Which is Worse: Objectification? Or Modesty?
Little girls grow up idolizing Britney Spears, The Spice Girls, and Hannah Montana, who grows into tongue-flashing Miley Cyrus twerking to “Blurred Lines.” Little girls can even buy Hello Kitty thong panties to match their Hello Kitty lunch pails.
No surprise then that someone once told me,
When I was ten years old plenty of my friends would wear “big girl lingerie” that they got from Abercrombie and the like. I felt pressured to constantly push to be sexier, or more desirable. At ten years old, who exactly am I trying to attract?
By the time young women get to college being hot can seem like the most important thing in the world.
By then, too many of us are reduced to one-dimensional sex-things.
Then the modesty movement comes along pushing chaste but chic and curfews for college women. Is this really about modesty? Or is it about creating an obedient underclass that complies to other’s demands – via learning to dress to others’ dictates?
Amidst Middle Eastern mass coverings, one Egyptian woman posed nude, protesting that modesty objectifies. After all, modesty sexualizes everything that is covered.
So it turns out that women can be objectified whether showing skin or covering up.
The modesty movement typically comes courtesy the religious set. Yet Deborah Farmer Kris takes a cue from (of all people!) the Pope, and gets a new spin. As the Pope modestly carries his own bags, washes the feet of young women and men in juvenile detention, and asks to be addressed in the familiar “tu” form — and not “Your Excellency,” he excels at recognizing and respecting the dignity of each person, and protecting their intimate center.
Except for a loincloth, a tribal woman may be completely naked. A young American woman may wear a T-shirt and jeans. Or a mini-skirt. An Iranian woman may walk about in overcoat and headscarf.
Who cares what’s she’s wearing? What counts is recognizing the worth and dignity we each hold.
Respect for the person means “Looking not on outward appearance, but looking on the heart,” says Ms. Kris.
She adds — since we’re on a religious roll here — that when Jesus was asked by a group of men why he allowed a sinful woman to anoint him, he said, “Do you see this woman?”
Really see her?
So you’ve got your zealots objectifying women through modesty even as mass media zeros in on our peeled back lady parts.
But clothing… modestly… moral misjudgment? They all miss the point.
How do we see one another?
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