The Folly of Immodesty

I’m sure you’ve heard the story – a Toronto cop advised that one way to help protect against sexual assault is for women to not dress in an overtly sexual manner. In response to this, a lot of people have expressed outrage – at the cop for daring to even so much as suggest that the actions of a woman can make more possible a sexual assault. So far have we fallen away from basic, common sense. Monsignor Charles Pope, reviewing a Hannity segment on this matter, neatly encapsulates the issue:

A Central Problem – One of the women says, “In dressing provocatively a woman is saying, I am asking you to look at me as a sexual object, instead of a woman worthy of respect.” The other woman responds, “There is nothing wrong with looking like a sexual object.” And this pretty well spells out where many in our culture have gone. Intentionally provoking a purely sexual response not only tempts men, it also diminishes women by encouraging the notion that sex is the main thing…

If a woman dresses in an overtly sexual manner, all but a few men will respond – those few who have either risen entirely above sexual desires and those who sexual desires lead entirely elsewhere. Outside of these two, very tiny groups, most men will respond. To be sure, the response of most men will be silent – no overt word or action. But it will be there – all of us men know it; when we see a woman dressed in a manner suggestive of sexual possibility, the thought of sex does flash across our minds. We suppress it – we remember our wives, our vows and our responsibilities, and move on. But what of those men who either don’t have such vows, or don’t care much about them?

The success of advertising is not that it will move everyone to do a certain thing, but that it will move a small margin to do so. The endlessly repeated advertisement for toothpaste won’t make everyone buy that toothpaste, but it will make some do so…and that is why advertising is engaged in. Why it is such a gigantic, multi-billion dollar annual business. So, when a woman advertises sexual availability, it won’t move most men to want to have sex with her – but it will move some. Including some who are not inclined to take “no” for an answer. And, in fact, given the nature of things, it is precisely those who are least inclined to care about the woman, as a person, who are most likely to respond to the “advertisement”. A woman dressing in a sexually provocative manner is, in a sense, casting about for attention from the least desirable people from the woman’s point of view.

This is all just common sense – and no amount of “I, as a woman, should be able to dress as I please” will make the least bit of difference. Of course a woman can dress as she pleases – but each of our choices has consequences, and all of life is a matter of balancing risks. While dressing like a puritan won’t make a woman rape-proof, neither will ignoring reality. There are certain things which are proper and certain things which are not – and wearing spike heels, a short, tight skirt and a low-cut blouse is not necessarily the wisest choice of attire.

In addition to that, a woman should have more sense. Unless a woman really wants to be nothing more than an object to whatever man happens along, a certain degree of modesty is required. And, yes, it goes for men, too. Tell me ladies, if two men were to appear at your front door, asking you to dinner, which would you go with – the unshaved lout dressed in sweats, or the properly groomed man wearing slacks and a jacket? Clothes don’t determine the worth of a man – but if a man respects you, don’t you think he’d go to the trouble of sprucing up before asking you out? In a very real sense, women are treated more like dirt in 2011 than in 1911…mostly because all too many women have fallen for the idea that being trashy is a requirement; that some how a willingness to engage in sex – and be known immediately to be willing to have sex – is the only way to get a man. Trouble is that the sort of men who go along with this are going to be increasingly unlikely to treat a woman with any sense of chivalry, or even basic decency.

The social problems we experience – violence in the home; out of control illegitimacy; increasing abuse of women; the spread of pornography; the spread of sexual abuse of children; an underclass locked in poverty and ignorance – all stem from the break-down of standards. Because we have gone along with an “if it feels good, do it” mentality, we are suffering from societal break down. The biggest loud mouths, the most obscene people, the most depraved rule the roost. We allowed the foot in the door back in the 60’s, and now they’ve taken over the entire public square…until, in response to a cop offering a bit of wisdom, we have foolish women engaging in “slut walks” in protest. Yes, we’ve reached a point where we’re now supposed to applaud someone for acting like a slut – and condemn the person who so understands the worth of women that he’d rather they dressed like women, rather than like objects.

It is a strange, distressing condition, to be sure. And we have to get away from it – we have to wake up and become sane again. We’re going so far now that we’re about to be offering up our children to this – there are people out there arguing that the age of consent should be lowered so that ever younger girls can be objectified by ever older men. It is said we can’t turn the clock back – such a statement is nonsense. Akin to a man saying that once you’ve made a wrong turn, you have to keep going and never think of going back to where you turned wrong. We must go back – the life of our civilization depends on it.