Modesty Objectifies Me
You’re not going out dressed like that!
With those words, parents seek to protect their daughters from objectification: being seen as one-dimensional “things” that exist to titillate men.
But the attitude could help to create objectification.
A conservative Christian who calls herself Sierra says that a preoccupation with modesty had once objectified her.
Objectified her, weakened her, and made her do strange things:
Constantly concerned that she might unwittingly fall into tempting men, Sierra became more concerned with modesty than anything else. A bee flew down her blouse and all she could think about was keeping covered, not getting a dangerous creature out of her clothing.
Or, outdoor activity and strength-training might bend her body into “suggestive shapes,” so best to avoid those things. And, the easiest way to keep men from staring at her breasts and butt was to have neither. So she starved herself. The lack of food and exercise kept her weak.
And she was all about “How I look.” Nothing else:
Modesty defined my relationship with my body in terms of appearance. Not action. Not gratitude. Not the joy of movement. Just appearance.
Modesty taught her that she was a decoration, always on display:
Modesty made me objectify myself. I was so aware of my own potential desirability at all times that I lost all other ways of defining myself.
Egyptian blogger, Aliaa Mahdy, reached the same conclusion and posed nude to fight back. Modesty-obsession helps create,
A society where women are nothing but sex objects harassed on a daily basis by men who know nothing about sex or the importance of a woman.
And where the Taliban require a woman to coverup, head to toe, every part of her body becomes sexualized.
Compare that with tribal societies where women walk around nearly nude and no one notices. These women are not sex objects.
Against all expectations — and “common sense” — modesty can objectify.
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Posted on April 15, 2015, in body image, feminism, objectification, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged body image, feminism, modesty, objectification, psychology, sex, sexism, sexuality, women. Bookmark the permalink. 52 Comments.