I am reverting back to wearing the kinds of clothes that actually look nice on me again. My husband has been delighted with this and has begun ordering me lovely dresses and wedge espadrille shoes and bikinis and everything else, because he had desperately missed seeing his wife look pretty.
I took it very seriously the admonition to not cause a brother in Christ to stumble. But some women are just not going to avoid attention, even if they wear a potato sack. So they should just wear what is culturally normal and what is comfortable and let everyone else control their eyes and thoughts.
I don’t wanna be neurotic any more. :slight_smile:

Jen is probably ignorant as to the effect she has on men.

I have a 13 year old daughter, 5’ 7" slim and gorgeous. But she is still an innocent child, goes to an all girls school, wears a uniform etc, and at the beach wears a modest one piece bathing suit. She wears no make-up and does not dye her hair. She has no idea that she is attractive to the opposite sex. She knows she is pretty but has not idea what that means… to her it means something like when we say a flower or a kitten is pretty.

I do not demean her by allowing her to wear makeup etc at her age. But neither will I demean her by having her hide who she is.

She is as God made her.:thumbsup:

I have a son with down syndrome too, and we don’t hide him or his condition either. He is equally a child of God.

If people are offended by my daughter or my son, then tough.

I don’t equate looking attractive with deliberately looking immodest. I think the problem here lies with the men.

B. Why should Jen change who she is because some men cannot seem to control themselves? She is not responsible for their thoughts or actions.

Exactly. Is she trying to be provocative? Is she intentionally trying to accentuate herself not just because she likes it but because she wants men to look at her or women to be jealous? Well that’s a problem.

If not, then no.

And seriously, it’s pretty easy to tell the difference between someone trying to be provocative and someone just going about their business. One can wear a two-piece bathing suit and blend in just fine even if she is striking and has a great figure. Basically what I’m saying is, there’s a big difference between your typical two-piece and a string-top bikini complete with thong.

It’s the man’s problem.

True Story: I work in a huge factory full of largely male people. Our attractive female corrugate rep was coming into the plant going up and down the different floors dressed in a modest skirt, with hose and a one inch heel.

The men couldn’t stop drooling and eyeing her, acting in a ridiculous juvenile manner, and basically acted as if they had never seen a woman before. The company’s grand solution? They asked her to stop wearing her modest skirts. Instead of dealing with the men who act like 5 year olds.

Now she has to go to work at a factory naked?

Jen sounds fine except I think that a bikini should not be worn. The inventor of the bikini had to hire a stripper to showcase his new fashion statement because he couldn’t convince a model to wear one. No woman wore one until the sexual revolution. A modest swimsuit should be chosen.

For those who say its all the man’s responsibility: well, if we’re talking about modest clothing then I can agree with you. But if a woman is walking down the street half naked, I really can’t blame men for having a physical reaction. It is after all what God programmed their bodies to do. Hopefully, more moral men would have the ability to control their thoughts, but it is completely impractical to truly expect all men to do so. No I don’t think she should “make herself less attractive” but there is nothing wrong with a little modesty.

Despite her natural beauty, Jen still grooms herself and dresses in the same way as all the other girls in her town. Jeans and a sweater for the winters, shorts and a tank top for the summer, a collared shirt for work, a bikini for the beach, some make up for school, etc etc. Even though she dresses like all the other girls, she stands out more because of her beauty.

All the other stuff is taking normal, Christian responsibility for being “her brother’s keeper”. However, the **bolded **clothing items above over-emphasize her physique and are designed specifically to draw improper attention to her body. You can’t tell me that there is any modesty difference between wearing a bikini and wearing a bra and panties. If a girl were caught in public in her undergarments, she’d be embarrassed and run for cover. Shouldn’t that same sense of self-dignity and self-preservation inform our clothing choices regarding beachwear?

Guys are wired for visuals, and if a girl is going to wear clothing that leaves little to the imagination, then she is being irresponsible as a child of God. I would recommend she wear a simple T-shirt instead of a tank-top, wear a normal bathing suit that covers cleavage and midrift, and she’d be fine. There is a big difference in modesty and ugliness. One guards dignity, the other obscures it. Immodest clothing (like bikinis) destroys dignity altogether.

P.S. @eyesopening: very interesting historical note on the introduction of bikinis.

Nope, she was asked to wear pants instead of skirts so the childish men wouldn’t be driven mad with lust.

To me echoes of blaming a woman who has been raped for what she was wearing.

We need to remember that there is a difference between sexual attraction (a natural occurrence) and lust (a deliberate decision to objectify a person for their own selfish gratification.).

Two very different things.

Doesn’t the Bible have something to say about dressing modestly? (I know; we don’t agree on what constitutes modest clothing.)

Also, I should point out that plainer clothing isn’t necessarily “less attractive”. Women can look very good in “plain” clothing. The point of this debate is dressing decently, not about being “plain” or attractive.

I completely agree with you. As I said, hopefully moral men could be expected to control their thoughts. I’m just saying there are a lot of men who are simply not going to do so. To knowingly dress immodestly (I don’t mean attractively; totally different thing) is to be an irresponsible steward of the gift of beauty and fitness that God has given.

My point was simply that a woman cannot say “I’ll wear whatever immodest clothing I want and by God it’s those perverted men’s responsibility to not lust after me. My conscience is clear!”

If many girls are wearing a certain item, that doesn’t always make it a good idea to follow suit. This can be because her body shape differs from the standard or it can be because the garment itself is intended to be immodest. Certain types of collared shirts need to be specially tailored if a 32 DD is going to wear them with the same level of modesty and fit as her fellow young ladies. And “tank tops” tend to be problematic in and of themselves, often lacking coverage.

I see no reason for her to wear a sack, though, unless she’d like to escape from endless fawning, staring, and pick-ups. Dressing a certain way does help with that irritation.

That’s another very good point–the mere fact that an item of clothing is popular or commonplace doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

:ehh: I don’t think I have ever heard of or seen a piece of clothing like that. :wink:

You example I think mistakes attractiveness with immodesty. There is a difference. Think, even a larger girl, maybe one that is not usually considered attractive because of their weight, could still be immodest in how they dress. Maybe their shorts are too short, and show an inappropriate amount of inner thigh or perhaps some cheek of the derriere. Generally this would not be considered attractive, but it is still immodest. So an attractive girl, cannot be immodest simply for being attractive. But they like the other girl can be immodest be revealing too much, even if she is still attractive. (I would say tank tops and bikinis are sort of pushing the revealing boundaries depending on the style).

Then what does? Doesn’t the CCC say that standards of modesty change based on what is normal in a particular culture?

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