This is so annoying I thought I would share it with you guys. (TW victim blaming: if you want a hate read, this is for you. If you might be hurt, please don't read - I love you guys and triggers suck!)


Yesterday I shared this post, which was linked on the main page, on my Facebook. In case you somehow missed the story, basically it's about a 17-year-old homeschooled girl who went to a homeschool-group-run prom and followed all their stupid rules about modesty, and still got kicked out for making a bunch of creepy old dudes horny. I was homeschooled and I grew up around fundamentalist Christians who had this attitude about women and modesty, so I felt pretty passionately about it. I introduced it by saying, "This is everything that is wrong with fundamentalist Christians' stance on 'modesty.'" And then I got the WORST series of comments. (Sorry, I'd put screenshots here, but I can only access Facebook via phone right now and the comments are wayyyy too long to subject you to phone screenshots.)

Commenter: I can see how modesty may be a pain in the ass for some...but I really fail to see how it ever hurt anyone...? Am I missing something, here?

Me: Modesty places the impetus on women to not cause men to think about sex. My opinion is, men need to be taught to stop thinking of women as sex objects, and that's the real problem, not thinking about sex per se. But even if you do think it's wrong to think about sex, it's still the men's responsibility to police their own thoughts, not women's. Any body part can be thought of as sexual, especially if men fundamentally think of women as existing for their sexual pleasure. If women want to dress modestly or immodestly that's their right, and no one should blame them if men find them attractive.

Commenter: I agree... but I do think that men are, in general, much more visual than women. I think that culture is also a valid point... in our society there isn't always a clear line of distinction between what is acceptable generally in society and what prostitutes dress like. But in a given culture I think that it behooves girls who don't want to be looked at or thought of as prostitutes not to do as they do.


Me: (Commenter), I respectfully must disagree with your statement. First off, men actually are not biologically more likely to be sexually stimulated by visual stimulus - that comes from generation after generation being taught to look at women as sexual objects. Look up "the male gaze." Relatedly, in a culture where women are always seen as property it becomes public opinion that women "should not look like prostitutes" - because prostitutes are objects the public has deemed have no worth. Whether or not you think prostitution is wrong is irrelevant - they are still PEOPLE and deserve to be treated with respect. Policing women's bodies and the way they dress only gives men an excuse to be disrespectful to women that don't meet their standards - which is about power. Women are not possessions. We own ourselves. If you want to dress modestly because you feel thinking about sex is sinful, that is well within your rights, but don't do it because you don't want to dress "like a prostitute" - that takes value away from other women who are people, not possessions.

Commenter: I think it's ironic that in a day in which women say, "It's time to do something!!" Speaking specifically to sexual assault and abuse, there IS something...something quite simple and easy. Yet, to say it is taboo because we "must not allow ourselves to be thought of as possessions." I say, if men don't tend to assault modest women...why is the other such a big deal? I see where you're coming from...however, my own specific beliefs conflict greatly as I see myself as "bought" by the precious blood of Christ. That belief aside, My first question remains. Either we actually want to do something about it or we'd rather stand on a soapbox preaching the reprobate mind of men while telling ourselves to empower ourselves by not allowing the reprobate mind of men dictate how we dress to their sexual appetites.

-record scratch-

Wait, WHAT??????? Did I REALLY just hear a WOMAN say that it's "not a big deal" if women allow themselves to be treated like possessions and forced to police what they wear SO THEY WON'T GET RAPED?


Of course all of my sane friends went off on her at this point.

And yes, I am thinking of deleting her, although I've known her since I was in elementary school. She is a genuinely goodhearted person despite her seriously deluded beliefs, but I don't know if I can even be civil to someone who would seriously make an argument for victim-blaming.