This post by Mode et Utopie, has set my little mind a-whirling. Not really on the subject of the actual post, but on one of the lines "(non-Western) woman’s sexual assertiveness, her modesty and social freedom."
The truth is as a Christian (at a Christian university) and a feminist (and no that is not an oxymoron) these are issues I struggle with daily. Christian faith is splintered into so many different units and on my campus nearly every week it seems there is some ongoing discussion on modesty (and pacifism, ethical jobs for Christians, multiculturalism, should Christians ever be rich, missions, forgiveness, etc). My campus is by and far modest and although this has not happened to me, some ladies I know have been approached by men and informed that their short skirts were "inappropriate" and causing them to "stumble" (giving the men sexual urges they were apparently not in control of). The most frustrating thing to me is that the rules of modesty are written by men for women. If we dress modestly for them, then they are defining the social rules, they are controlling our sexuality and defining us as sexual objects--rather than as sexual beings. What sort of social freedom do we have when men are still allowed to define how we dress, talk, or where we work?
A large problem to arises from the fact that men will complain of girls sunbathing on campus while playing football shirtless on the nearby lawn. Why is a man the only one visually turned on by the naked form? Women have sexual urges as well, and eyes in their heads. Or maybe it is merely the women have the self-control to look away or control their urges; if this is the case then we are animalizing men, instead of respecting them enough to expect they show self-restraint.
This might be an issue largely caused by living on a college campus--I often point out to boys who are concerned about women dressing modestly that they should leave our school and see how women are in the real world and stop expecting us to coddle them from it--but I am curious to hear some of you weigh-in. Have any of you ever encountered or struggled with this issue? Maybe a jealous boyfriend wanted you to change the way you dressed once you started dating? We dress men (layering out matching socks and such) can we really blame them for trying to dress us? And for that last question, I still say no man shall dress me unless he is a very talented designer...
And what I am wearing (modesty in tact):