Tuesday – Traditions

Today’s topic, per my post about having a schedule (here) suggests that today I will breakdown a tradition. This does not require that I rap or rhyme in any way. I just want us to take a deeper look at something we probably all hold dear in some way. 

I was raised with lots of traditions. Some traditions are so integrated that we might not even recognize them as traditions. For me, these are things that we do not have a direct command from the Bible for, but are expecting none the less. 

Today’s topic: Modesty. I’ll probably hit this one several times, but here are today’s thoughts. 

This story When Suits Become a Stumbling Block has been travelling around facebook as of late. A wonderfully funny satire discussing what it might look like if we called out men on some things that might make us women lust. 

Modesty discussions usually come around to men being visual and women offering them too much to view. The general attitude is that women need to be careful what they are advertising, so as not to cause a man to stumble in regards to their clothing choices. This tradition is used to rule out things like shorts (of any length), sleeveless shirts, jewelry, yoga pants, pants in general, etc. But I have a feeling that the issue goes much deeper than a choice in clothing. 

The larger issue, in my humble opinion, is that we have been trained to see one another as commodities for using to obtain our own goals. This is a problem for both genders, and what I believe the article above speaks to exactly. Women are told not to dress provocatively so that men will not lust after them. This is based on the idea that men are visual and want what they see. Women, however, are told that they are not visual and that nothing men could wear would entice them inappropriately. The article mentioned offers men in suits as an example of where that mindset breaks down. 

Women are, supposedly, looking for security and provision as a part of their human nature. They are, by nature, needing a man to provide those things. In our culture, a suit is the uniform of men able to provide these things. So, because of our frail nature, we as women might be prone to lust after a man dressing in the garb of our needs. 

I’m going to stop there before I barf or punch someone. The problem is that we have been told, by society not nature, what our needs are and how to find fulfillment for them. Both men and women are influenced by what we see and experience on a daily basis. Does this mean that we should completely withdraw from modern society? Not in my opinion. But it does mean that we must question what society is teaching us. We must be raising children who are able to question what they see and hear and who can combat gender stereotypes head on! 

I absolutely believe that men and women are in our very nature different, but I also believe that each PERSON is created unique. How can we lump everyone into 2 categories? 

My issue with the tradition of anyone assigning modesty ratings to apparel for another person is that we must look beyond the clothing itself and question the society that places value in one area over another. 

Do I believe that we can forsake all modesty and that anything goes? NO! I do think about my clothing choices carefully to figure out what message they might be sending to those who will have to view me in them. But I also question where those messages might be coming from before they get to me. 

I could rant on this for days, but I think that’s enough for now.

As a random side note, I had the opportunity to work as a COB (Civilian on the Battlefield) at an active military base a few years back. They dressed me up as an Iraqi civilian and we trained soldiers in what they might experience. I was trained in how to wear full hijab during this time. I was covered, head to toe, ankle to wrist, and everything in between. Not a bit of my form was exposed. And yet I learned from the Iraqi men working with us that I was more attractive in hijab than in my street clothes. Their society had told them to want a fully covered woman. And if you ever need ideas about headcoverings, I can wrap a scarf like nobodies business!

That’s all for now. 

See you out there!