So I decided to continue my rant from before, on the subject of the way females dress. However, this time, I’m going to the other side of the issue, where we discuss why precisely it is wrong for a man to lust after a woman, even if she is in a bikini. (Apart from that pesky Bible verse that says "don't lust"; but, you know.)
First off, anyone who says “a woman dressed provocatively was just asking to be raped” is the type of person who needs to be locked far away from the rest of civilized society. For one thing, rapists are sociopaths who target women who look like easy victims. While wearing few clothes may be one of those signs, if it is a female body builder wearing few clothes it is highly doubtful they will be a target, because rapists don’t like getting beat up by women. Secondly, an atrocity is still an atrocity. Understanding why a person did something is not equivalent to saying that person is right. You may see that a woman wearing few clothes looks like an easy target, but that does not mean that the rapist is justified in harming her, or that she even “deserved it”.
Secondly, let us move on to the less egregious kinds of sexual sin. A young woman’s blog post came to my attention, and her story is heartbreaking. I would advise everyone to go read it, but I will summarize here. She has naturally large breasts, and because of this, she is regularly harassed, not just by strange men on the streets, but by people at church, despite dressing in an appropriate manner. The most horrifying example she gives is being asked to step off the stage where she was preparing to play music, because a teenage boy was, ah, performing certain private acts while watching her. For whatever reason the boy was not taken straight to the pastor’s office where he would get the lecture of his life and possibly forced to write Matthew 5:30 over and over again.
(As an aside, this is why icons come in handy. What boy would do that with Jesus WATCHING HIM EVERYWHERE HE GOES? And let’s not get started on St. John the Baptist’s stern look.)
This is purity culture run mad. Yes, of course women should dress in a decent manner. But women also cannot help if they are built very curvy. Young boys should not be taught that if they lust then the woman is to blame. Of course teenage boys are going to have their minds in the gutter. The purpose, though, is to teach them how to get their minds back out of the gutter, and how to direct their thoughts elsewhere. And of course provocatively dressed women will make this more difficult, but no less imperative. But when it is simply because the brain of the teenage boy sees a girl and immediately thinks of sex, then this is not the fault of the girl. This is the fault of the parents who raised the boy, the church who was supposed to protect the girl, and the boy WHO REALLY SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DOING THAT IN A CHURCH MEETING I MEAN WHAT.
This is the balancing act we must face every day. We must be aware of how our actions affect others, decide if that effect is the sort that should cause us to change our actions, and be mindful of how we react to others in kind. (And, naturally, other people should do the exact same thing-not guaranteed, however.) Churches should be places of refuge for young women, not yet another group that objectifies their femininity.