Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Modesty - its much more than clothes

Posted by Hannah at 7:00 AM

I remember as a young girl the town next door just opened a sports center. My parents felt it would be a great idea for myself, and my brother to learn how to play tennis. The next thing I know I got a tennis racket for my birthday with Billie Jean King's autograph on it. It was actually pretty exciting for me at the time.

I remember the first day for my very FIRST tennis lesson. It was summer time, and my brother and I walked everywhere - or rode our bikes. I had my tennis racket in hand, and my tennis outfit my mother got me as well. I walked along the busy streets on the sidewalk to get to the indoor sports center where my lessons were being held.

The next thing I know is a car full of men were whistling and cat calling out to me. At that point I had already hit the area where there were many stores, and I remember this surge of fear at the time. I was looking around for a place of safety, and was afraid to finish my walk to the sports center for my lesson.

The next thing I know the street light changed on the main street I was trying to cross, and their car moved forward. I noticed they had made a U turn at their very first opportunity, and I ran into the department store on the other side of the street. I remember hiding behind the first display that was available, and at the same time watching to see if that car full of men would follow me into the store.

To say I was scared at the time was a huge under statement. My stomach was turning over in knots, and I was thinking of what my next move would be if they indeed came into the store I had just escaped into.

At the time behind all the stores in the area were farm fields behind them, or small areas of homes. I knew the sports center wasn't far at this point, and I decided I was going to finish my journey through the fields. I was to frighten to finish it along the main road.

I honestly don't even remember my first tennis lesson, and I do know that experience did shake me up. I do know my parents didn't force me to continue at that point. They were not around to drive me, and I remember I never wanted to go along that street alone ever again.

I was a preteen at that point, and still in my tomboy stage. Sexy and alluring wasn't my specialty. I know in certain circles if you mention a story like this they would question what I was wearing. I was far from a sex pot at the time, and its strange how people jump that conclusion to quick isn't it? Would their behavior somehow be acceptable due to my outfit? I was young girl scared out of my wits, and the first thing people jump to is my clothes?

I think most women or girls have been in similar circumstances in which they felt uncomfortable due to men's behaviors. I'm not talking ALL men, because we all know there are honorable men. What I find strange is people questioning my actions at the time, and wondering if I did something to lure these men to action. I will tell you that is humiliating when people do that, and extremely degrading.

I was a young girl scared to death, and they are asking me if I was dressed like a hooker or something.

Do they ever stop to wonder if such approaches to these types of circumstances encourage you to be vocal about your experiences, or do they encourage the opposite? 

People make you feel like you are a piece of meat out on display, and you need to hide yourself from the world otherwise they just can't HELP themselves.

Those messages make you fear men. They also make you feel ashamed of being female.

Your existence alone makes people foam at the mouth, and you are asked what you did to prevent this. Its one of the most uncomfortable positions anyone can place someone in.

They ask you to view men as 'animals', but then mock you if you mention how you were taught to view things. It leaves you with WHAT did I do to make them feel it was okay to behave that way? When it comes down to it people will give you the impression that the reason they ask is MOST women do this on purpose. They purposely place themselves out there for men.

Did they feel those men don't cat call and ogle on purpose or something?

Here is a young child being placed in the position of 'MOST' women, because MOST people can't seem to acknowledge the difference of this reality.

Their conclusions did nothing for my fear. Instead it made me feel like one of "THEM".  They made me feel like I was some loose woman - yet I was a child.

I never did understand the reasoning behind placing that type of shame into the heads of young girls.

I was far from 'them', and they never truly attempted to deal with some individuals are just plain sick puppies.

I'm sure that group of men thought it was funny to scare me to death.  People will acknowledge men or boys will do that, but you notice that isn't the first conclusion they came to when a scared girl mentions her experience?

I was reading Modesty: A word for boys and girls.  The author points something out that I don't most stop to think about at times.
Much talk is in the air about how the American media objectifies women. The American church also objectifies women and makes their bodies sexual objects. The difference is that the church places a sense of shame on women for this, while the media glorifies women for it. Neither position is a healthy way to view a woman’s body.
Its strange when you look at it from that prospective.  You have two completely different camps, and both are extreme in the direction they approach it.  Neither of healthy for anyone.

If you look at it closely BOTH tend to tell women men are nothing but sexual predators.  Is that a message we truly wish to send?

I know honorable men that are far from the stereotype, but both the 'world' and the 'church' seem to give you the impression they are next to RARE in any occasion.  To me that is a terrible thing to say.

In reality they seem to paint the picture that women are born sexual objects, and men have uncontrollable lust factors.  If you look at the often quoted women that wear burkas?  You notice that this covering doesn't stop them from being ogled or raped.  It doesn't stop certain men from whistling and cat calling, and yet if you look at the middle east women are still being blamed for their men's lust.

That seems to fly in the face of the theory of the American church about how women need to cover themselves to the men's satisfaction to prevent such happenings. I'm sure they would wish to blame the men in that region, but again they are just lying to themselves.

Modesty is more than clothes that women wear. Its much more the clothes on anyone.  Modesty is humble.  Modesty is a way of speaking and interacting with people.  Its attitude.  Modesty is a heart issue, and you are transformed by the Lord.

Holiness connected to faith is never just a matter of performing some ritual or putting something on or some physical action - it is always a matter of "spirit and truth", the heart and its connection to God.

So easily forgotten and buried beneath physical works and actions and words, but if the heart isn't right? If the heart isn't attuned to God, it doesn't matter how holy you look on the outside.

This got the pharisees into a lot of trouble, mistaking that particular truth.  They sure looked holy and modest, but Jesus called them vipers and said they were bound for hell.

Since the pharisees didn't wear clothing to cause others to lust?  Maybe its time to truly look at what modesty truly is.  Its not a requirement of clothing, but the state of your heart.

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