6.22.2013

Free Advertising For Satan


You know those blog posts that are so well written that they start to get you thinking. They have a way of almost getting under your skin at times.
Sometimes I love those posts, other times I hate those posts, and almost always I wish that I was able to write something so eloquent and thought provoking that what I had to say would travel around the world and maybe someone would begin to understand my point of view.
I am a firm believer in being able to make our own choices. Agency is something that is so precious and dear to me. It is how we learn and grow. I do not want you to think that I am trying to tell you what to do, I only want you to see where I am coming from, and then you can continue to choose what you will. 
Personally I have, more often than not, been an advocate for modesty. It's an easy mindset to fall into when you are raised in an LDS home and you grow up in "Mormon Central" (more commonly known as Provo, Utah). There have been times when I have given into the temptation of wearing a bikini because I wanted to be viewed by my peers as "cool." During those times I was lying to myself about how what I was wearing made me feel. Looking back on the summer of 2009, I realize that I was very uncomfortable, but at the time having certain friends was more important to me than feeling completely comfortable in my own skin. But that was only one summer. Besides that summer, I have found myself questioning what drives some women to dress scantily. 
Before I continue I want to talk a little bit about how I view and define modesty. I think that modesty is subjective. It changes based on the eye of the beholder, but overall I think that modesty is being able to dress in a way that respects yourself. There is no one definition of modesty. Cultures around the world differ, times have changed, and fashion turns at every corner, but through all this, one thing remains the same: we are created in God's image, and thus our bodies are sacred. Our bodies are not a thing to feel shameful of, that is a statement of truth, but that doesn’t mean we can flaunt ourselves unnecessarily.
Fully understanding the sacredness of the body has taken me time, and it has taken my husband time, and it is an understanding that we have been able to reach intimately together. 
My husband is an amazing man. He is kind and gentle. He has a big heart. He has a strong testimony of Christ and how Christ can heal us. And while he is all this and more, he is still imperfect (as am I). He has his own struggles and trials, and Satan is fighting hard to keep my husband bound as he has been bound in the past.
I can understand that those of you who have not had a close loved one battling the trial of pornography would think that dressing however you like, or in what is comfortable is okay, I mean it is your choice. But I see how this affects my husband. I see how hard he fights everyday to have pure thoughts, to avoid the temptations that surround him, how can he fight it when it is everywhere and we are justifying it? This is not an easy burden to bear. My husband and I have many discussions on how we can make things easier for him, but he has often related his trial to being on a diet. He can be on a diet and he can do everything he can to avoid the things he shouldn't eat, but when we go to the store and at the end of every aisle is another junk food display, how does he continue to fight the temptation? 
Until I met my husband I never quite understood how serious an addiction pornography can be, and it is a very dangerous addiction. Satan is promoting a lie that the little bits, such as fabric over the belly button, or over the breasts, don’t make a difference. And the fact that there are people out there agreeing to that is free advertising for Satan.
The little bits can make the biggest difference. Maybe it’s not entirely the women’s responsibility to keep a man’s mind clean and pure, but if the man is doing everything in his power to do what he can, why can’t we as women help him out, make it a bit easier for him. It’s not wrong for a man to need a little bit of extra help.
God did not put us on this Earth to do it alone. We are here to make it back together. That is why we have family, and the church. We are a community and it’s okay to work together. It’s okay to ask one another for help. It’s okay to ask God for help. We all have our own trials and tribulations. We all struggle at times, it’s part of being human. We are not asked to be perfect in this lifetime, we are asked to have faith, we are asked to serve one another, we are asked to love each other even as He would love us. 
The campaign for modesty isn’t to judge others, or to make anyone feel like less of a person, it’s a movement against a threat, perhaps the biggest threat we will ever face, the devil himself, Satan. 

12 comments:

  1. Thank you! I really love how open and honest you were. I've been trying to think of how to describe why women need to be "modest" when I hear the argument that we aren't responsible for men's thoughts, and I think you said it perfectly.

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  2. First of all, you just compared my body to a junk food display.

    Secondly, our thoughts are never anyone else's responsibility. This kind of thought is blaming the victim.

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    1. blossomwitch,
      I wish to clarify a few points and I feel I can do so as it is my analogy of the junk food and the diet. You may not really care and you may still disagree, but I feel like I should share my views.

      I am not comparing your body to a junk food display, I 'm comparing a sexualized and objectified image of your body to a junk food display. I hope to see you as the daughter of God that you are. I don't know your religious background, but my belief is that the human body is sacred. Not secret or something to be ashamed of, but sacred. Something that has the power to evoke emotions between a husband and wife that will strengthen their relationship for eternity. I did not understand this fact until I was with my wife and I realized that Satan had created a lie that I had chosen to fall for and live by for many years. I had trained my mind to see the sexual side of the female body without the sacred beauty of it. I am now constantly fighting to reconfigure my thinking. It truly has been an addiction. It is an addiction that I can't overcome on my own. Satan planned it that way. He uses the power of sexual desire to create a snare that slowly reprograms the brain to need more and more sexual stimulation without real intimacy. Satan also knows that advertising works. You and I know advertising works because if it didn't then an hour long TV show would actually be an hour long, not 40 minutes with 20 minutes of commercials. I know it works because every time I see another junk food display, it seems harder and harder to resist buying another box of cookies, bag of chips, or candybar. I know that I can't completely avoid the displays, and I know that it is my fault for breaking down and buying that unneeded bag of chips. Likewise, I know that I can't avoid scantily clad women. I can't and won't try to make a woman wear a certain thing simply because I think she is dressed too immodestly or because she somehow triggers an impure thought in my mind. I know that I must be able to overcome the temptation to see her as an object of sexual desire and instead respect her as a daughter of God. I have never wanted to objectify women. They deserve more than that, and I was devastated when I realized that my view of women had turned into something so reviling. However, I noticed that the women who dressed and acted in a way that respected their divine nature and sacred position as a daughter of God made it easy for me to respect and honor them. Those who dressed in especially revealing clothing made it harder for me. They made it easy to objectify them. If they show little respect for themselves, they advertise that others should show little respect towards them. They become another advertisement for Satan's lie. One more sexualized image of an object used only to satisfy the desires of sexual stimulation. Not sexual intimacy. Sexual intimacy is the real goal, the bond between a husband and wife joined together in an equal partnership. It is something that Satan desires to destroy. He will do anything to do so. He will use all the free advertising he can get to strengthen his hold.

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    2. It is not the responsibility of the observed to determine the thoughts or actions of the observer. However, advertising works and why would you advertise for a cause that demeans yourself when you could benefit personally from respecting yourself and your sacred power as a woman. I suggest only that I notice and appreciate when a woman respects herself as more than an object to be sexualized. It is relieving to look at a woman and see her beauty as a person and not as a sexual object. It is refreshing to look at a woman and see the respect she has for herself, a respect that says, "I'm beautiful. I'm a daughter of God. I have within me the power to create human life. I have been created in the image of the divine." Respect yourself and in the process you keep one more of Satan's commercials from playing, one more of Satan's junk food displays from sitting on the shelf, and one more billboard from displaying the lies of the great deceiver.

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  3. It is natural for men to think sexual thoughts when they see a bare stomach or lots of cleavage. This is an instinctive and natural thought. It is how God created men. That is why we are asked to cover up. So I totally agree with the author because we have to be pretty dumb to think that we can't control men's thoughts. Uh... we kind of can. I consider it a privilege. We have to have respect for ourselves and men, other people's husbands, people's teenaged boys, etc. I don't like that phrase, "Men are pigs", because we turn them into one when we dress scantily. (For the most part) :)

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  4. Jessie, I am so glad I read this! I haven't been able to watch the video but I've seen it posted over and over again. I know that I, and many of us, could and should be better about covering up. Thanks for sharing such personal, tender stories. I'm sure it wasn't easy to do.
    ~Momma Emily

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  5. i appreciate the honest thoughts of the original poster, as well as the responses and acknowledgements of weakness in some of the comments. however i just find the junk food analogy so offensive. it offends women, who have the right to dress as they choose without being degraded. it offends marriage, which is not a deprivation or an abstention but a feast. i am not my husband's carrot sticks, i am his chocolate cake. it offends men, my husband, brother and young son among others who are perfectly capable of not flying off the handle at the egregious sight of women existing in the world, complete with shoulders and thighs. women can never accommodate the weaknesses, demands and threats of all the men in the world and their various needs and they shouldn't have to. you seem to acknowledge this, but there is always a 'but' on the end that seems to cancel that statement out.

    i have seen addiction and i am sorry for the struggles it causes to individuals and to couples. however the root of a pornographic society is the objectification and dehumanization of women (as you acknowledge), not scanty clothing. thus sexual violence is much higher in countries where women have fewer rights, however much they veil, than in cultures where nudity is acceptable (i'm thinking of scandinavian countries here). the cure for sexism and the pornography on which it thrives is deeper love and respect for women, including their sexuality, in its right place not erased, and not continued demands that they dress to accommodate men. bikinis and burkas have the same logic.

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  6. maybe you've seen this before, but i highly recommend this article from the point of view of an LDS man whose views on modesty have undergone a lot of evolution:

    http://toeveryonethatbelieveth.blogspot.com/2013/06/whosoever-looketh-on-woman.html?m=1

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  7. oops i meant this one. you can read the other one too if you want, but this one is better:

    http://bycommonconsent.com/2013/06/18/men-sex-and-modesty/

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  8. a. maren,

    I have read both and like the second one much better than the first. I am sorry that the analogy offends you. I agree that every woman who is married is their husbands personal chocolate cake, but you don't want him eating someone else's chocolate cake. I think that is what is meant by the analogy. The other issue is that some men do have a much harder time fighting the battle of pornography. Dressing scantily is a way of dehumanizing one's self, that is what Satan is trying to get people to believe. I'm not saying that you have to cover every inch of skin 24/7 or even that you have to wear sleeves. I am just saying that we should all dress in a way that is respectful to ourselves.

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  9. a. maren,
    I don't want you to feel like we are attacking you with both of us responding but we have decided to use this blog as a way to voice both of our opinions and not just one. I just read the article about men, sex, and modesty. I loved it. I have been where he was, felt the fear that he talked about to more of an extent than I ever wanted to feel, and I understand now that teaching boys and girls when they are young about sexual intimacy is far better than treating it as taboo or something to be feared. I was afraid of girls. I had the utmost respect for them but was told that I shouldn't get close and felt ashamed when I started to have crushes, or find them attractive. This is exactly the society that he talks about in his post and I understand it. Unfortunately, I didn't acknowledge my sexual growth in a healthy way and found myself objectifying women more and more. My curiosity of this forbidden thing led me to pornography and many other things. This culture is definitely a large part of the problem. We must be careful, however, that we don't forget other problems that occur with immodest dress. You mention scandinavian countries as being open about sexuality. I know from my experiences that Scandinavia has one of the largest porn industries in the world. Open sexuality is not the key. The key is intimate sexuality. I don't see my wife as my chocolate cake. I see her as something far more amazing. There is nothing I can compare her to, yet she doesn't have to flaunt that to everyone. In fact, if she flaunted it, I would be the only one to really understand the full capacity of her love and sexuality. When I am with her, my brain unlocks more than just endorphins to make me feel good. It unlocks aspects of my brain that help me feel closer and more in love with her. I can't compare that to any type of feeling that I have felt yet in this life. However, I have no problem comparing an objectified, sexualized image of someone else to that of junk food. It is a sexual stimulation that creates an endorphin release in my brain just like a piece of chocolate cake, a candy bar, or even something like heroine would release. It lacks the personal, intimate aspect that strengthens the bonds of my marriage.

    The point I want to make is this - Modesty isn't the only issue. It is one of many issues that we need to stand up for. Modesty helps us respect our bodies and respect the sanctity of our most intimate sexual desires. Modesty teaches our children to respect themselves and their bodies. It helps those of us (at least me) who are trying to reconfigure our brains to respect all those around us and not see objects of lust. But it doesn't solve everything. Educating ourselves and our children about the importance of sexuality is vital to overcome the challenges that we face in such a demeaningly sexual society. There are many more problems and sources of problems in this area that I can't even pinpoint. But we can fight for modesty. We can teach our children the right way to respect themselves and others around them, and we can continually learn from our mistakes to make it better, not worse, for those who come after us.

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