OK, this one isn’t about American heroes, or patriotism, or our responsibility to get our nation re-grounded on the principles that made it great in the first place. This is something a little different, but it is something that has been nagging at me for quite some time. I’d also like to say, this isn’t “directed” at anyone I know. It’s based on general observations.
Since my husband, Richard and I were married a year ago, I now have 7 children. Four daughters, and three sons. Three of the daughters live with us, and two of our sons live with us. The oldest son is almost 19 and it seems is sort of sometimes seems like he lives with us, and other times it seems like he lives over at a friend’s place. My thoughts today are very much centered on my children, and believe me, yours too.
Before I get into this, let me make myself 100% clear on one vitally important point: I do not in any way, at any time, or in any fashion support the idea that “women are asking for” being raped, being molested, being in any way mistreated by men or women, because of the way they dress, or their work, or because of any excuse that those who would perpetrate such heinous crimes can come up with. There is no possible justification that could excuse one human being from doing such a vile, evil thing to another. I DO NOT subscribe the “she was asking to be raped” notion. Such nonsense sickens me utterly, and I abhor it.
My husband and I were in Austin a few days ago, and it was hot. 100Â° hot, and that doesn’t count humidity. As we went about our business in Austin, we saw many people of many sorts. I am a people “noticer” some folks are “people watchers,” I’m more of a “noticer”. There is one trend that I’ve noticed that is sadly not limited to Austin, or Dallas, or Temple, or even Killeen, where I live. Not even limited to Texas. Everywhere we go, we see young females, appearing as young even as five or six years old, dressed in skimpy, revealing clothing. I understand the urgings of the hearts of young females to dress “in style”, and keep up with the times, but I think that the fashion world and the current “times” perhaps don’t have our daughters’ best interests, or those of adult women even, at heart.
My husband and I were in a second hand store we like to visit when we’re in Austin and he came to stand beside me, his face all red, and looking both embarrassed and angry. He had been looking at some old tools across the aisle from appliances, when he turned around and there was a young woman wearing a “dress”. He was embarrassed by her appearance, and he came to talk to me about it. Among things he said was, “She goes around like that, and that’s OK, but if I notice her going around like that, then I’m a dirty old man!” I was on a mission however, looking for a pair of vintage-y shoes (a mission I failed at, sadly) and I wasn’t really focusing on him, but I was once again pleased to hear that my husband is a modest man. Well, I was wrong in this instance. He was not being a prude, and it makes perfect sense that his own sense of modesty was affronted by this young woman’s appearance. As we were in the check out line, this young woman was standing behind us, and I got a look at what had upset him so much. For one, the dress fabric was pretty much see through. A printed sheer chiffon. For another, the bodice was cut in a deep plunge, deep enough that the young female’s breasts were exposed to the edge of her aureole,on both sides of the triangle shaped fabric that made up what there was of a bodice. The skirt was brief, it hung only to the very tops of her thighs, and the front of her thong, yes I said thong, (I mentioned that the dress was see through, remember?) was not obscured by the hem of her “dress”. I was embarrassed, and I turned away, mortified that any person would so expose themselves; frankly my modesty was as offended as Richard’s. As my husband and I were walking across the parking lot to the truck he was muttering angrily “…if the child hasn’t got better sense than to go out into public all but naked, then she shouldn’t be allowed out alone!”
This young woman’s mode of dress is just one of many, many examples of the ways that young women and adult women today run around, exposing and I would argue, debasing themselves.
Ladies, I have an earnest and urgent question for you. Where, woman, is your sense of pride and self respect?
I’ve been witnessing a trend in the last ten years or so that seems to indicate that young women (and not so young women) those who are waif thin, and very often even those who are heavier even than I am, are in some sort of competition to see who can leave their home wearing the least possible amount of fabric. One of the most common things I see young women wearing are scraps of fabric they refer to as “shorts” These are skin tight, and have no leg; they cover no more below the pubic bone than do a pair of brief style ladies underwear (granny-panties, as my daughters call them.) In some cases, I have seen the backs cut in curves, up toward the back pockets on these “shorts”, to expose part of the young women’s buttocks. At the same time the hem lines of shorts and skirts have been evaporating upwards, their waist bands have been boiling downwards. Looking at a pair of these denim underwear at a local retail store I noted that the outside seam of the shorts, from the top the waist band to the hem were no longer than my hand, from my wrist to the tip of my longest finger; about 8.5 inches. These were not children’s or infant’s shorts. These were a juniors size 13. One of my daughters wears a size 13. I can tell you with absolute certainty, that I would prefer to send her outside in her drawers before I’d let her wear something that covers less then her underwear. Add to this the tendency for women to wear so-called shirts that expose their bellies from just below their bottom ribs, and expose their cleavage with deep plunge-cut tops from below their breasts and up. What is perhaps even more disturbing is that these same styles, including the startling brevity of material, is miniaturized and sold for young girls right down to sizes for two and three year-olds.
So I must ask you, young women, adult women, especially mothers: What are you thinking? Or, are you thinking about this? Are you just buying what’s out there and put up as stylish without a lot of thought about what you’re doing, or are you dressing yourselves or your children this way purposefully because you like it?
I ask you to think with me about something, and I want you to try and think past all the assertions that I am just a stick in the mud, a prude, the accusations that I might be jealous of your figure, and whatever other things you can come up with to label me with. Stop and think, and try to do so without disliking me for “being down on” your styles. A story was related to me a year or so ago about a woman who struggled and fought to have upper torso nudity made legal for women in her city. (I don’t know if the story is absolutely true, so we’ll say it’s sort of a legend, rather than claiming it to be 100% factual.) Men could legally walk around with their chests bear, so why shouldn’t women be allowed the same comfort in hot weather? She even went so far as to walk around in a shirt made of clear vinyl to prove her pointâ€”after all no one could claim she was actually naked at that point. Well, among the things that happened in this instance, the woman’s “attributes” were openly appreciated by men who saw her walking around so exposed. And she sued for sexual harassment. Some might say, “And she was right, those darned men! I hope she won!” Stop right there, and think. I would never suggest that any woman deserves to be ogled and thought of as only a piece of tush, but Stop and think, I am pleading with you.
You know, and I know, that women usually from about the age of 12 until menopause experience a monthly hormonal cycle that allows us to reproduce. You know that during “that time of the month”, women have a tendency to be especially cranky, or whiny or weepy, and also that women frequently demand a great deal of sympathy during that irksome time. Females have often been heard to bemoan that it is so terribly unfair that women have to go through this pesky monthly cycle and men don’t have to! Stop right there, and think.
The majority of all people in America have probably heard that men have a thought about sexual activity approximately once every seven seconds. That is actually an exaggeration. According to research by (Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, Michaels, 1994) 54% of men think about sex everyday or several times a day, 43% a few times per month or a few times per week, and 4% less than once a month. (I’ll be real honest here, I’ve never known a man who didn’t mention or think about sex many times a day; that’s three husbands, numerous friends, and now as they age, my oldest son and his friends also talk about and make all kinds of jokes about sex when they think I can’t hear them.) Why? Why are their minds so overcome with thoughts about sex? Modern feminism would tell you that the reason is because most men are uncivilized, power hungry, misogynistic oppressors, who only view women like pieces of meat for their own cruel, selfish, sexual gratification. I would suggest that the answer is actually quite a bit less sinister, and quite a bit more simple. After doing some reading I learned that men, throughout their lives, are driven by the same sort of thing that governs a female’s reproductive cycle. Hormones. Only they don’t get a break from it. They don’t have the approximately three weeks a month where their hormonal flux ebbs, and they get some marginal relief. For men the flux of their testosterone is a constant, daily cycle that seems to be tied to circadian cycles, or rhythms. All humans have circadian rhythms, but if the reading I did is any indication, men seem to be affected more strongly than women by this daily flux of what is mostly Testosterone in their case.** Stop, and think about that information.
Lets pretend for a moment that you have a little child. You, like many other wise parents, have decided that the Teletubbies, as preliterate non-humans, are a poor example for your children (who you sincerely hope will become scholarly individuals who will end world hunger, inspire global peace, and cure the common cold, and all without installing a television in their bellies) to follow after, so you will not allow that senseless drivel on your TV, in their books or their toys. You are determined that this little child of yours will rise above! Now, you lofty, well intentioned person, I want you to know that I’m proud of you. You’ve made a wise choice. But, there in the corner, twisting the ends of his over-waxed handlebar mustache, is a villain. The most villainous villain in the world. And he is, at every moment exposing your little child the bright colors, happy voices and comforting sing-sing sounds of the dastardly Teletubbies. Your little child, being a child and having a tendency to appreciate such things as a bright colors and comforting sounds, is drawn to this, and before you know it, your little child is thinking about Teletubbies a very great deal in spite of your best efforts to keep his impressionable mind away from those destructive, vocabulary challenged, space critters.
Now, keep our ridiculous example in mind as you Stop! and think about this ladies.
Men, decent, well intentioned men, have no more earnest desire to dwell on nothing but sex, sex, sex, or to think of women as nothing more then the means to the end, the end being their own sexual gratification, than they do to mistreat their own mothers and grandmothers. But is it fair to demand that young males and older males shouldn’t think about sex, and shouldn’t ever look at a woman lustfully when women parade around them in clothes that just barely cover their genitals, their breasts, and their buttocks? In this situation, who is treating women like a piece of meat? Like nothing but a sex object? Like they are just trollops, or tramps? Is it men? Or is it the women who are exposing or just barely covering their sexually appealing parts? Being very blunt here: Women, do you not understand that when you dress like a two dollar whore, that is how you are seen?
I was told by one woman that she insisted her daughters dress in these scanty fashions because they were pretty girls, and they should never be ashamed of their figures, or their bodies, but be proud of how attractive they are. I have no objection to women of any age being pleased with their looks, or proud of who they are. But I do not understand how teaching young females to expose their bodies to the point of indecency encourages them to have a sense of self respect and self worth. And honestly, I hope my daughters understand that their beauty and appeal comes from so much more important things than the exposition of their privates!
Young women, you are beings of inestimable beauty and loveliness, both inside and out. You have so much more of value within you, in your character, in your mind, so much more that is worthwhile about yourselves than just your physical body. You do not need to expose your body as though you were advertising for sale the only goods you have that are worthwhile. Modesty, decency, purity, these are virtues to which good and respectable women have aspired since the beginning of time. Are such virtues or traits beneath you? Or are they too high for you to attain? I don’t believe that about you.
I do believe that every woman in this nation (in the world!) has it within her to be a woman of sterling moral character, impeccable decency, and pure modesty. No matter what modern feminism may suggest, walking around mostly naked does not in any way prove that a woman is a liberated woman. It simply proves that she has bought into the falsehood that being a liberated or strong woman means that all the men around her should deny their natures and physical responses, so that the strong, liberated woman can do whatever she wants. It is terribly selfish, terribly spoiled, and very childish. I would even say that such behavior exemplifies the very worst sort of stereotypical, catty femaleness as portrayed in many soap operas and teen programming. If women and men are to be truly equal, then we should treat one another with equal respect, and that includes being compassionate and respectful of one another’s differences and perhaps even Achilles heels.
If not for your own sake, your own self worth, your own respectability, if nothing else, think about your fathers, your brothers, and your cousins and friends who are male. They are effectively assaulted, day in, day out with images of nearly naked women, and then told that if they respond physiologically to those images as healthy males should (with sexual arousal,) that they are in some way bad, they are indecent, they are wrong, and their very masculinity is an affront to civilized women. It seems to me, as a mother of sons as well as daughters, a very cruel thing to do to young males as they are developing into men. I assert that to insist that a man or a boy behave as though he has been castrated, or to tell him that his very human male sexuality is wrong, is equal to telling a female that her femaleness makes her a lesser being, deserving of fewer rights and privileges in society. I joke with my daughters, but the sentiment is very real, and they know I mean it when I say, “Have mercy on the men, dears. Don’t tease and tempt them.”
If you cannot respect yourselves enough, I ask you, for the sake of my sons, dress modestly, be decent, out of respect for the men around you. It is not kind, it is not charitable, it simply isn’t right to tempt them, to tease them, and then castigate them for responding physically they way God created men to respond.
**If someone wants to correct any of my “biology” from above, I invite you to do so. I don’t claim to be a medical expert by any stretch.