Saturday, November 15, 2014

Men = lust, women = emotion

When I was younger I went to this camp. It was a Christian camp, but that's not the reason my family sent me there. My family isn't religious. They sent me there because it was SO FUN. However, I learned a lot about Christianity there. I was young and I basically accepted everything they told me at face value because I didn't know any better. (Just to clarify: I'm not saying that Christianity is stupid and I shouldn't have listened to them, just that some of the things they taught me go firmly against beliefs that I have developed as I have grown and began to develop my own ideas.) One of these ideas they taught me was that a woman should dress modestly so as not to tempt her Christian brothers into impure thoughts or actions. They told us that men were created as lustful creatures and that women were created as emotional creatures. Therefore, they said, men can't control themselves. If they see a bra strap, their thoughts immediately go "BRA STRAP, BRA, BOOB". (That is a direct quote from my camp counselor.) Therefore we should avoid showing our bra straps so that men don't think impure thoughts or get tempted into impure actions.

I see a few problems with this point of view. First, it assumes that all men are slaves to their lust and can't control themselves. Second, it assumes that women are not lustful in any way and are responsible for stopping the advances of men because "men can't help it". Does this sound like rape culture to anyone else?

I think the fact that women are expected to stop men's advances on them goes straight back to the idea that men have no consequences for their sexual actions and women should therefore cater to the men and "defend their virginity". For men, being sexually active is a sign of pride and manliness, whereas for women, being a chaste and virginal is a sign of honor.

This same idea of women having to stop a man's advances is shown in Hamlet when Pelonius is talking to Ophelia. Pelonius tells Ophelia that she should resist Hamlet's advances because he only wants sex. Pelonius says that Ophelia must defend her honor (aka: not loose her virginity) because if she does loose it, no one will ever want her. She'll be spoiled for all men forever.

I think that the whole concept of men's virginity = shame and women's virginity = honor is stupid. It's stupid because women get tricked into thinking that they cannot be sexual creatures, and it's stupid because it tricks men into thinking they have to be sexual creatures. Everyone would be much happier if society didn't put such an emphasis on virginity. I don't get what the whole deal is. You loose it when you loose it, and that's no one's business but your own.

3 comments:

Joe D said...

Isabel, I agree about your point that the status of your virginity is your business alone; however, I do disagree with the information you gleaned from Camp Ozark:
If a person purposefully shows his/her undergarments, it indicates a desire for them to be seen, which displays an act of lust on that person's part.
Obviously, men and women are mixtures of lust and emotion, and we fluctuate in our "concentrations" of each (think of Halloween, when "sexy" has to be attached to most women's costumes; or "Disgrace" by J.M. Coetzee).
So, I think the people at Ozark were promoting modesty in dress to prevent not only lustful thoughts in onlookers (which can occur subconsciously according to some psychologists, but I'm not implying that all people are affected in the same way) but also prevents lustful actions on the part of the dresser. Modesty is simply a good policy: it's why we have a dress code at StM. Dressing immodestly/trashily is simply that: trashy. People who are dressed professionally get treated like professionals.
Obviously, anybody can dress however they please. I think that Ozark was just teaching you how to be a professional.

Isabel Celata said...

I don't disagree that dressing modestly can be professional, I'm simply saying that the message that this counselor communicated to me was that I should dress modestly so that I didn't tempt boys. They specifically said that. They never mentioned dressing to be professional or anything like that.

Sri Korrapati said...

I think it's stupid whenever you say men are something or women are something in general. Like, saying men are stupid or women are smart is very inaccurate. Some women are smart, but some are stupid (such as Ophelia :/). Some men (Hamlet) are smart as well, but some men are stupid (Polonius). I think it's better to just say people are stupid or people are smart. There is a lot of sexism going around unnecessarily. "Girls are more catty" is not true. Men can be catty as well, and some girls are not catty. People can be catty. "Guys have it easier than girls" is not true. Some guys are put into more difficult situations than girls. Some people have it easier than others. And you can make general statements like "most guys like video games and sports" or "most girls like fashion and gossip" but even saying the word most is wrong. You should never assume most guys like video games. A lot of girls play video games and a lot of guys don't like video games, you don't know the exact numbers. (You can guesstimate, but that doesn't make a statement a fact)
Anyways, yeah I think Camp Ozark would be fine if they has said: People shouldn't show off undergarments because other people might have dirty thoughts.
Let's just get rid of all generalizations completely. I mean, it's bad enough that people are separated by race, should they really be separated by gender at all?
**Gender Inclusion FTW**