Convergence event discusses modesty
Views 160 | Time to read: 4 minutes | Uploaded: 4 - 11 - 2017 | By: Kayla Abeyta
Convergence, a club on campus that holds and directs discussions on controversial subjects, hosted a talk on the topic of Christian women wearing yoga pants, as well as modesty and purity culture within the Christian community. The Thursday night talk was led by Sherry Luo and Peter Elias. The two students provided arguments either for or against the idea that Christian women should or should not wear yoga pants.
Peter Elias presented the argument against Christian women wearing yoga pants. He made the point that because of the sinful and sexual nature of man’s thoughts caused by pornography as well as how women are objectified in the media and entertainment, women in tight clothing, including yoga pants, can perpetuate lustful thoughts towards them. “Men are in situations where it is innate to them, these desires, essentially cause them to sin,” Elias said. “Women are then in this unique situation where they cause their brothers to stumble.” To provide Biblical context for his argument, Elias used Galatians 5:13, which reads, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Regarding this verse Elias says, “Although this verse isn’t specifically talking about this issue (modesty), at the heart of it, it’s saying don’t cause your brothers to stumble.” He goes on to say, “The application of this would be, if what you’re wearing is causing your brothers to look at you lustfully and thus causing them to be adulterers in their heart, then are you not responsible for the way they act and think?”
Sherry Luo presented the alternative perspective: that Christian women can essentially wear what they want. “The other side would say that women should be able to do what they want with their bodies because they’re theirs and if men are drooling over them, then that’s their issue.” Luo pointed out the double standard that only treats women as sexual beings. She provided an example of this double standard when referring to how women and men are required to be dressed in one of the workout stations on Westmont’s campus, the icing room. “Men are able to walk around with their shirts off and just have their shorts on, but women have to have a t-shirt on and appropriate shorts.” Luo also brought up purity culture within the Christian community, “the idea that people are to stay a virgin until marriage is very gendered, and solely focused on women,” she continues to say, “Women are usually the ones to feel that pressure the most because, in society, if women have had sex with multiple men, they’re seen in a negative light which is completely contrary to how men are seen in this case.”
After Luo and Elias provided their arguments, they opened up for discussion to those sitting in on the talk. Logan Foltz, a student, brought up how purity and modesty standards for men and women are not the same but more directed at women, “The church has tendency to accentuate the patriarchy,” he said. “Men are held at a different standard, a much lower one than women.” Cecilia Bratton, a student and member of the Feminist Society on campus, pointed out the danger that lies in blaming women for men’s lustful actions and behavior and how it perpetuates rape culture. “This same idea (what women wear) is the first thing brought up in prosecuting rape trials, and that is incredibly problematic and is the reality that a lot of women live in today.” Bratton also said in reference to men’s lustful thoughts and actions, “this culture should also be extremely offensive to men, to narrow them down to the idea that their identity lies in their impulses and nothing else.” Amber Natole, another student, brought up the tendency of men using female clothing and trends for comedic purposes, “Men get this credit for being funny for wearing things like short shorts, but women wearing the same things is definitely not funny but a problem. How far are we gonna take it? When, at the end of the day, are we going to stop saying a woman isn’t covered up enough? Because it’s always women and never men.”
The talk provided helpful and informative conversation regarding purity and modesty within the Christian community between the speakers and leaders of the discussion, as well as the students listening.