Friday, May 18, 2012


Now that I have you attention (and shame on you :-), I have been following with some interest a discussion over at Startling The Day about women and bikinis (see parts 1, 2, 3, and 4).

I typically enjoy reading thoughtful articles written by Catholic women about attire issues.  It is a tricky topic and for me it provides insight into "what the other side is thinking."  Which helps in the whole "treating women as sisters in Christ" thing we've got going in the Church.  And we get to see how at times the label  "conservative" men is just another name for "controlling" men.

When my mother-in-law came to visit from Korea (to those who don't know, my wife is Korean) and we attended a Mass at the local student Catholic Center,  one of the female students lectored the second reading. I was told later that mother-in-law was scandalized.  Apparently the lector wore shorts or a short skirt, which wasn't all that short but enough for mother-in-law to react.  Her reasoning was this, "The priest lives a life of celibacy.  And women have a duty to help the priests by not wearing things that would cause temptation." (I paraphrase).

It is true that men are by nature notice women and physical features and are drawn to them quite powerfully.  It is also true that ultimately the reigning in of thoughts and these attractions are the responsibility of men.  A woman might walk down the street wearing nothing but a smile.  This does not absolve us men from our duty to protect our eyes and our souls.

Having said that, women can make this a lot harder on us men.  One particular annoying trend here in this campus town is for women to wear short shorts that have lettering across their, um, "backside".  I usually see the lettering on the street first and THEN what the lettering is attached to.  Ladies, men don't need a reason to look at your butt, and some of us are trying not to objectify you.  Please refrain from making that job harder.

Overall I'm glad that despite how hot the discussion can get it shows a care for us men on the part of our sisters. They care enough about what to wear and how that would affect us guys (only one of the factors, but still it's nice to see).   And it underscores an important point.  Everything that we do, say, wear, etc. should be for God's glory and the betterment of others and ourselves.  Regardless of the specifics of the topic, the intent is definitely a positive.

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