Nevertheless, even revealing clothes are not necessarily donned for the purpose of attracting men. A low-necked top might be cooler than a high-necked one (given that women don't tend to have the option of removing our shirts entirely!), worn because it's breastfeeding-friendly, or simply because the woman likes the look of it.
But my basic problem with Steve's diatribe is that it assumes he has the right to comment on what women who are not his wife are wearing, as if he knows their reason for dressing…
I do not dress to attract men. I dress in clothes I think look nice; occasionally clothes my husband finds attractive; frequently clothes I find cool and comfy; always clothes which are in my budget and available in my city; and quite often, clothes chosen for a reason no more man-snaring than "this is the one top my baby hasn't thrown up on today". Therefore, if a man like Steve uses the 'women dress to attract men' theory to provide an excuse to criticise my clothing and the success or failure of the sexual allure thereof, he is being sexist--in other words, he is using a sex-based stereotype to treat me disrespectfully.
No, I don't imagine that women wear stilettos for comfort; why does it then follow that the only possible reason they could wear them is to attract men? Maybe the misguided pant suit woman wore stilettos because they were the only shoes she owned which matched the pant suit colour-wise.
So the question is, how can you tell when a woman is 'displaying' herself for your benefit (and is therefore, in your view, fair game for criticism) and when she is just dressing in a way she likes, and therefore should be left alone? You can't. Some outfits certainly seem sexier or more sensational than others; but as I said in my last post, you can't necessarily judge motive from that…
1. Assumption that Britney Spears has dressed to please him
2. Assumption that he therefore has the right to grade her sexually.
From Steve's other comments, it is clear Steve forms a snap judgment on more than a woman's appearance if she is dressed 'a certain way'--he also judges her motives for dressing (to attract men).
Peter, you are not understanding what I am saying. I have admitted that Steve is referring to a specific subset of women, but he himself has provided no criteria for determining who those women are. How does he know which women are dressing in order to attract men? He doesn't; he can't, save by getting inside their minds; but he assumes to know the motives of women who dress 'a certain way' and treats them accordingly.
Well, I have to admit that Sarah Tennant finally convinced me of the error of my ways. Let’s take the case of Britney Spears, whom she so ably defends. Take, for instance, this cover from Rolling Stone magazine.
Now then, in my inexcusably sexist way I always assumed that Britney posed for the cover to be snare male viewers. I also assumed the real motive of the editors in putting that shot of Britney on the cover was to lure more men buy the magazine.
But I now realize that these were grossly sexist assumptions on my part. Britney could have had all sorts of purely Platonic reasons for pulling her blouse back to reveal that push-up bra. After all, even revealing clothes are not necessarily donned for the purpose of attracting men. Maybe she wore that outfit cuz it’s so cool and comfy. Or maybe she wore that outfit cuz it's breastfeeding-friendly. Or maybe she wore that outfit cuz it’s the one and only bra the poor thing owed at the time.
Here I’ve been guilty of using the “Britney dressed to attract men" theory to provide an excuse to criticise her provocative clothing and the success or failure of the sexual allure thereof. I was being male chauvinist pig—in other words, I was using a sex-based stereotype to treat Britney disrespectfully.
Thankfully, we have Evangelical women like Sarah Tennant who are prepared to stick up for Britney and defend the crystalline purity of her motives.
And, unfortunately, she’s not the only woman I’ve wronged in that respect. Here I imagined that a Playmate like Anna Nicole Smith was posing nude to attract male viewers. How sexist could I be? The real reason she made a living by removing all her clothing in front of a cameraman may just as well have been because it was such a hot day outside and the air conditioner was broken.
As for the presence of the cameraman—that was sheer coincidence. He was really a passport photographer who took a wrong turn and accidentally wound up at the Playboy Mansion. Can happen to anyone.
Come to think of it, I’ve also wronged Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt, and Bob Guccioni over the years. Here I imputed a combination of prurient motives and crass financial intentions to their commercial labors. Until now, I was blind to the live possibility of their nobly humanitarian and socially redeeming intentions. After all, I can’t get inside their minds, now can I?
And I finally see that I’ve also been misjudging all the male consumers of soft porn and hard porn. Here I presumptuously inferred that the average man would buy that issue of Rolling Stone for salacious reasons. But Sarah Tennant has opened my eyes to the rich range of possibilities. A man might buy that issue because he found the color of the satin background simply irresistible. Or perhaps it was the cute teletubby in her arms. Or maybe he was curious about the make of telephone she was holding in her hands. Or perchance he was dying to read the wonderful articles inside.
After all, isn’t that the real reason that men used to read Playboy magazine? Not for the pictures. Not for the naked women. That was such a nuisance. No, they bought Playboy magazine for all those erudite, mind-expanding essays. The pictures were just a distraction.
So, now that I’ve had more time to think about it, I finally realize that there’s nothing wrong with pornography. There are so many perfectly innocent reasons why men might either make pornography or consume pornography. Who am I to judge? I don’t necessarily know their true motives. How could I? I don’t have access to what they’re thinking.
Same thing with pedophiles. For all these years I’ve been imputing the worse possible motives to child molesters. Shame on me! Time to bring in Sarah Tennant as counsel for the defense!
Thanks, Sarah, for bringing such moral clarity to the controversial issue of commercial erotica. Where would the church be without women of your moral discernment? Women like you and Misty Irons and Christie Hefner are truly making the world a better place.