The topic of dressing modestly came up in Relief Society Sunday. How do you teach young women about the importance of how they dress?
Just so you know, I grew up in a family where my mom was active in the church, had callings and took us to meetings, but my dad was always inactive. We didn't get much guidance at home. I would say we were cultural Mormons.
Today, there is a great teaching video that radio talk-show host, Dennis Prager put up on his site, Prager University. Dennis is a practicing Jew with conservative viewpoints.
In 2002, I shared my experiences and thoughts in an email to Dennis Prager, after listening to his talk-radio show about young women dressing too provocatively--too much like Britney Spears. He then read it aloud on his radio show.
This was it:
I have a comment to share with you about last weeks topic on the Britney Spears epidemic. As I listened to the callers who did not seem to understand, I realized how many women could benefit by listening to you.
I am 48, and just this year, through the enlightenment of your comments and my husband's sharing his inner most thoughts, I have finally realized what my dad was trying to tell me 30 some years ago. He would look at the way I was dressed, shake his head and tell me "you don't know what goes on in a boy's mind."
I assured him, he was mistaken, "I understand boys, I am just dressing cute".
Now I get it, whoa!
As a young woman, I had no idea that men are "hard wired," that they get stimulated by the visual. I thought they were like us women. A naked guy is not a turn on, in fact, we may snicker a little--but get aroused sexually? No.
Ever see that movie "A Room With a View"? There is a scene when the men go for a "bathe" at the pond, a hilarious scene, boys (men) running around naked and playing in the water--but you would have an entirely different reaction if it were women--it would not be funny at all.
I appreciate a good-looking guy, but I do not envision having sex with him. But, now I understand. All those years I ran around in halter tops, and skimpy clothing. And I thought I was a religious girl. I am happy to report that today, I am not running around in those clothes.
Anyway, what I want to say, is that maybe these girls and women don't understand men at all. And to say that men should be able to control their thoughts while we parade around in front of them, simply is unfair, once you understand the male psyche. Even now, I sometimes forget, and my husband reminds me--hey you're like a hot fudge sundae (I guess he finds those irresistible)--and I look at him, and say really?
Men and women are so different and most women don't get it, and most men don't let you see their hard-wiring. Sometimes I think it must be exhausting to be a man--all that sexual stimuli.
By the way, there are so many Britney Spears look a-likes at our public high school, that I am now home schooling my 10th grade son--along with two more sons--7th and 1st grade. I am happy to say that our two older kids, a son and a daughter are dressing modestly in this sexually-charged society in which we live.
Twenty years ago, I would tell my young daughter, "Barbie can wear this, but you can't--when you get married you can wear it in the bedroom." I did struggle a bit with her when she became a teenager--had to hide a few short skirts that came through the wash. (I would tell her, hmmm, I dont know what happened to that skirt--she did catch on, but she let me win.)
On the other hand, maybe women do understand and just don't care if all that stimuli is good for the boys and men in our society--that's an even scarrier thought.
There is an incredible article about this in the Wall Street Journal: Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That? (March 2011)
Let's talk about this. What are your thoughts?-----
Deila Taylor is the mother of five kids who looks for the deeper meaning of life's joys and struggles on planet earth. You can find her in Eve Out of The Garden.