Church Views · Culture · On Being Christian

modesty and men

Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) posts a timely article, “On Modesty and Male Privilege.” Of the many cultural shifts taking place in the 21st century, our concepts of sexuality are certainly some of the most significant.

The idea that “sex sells” has been around for decades. Yet in today’s world, a better description might be that “sexy women sell.” From soft-porn Victoria’s Secret ads to domain names, the objectification of women and its corresponding desensitization of men has become the new normal. This raises issues of modesty and responsibility within the Church.

I have had more than one friend say to me, “It’s more difficult for men. They can’t help themselves because God made them so visual.” Frankly, this is pretty much non-biblical, uninformed BS, and it is an indicator of how pervasive this cultural perspective is within people of faith. The CBE article calls it for what it is:

“If men are perverse, then that’s decidedly an issue for men to address.

Shifting the responsibility to women simply enables men to think and act like sexual predators, rather than demand that they do the hard work of being transformed by the renewing of their minds (Rom. 12:2). Men, we shouldn’t be saying, “Her skinny jeans and V-neck are making me lust.” No, you’re lusting because your God-given capacity for sexual attraction has morphed into a distorted view of women as objects that you need to control.”

I have to say I find the label of “rape culture” in this article a bit excessive. It feels like the same extremist language the world uses, (in which disagreeing becomes “hating”) and I think as Christ-followers our response should always take a position of least offense, not greatest. Even so, the writer is making a point and his conclusion is valid.

“Perhaps instead of focusing on the culturally ambiguous standard of “modest dress” for women, we should worry more about our attitudes toward, and our objectification of, women. Maybe instead of trying to place the blame on women for our own shortcomings, we should do the hard work of re-wiring our brains in order to remove the influences that continue to perpetuate our distorted view of women… We should focus on what it means for men to partner with God in bringing the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.”

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