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Author Topic: Modesty
Samprimary
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quote:
In fact it seems to me that a lot of the people who expose themselves are as likely to be the ones carrying shame. Just as the person who is showy about his or her wealth is often the least secure in it.
Neither of these tidbits of armchair psychology are very reliably true at all.
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scholarette
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quote:
Originally posted by Jhai:

Why does wearing "immodest" clothing have to be about displaying your great bod? Why can't it just be about wearing what you like to wear, for whatever reason. If you go to a lot of beaches in Europe - or even saunas & pools - you'll end up seeing a lot of naked people or people (both male & female) in bikini-like bottoms only. At least in Germany, there's a lot of chubby naked people, and old naked people, and pale, scrawny naked people to be seen. No one gives a hoot one way or another. [/QUOTE]

In that place and culture, I would not consider going topless to be immodest. I don't consider people who are breastfeeding and not covering to be immodest either. It's not what you display so much as how you display it.

I had a somewhat similar experience as Rabbit at a scientific convention, though I am a grad student. One of the other grad students was very attractive and gave a talk in an outfit that would have fit in nicely at a dance club. The men around me spent her entire talk leering. One was using his camera's zoom function to get a better view. The men's actions were very inappropriate and they should not have responded that way. However, the woman should also know that if you want to be taken seriously as a scientist, you give your presentation dressed as a scientist. Though that really was not about modesty, but professionalism.

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Jhai
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So if people go naked here in a sauna, they're not being humble, and are, in essence, saying "hey everyone, look at my great bod" while if they cross the Atlantic and do it, suddenly they aren't arrogant in nature?

Right. Germany isn't all that different, culturally from the US. They're just less hung up on shame with regard to the human body.

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scifibum
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I think it makes a great deal of sense to have dress codes for work environments. It's understood and appropriate for people in an organization to agree to give up certain freedoms in order to make the entire machine run more smoothly.

Smart organizations make the dress code appropriate to the type of work being done, of course.

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Starsnuffer
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I think it's really not a big deal. Personally you can wear whatever you want and deal with how others view you as a result. It is absurd and stupid to say that men or women's arousal has no association with the attire of members of the other sex.

If you want to wear a burka, go ahead. If you want to wear a bikini to class, go ahead. In both cases I'll think you're really weird, but you probably knew that when you stepped out the door.

Rivka, as to why modesty laws constitute oppression: Forcing people to do things they don't necessarily want to do is oppressive. Hell, a law against murder is oppressive if you want to murder somebody. It doesn't mean it's not a good idea, though. Weighing the pros and cons is necessary in both cases, and I think that the issue of modesty is a far hazier one than that of murder.

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scholarette
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Going naked in a sauna seems like a perfectly rational place to go naked. There's a good reason, it is more enjoyable that way. Like I said, modesty, for me isn't about what you are wearing or what it covers or does not, but the attitude with which you do it.

ETA- example of someone I considered immodest- At work, a woman was wearing a shirt that was extremely tight across the chest. She was clearly limited in her movement by it and looked very uncomfortable (physically, not emotionally). But it did show off her chest nicely. The shirt said nothing but look at my bod. And that is someone I would consider immodest and consider it wrong.

[ January 07, 2009, 04:06 PM: Message edited by: scholarette ]

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Jhai
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I think that word - oppression - doesn't mean what you think it means.
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MightyCow
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quote:
Originally posted by GinaG:
Rooting through the fridge is violent? [Smile]

No, I think the analogy fits exactly what I was saying.

I do not believe that one can "root" through something gently or passively, no.

You seem to be missing the distinction though. What you are using as an analogy is someone trespassing onto personal property, opening a closed refrigerator, shoving their hands into said fridge, and moving the food around in a rough, impolite manner.

The fact that you feel that this is an appropriate and accurate metaphor for someone looking at a person wearing "immodest" clothes tells me that to you, the mere act of looking at someone constitutes an aggressive violation of personal property, space, and that it physically disrupts the person's possessions.

I would say that either you are using extreme hyperbole, or your view of modesty is so out of sync with mine that we're not really even talking about the same thing.

quote:

In fact it seems to me that a lot of the people who expose themselves are as likely to be the ones carrying shame. Just as the person who is showy about his or her wealth is often the least secure in it.

This seems to confirm the latter. Your world view is radically different from mine, if you believe that people who are comfortable with their bodies are ashamed of themselves. It's difficult for me to imagine the thought process which comes to that conclusion. If I had to take a guess though, I'd say you're projecting your own shame. As long as we're trading armchair psychology.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Jhai:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
As for cultures that show more skin not being hotbeds of rape, promiscuity, etc. I wonder if there really isn't a correlation between dress codes and promiscuity. I do know that in Africa the segments of the continent where there are more Muslims tend to have less incidents of HIV than the rest of the continent.

Did you really write this? Really? So the reasoning goes something like this:
Muslim - > more clothes on females - > fewer incidents of rape or promiscuity - > fewer HIV cases?
Because, of course, there's no other common factor or factors in Islamic African cultures - besides those crazy, crazy clothes - that could possibly lead to either less incidents of promiscuity or fewer HIV cases.

Edit: this is one of those cases where a big stick with "correlation does not equal causation" should be applied. I bet all the countries with high HIV rates are sub-Saharan too... Call the presses! Living south of a big desert spreads HIV!!! Get all those people out of Rajasthan!

Please calm down. I was not trying to say that the only reason Muslims have less incidents of HIV was caused by their wardrobes. I think it's likely there are variables that are more strongly related to promiscuity than clothing. I was merely wondering allowed about whether dress codes are related at all to promiscuity. You could help me understand why they are not with examples or data, or I suppose you could remain in your state of consternation.

Darth Mauve:
quote:
I believe that's "reported cases of HIV", reported being the operative word, because its also more likely to be under reported in those cases, and "cases" instead of "incidents" please. HIV is a disease and those who acquire it are people. Neither are "incidents".

I don't think accuracy in reporting does enough to explain the disparity.

I'm having trouble linking a map, if you are interested just use google images and look up "HIV Africa Map 2008"

Rabbit: I liked your musings.

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Wendybird
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I don't have time to read everything but I have to say I spent several years working with the young women ages 12-17 in my congregation. Our church teaches a standard of modesty that is often viewed as more strict than other standards in the world. We had a big problem with girls dressing in tight fashions letting far more of their beautiful developing bodies to be visible. Many of them did this purposely to make themselves attractive to the young men. Some did it because it was "in style". We had a frank discussion with them. Of course we want to look beautiful. God created us as beautiful women, he doesn't want us to deny that. But (in our church) he also expects us to behave and dress modestly. Not only to make it easier on the young men who struggle with indecent thoughts but to show respect for themselves. When we pointed out that there are "old" men who struggle with impure thoughts who look at them in these clothes it opened their eyes a bit. We did not want them to feel like they had to hide everything but girls, and women, do need to realize that how they dress DOES send a message about who they are and it most certainly does stimulate sexual thoughts in men. Men are visual creatures. And while we can't control what a man thinks we can influence them to think better. Wearing tight clothing that shows off the girls doesn't influence them to think better thoughts.

Likewise there are boys and men who need to be more modest. One of the current trends for boys to wear their pants below their behinds showing off their undies is not modest either. And its not modest for guys to wear super tight skinny jeans showing off their jewels either.

Modesty is more than just clothing. It is an attitude of respect for one's self in action and thought as well.

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GinaG
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quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:

You seem to be missing the distinction though. What you are using as an analogy is someone trespassing onto personal property, opening a closed refrigerator, shoving their hands into said fridge, and moving the food around in a rough, impolite manner.



This whole touch vs. look is a rabbit trail- the analogy means to distinguish that there are things that are for public consumption and things that are private, and because one considers one's parts to be something for the private sphere and not the public isn't a symptom of "enslavement."
quote:
This seems to confirm the latter. Your world view is radically different from mine, if you believe that people who are comfortable with their bodies are ashamed of themselves.
The woman who feels she has to flaunt it and the man in a Speedo might simply be tasteless, it's true.
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GinaG
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:

I'm having trouble linking a map, if you are interested just use google images and look up "HIV Africa Map 2008"

Here's one.
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Tatiana
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I want to point out that the very fact that there are so many different views of what modesty is and whether it's desirable means you can NOT often correctly interpret the "message" someone is trying to send via their clothes. If clothes send any sort of message, then we all speak entirely different languages. So I urge people, given that, to be generous in their interpretations. If someone is dressing in a way that you find immodest, instead of thinking "what a brazen hussy", why not think "she's from a different culture than I, one in which her dress is obviously appropriate"? Why not err on the side of civilization, of generosity, and cosmopolitan sensibilities? Why not simply fail to notice the difference between you?
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ketchupqueen
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quote:
why not think "she's from a different culture than I, one in which her dress is obviously appropriate"?
Or one in which it is inappropriate, but s/he chooses to dress so anyway. [Wink]
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MightyCow
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quote:
Originally posted by GinaG:
The woman who feels she has to flaunt it and the man in a Speedo might simply be tasteless, it's true.

What is "flaunting it?" And what about a man in a speedo is tasteless? Some guys look great in speedos - or is that what you're objecting to?
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BannaOj
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Are these outfits modest?

I thought these outfits might be an interesting point of conversation.

I would generally consider these professionally modest. However, in my own conservative backround should I have actually worn one of these outfits myself, and look attractive, I would have been sent home to change by my parents.

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kmbboots
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Being willing to share something does not mean that one does not value that something. People have different boundaries but they can still highly respect themselves. Perhaps rather than indicating insecurity, what you call immodesty could be an indication that a person realizes that her value is such that it can't be diminished no matter how she decides to share it.
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The Rabbit
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I'm curious BannaOj as to your wording. Would your parents have found all of these outfits immodest or only one of them.

By my standards, nearly all of these outfits would qualify as modest, at least on the models who are wearing them. I would find most of them professionally appropriate but there are some exceptions.


This one I would find immodest in a professional science and engineering setting and possibly some of the other shorter skirts but it really depends on the specifics of the occasion.

I find the very high heels worn in most of the pictures inappropriate for professional wear but that is more a practical issue than a modesty issue.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
quote:
Originally posted by GinaG:
The woman who feels she has to flaunt it and the man in a Speedo might simply be tasteless, it's true.

What is "flaunting it?" And what about a man in a speedo is tasteless? Some guys look great in speedos - or is that what you're objecting to?
Speedos are very practical. If what you are actually doing is swimming and not parading on the beach, there is nothing more practical than a tight fitting suit. This is one of those issues where some peoples standards of modesty really do intrude on practical participation.
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BannaOj
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The majority of them Rabbit. I thought about going through outfit by outfit of how I would have been criticized for being immodest.

For exampleThis one, I would have been told showed too many curves.
this one I would have been told the same. It is is too clingy

Among a certian segment the ill-fitting baggy look is equivalent to modest. Appropriately dress equals for them, an attempt to look attractive, which would be vanity.

My mother gave me a denim jumper the dimensions of a burlap sack when I turned 20, and thought it would be perfectly appropriate wear in most situations. While not a burka, I've seen many professional muslim women rock a hijab with grace and style. I've yet to see anyone do the same with a denim jumper.

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Tresopax
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I think you should consider yourself responsible BOTH for the effects you have on others and for the ways that others effect you. If person A causes person B to do C, then person A and person B are BOTH responsible for C.

But the corollary to that is, I think you should generally be concerned with judging only yourself. Person A has no business blaming person B, and person B has no business blaming person A, because even though both are reponsible for what happened, each should be worrying about how they in particular contributed to it, not how the other did.

What this means for modesty is this: If you think its a sin to think indecent thoughts, don't dress in a way that would cause people to think indecent thoughts. And if you think its a sin to think indecent thoughts, don't allow yourself to think indecent thoughts when you see people dressed certain ways. But if you do, don't blame the other person.

I'm not inclined to think basic thoughts are immoral though, unless they come along with actions.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
... If someone is dressing in a way that you find immodest, instead of thinking "what a brazen hussy", why not think "she's from a different culture than I, one in which her dress is obviously appropriate"?

To add to this point, I may note that some of us effectively choose our culture which makes it even more difficult to interpret.
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Tatiana
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
What this means for modesty is this: If you think its a sin to think indecent thoughts, don't dress in a way that would cause people to think indecent thoughts.

I'm sorry, but I still reject that reasoning entirely. I can't hold myself responsible for what happens in someone else's brain. That makes no sense. "Oh wow I should have realized that the sight of my bare neck was an irresistible temptation to that murderer guy, so how can I complain when he came after me with his butcher knife?" Uhn uh.

American women in Kuwait who wear shorts (even baggy knee-covering shorts) in public are subject to being attacked. Did you know that? Do you know how hot it is in Kuwait? The men can wear whatever they like.

So, obviously, what is provocative and what isn't is not always clear. Also, old people have totally different standards of modesty than young people, and that's always been true, and it isn't a bad thing. As I said above, I'm super glad I don't have to wear the floor-length dresses and wrist-length sleeves required of my foremothers.

So the whole idea that women have to dress a certain way to protect men from their thoughts is a loser. It's a way of demeaning women, making them feel like their bodies are toxic, and basically subjugating them. And I refuse to have anything to do with it.

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Samprimary
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quote:

But the corollary to that is, I think you should generally be concerned with judging only yourself. Person A has no business blaming person B, and person B has no business blaming person A, because even though both are reponsible for what happened, each should be worrying about how they in particular contributed to it, not how the other did.

>_<

This is, unfortunately, paradoxical. If you're responsible for something negative, you can be blamed for it. It's nonsensical to say that there is no blame.

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Jhai
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:

But the corollary to that is, I think you should generally be concerned with judging only yourself. Person A has no business blaming person B, and person B has no business blaming person A, because even though both are reponsible for what happened, each should be worrying about how they in particular contributed to it, not how the other did.

>_<

This is, unfortunately, paradoxical. If you're responsible for something negative, you can be blamed for it. It's nonsensical to say that there is no blame.

Utilitarianism, at least, distinguishes from doing a wrong act and doing a blameworthy act. If you do something wrong - and in utilitarianism an act is wrong if it leads to bad outcomes - then you're at least partially (edit: in a causal sense) responsible for the end result. But if you acted with the best of intentions, and circumstances just conspired differently than anyone might expect, then you might not considered blameworthy.

Not that I don't think that Tres is wrong on this matter - but it's a bit more complicated than you say above.

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Tresopax
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quote:
So, obviously, what is provocative and what isn't is not always clear.
That is completely correct. More generally, it is typically very difficult to predict how people will react to any given action you take. And it is impossible to know beforehand EVERY effect that any given action will have. For instance, perhaps dressing provocatively might cause a certain person passing on the street to start having second thoughts about his marriage, leading him eventually to have a divorce, leading his daughter to move away to a different town, where she switches to a better school, which leads to her becoming a lawyer, and one day she becomes the first female president. Who knows? Seeing into the future perfectly is impossible.

But that doesn't mean you aren't responsible for the effects of your actions. Rather, it just means that figuring out the right thing to do is extremely tricky. I think that's why moral systems have rules, like "don't do X" - to make it easier to figure out what to do.

I don't think you have a moral duty to act perfectly, because nobody can do that. But I do think you have the duty to try your best to do good, and included in that is all the ways you influence others. You can't ever know if what you are doing is the very best choice, but you can try to do your best.

quote:
This is, unfortunately, paradoxical. If you're responsible for something negative, you can be blamed for it. It's nonsensical to say that there is no blame.
You can be blamed for any negative effect you cause in another person. I'm just saying it is counterproductive for other people to blame you, or for you to blame others. It's a waste of time, and often just serves as an excuse so the person blaming others can avoid blaming himself or herself. People should instead worry about their own actions, not about what other people are to blame for.

What this means for this topic is that people should decide for themselves what they should wear. They shouldn't go around worrying about whether or not the clothing on other people is appropriate or not. And they definitely shouldn't use "she's to blame for making me have these thoughts" as an excuse for avoiding blame for what goes on in their own mind. They need to worry about their own control over their own mind.

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Traceria
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Note: Reading three pages of posts during the first two hours at the office is not necessarily indicative of incredible boredom. Yet, in this instance, that is a totally accurate assumption.


quote:
Originally posted by dean:
Certainly she can dress in such a way as to discourage leering, but she cannot entirely prevent it.

Too true.


quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
I think men benefit just as much from dressing modestly as women do. I think for me, dressing modestly is less about not inciting others to lust, and more about showing that I adhere to a certain standard of conduct and place myself apart from those who do not.

Also agreed.


quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
The problem is the idiotic notion that it's wrong to have sexual thoughts. None of us would be alive today if our parents and every generation before them didn't have overwhelming sexual desires.

It's simply a means of controlling people by convincing them that they and their thoughts are inherently bad, and that the most natural things are unnatural.

It is SIMPLY a means of controlling people?! Not at all...not at all. While there are certainly groups who do foster such thoughts, I think that the correct line that was taken at least in the case of my parents and church is that these things ARE natural but just have an appropriate time and place. In fact, they are completely natural and God-given according to our beliefs. I'd be tempted to argue that sex is given a place of higher value than in 'secular' circles because of where and when it is deemed appropriate. Not going to necessarily take that line, though, for it might be putting words and ideas in others' mouths/minds where I have no room to talk.


quote:
Originally posted by AvidReader:
quote:
Comments about how you bend over are ridiculous.
I disagree. If I stick my hind end up in the air, that's an eye catcher I don't want you staring at....

Since I'm the one who's uncomfortable with you looking at my bits, I'm ok with taking responsibility for how I bend over....

I'm going to take a middle path with this one. It's more polite to not put everything on display and to wear what's generally considered appropriate for the occasion. I'm still a big fan of individual expression, just within some boundaries.

However, these guys seem to have forgotten their Paul. It's bad to cause others to sin if you do it knowingly. Therefore, if my friend confides in me that he thinks lustful thoughts about a particular body part or outfit of mine and I flaunt it in front of him, then I'm sinning.

We seem to be of similar mind, AvidReader. [Smile]


quote:
Originally posted by Tinros:
My dad once told me that the way I dressed would influence who was attracted to me. I've found this to be mostly true- the way you dress DOES say something about you- your values, your commitments, even. For example, if I show up to a job interview wearing torn, muddy jeans and a ripped t-shirt, that's going to tell that employer that I care nothing about my appearance and probably won't care much about the job. Same as showing up with my uniform wrinkled and dirty- it's a reflection on you to the customers or the people you're working with.

I don't want the first thing someone thinks about me to be "Wow, she's hot, I'd totally hit that." There's a difference, to me, in the above statement, and "hey, she's really pretty." And the way I dress can influence that, in my experience.

The way I dress is primarily based on what I'M comfortable exposing....

Personally, I've never attended a church where they told us exactly what to wear, down to the details. They asked for certain things in certain situations- one piece bathing suits for girls, and t-shirts and swim trunks for guys at church camp, for example- but as long as we weren't dressing in order to deliberately provoke sexual stimulation in those around us, we could wear what we wanted.

Granted, this is just my limited experience. But I thought I'd share.

My experience has been very near to yours, it seems. Continuing on, clothing choice, 'modest' or not, is a lot about image. What kind of image are you trying to project? Do you want to come off as a Jessica Rabbit? Or do you want to appear professional or artsy or edgy or [fill in the blank]?

And besides, you can be wearing an overly large potato sack yet your body cues will give off certain vibes anyway. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, to give off vibes with body language. It could be very good...under the right circumstances.


quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
Talk of modesty and immodesty runs 99% to what women do and wear. That says to me that it's really about gender bias more than modesty. You never hear about women being unable to control their urges when a man walks down the beach with his shirt off and his rippling muscles exposed for all to see.

Personally, that more often causes me to roll my eyes than anything else.


quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
[QUOTE]I had a somewhat similar experience as Rabbit at a scientific convention, though I am a grad student. One of the other grad students was very attractive and gave a talk in an outfit that would have fit in nicely at a dance club. The men around me spent her entire talk leering. One was using his camera's zoom function to get a better view. The men's actions were very inappropriate and they should not have responded that way. However, the woman should also know that if you want to be taken seriously as a scientist, you give your presentation dressed as a scientist. Though that really was not about modesty, but professionalism.

Amen to that. It doesn't do well for a woman in a professional setting like that to call attention away from what SHOULD be drawing her and her colleagues notice by distracting everyone, men and women alike, with her physical assets.


quote:
Originally posted by Wendybird:
I don't have time to read everything but I have to say I spent several years working with the young women ages 12-17 in my congregation. Our church teaches a standard of modesty that is often viewed as more strict than other standards in the world. We had a big problem with girls dressing in tight fashions letting far more of their beautiful developing bodies to be visible. Many of them did this purposely to make themselves attractive to the young men. Some did it because it was "in style". We had a frank discussion with them. Of course we want to look beautiful. God created us as beautiful women, he doesn't want us to deny that. But (in our church) he also expects us to behave and dress modestly. Not only to make it easier on the young men who struggle with indecent thoughts but to show respect for themselves. When we pointed out that there are "old" men who struggle with impure thoughts who look at them in these clothes it opened their eyes a bit. We did not want them to feel like they had to hide everything but girls, and women, do need to realize that how they dress DOES send a message about who they are and it most certainly does stimulate sexual thoughts in men. Men are visual creatures. And while we can't control what a man thinks we can influence them to think better. Wearing tight clothing that shows off the girls doesn't influence them to think better thoughts.

Likewise there are boys and men who need to be more modest. One of the current trends for boys to wear their pants below their behinds showing off their undies is not modest either. And its not modest for guys to wear super tight skinny jeans showing off their jewels either.

Modesty is more than just clothing. It is an attitude of respect for one's self in action and thought as well.

Jumping back to the original post from dean for a second, this survey has been brought to my attention in the past, and the girl who brought it up didn't get overly paranoid as a result of reading the results; instead, she took it to heart properly to my view. The bottom line is mutual respect as well as respect for your own person, as you've mentioned.
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kmbboots
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Again, being comfortable in clothing that someone else does not consider modest does not necessarily mean a lack of respect for oneself. People do sometimes share that which they value.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Wearing tight clothing that shows off the girls doesn't influence them to think better thoughts.
I'm always offended by the assertion that someone can make me think something.
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Corwin
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Apple.
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Traceria
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Wearing tight clothing that shows off the girls doesn't influence them to think better thoughts.
I'm always offended by the assertion that someone can make me think something.
Going to pick on the use of the word make here. It's not so much about conceitedly thinking you can make people think anything. It's more about potentially causing them to; it's about being considerate.

To give a kind of silly example, I've got a tennis match tonight and plan to wear a skirt with white shorts attached underneath as well as two white shirts. I could go out there thinking, "Hey, if I wear a dark colored sports bra and only one white shirt, maybe that will distract the guy from the other mixed doubles team so that he messes up some shots. Or maybe if I wear underwear that obviously show through the white shorts, he'll catch a glimpse when I hit some shot and his eye will be drawn, thus causing him to make a mistake." Did I do that? Nope. Instead, I'll be dressed in an appropriate matter for the tennis club where the match is taking place and in a way that will avoid any potential distractions. At least as much as I can control such thoughts on their part. [Wink]

[ January 09, 2009, 12:16 PM: Message edited by: Traceria ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Apple.
*laugh* The amusing thing is that my immediate thought was "what about her?" [Smile]
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Corwin
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I thought it might have that effect a couple of moments after I had posted it. [Big Grin]
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Apple.
*laugh* The amusing thing is that my immediate thought was "what about her?" [Smile]
When somebody says "apple" your immediate response is to think about Gweneth Paltrow and Chris Martins' baby?

I like any other normal person think about The Beatles. [Wink]

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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Apple.
*laugh* The amusing thing is that my immediate thought was "what about her?" [Smile]
[Big Grin] Me too.
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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Apple.
*laugh* The amusing thing is that my immediate thought was "what about her?" [Smile]
When somebody says "apple" your immediate response is to think about Gweneth Paltrow and Chris Martins' baby?
Apple's a longtime member of sakeriver.
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rivka
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Who used to post here under another name, but I believe has not done so in years.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Apple.
*laugh* The amusing thing is that my immediate thought was "what about her?" [Smile]
When somebody says "apple" your immediate response is to think about Gweneth Paltrow and Chris Martins' baby?
Apple's a longtime member of sakeriver.
Ah! I don't know how you folks have time for multiple forums. I suppose if they let me use the internet at my job then I would.
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Traceria
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
I like any other normal person think about The Beatles. [Wink]

Amen to that.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
I don't know how you folks have time for multiple forums.

Priorities. [Wink]
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Wendybird
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While I can't make you think something I can certainly influence you to think something. Isn't that what attraction between men and women is all about? I do or say or wear things to make me attractive to my spouse. When we were dating I knew full well if I walked a certain way I'd catch his eye and his attention.
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SenojRetep
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I think the idea that you can't make someone else think something is inherently flawed. It's like (albeit to a greatly diminished degree) saying, "just because I hit you, I'm not responsible for your response." You provide a physical stimulus that's processed by my wetware into some action. To say that the generator of the stimulus is zero percent culpable seems wrong to me.

To use a different hypothetical, if I hand an alcoholic a drink, particularly if I'm aware she's an alcoholic, I am not blameless if she starts drinking. If she's stated that she's trying to quit, I would say my blame is even greater. Even if she just sees me enjoying my own drink (a much decreased stimulus, but still a stimulus), I don't think I'm blameless.

It seems to me there's a reason our society has created the concept of addiction. Human behavior walks a tricky balance between automatic response to stimuli and more deductive decision making, and pretending like rationality insulates one from responsibility for your effect on others denies a fundamental part of human nature.

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Mike
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Indeed. If you read Pinker on why people swear and use taboo language, one of the main reasons is that it is a way of forcing other people to think unpleasant thoughts. Which is not to say that it's impossible to resist being mentally pushed around in this way.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Wendybird:
While I can't make you think something I can certainly influence you to think something. Isn't that what attraction between men and women is all about? I do or say or wear things to make me attractive to my spouse. When we were dating I knew full well if I walked a certain way I'd catch his eye and his attention.

That doesn't make someone else responsible for your actions, though.

Also what you think immodest dress says about a person might not be true.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Mike:
Indeed. If you read Pinker on why people swear and use taboo language, one of the main reasons is that it is a way of forcing other people to think unpleasant thoughts. Which is not to say that it's impossible to resist being mentally pushed around in this way.

Interestingly, I came across an article on this a while back.

Its partially true, but some people swear and use taboo language not necessarily to make people think unpleasant thoughts but because at one time in the past it was a way to make people think unpleasant thoughts.

The swear remains, but the thoughts can be long gone.

quote:
"When you get mad, you look for words that attack what represses you," said Louise Lamarre, a Montreal cinematographer who must tread lightly around the language, depending on whether her films are in French or English. "In America, you are so Puritan that the swearing is mostly about sex. Here, since we were repressed so long by the church, people use religious terms."

And the words that are shocking in English -- including the slang for intercourse -- are so mild in Quebecois French they appear routinely in the media. But not church terms.

"You swear about things that are taboo," said Andr? Lapierre, a professor of linguistics at the University of Ottawa. In the United States, "it is not appropriate to talk about sex or scatological subjects, so that is what you use in your curse words. The f-word is a perfect example.

"In Canadian French, you have none of the sexual aspects. So what do you replace it with? You replace it with religion. If you are going to use a taboo word, it would be anything related to the cult, to Christ, the Communion wafer, Jesus Christ, vestments, and elements of the altar like tabernacle. There's quite a few of them."

...

The swearwords have persisted even though church attendance has plummeted in the past 40 years. Because of that drop, "when the young kids on the street are swearing, they don't even know what they are swearing about," mused Monsignor Francis Coyle, pastor of St. Patrick's Basilica in Montreal. "They're baptized in church, and that's about it."

Last spring, the Montreal Archdiocese commissioned an advertising campaign that erected large billboards in the city intended to shock and educate. Each billboard featured a word like "tabernacle" or "chalice" -- startling swearwords on the street -- and offered the correct dictionary definition for the religious term. Such as: "Tabernacle -- small cupboard locked by key in the middle of the altar" containing the sacred goblet.

"The point was to try to get people not to use the terms too glibly," Coyle said.

The campaign ended, but Lapierre said Quebecers continue to use the words in highly inventive ways -- as expletives, interjections, verbs, adverbs and nouns. One could say, for example, "You Christ that guy," to mean throwing a person violently. "I don't know any other language that does that so well," he said.

The French here also modify the oaths into non-words, depending on the level of politeness desired. The word "bapteme" -- baptism -- is used as a strong oath, but a modification, "bateche," is milder. The sacramental wafer, a "host" in English and "hostie" in French, can be watered down to just the sound "sst" in polite company. "Tabernacle" can become just "tabar" to avoid too much offense.

The oaths are so ingrained that one cannot converse fluently without them, said Lapierre. "I teach them in my class."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/04/AR2006120401286.html
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Mike
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I've long been interested in that kind of change in language. For more delicious linguistic contortions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphemism#The_.22euphemism_treadmill.22 .
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imogen
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That's fascinating. mucus.

I find the idea of someone swearing 'oh, tabernacle' really funny. [Smile]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
The campaign ended, but Lapierre said Quebecers continue to use the words in highly inventive ways -- as expletives, interjections, verbs, adverbs and nouns. One could say, for example, "You Christ that guy," to mean throwing a person violently. "I don't know any other language that does that so well," he said.

The French here also modify the oaths into non-words, depending on the level of politeness desired. The word "bapteme" -- baptism -- is used as a strong oath, but a modification, "bateche," is milder. The sacramental wafer, a "host" in English and "hostie" in French, can be watered down to just the sound "sst" in polite company. "Tabernacle" can become just "tabar" to avoid too much offense.

I'm not fluent in french, but we do any of the same things in English. The F word gets used as all parts of speech and in many utterly non-sensical phrases. People modify to "flip, fudge, suck, screwed, and any number of other less offensive oaths. People will say shoot, darn, POd, Jeez, Gosh.

American English has few religious oaths than British English but I'm not familiar enough with them to know how or whether they get toned down for polite company.

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Wendybird
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You are absolutely right - there is still personal responsibility. So do we have any responsibility at all for other people? Do we try to help others in quiet, subtle, not obvious ways or do we not care and do whatever we want to do no matter its effect on those around us?
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Tatiana
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"I saw you take his kiss."
"'Tis true."
"Oh, modesty!"
"'Twas strictly kept.
He thought me asleep,
At least, I knew
He thought I thought he thought I slept."

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