Dressing modestly has become an issue to me in the past months. I'm not tempted to dress suggestively in order to garner some sort of male attention, but other reasons have caused this to be an issue. For one, I lived in Brazil for six months last year. My day-to-day outfit was a spaghetti-strapped tank top and capris, and I was dressed quite modestly in comparison to most. However, I don't feel comfortable at all wearing that here without some sort of cover up (and probably rightfully so). Another reason for this is that I know that V-necks look better on me because of my face and shoulder shape. Crew necks just look bad, and when I think I look bad, I feel bad. Conversely, when I think I look good, I feel good. So I dress in ways that make me feel confident.
Appropriately and thankfully, I've heard many a sermon on the importance of dressing modestly in my life, so I have a conscience for such issues. I know it puts out a message I don't want to communicate, and also I do feel a sense of responsibility for not being a stumbling block to others. Modesty is important.
Follow me on this; I believe they're related.
Recently I was talking to a good girl friend of mine about a relationship she is in with this guy. It's been going on for years and has been a destructive force in her life, but still she seems to find herself back in the same situation over and over again. And the key to her falling back into the pattern again and again is the small but significant emotional connections he evokes (provokes is perhaps more appropriate?) with her. I think this is the same thing as "leading someone on" or I've also seen it called "emotional defrauding".
It got me to thinking though, because I've seen this same thing happen with so many of my girl friends and also in my own life, and in talking to my friend I put the term "emotional immodesty" on it. It's not done intentionally all of the time and certainly not limited to men, but it does happen, and is quite comparable to the struggle women have with dressing modestly.
I don't think it's an over-generalization to say that men are visually stimulated more than women and women are emotionally stimulated more than men, and it's hard for each gender to fully comprehend the effect one has on the other in these areas*.
This might be the difference; I honestly don't know because I am not a man and have thus not had a male's upbringing in a Christian community. Girls and women are fairly often reminded of their responsibility to dress modestly. Are men warned of the temptation they can present to women emotionally? I honestly don't know, so I'm asking.
This just struck me recently. If anyone has any cheers, jeers, or other thoughts on this I didn't mention, please add your comments. I'm really interested in seeing what others think.
*Of course there are men and women who use these temptations purposefully as weapons against others or for their own gain, which is a sin and really quite hateful.