Monday, April 28, 2014

Women as Sex Objects

All-woman scantily clad dancing teams entertain the spectators during NBA (National Basketball Association) basketball games. Beautiful women entertain the spectators with their dance moves during IPL (Indian Premier League) cricket matches. East is no different from the West.

Indian movies provide voluptuous women in their half naked glory to stimulate the carnal senses of their audience. The video clip in the endnotes will endorse this thought.1

Then there are Miss City, Miss Country, Miss World and Miss Universe pageants. The Miss Universe pageant apparently attracts 1 billion television viewers – very successful indeed.2 The competition format includes a swimsuit round, although one wonders the wisdom behind this.

Women voluntarily and sensuously dance provocatively in movies and sports events, and willingly participate in beauty pageants. They are not forced into it. It is their free choice. It seems that women desire being sex objects.

It doesn’t end there. Some parents are exceedingly obsessive of their minor children’s participation in child beauty pageants. This is an unethical practice. Because it unethically hyper-sexualizes minors, France decided to ban child beauty pageants.3

But it’s not just the pageant that’s the culprit; the parents who force their minor children into child beauty pageants are the greater culprits. It seems that parents want their children to be sex objects.

With celebrities paving the way, our women - young and old alike, in their daily walk of life, dress up or dress down, depending on their mood and the occasion. A walk into the public square provides a visual of various women in their glamorous attire revealing skin in proportion to their moral conviction.

Women voluntarily dress up or dress down. They are not forced into it. It is their free choice. It seems that women like the idea of being sex objects.

However, some women may not consider sensuous dances or wearing revealing attire as having sexual connotations. They simply dress as a matter of fact, albeit sensuously.

Science reveals that [heterosexual] men are sexually aroused by attractive women, “three decades of research on men's sexual arousal show patterns that clearly track sexual orientation -- gay men overwhelmingly become sexually aroused by images of men and heterosexual men by images of women.” 4 When women provide men with visual treats of their body, either in person or through the media, the sexual arousal of a man is simply swift. This is a fact.

Is it wrong of women to be sexually provocative in their attire and attitude? The answer is in the woman’s religious and moral conviction.

However, provocative dressing and sensuous dancing exhibits the woman as a sex object, for they are sexually portrayed and thus attract people. But the woman decides whether to dress provocatively or not.

1 Timothy 2: 9-10 stresses the notion of modest dressing in a Christian girl / woman. Provocative attire is opposed by the Bible. Therefore, a Christian woman should decide what is modest and what is not. This decision should preferably involve her family and their collective understanding of the Bible.

Whatever the case may be, common sense suggests that the woman ought to err on the side of safety than on the side of danger. 

But some men think it is appropriate to insult (eve tease) and even rape a woman because she has provoked them into a mood of insult and/or rape. Is it appropriate for a man to eve tease, insult, or rape a woman because of her provocative dressing? No. Why?

Life is sacred. Life is sacred because God is the author of life. Life is sacred because man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1: 27).

Furthermore, God has mandated that life not be damaged explicitly or implicitly (cf. Exodus 20: 13-17; Mark 12: 31). It is the sacred responsibility of a man to uphold the dignity of his neighbor. Therefore, man cannot and should not insult, eve tease, or rape a woman at any cost.

Even if the woman dresses inappropriately or provocatively, man does not have any rhyme or reason to violate the sanctity of a woman.

For instance, a motorist cannot run over a pedestrian crossing the street even if the pedestrian was unaware of the oncoming vehicle. The driver of the vehicle is expected to do all that he can to prevent any sort of injury upon the blundering pedestrian.

Therefore, man displays his hypocrisy, depravity and moral bankruptcy when he rapes a woman and subsequently blames her for the rape. Man’s role in the society is not to inflict harm upon his neighbor, but to care and to protect his neighbor – in this case, a woman – even if she is provocatively dressed.

Should women be compelled to dress modestly so to save themselves from having crimes committed against them? No. Freedom is essential to every human being, for God created mankind with freewill. So women ought to have freedom to choose their attire.

In some cases, the society imposes restrictions upon our attire. Some Islamic societies impose strict to moderate regulations on women’s dress code. They prohibit exposure to a great extent.

Is freedom unlimited? Can the woman do whatever she wants? No. The woman is always subordinate to and dependent on God. Hence, she should abide by the teachings of the all-knowing God. If God requires the woman to be dressed modestly, then modest attire it is.  

But how is ‘modest attire’ defined? The Bible defines modest attire through these words, “The women should be dressed quietly, and their demeanour should be modest and serious. The adornment of a Christian woman is not a matter of an elaborate coiffure, expensive clothes or valuable jewellery, but the living of a good life” (1 Timothy 2: 9-10, PHILLIPS).

The overriding principle is that the incessant pursuit of a woman is not in garments or its accessories, but in godliness. This principle ought to govern her choice of attire.

Woman primarily makes herself attractive in God’s eyes. God, whether we like it or not, does not judge based on external appearances, but HE judges the disposition of the heart. While mild accentuation of the physical appearance is acceptable, the woman cannot and should not be consumed with self-glorification. Instead God should be glorified in and through her physical appearance.

Should women dance provocatively? No. Provocative dancing immersed in sexual innuendoes, and portraying woman as sex objects, is inappropriate, and hence unacceptable.

Should women participate in beauty pageants? Events that personify women as sex-objects ought not to be pursued. Importantly parents should not push their children, especially the minors, into beauty pageants. I wish all countries follow France’s example and restrict child beauty pageants.

May godly wisdom govern us as we lead our lives to glorify God.






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