About a year ago, I really started questioning the things I grew up believing about my body. I should’ve really questioned most of this years ago- but these were the “truths” I grew up with and accepted.
I grew up surrounded by dress codes that disproportionately targeted female attire…because “modesty”.
Here are the lessons I was taught about men and the female body/sex- since the female body and sex always were always linked during discussions.
My body was something that needed to be covered so it didn’t lead boys to sin.
Boys are like wolves and just like you wouldn’t dangle raw meat out in front of a wolf, females shouldn’t wear revealing clothing in front of guys.
Guys are more visual so we need to protect them from their natural urges.
Men are pigs, men are dogs- they can’t control themselves from thinking sexual thoughts if a woman dresses provocatively.
You wouldn’t drink in front of an alcoholic, so why would you reveal your body in front of a guy
If a woman wears a low cut dress and calls you out for staring at her breasts, it’s perfectly acceptable to respond with, “and you wore that dress so I would notice your shoes”
Sometimes a woman needs to just take a Tylenol and have sex with her husband
Men can’t be expected to do hard things…like read (I heard this at a church a couple months ago in a sermon about sex, where the speaker was asking people to read the Bible)
The more I think about these statements about men, women, sex, and desire, the more confused I get.
Why didn’t men speak out against this? Where were the men saying, “actually, I’m not a pig, a wolf or a dog, I’m a man- for starters”
Where were the men and women saying that it’s ridiculous to assume that teenage boys are the only ones who think about sex?
Why weren’t men saying that they were sick of being talked about like animals who can’t control their urges?
Why weren’t men saying that it’s absurd, at best, to refer to them as alcoholics around alcohol?
Maybe the men and women fighting these ideas weren’t a part of the churches, camps and events I was part of. Maybe a lot of men were taught that they can’t control themselves.
After some recent events, I have finally started to see some men say, “actually, that’s not how men talk in locker rooms and it isn’t okay”.
Unfortunately even more men (and women) seem to be saying “oh that’s just how boys are”.
No. No. No.
It’s not okay. It’s not acceptable. It’s not, “how boys talk”. Every single time we hear that it’s “boys being boys” we need to shout out that it isn’t okay, ever.
Men and women are both people- not dogs, not bodies, but equal people.
Men and woman both think about sex- not just teenage boys, all people.
Men and woman both have self control. This is a basic skill taught to small children. I’m pretty sure I have a conversation with my three year old every day along the lines of, “I know that you really want that toy, unfortunately it isn’t yours. You don’t get to grab it, take it, use it just because you want it”. To be clear, I’m not saying that woman (or men) are crayons or objects- I’m saying that self control is a basic skill taught to toddlers.
People are not animals with uncontrollable urges.
“Boys will be boys” is crap.
My body does not exist to tempt men. It does not exist to complete men. I am not a possession, I am a whole person just as I am.