Human beings are sexual beings. There can be no doubt about it. It is a fact of life. It is the way that God made us. Our inborn sexuality is an essential part of the perpetuation of the species. Without our sexual drives and desires Adam and Eve would have been the first and the Last humans on earth. Because of this biological reality sex has often been the focus of our pop culture, Fashions, Thought patterns and reality of everything we are surrounded by. We cannot escape it. It is a vital and instinctual part of what makes us human.
Throughout history culture and society in general has been patriarchal in nature. Our history of male dominated society has often meant that men have decided the rules for sex. Woman have often been treated as property and as nothing more than something to be used for the purpose of creating children. We as a species have evolved to dramatically surpass this status that woman throughout the ages have had to deal with. Woman for all intents and purposes throughout much of the world enjoy virtually equal status with men in virtually every aspect of their lives. Sadly however this has not extended to the reality of how we are portrayed when it comes to our natural sexuality.
How does this relate to the idea of men being sexually degraded? Perhaps a few stories that have been reported in the media can help us understand. To help illustrate this point here is this story about a Teen sent home over dress code violation. Sadly she had to miss her prom because her dress was not up to a certain standard. Here is another story about girls being sent home because the way the dressed was too distracting to the boys. In this recent story from CTV news another young girl is told she is too distracting to the boys.
These are just a few cases of girls being told that their chosen manner of dress is too distracting. The message being sent to boys and men with these situations is that girls are all about sex and their bodies are there for our pleasure. When you see even the slightest bit of skin it is all sexual and you cannot be blamed for responding by getting sexually aroused.
Girls are being told they are objects to be lusted after by boys and that they must cover up. If they don’t they will cause nothing but lust from boys and (according to some articles) men who are their teachers.
In what way does this serve any good? How does persistently re-affirming in boys minds that they have no control over their hormones and are sex driven animals good for them? How is persistently sending the message to our daughters that they are just bags of meat to be lusted after conducive to positive self esteem?
Much of this problem comes from the near constant onslaught of sexual imagery we see in out media, modern day popular music, and magazine racks at the local grocery store. Just look at your average cosmo magazine. Its all about great sex and perfect airbrushed models. Our daughters are constantly taught by pop culture to dress in sexually provocative ways. They are taught to dress as sex objects by virtually every form of media today. Boys are then shown these images as models of attractive woman. The kind you should only be lusting after. Woman are essentially portrayed as nothing more than sexual objects for the purpose of sexual gratification of men. Boys are taught that they have no control over their sexual urges and that woman are there to satisfy their urges. Then after they have been taught this, girls get sent home from school for perceived immodest dress because the boys simply wont be able to help themselves if they so much as see a bra strap. Girls get publicly shamed for wearing a shirt or dress and boys get told by this action that it is not their fault they are thinking sexual thoughts, the girls caused it by their manner of dress. Girls are told that they are being sexually provocative and treated accordingly.
This problem can be highlighted in the reality of the porn industry. This constant barrage of sexual imagery from the magazine racks, books, music, videos, movies, comic books, video games … has done a tremendous job of reinforcing this ideology that woman are nothing more than sex objects. When this onslaught of media messaging and imagery is not enough it can and has in so many cases lead to pornography consumption. This industry has become a 100 billion dollar industry globally.
We spend so much time trying to combat the symptom (which has nothing to do with how much or little clothing you are wearing) that we ignore the problem. This is not the way God would have it. God never intended men to be this way, nor did he ever intend for woman to be the sole objects of men’s urges. Sex is a beautiful expression of love between two people. Sex was always meant to compliment love not replace it. As long as we continue to preach these messages to our children, we are degrading them and not teaching them the true value of who they are, or the true purpose to sex. There is a much better way to approach these issues.
What if instead of telling girls to cover up because of how they choose to dress how about we start to teach them the value of who they are? Talk to them like real people and stop paying attention to what they are wearing. What if we did not focus on their sexuality but rather taught them the true value and nature of love and how sex compliments love rather than replaces love? What if we taught them to love and respect themselves and that their value is not in how they dress, or how many boys or men they can attract, but rather, in what type woman they are and are becoming and how to attract the right type of boys and men? What if we taught them that ultimately they will be the ones to determine the kind of boys they will spend time with and ultimately have that ultimate expression of love which we call sex? What if we stopped portraying women and girls as nothing more than object to satisfy boys and mens sexual desires?
What if instead of telling boys that girls and women need to cover up so that they don’t distract them we taught them to pay attention to the person they are talking to? What if we taught boys and men that girls and women are also daughters of God that deserve respect and love? What if we taught boys and men that what a girl or woman is wearing is not important but rather who she is as a person? What if we taught boys and men that a girl or a woman can be the ultimate companion and most trusted friend he will ever have? What if we taught boys that sex will be the ultimate compliment to the enduring love he can foster with her? What if we taught boys and men that sex is not the ultimate end goal when it comes to having a relationship with a woman?
When we continue to treat girls and woman like objects of sexual lust because they have dressed “immodestly” we only continue to reinforce the idea that they are nothing more than sex objects to be lusted after. We also treat men and boys like animals without control and inability to curb their desires of exercise any amount of self control. This kind of attitude and actions degrades both men and woman, boys and girls, down to nothing more than mindless beings that are nothing more than slaves to our basest desires. My dog can resist eating a plate of meat and stay put till I tell her she can have it. Do we really want to keep treating boys like they have less self control than my dog?
To close this blog piece I would like to just leave you with what the church has said on issues relating to this topic.
“The scriptures often refer respectfully but plainly to the body and its parts. There is no embarrassment and often there is sacred symbolism. It is the world that makes the divinely created body an object of carnal lust. For example, it makes the female breasts primarily into sexual enticements, while the truth is that they were intended to nourish and comfort children. It promotes male sexual aggression in contrast to Christ’s example of tenderness, long-suffering, kindness, and steadfastness in the home.
Shame about the human body, its parts and purposes, is justified only when a person uses it for carnal purposes. Teach your children that they will find joy in their bodies when they use them virtuously after the manner taught by Christ.”
From a parents guide by the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints
Men and boys will continue to be treated as carnal beasts deprived of any kind of control, and women and girls, will continue to be treated as nothing more than the objects of their lusts as long as we continue to treat the body as only for carnal purposes.
And that is the Gospel according to Andrew