Quick Thoughts on the Ideas of Dignity and Modesty

I already know this is going to turn into something much bigger because it’s been percolating in my head.

I think the first time I started getting interested in feminism was when my sister linked me to this website made for women by Christian men telling women how to dress in a way that doesn’t tempt them and the end result was to wear turtlenecks under long shapeless dresses. There were also requests for behavior, saying that women should be quiet, passive and modest at all times. It went on and on and that’s when I realized how oppressive it all felt.

I don’t feel like it’s okay for men to tell women how to act or dress or anything at all. A woman should be who she wants to be and who she feels comfortable being or wearing and if that means she’s running around in a thong and pasties or if she’s completely covered she should be respected and not thought less of.

It’s really fucking hard being a Catholic and a feminist because in my religious life, men and women (but mostly men) are sitting here telling me to “protect my dignity” which usually means to dress and act modestly. My problems with this are that A. The reason you are telling me to cover up and shut up are so that I don’t tempt you in some way, because obviously all women are sexual temptresses that want to seduce righteous men into Satan’s lair and B. That my “dignity” is being defined by 80 year old virgins, and they are telling me what I can and cannot do even if I have no personal problem with it.

It’s another thing that forces women into submission. They say that behaving or dressing a certain way will distract from the path of God, but don’t realize that clothing and modesty are social constructs. I don’t think I am anymore holy wearing jeans and a t-shirt than Muslim woman wearing a Hijab or a nudist. I mean, if we’re going to talk about closeness to God, wouldn’t we be closer to God in the same form we entered the earth? Like, naked in a field?

Telling women what to wear and how to act is just another way to blame women for being women. I should not be shamed because of the thoughts men are having about me. Guys, hold yourselves accountable for your own thoughts and actions take responsibility for them. Blaming women for making you think dirty thoughts is  blaming food for making you fat, but you’re the one objectifying women and the one eating ten Big Macs a day. And if you’re the one having a difficult time with sexual restraint, maybe rededicate some time to thinking about how you view women; as sexual objects or as actual people.

Bottom line: You have no business policing what I do or wear. I love Jesus the same in sweats, in a bikini, naked, in a wedding dress and in jeans. Don’t blame me if you have sexual thoughts about me, don’t blame me if I give you an erection because to force me to change to suit your needs is misogynistic, sexist and just really horrible.

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