Modesty – is it just for girls?

Why do we teach girls and young women modesty? Huge amounts of resources are put into educating (mostly young) women to dress modestly, to be polite and to attract boys with their personality rather than their body. Books, music, social media posts, entire Facebook and Instagram pages and a bunch of other stuff is dedicated to this topic. Why? Y’all are teaching the wrong people!

I hate that young girls are taught that they have to careful on how they attract boys or what boys notice about them. It’s wrong. Though I’m sure it’s out there, and it definitely should be, I’ve never encountered this same level of educational resources and encouraging media educating boys and young men to respect women for their brain, not their body.

Even within Christian circles, I don’t see this. There isn’t a whole section at Koorong for boys called, How to Look at Her Eyes, Not Her Chest. Why aren’t there books, music, social media posts, and entire Facebook and Instagram pages dedicated to educating young men to notice her personality and not her tight jeans?

Young women shouldn’t have to worry about where guys are looking and what is noticed about their physical appearance. We should be teaching our boys to have self-control, not to exploit insecurities and to put respect first.

I know there is a very small amount of this sort of thing being taught, but I don’t believe it is done well enough or to the extent that it needs to be. This idea of respect is only shown very subtly to boys and it’s done in a very summed up and harsh way:

“Sex is for marriage and if you even notice that she has boobs you’re going to hell.”

I know that many young men, including myself, experience the guilt of noticing a low cut top. We’re taught that physical attraction is evil and wrong. It’s not. It’s human. And it’s okay. There is a difference between lust and noticing and we need to make sure that men, young and old, are taught to know and value the difference between them. Boys and young men also need to be taught how to show affection that isn’t always physical, but that you don’t have to feel guilty for finding her physically attractive.

#ThatChristianVlogger suggests that noticing that a woman is attractive is not a sin, but lusting after her is. He outlines his reasons, quite soundly, in this video.

So, what are your thoughts? Who needs to do what?

Much of this post was originally posted to Facebook by Harrison Seydler.

Not my story, obviously.

I can see why some people aren’t sure if Sam’s story is real or not. I mean, I’m a 41 year old woman, not a 16 year old boy. I don’t have the requisite parts to have testicular cancer. This is true. And so is Sam’s story.

“Nuts, A Ball and other 4-letter Words.”

He’s a real person. Not his real name for the sake of privacy. This is his journey for a short/horrifically long period of his life so far. This is the story, too, of anyone who has been dealt the punch to the face (knee to the groin?) that cancer is. It’s also the story of winning. Of not spelling cancer with a capital C. Of making it. Of living life anyway, of growth and regrowth. Of sharing instead of hiding. Of kissing and sex. Of separation and belonging. Just Life. It’s the story of family and yet it isn’t.

I spoke to most of Sam’s family while his personal story bubbled in my head and came flowing out in words both his and mine.

I spoke to his big brother who, although uncomfortable in some ways talking to a relative stranger, made his love love for his family, even an annoying younger brother, very clear.

I spoke with his little sister, who thought I was a little crazy and made a rude comment about my shoe choices….fair call, though. The two of us forged a friendship that was close, for a while, and sang the real lyrics to Mumford and Sons’ ‘Little Lion Man’ really, really loudly, just because we could. Now she’s not a ‘little’ sister any more, but a beautiful, engaged young woman with whom a coffee date seems elusive. And I spoke with Mum.

I wondered if she thought I was odd, a teacher and mother of children of my own, befriending her kids. Apparently not, thankfully. And I loved them. Hearing their stories; getting a little into their lives.

Weird, isn’t it, how quickly that depth of feeling can come? And go. Not the feeling, just the actual spending time. It just drifts off sometimes. I don’t really know why. Happens far more often than I’d like, that sort of fading. Anyway, I’m getting morose.

So Mum let me hang out. And talk to her kids. And to her. She told me all of her experiences of Sam’s diagnosis, treatment, surgery and eventual recovery. I think I expected more tears, more drama. But you’ve already read that’s not her style. So it was fact and explanation of both circumstances and emotions.

I always meant to write the whole story. The whole truth for the whole family, but I couldn’t write Mum’s perspective. When I voiced her, my pen stopped. I, who had children of my own and knew how mums felt when their children hurt. I, who could scrawl out the story of a teenager’s masturbation and fantasy, couldn’t find the words to share this mother’s battle for her boy.

Why?

I’m sorry that I couldn’t find your voice with my pen. I’m sorry that I couldn’t express your fear, or the knowledge that you just had to do what you had to do. I’m sorry ’cause I wanted to tell of your courage, your love. I wanted to write more. I don’t think I could go there, you know, because it would have been bloody hard. I haven’t looked at my notes in years, but I have one thing that I’ve always remembered.

When mums hug their children, we often put our hands on their heads, ruffle their hair up a bit. And it’s a sign of affection, of casual ‘love ya, mate’ warmth. But for you it became more. Discreetly, under the guise of casual, you’d check your not-so-little boy’s scalp and neck for the telltale heat of fever and bumps of possible infection. I already knew how I felt when I held my ‘babies’ and I think I couldn’t find your voice cause I didn’t want to even imagine having to watch them so closely, so scared. I knew I didn’t know, couldn’t even guess and I didn’t want to do you or your feelings injustice.

So there it is. Honesty. I’ve finally made myself look at it as more than just writer’s block.

If you haven’t read Sam’s story yet, you could start here.

Love,

Mandy. 🐛<<
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Random Acts of Kindness

I love RAKs and hearing about them. I’m often inspired by Jeremy, of Long Distance Love Bombs, and Dee, of Striving to Be Kind.

  

However, sometimes it backfires!

One of my daughter’s friends has a penchant for French themed decorating and has recently made over her bedroom in that style. Because I often trawl eBay for little random things, I happened to see a little wooden pencil case with a print of the Eiffel Tower on it. At about $2 including shipping, I thought it was a nice little RAK that I could afford.

So, purchase said item and input the friend’s name and address for delivery. Sorted.

Now, do I tell her, or avoid the feeling of obligation and leave it anonymous? I thought anonymous. Also, it’s likely to take 3-6 weeks coming by sea cucumber from China and I don’t want her to have to wait.

I’d forgotten all about it until I saw a few of her family’s Facebook posts over the recent holidays showing that they were away. I sent a brief message to her mum via a comment on one of her pictures that they should look out for a little parcel when they arrived home. Too easy.

It is now a new term and I have seen the young lady at school. She’s in my classes and kindly brought me a very sweet gift back from their travels. I was really grateful, but felt a tiny bit disappointed that the obligatory payback of gifts that I had been concerned about, had occurred. Nevertheless, I thanked her and enjoyed my tasty treat. 

Today it struck me as odd that she had not mentioned the little pencil box, so I asked her about it in class today, 

“G–, did you have to go to the Post Office to get that little parcel?”

“What parcel?”

I made a motion with my hands (as she was across the classroom) to indicate the general size and shape of the box and she looked at me in surprise.

“Was that from you? That little Eiffel Tower box?”

“Yes, I thought you knew that. I sent Mum a message when you were on holidays.”

“No, that came ages ago. Before we went away. I had no idea what it was or who it was from. Mum didn’t want me to open it in case it was like a bomb or something!”

At this point, I looked similar to a gaping goldfish, laughing and stunned at the same time.

“Really?! What happened?”

“Well, we didn’t recognise the address, but thought it might be from the exchange student we’d had here earlier. Then I googled the address and it was a pretty weird place we couldn’t connect to anything. Eventually, Mum let me open it and we bothe sniffed and shook it to see if it was ok. It’s sitting on my desk at home, unused, because we still didn’t know if it was ok.”

“I’m so sorry!” I gasped between laughing breaths, “It was meant to be a little treat and then I’d told Mum on one of her comments. I thought you knew. I certainly didn’t mean to cause you fear or stress about it! That’s actually hilarious!”

So, sometimes kindness (especially the unplanned, random kind) can backfire! 😕

She’s going to go home and relieve Mum of her stress…and use the box.

  
Why not plan a Random Act of Kindness for someone today? If you do, I’d love to hear about it!

Veritas,

Eski 🐛