Not for sale, then take down the sign

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 11, 2004

Everyone’s heard of the shady practices of black marketing body parts to cut back on the high cost of medical practices, but lately there seems to be a different trend growing among society’s next generation, one perhaps more subtle, more threatening than we may want to admit.

When North Carolina began experiencing a downsizing in the textile industry, I had no idea the cutbacks would result in a shortage of material! No matter where you turn today, whether walking on a college campus or taking a trip to the mall, it seems that young women have become the willing victims of advertisers and clothing designers who make a living out of marketing an image that exudes sex, selling themselves short of the respect they ought to command.

Now, I’m not saying girls should run out and start sewing bed sheets together with openings big enough for arms legs and head by any means, but I do believe the value of a woman is more clearly visible when it is not mistakenly presented.

In a televised conference, representing the voice of college students with conservative values, which aired on C-Span several weeks ago, keynote speaker and author, Christina Hoff spoke of the degradation of women in the eyes of society as a result of the radical feminist movement to attain &uot;liberation&uot; by adopting the philosophy that by defining who they are through identifying themselves exclusively with their sexual organs they somehow became empowered.

When a woman dresses in risqu\u00E9 clothing that reveals too much skin (aka. shirts with necklines that plunge into visible cleavage, pants whose waistlines border the pubic bone, low rise pants coupled with midriff or &uot;materially challenged&uot; shirts that conveniently reveal belly piercings or any other item of clothing that draws one’s eyes to areas inappropriate for display in a corporate or church environment), she is detracting from the awesome value that lies within and robbing herself of the true fulfillment of acceptance based on character rather than appearance.

In an article of the American Family Journal, entitled, &uot;Finding Miss Modesty,&uot; author, Rebecca Grace quotes a 25-year old graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in business administration.

&uot;First of all, I think modesty isn’t shown on the outside, but it starts on the inside,&uot; said Michael Pritchard. &uot;It’s someone who has enough respect for themselves that they’re not cognizant of how they dress because they are confident in themselves, period. So, if a girl is dressing immodestly [and] showing a lot of skin, to me I think it shows that she is not confident in herself.&uot;

Pritchard explained that men, by design, are wired to look at a woman’s appearance, but expressed distain at the struggle imposed on him and men in general when a woman dresses compromisingly.

&uot;Since a man’s eyes are a potent source of his thoughts, this does not give women permission to disregard the way they dress by blaming it on their (a man’s) inability to look the other way.&uot;

Personally, I think he makes a wonderful point. It does seem rather unfair, even audacious for a woman to intentionally seduce a man visually unto an inevitable temptation as if dangling a carrot before the nose of an eager rabbit.

As one pastor in Florida was quoted in an article on modesty, printed in Charisma magazine, &uot;When you wear your clothes too tight and too short, you’re making a statement about yourself. My advice to you is, ‘If you’re not for sale, please take the sign down!’&uot;

Touch\u00E9. The sad part about it is, many young women don’t care. They are just hungry for attention and love and this is the most attainable means of gaining the acceptance and approval they need to feel good about themselves.

Women have an intense desire to be wanted and are designed with a special capacity to nurture others; so when there is an emotional deficiency in some area of their lives it is easy to try and fill that void with attention solicited from looking &uot;sexy.&uot;

Understandably so, but don’t they think they’re worth more than what they’re making themselves out to be? If more women would dress respectfully of themselves and with respect to others, and invest more in developing a virtuous character as opposed to investing in a wardrobe that denigrates them to purely physical and sensual attributes, I believe we would see a generation of truly empowered women who have bridled the beauty of mystery, romance and real love that regards others as greater than themselves.

Accomplished author and executive pastor of Covenant Life Church near Washington, D.C. Joshua Harris was quoted in Grace’s article stating, &uot;Lust is craving sexually what God has forbidden. One of the motives behind modesty is to cover your body in such a way so that others are not tempted to want what isn’t theirs. So, immodesty is basically using lust to market yourself, in a sense. The enemy is not our sexuality. It’s lust,&uot; he said.

He’s right. I’d be willing to bet that every affair ever initiated or anyone who has engaged in pre-marital sex has nursed the seed of lust at some point before crossing that line.

&uot;[Sexuality] is the precious gift God has given to women to woo their husbands and create romance. Men in the Victorian era didn’t write love notes, sing serenades and court young women because it was more fun than the casual sex movement of today,&uot; explained Harris. &uot;They did it because the virtue and modesty of the women required the men to earn their hearts.&uot;

Maybe, if women could see past society’s spellbinding fascination with sex and dress (or lack thereof), they would experience the joy of true love, peace and acceptance and the results that come from making a man work for it!