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Archive for September 10th, 2012

Clothing — or lack of it — remains a lively topic wherever I go.  Age doesn’t matter.  Both younger and older women argue that it’s a woman’s right to dress however she pleases.  Calling oneself a Christian doesn’t seem to matter, either.  I am always encouraged, however, when someone in the secular world views women and their clothing in a sane and sensible way.

The results of a Princeton study found that when men were shown images of women dressed in bikinis, the region of the brain associated with analyzing a person’s thoughts and feelings was deactivated, and the part associated with objects of use (like “tool”) lit up.  In the minds of these test subjects, the women were quite literally objectified and dehumanized.  (Source: Verilymag)

“Well, ” a woman might respond, “that’s not my problem.”  Another might ask, “But, what about the male responsibility?”  The answers, from my Biblical perspective, are these: 1) We live in community, therefore, the choices we make invariably affect those around us, and 2) Men do bear the responsibility of practicing self-control, but so do women.   A woman can deny reality all she wants, but the truth is that she is always helping a man one way or another — for good or for bad.

Janet Sahm, writing in Tiger Print, also references the Princeton study.  She praises one-piece swimsuits and modest clothing in general.  She does so “in recognition and understanding of a reality about human nature.”  Men and women are attracted to one another, but most often view each other in different ways.  “Would anyone doubt,” Sahm asks, “that, in general, men tend to be more visually stimulated than women and are susceptible to using and viewing women as objects?”

Some of my gender want attention.  They want to be the object of a man’s desire.  Others become temptresses of men because they are naive about the different ways male and female brains are wired.  Sahm makes a strong statement to both, be they women of faith or women of the world.  “Let’s not forget that, as people, we’re all susceptible to using one another for our own gratification.  For a man, it may be to solely focus on a woman’s sexual values, leaving the rest of who she is fade into the background.  For a woman, it may be to fantasize about a man she’s just met, crafting a romanticized imaginary future that’s sorely in need of a reality check.  We’re in this struggle together.”

Yes, we are.  So, here’s a fair question for all of us women: In the midst of life’s struggle, how do we choose to help?

Within each of us is the beauty of personhood that grows more lovely with time.  Character attracts attention in a way that the flesh never can.

“Without saying a word,” writes Sahm, “what you wear influences how people respond to your beauty.  Perhaps it’s not that bikinis reveal to much, but too little.”

Appreciation to Tiger Print, a blog of MercatorNet, 7 Sep 2012

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