Friday, May 18, 2007

Do girls not realize...?

I was sitting in Taco Bell having lunch today when I noticed (sorry, I couldn't help it!) two college-age girls wearing clothes intentionally designed to catch attention. One girl's t-shirt said, "We're bringing sexy back." On the back of the other girl's shorts were the words, "Salute these shorts."

Now, if you're reading this and you're a woman, I have a question for you: Do girls not realize what they're doing when they wear clothes like this? Are they just naive? Or, possibly, do they do it on purpose to capture guys, like throwing bait out to a hungry fish?

Because that's what guys think girls are doing. To a guy's brain, a girl who dresses seductively is inviting guys to have sex with them. I know you probably disagree, but that's how men interpret women who dress provocatively or wear suggestive sayings on the back of their t-shirts and shorts.

Ironically, when these girls walked into Taco Bell I was reading Donald Miller's book, To Own a Dragon: Reflections on Growing Up without a Father. Chapter 10 is called "Sex: The Value of the Dollar in Argentina" (typical of Miller is wacky chapter have to read the chapter to understand it).

In that chapter Miller writes about why women should not send out "I want to have sex with you" messages to guys:

Women saying no to men, not letting men have sex with them, causes men to step up. If, in order to have sex with them, women demanded you got a job and shaved every day and didn't dress like a dork or sit around playing video games, then all of us [men] would do just that. So, when sex gets cheapened, we are getting what we want without having to pay for it. [When women just give sex away] women are imitating men, I think. The presupposition is that men are right, and in order for a woman to be successful, she should not act like a woman but like a man. Thanks for the compliment, but I disagree. I think men need women to be women, and we [men] need to be made to jump through some hoops. If a woman withholds sex until she gets what she wants, we are all better for it.

What Miller is saying is that women need to think more highly of themselves. When a girl flaunts her body or dresses seductively, she is saying to guys (whether she realizes it or not), "Hey look at me, I'm cheap, I'm a body you can use for your own selfish gratification, and you don't have to give up anything." That's such a sell-out. And guys will take advantage of the offer.

See, women hold the power when it comes to sex. If they will withhold sex from guys until marriage like the Bible says to do, they will both dignify themselves and teach men to be responsible citizens, faithful husbands, and good fathers and workers. If, on the other hand, women give themselves away without expecting commitment and work from men, they lose their dignity, their beauty, and their power, and they allow men to become selfish pigs.

So girls, act like women instead of men. Be feminine. Be modest. Make guys jump through some hoops. I'm not saying you need to cover your bodies from head to toe like Muslim women, but you definitely need to stop advertising that your body is for


Jason H said...

Wow Mike! I never even notice that kind of thing in women. Ha, only kidding! I agree with you! I am sure girls do it for different reason. Some maybe just because they can and others to prove a point and still others to feel a certain way. Either way it makes it tough. I am sure we as guys have some responsibility in this. So my questions to you and others is what that might be?

Mike said...

Yes, we guys have a lot of responsibility in this area. We have the responsibility to be MEN...which means to honor women enough to love them instead of use them, to put off sex until marriage, and to look deeper than skin-deep for the beauty and worth of women. We have to fight to protect the true meaning and value of sex, instead of taking advantage of women and treating them like property. We have to bring our bodies under control, like it says in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5. We have to learn how to love our wives romantically and passionately and "rejoice in the wife of our youth" (Proverbs 5:18) rather than give our devotion to the temptress (Proverbs 7). We have to learn how to look away instead of linger, to say no to internet sex and pornography and chat rooms and sensual movies, and strive to be godly men - after all, godliness and maturity are what appeal most to women anyway.

So men shoulder a huge load in this battle. I think that if women and men work together in a "blessed alliance," realizing what each other's weaknesses are, we can help our culture enjoy a holier vision of sexuality.

Allison Bear said...

Whoah, Mike!! I haven't heard it explained all like that, thanks! Speaking from a girl's point of view, it can be hard to draw the line between provacative and modest (if you're actually aware of it). But not as hard as you might think if you have examples of godly women to model after. Most girls know what they are doing of course. But I don't understand why a girl would sell herself so cheap!
One thing that opened my eyes a bit was seeing my friends around me treated cheaply and being sized up in a sexual manner. It made me definately not want to sell myself short or in any way be treated like that. I think it is helpful when guys treat me like a lady, respectful, considerate, gentlemanly (is that a word?). And another is that I would never want to make my brother in Christ stumble because of something I was wearing! Its a big burden but I think girls have that responsibility to the guys! At least thats what I think!
It is hard! But I'm glad I don't have to wear the Muslim garb!!
Oh and if you want your house cleaned, I would be glad to do it!!

Mike said...

Thanks Allison for the comment. Good thoughts. I know it must be a hard balancing act for a woman who seeks to be godly while also not wanting to look like you've just stepped off the set of Little House on the Prairie. There are tremendous pressures on all of us. I think you've caught the right spirit for the struggle.

I'll call you about the housecleaning!

Joan Stephens said...

Thanks for an excellent post. As a mother of sons, I whole heartly agree.

And BTW...we own one of those horrible 46 inch TV's. The next time there is a good game on TV or you have a movie you want to watch, come on over and we'll "convert" you!

doodlebugmom said...

Just because these young women don't have the best fashion sense doesn't make them tramps.

When did it become the norm for men not to be responsible for their own behavior? Why is it the woman's fault?

Also, I have seen a lot of men in t-shirts with not so nice sayings on them. Such a double standard.

Anonymous said...

Hi, just visited your blog by accident (!) and read your post about women selling their bodies. I totally agree. It was really uplifting to read it. Thanks and best regards, charlotte from Sweden

Mike said...

Doodlebugmom, thanks for commenting. If you'll read my comments above, you'll see that I believe men are VERY responsible for their own behavior. And yes, men wear t-shirts with not-so-nice sayings on them. It's just that on this issue, I don't believe most women interpret provocative clothing the same way men do, as an invitation to be exploited by the opposite sex.

Matthaeus Flexibilis said...

Mike, thanks for this. It's a rarely discussed and delicate topic, but it is important for gals to hear the guy's perspective.

Here is a good (albeit short and somewhat blunt) article on the subject, which analyzes the problem of immodesty into "too much, too little, and too tight." One important point therein is our tendency toward self-deception: "We are complicated beings, and our hearts are deceptive. A young woman can be trying to turn heads, and be employing various sexual techniques to do so, and all the while be pretending to herself in her conscious thoughts that she is doing nothing of the kind." It's worth reading.

Marianne W said...

What a great post Mike! I love reading your blog. I never know what you're going to talk about next!
I am often dumbfounded by t-shirts worn by people in general. I do think it is such a shame though to see a young girl in a shirt or shorts, that cheapens herself. I believe that most of these girls do not intend to elicit the kind of response that they will get. But the fact remains, whether they intended it or not, that men are going to think of them as an object.
In response to Jason's question I think fathers have a huge role in instilling confidence in their young daughters. I believe that relationship, or lack thereof, has a direct impact on a girl's view of herself and her sexuality.

Jason H said...

Frankly, I am excited and scared about the opportunity that I have to influence and train Natalie! What a responsibility. I am thankful that I have a modest wife who will also play a role in shaping her feelings about herself. Bottom line as men and women we need to be aware of each others weaknesses and be willing to make adjustments accordingly. I guess we will see how it goes! Here's for changing the world starting in east Orlando!

Pam said...

Maybe I'm just jaded but I think most girls know EXACTLY what they're doing when they wear provocative clothes. That's the whole point, right? They wouldn't be wearing them if they weren't getting ogled and whistled at. I agree that it's two sided, though...imagine if a young man put his coat around a scanntily clad girl and said, "You're beautiful and worth too much for me to see you cheapen yourself with immodesty." Whoa! She might be embarrassed but she'd NEVER forget that moment.