Disclaimer: This is not the most politically correct post/the nicest post I've ever written. Sorry if you get offended, but it has to be said.
It took me way too long to fall asleep last night. I have been pretty infuriated with all the debate going around (especially on Facebook) about 2 articles in particular. One was a mother of boys who wrote a letter to teenage girls telling them that they needed to dress modestly or else they would no longer be Facebook friends with the boys' family. Another article was saying that no matter what a woman wears that a boy should always look at women as other human beings, and not a piece of meat--I appreciated this article very much.
While both articles to me have excellent points, and honestly I love both articles, I guess the thing that has bothered me the most with reading all the comments from various people is the lack of responsibility that genders take for themselves. Boys want to blame girls for their impure thoughts and girls want to blame boys by calling them animals and for being offended when they are looked at as nothing more than a great body. Here are my thoughts on the issue:
1) How you dress will send a message to other people about yourself--whether you like it or not. You cannot and will not avoid the fact that people are going to make snap judgments about you by what you wear. Is it fair? Probably not. Is it all that you really are? Most likely no. But you cannot avoid it. It will happen. You would never see someone interviewing for a corporate position walk in wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and expect the interviewer to say, "Wow you are super professional." You could be the most professional person in the world, and the most qualified applicant, but they are going to have a problem trying to accept the fact that you are professional because of how you dress. Likewise, boys cannot wear muscle shirts and low-hanging pants without SOMEONE saying "Wow, that guy is a meathead." Girls cannot wear shirt skirts and cleavage-showing shirts without a guy noticing her body, and probably nothing else about her. Is that fair? No. Is it accurate? Probably not. Is there more to you than meets the eye? Absolutely. But you need to ask yourself what kind of message you are sending to people when you get dressed in the mornings. I have gotten some pretty odd looks when I go to the grocery store at 3 in the afternoon with Andrew and I'm not wearing any make-up, my hair is in a messy bun, and I'm wearing sweats and a t-shirt--I look like I need a self-help book. I'm sure some people have thought, "Really? You couldn't find 10 minutes in your day to get decent?" Here's the thing, when I go to the store looking like that, I know what message I'm sending, and to be honest, I don't care. They are catching me on a bad day, and I know that there is more to me than meets the eye, but other people don't know that because they are only catching this one glimpse of me. My point is, if you care what other people think of you and if you want them to really get to know you and not make a snap judgment about you, then think more carefully about how you dress. Girls, if you don't want to be seen as just a piece of meat and nothing else, then cover up. Don't be offended when a guy is checking you out and only complimenting you on your looks. What message are you trying to send by your outfit?
2) You are responsible for your own thoughts and actions. If you see something that you shouldn't see or stirs up feelings in you that maybe aren't so virtuous, you have the choice to look away. You have the ability to drive out impure thoughts. You have the choice to NOT judge someone based on what they wear. Finishing up my story of looking like a hobo mother at the grocery store, I had one nice lady come up to me while I was still living in Utah, and she was able to see past my looks. I was still working, exhausted from having a newborn, and feeling pretty unsure of what to do. Andrew was at the store with me, and he was freaking out and I didn't know why. I went off into a little corner of the store and started to cry a little bit, and an older woman came up to me, gave me a hug, and said "You are a wonderful mother." She was able to see past my ridiculous looks, and see that I was really trying my best. Likewise, we have the ability to try and see past others' dress and appearance, and not make snap judgments. We have the ability to drive out impure thoughts, and we have the choice to fall victim to the inappropriate dress of others (and believe me, I know both men AND women struggle with this).
I guess my point is that we take responsibility for us. Would it be nice of guys looked past girls' looks and rockin' bods and were only interested in their personality? Probably. Guys, would it be nice of more girls covered up to help you keep your thoughts clean? Yep. But things aren't always ideal. Girls, if you want the right kind of attention, dress for it. Guys, if you want clean thoughts, then do the work to drive out impure thoughts.
I'll end this post with this scripture--this is for both guys AND girls
Mosiah 4:30 says "But this much I can tell you, that if you do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not."
Notice how it says YOUR thoughts, YOUR words, YOUR deeds. YOU have your agency to choose your dress, your thoughts, your judgments, and your actions. Stop blaming the other gender.