I’m possibly late on this bandwagon, but… some of these articles I’ve been reading lately are SO ludicrous that I really need to post about it.
Just going to quietly crumble up and throw a way the majority of these #ChristianCleavage articles I’ve been reading…
Apparently, #ChristianCleavage and the #CleavageWars were trending on twitter recently. To summarize, the articles and posts are basically begging women to button up and stop causing their brothers to stumble, often referencing 1 Corinthians 8:13: “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” (NIV).
First of all… this verse is in reference to idolatry. It is most often taken out of context and misquoted. There is a really great blog that references this verse in the #cleavagewars context. I don’t really feel like writing in detail about it – so just read what he wrote instead.
There were two other posts I read about the cleavage wars that I LOVED. One was addressing the issue seriously and the other satirically. Both are awesome, I suggest you read them as well.
Secondly… this viewpoint of women’s modesty being purely responsible for men’s lust is basically the foundation of rape culture. It’s as ridiculous of an argument as “Men cheat – they can’t help it, they are sexual beings.” When did we stop becoming responsible for our own actions, thoughts, and feelings?! Are men less responsible than women? And who defines what is modest? In some cultures the wrist and ankles are immodest, in others it’s the neck or the inner thigh… heck, it might just even be the feet (there go my flip flops!). I’m a curvy woman, even if I am wearing clothing from my neck to my feet… I am still going to have curves on display, unless I’m wearing a potato sack (and probably even then). Am I more immodest than a woman who is less curvy than I? What if a man lusts over modestly dressed women? I mean, let’s just bring back the “what was she wearing / she must have deserved it” argument if we’re going to keep this view.
Thirdly… It really is a matter of the heart. I remember one time when I was a teenager I was wearing a really cute long sleeve T-shirt, with some baggy plaid pants. On the side was a small area that had a black lace inset. You couldn’t see anything, but maybe some skin peeking through the lace when I lifted my arm up… if that (I really don’t even think that, I remember looking in the mirror before I left the house and not thinking anything was amiss). Regardless, I thought it was a cute shirt – so I wore it, definitely nothing more sinister than that. I went with my then boyfriend to a non-church function, that had quite a few people we knew from church there. One of the older women went up to my boyfriend and basically reamed him out for letting me show up in public in such a “scandalous” fashion. HOW could I call myself a Christian and be so immodest, etc.
Obviously, I was devastated and completely embarrassed. Was I really showing that much skin and just didn’t notice? Was EVERYONE thinking this way? It still sometimes stings a bit when I remember how it made me feel to be singled out that way. I immediately went home and got rid of that shirt. (Which may even be the thing I am most upset about, it was a REALLY cute shirt). Also… why address the situation to my boyfriend instead of me? Apparently, he was in charge of how I dressed, I must have missed the memo on that.
Anyway, one thing I have learned is this. Someone will always judge you for what you wear. There was this picture of Erica Campbell that surfaced a while back:
She got SO MUCH flack for this dress… (cue eye roll). The woman is wearing a turtleneck dress that goes down past her knees! She is curvy, unless she were wearing a bag, her curves are going to show. Can we all just agree she looks amazing, because she does. The point is this, even in a turtleneck dress that goes past your knees, someone will criticize… because some people don’t know how to do anything but criticize.
I feel stupid even discussing this, to be completely honest. Why? Because back to my first point… the fact that we have to break this modesty argument down as if all the responsibility is on woman just re-enforces the objectification of women and rape culture. We are all responsible for our thoughts and actions, and we will never get rid of the nastiness that is rape culture until we stop sexualizing and objectifying women. As long as we keep perpetuating that, we as women are responsible for the lust of men, the culture itself will keep perpetuating. It’s sickening.
A body is a body is a body. Get over it. If you have a problem with lust, and I’m not intentionally doing anything to make it worse… then it’s not my problem. I will pray for you, but I am not taking one iota of responsibility. That is something you need to work out with a much higher power than I.
Have you heard of the Cleavage Wars? What’s your take?
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