Josh Duggar, Yoga Pants, and Modesty

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ok- I just have to get this out. (Caution- some mild swearing follows. What can I say? I curse when I'm passionate about something).

The Josh Duggar news is very disturbing to me. One aspect of this story that I find troubling is the rhetoric he and his family use in explaining some of his actions. It reminds me of very similar rhetoric I heard growing up Mormon around modesty, sex, and temptations that men face.

I wonder if some of the modesty rhetoric in conservative Christian groups contributes to boys thinking they aren't in control or that they are victims. Messages that emphasize female modesty and under-emphasize a man's choices on how he acts and what he thinks. "It's not your fault (women are temptresses)". For example, Josh's sisters warning him if an immodestly dressed woman walks by so he can avert his gaze. If you can't even look at a woman in a swimsuit and not want to force yourself on her, then something is wrong.

I think this is such a hot topic for me because I know people who think like this. I'm single and have been in the Mormon dating scene for over 20 years. (which kind of sucks, but a topic for another post). The whole time, I've been very active- going to church every week, dressing modestly, temple recommend, etc.

I'm reminded of a guy I dated (in my 30's) who broke up with me because I was too attractive and physically tempting. He said this meant I was a bad influence on him. Wait- what? I thought he was joking at first like he just wanted to soften the blow of breaking up with me by saying something sort of complimentary (like I'm attractive). But no, he was completely serious. He really thought it was my fault that he couldn't control his thoughts around me. He took no accountability for his own thoughts and actions, but instead placed all this blame and burden on me.

But, now that I think about it- I did wear yoga pants around him once (heaven forbid). We went on a hike and I wore yoga pants and a T-shirt. That must've been my fatal mistake- those tight fitting, lusty yoga pants- damn you! I don't know how he resisted my expert seductive skills. Poor, unfortunate soul.

Seriously, I'm still disturbed by this. For one, because I actually felt some guilt when he told me his reason for breaking up with me. I thought- oh no! What could I have done differently? Am I a bad influence? No one wants to think they don't bring out the best in someone they care about.

But then I realized he's an idoit. I also realized he is not alone and that the culture we grew up with has contributed to his current viewpoint. I always heard in church - don't tempt the boys by dressing immodestly. The underlying tone was that I am responsible for their virtue. I needed to be the strong one because they couldn't be trusted to have the control to not push boundaries. That's a heavy and unfair burden to put on a young woman. And if I ever have boys I will teach them why this is bullshit.

So let me be clear on what I think about this topic: It's each person's responsibility to control their own thoughts and actions. Do not blame external forces for your weakness. Get help if you need to and then man up and take control of yourself. You are the only one that can.


Lindapalooza All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger