by Austin Kercheville
So my advice for women looking for bathing suits this season is this: Don’t dress for men; dress for yourself. It’s not your responsibility to please men with either your sex appeal or your modesty; each man is different, so it would be a fool’s errand anyway. Instead, prioritize strength, dignity and good deeds, and then dress accordingly.
Find something that makes you comfortable. Find something that is ethically made. Find something that gives you the freedom to run with abandon into those incoming waves—hot sand tickling your feet, warm sun tingling your skin—and revel in this body and this world God gave you to enjoy. (Rachel Held Evans. Read the whole article: http://qideas.org/articles/modesty-i-dont-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means/)
I’ve seen a number of Christian girls posting this article and I cannot help but comment. It is true that it is a man’s responsibility to keep himself from lusting and objectifying women, and that this can be done no matter a woman’s the state of dress. Still there is a reason that the women in “those” magazines have little or no clothes on. Why is that? Because the woman’s body is naturally sexual and advertisers know that men will find it no easy task to avert their eyes. You don’t find Land’s End catalogues hidden under teenager’s beds. This is not at all to say that women should feel guilty for having a sexually attractive body. Quite to the contrary, it is natural and is how God intended it! Men are genetically wired to have an insane attraction and need for sexual things, and women are made with a sexual appearance and nature. Coincidence? I think not. A good marriage involves sexual relations and the use of the woman’s sexual nature and man’s sexual drive for such. This fad that says breasts are only for feeding babies is simply not biblical. If you don’t believe me, read Song of Solomon. Read Proverbs 5:19, “Let her breasts satisfy you at all times” (referring to a husband). You see God made us with an attraction for those sacks of adipose tissue on your chest. Don’t ask me why, but he did. And the Bible is riddled with references to this.
So now we know two things. One, that a man can and should control his thoughts and tendency toward lust. Two, God gave him that very desire and gave woman that very appearance that a man desires, and for good reason–as a sort of glue to be used through love that cements bonds of marriage (an oversimplification, of course, but still).
Now, knowing that a man has a God-given desire for your God-given body, would you not like to make it easier for your brother to look at your face when he is talking to you? This would help those of us that fight to not objectify you in our minds and to treat you with respect as a fellow human. Oh, and it would help to keep the pigs that choose not to fight it from using what you decided to flaunt for their fantasies.
If your brother or sister struggled with alcoholism, would you offer them a beer every time you spoke to them? No. Would your refraining from this keep them from sinning with alcohol? Certainly not, but at least you wouldn’t have been an agent in their downfall. To say that we have no responsibility to help our brothers and sisters with their struggles is utterly satanic.
No, we men are not ticking time bombs waiting to be set off by the slightest hint of cleavage or thigh. However, this really is something that is difficult for us. Sisters, our desires are not anything that you can fully understand or relate with, but they are as strong (if not stronger) and as natural as a woman’s maternal instincts.
So, from a brother to a sister, could you help us out a little? You don’t have to wear a ski suit, but a little bit of consideration will go a long way to help us to love you and respect you as a fellow child of Christ. Do your best save your breasts for your husband, and we will do our best save our desires for our wives.
(My son Austin is 20 years old and will finish his liberal arts degree with a pre-med emphasis in December of this year. I appreciate his thoughtfulness and willingness to write about this challenging subject.)