Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why Women Don’t Have to Objectify Themselves on Oct. 31



Source: Deseret News

   It is currently hard to be a man talking about the importance of modesty.  To admit that seeing a woman in revealing clothing makes our “minds wander” has recently been reflected back on to us.  As if to say inappropriate images leading to inappropriate thoughts are some how a sign of our individual deviant nature.  Us men who desire to live chaste lives have a lot to tempt us and it takes a lot of moral and mental strength to refocus our thoughts when presented with content that objectifies women.  It’s like having headphones on playing “I Like to Move it” from Madagascar on repeat… all day.   When they day ends and you are safe in the refuge of your home, what song do you think will be going through your head?  It is going through my head now.  Is it going through yours? 

   But if the message from a man trying to do what is right isn’t enough for you?  Why not get the message from a fictional man who is trying to do what is wrong, Barney Stimpson.

   But if that still isn’t enough, then read this great article from Suzanne Davis on why women don’t need to objectify themselves on Halloween and how to be cute, clever, or have a good time.  (The event the satirical blogger at Seriously So Blessed referred to as her “favorite garment-optional holiday!”) 

“I’ve never really liked dressing up for Halloween. Maybe it’s because growing up I always wanted to have the cleverest costume instead of the cutest. Think 4th grade science class…

‘Suzanne, why do you have cereal boxes with knives stuck in them all over your shirt?’

‘I’m a cereal killer.’ {Gleeful smile}

‘A what?’

{Face palm}.

Or maybe now that I can drive myself to the grocery store and an endless supply of Milky Ways and Twix bars only means extra calories and dentist bills, the allure of transforming myself is growing less and less enticing every year.

But on a more serious note, perhaps the biggest reason I’ve grown to like Halloween even less, is the disappointment I can’t help but feel when I see women (and men) degrading themselves under the guise of celebrating Oct. 31. As this is a site about helping one another become better women, I hope you don’t mind if we poke at this just a little?

Thinking back to my college days, I recall witnessing countless friends and acquaintances showing me their costumes with excitement each year. I’m not in any way trying to be self-congratulatory or self-righteous in sharing these memories — my distaste for Halloween simply kept me on the periphery, and I became more of an observer than a participant. In any case, trying to not let the shock register on my face, I watched as they somehow justified reducing themselves to objects or perhaps what they anticipated were the fulfillment of carnal fantasies on Halloween, appearing as French maids, Little Bo-Peeps, and, yes, even sexy Smucker's peanut butter. Barely able to bend over and constantly having to adjust their tops, they left for this party or that dance, and then would return with shocking stories of women dressed in even less — one in only a bra or that girl who literally just wrapped herself up in Saran wrap. As they ripped off their wigs and slipped out of their heels, I don’t remember hearing about any dates secured, numbers asked for or new quality friends made. I just remember the shock value, the laughter at how ridiculous some women were in taking Halloween too much to the extreme.

I recall thinking back in those days, ‘Do women really have to dress up in revealing ways to have fun on Halloween? Is this the more mature, more adult way of celebrating the holiday?’

Trying to understand the rationale of this annual parade, I would guess that over the years we as women have created our own standard for dressing up and that creates pressure. Who wants to go as the prudish Mary Poppins or covered-up, classy cowgirl when other women will receive far more attention in a pink mini dress with Crayola lettered down the side or a sexed-up police offer who hardly resembles what we usually see giving us a ticket.

I would also deduce that somewhere down the road, for a lot of these women, there was a pivotal moment when a parent could have cautioned them to wear a more appropriate attire but didn’t. Perhaps for fear of offending their blossoming pre-teen. Perhaps because they did the same thing when they were younger. But I would also guess that that same parent watched their little girl bounce out the door, hungering for the days of more innocent Minnie Mouses, ballerinas and fairy princesses. It’s hard for me to imagine now those same parents catching a glimpse of each year’s costume party on Facebook and not wincing at the thought of their beautiful daughter appearing to be something they never taught them to be. Even for just one night. Even just in the act of celebrating Halloween.”

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