1. Hi Joel and fam. Quite some time ago I was deacon at Mass and distributing Holy Communion. A young woman came to me and just before bowing to reverence the Eucharist she folded her arms to protect her modesty when bending. I’ve told this often because she was a woman who recognized her role in “custody of the eyes.” Leading me to use a modification of an earlier slogan: What would BV Mary do?

  2. Hi Deacon Tom! Great to hear from you, and thanks for commenting. That is precisely the point of the post. The women & girls we love and cherish bear some share – not all – of the responsibility for how they are viewed by how they present themselves. Clothing choice is part of that. Indeed, men & boys have the exact same responsibility to not flaunt our bodies. This should be obvious.

    I’ve been criticized for not discussing the responsibility of fathers to teach their sons “custody of the eyes” and to practice it themselves. Indeed, no matter how a woman or girl dresses, men & boys bear the first and foremost responsibility not to ogle her. This should also be obvious.

  3. Micha Elyi

    The women & girls we love and cherish bear some share – not all – of the responsibility for how they are viewed by how they present themselves.
    -Joel Schmidt

    I disagree. The females bear the entire share of the blame any time their dress or actions stomp on the libidos of men and boys. If the females are doing that out of ignorance then their parents – especially their mothers – bear an additional heaping helping of blame for that entirely separate moral failing.

    Indeed, men & boys have the exact same responsibility to not flaunt our bodies.

    Indeed. Get back to us, Mr. Schmidt, when codpieces come back into fashion again. Or when men are parading around in SlutWalks of their own. Until then, you’re taking your attention off the real problem by slipping in those P.C. “but boys do it too!” assertions of false moral equivalence.

    By the way folks, ever notice that the more men and boys are fettered by so-called “anti-sexual harassment” codes of behavior, the more desperately and aggressively females of all ages dress and act in their efforts to grab and steal “custody of the eyes” away from those of their target sex?

    • Hi Micha; thanks for stopping by and commenting. As you noted, there are some very disturbing cultural trends toward female immodesty. As you also suggested, the practical implications of men’s and women’s respective failings in this area are not the same. However, the notion that women bear ALL the responsibility reduces men to merely bundles of animal instincts and urges. This is not so; we can think for ourselves and make our own decisions about how we view and treat women.

      This is not the fiction of political correctness (of which I am seldom accused) but rather revealed Truth. I think Genesis 3, Expulsion from Eden is instructive here. God admonishes Adam for allowing himself to be led astray by Eve’s disobedience and then expels both of them from the garden. Men and women have the same fundamental moral responsibility to uphold all of human dignity, including their own.

    • Meredith

      @Micha: So you’ve never seen men jogging shirtless, or showing off their bodies at the gym by wearing wife beaters with the armholes slit almost to the waist? You’ve never seen teenage boys with their jeans belted at crotch level, allowing their boxers to show? I’ve seen all these things. It’s true that women are more commonly encouraged to show off their bodies, but yes, “men do it too.”

      Most “females,” as you so charmingly call us, are not maliciously trolling for lawsuits when we choose our attire. The slutwalkers are a special category, but most teenage girls who wear skimpy clothes are either oblivious to the effect they have on men/boys, or they are acting from a misguided but not exactly malicious desire to please. Or are you really saying that men are pure victims of evil conniving wimmin, and that GQ, Maxim, Sports Illustrated, the porn industry, etc. are secretly controlled by teenage girls?

  4. Andrew

    For some reason it seems that the contemporary society at large wants to define the person by wherever they choose to place their sexual organs. Instead of becoming even more explicit and graphic and rather to attempt to answer your question, I suggest that we start by explaining to our daughters that they, like anybody else, are made in the image and likeness of God. There is much more to God (for Christians, think of the Trinity) than just a body. The body does not by itself define who we are. In fact, it defines very little. When two men who wish to get to know each other strictly for the benefit of friendship, they care little if at all what each others’ bodies look like. They know that the essence of the other is contained within. For a woman to show off parts of her body in an attempt to lure men to her is both a sad statement about (1) her self esteem and (2) the man who actually lusts for her just because of her body, thereby treating her as an object. She does both herself and men a favor by dressing appropriately in that assuming she is dressed modestly, she is compelled to act accordingly and that men who are seeking the superficialities of the woman are turned away.

  5. thundal

    Curious… how is ‘modesty’ (defining here as lack of nudity, for the sake of argument… I’m curious as to how you’d even define that term presently) beneficial to the individual, or to society?

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