I recently had a conversation with Trace that sparked some interesting thoughts. While eating at a local Memphis restaurant, in walked a crowd of girls all wearing low cut belly shirts and short skirts. "And THAT's why I don't want to have a daughter one day," Trace said under his breath. "Why?" I asked. "Because I don't want her to dress like that and have guys staring at her. They'll expect that they can get something from her because of how she's dressed."
I thought for a minute and I came to two conclusions. One: I would hope that if we had a daughter, she would want to dress modestly because she knows that some men can be pigs (only some of them), and doesn't want to be subjected to that. Two: I hope that if we have a son, that we can raise him to respect women enough to not itemize them.
Then I realized the undertones of these two thoughts. Traditionally in Christian homes when it comes to raising our boys, we tell them to respect and protect women. When it comes to raising our girls on the other hand, we tell them to respect and protect themselves. This way of thinking is practical in some cases, as there are men out there who will take advantage. Don't get me wrong, I fully want my daughter to respect herself and also to be aware of her surroundings. In other ways, though, it is telling our girls that their role in society is to helpless. They are prey to men who don't see women as anything else but an object.
Although in Christian homes we tell our boys to treat women with respect, our girls are the ones who get a slap on the wrist if they wear clothes that are more than four inches above the knee. If they choose to wear daisy dukes and a guy objectifies them, well they had it coming. What? No. All I'm asking for is some consistency here. I have gotten pulled aside in church a few times growing up for dressing immodestly. But if the guys around here can't control themselves around a girl in Nike shorts and a t-shirt, the problem is them- not me.
The truth is that we live in a society that is saturated in sex. Movies, magazines, advertisements. This way of living gives a very unreal expectation that every woman who dresses a certain way is sleazy. In some cases this might be true, and I don't want to be naive in saying that some women aren't seeking attention from men. What I'm really trying to get at is that I don't think it is okay for men, or any one else for that matter, to assume that those women are seeking attention.
So there has to be a line drawn. Don't think that this totally discredits everything that I've said leading up to this point- bear with me. As I said before, I got a talking to on numerous occasions about wearing shorts that were "too short", but I never felt like I was being immodest or being disrespectful to myself during those times. So I honestly don't know where to draw the line if Trace and I ever have a daughter. I know that I don't want her to be naive about the world, but I also don't think it is okay to dismiss the responsibility that men have to respect their sisters in Christ.
Any comments or anecdotes to this problem? Let me know. These were just some of the ramblings of the conversation Trace and I had. Open to anything.