Saturday, April 13, 2013

Men & Modesty

Adapted from a comment I made on Facebook.

Modesty is always aimed toward women, and I do see why that is: it's fashionable for women to show more skin than men.  If you look at fashion throughout history, men stay covered up and women alter how much skin they show and in what areas.

However, another reason is that men are assumed to just have these voracious sex drives and be incredibly visual—more so than women.  I think no one objects to this because it sounds scientific and because, mainly, no woman wants to be frank about her own sex drive to a Sunday School class.

Women have sex drives too and we can be just as visual as men. True, men's fashions do not reveal as much skin.  But to a certain extent, that's irrelevant.  I'm going to be frank because people tip toe around specifics and it just confuses things: It honestly makes no difference what a man is wearing—I can have sexual thoughts about him regardless. You could say that showing more skin makes these thoughts easier, but still—you can be doing everything you possibly can to not make people think sexual thoughts about you, and you will fail because you do not have control over the minds of others. You just don't. You could be wearing a burqa and men (or women if, for some reason, a man is wearing the burqa) could fantasize about taking it off because it's like a challenge.

I am a visual person; I remember things more when I see them.  But still, like I said, a man can be completely covered up and I can fantasize about him.  Saying this might make readers uncomfortable, but I think it needs to be said because no one else says it.  I don't want to be treated like I'm this innocent creature who just doesn't comprehend or think about sex.  I don't think that such a person should even be placed on a pedestal, because that implies that sexual thoughts are inherently bad.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The conversations in my head

Some friends of mine recently visited Temple Square and struck up a conversation with a sister missionary.  She asked my male friend where he served, and he responded that he hadn't.  She was shocked and kept insistently asking him why he didn't serve a mission.  He kept politely evading her questions, and she wasn't picking up that he didn't feel comfortable answering.  The reason he didn't want to answer was that the answer was that he was gay and wasn't allowed to.  

I imagine that his guess was that if he answered her truthfully, then she would be dismissive and not give proper respect to his situation.  She might tell him that with enough faith/study/prayer/fasting he could someday go on a mission, or that even his "same-sex attraction" was a temptation that the Lord would help him with.

If he had answered her, and she had responded like that, I think it would have been absolutely acceptable to call her out.  

Most often I stay silent when I could be assertive, and I usually let other people dominate conversations.  Many times I just assume that if I and someone else have different opinions, then the other person's must be the right ones.  But I'm realizing more and more how many times it would be completely appropriate to be more assertive.  The freedom of saying what I really think, politely yet firmly, makes me almost giddy.  This is the way the conversation would go in my head:

-But why didn't you go on a mission?!

-I'm gay and I wasn't allowed to.

-[Noticeable pause] Well, I know that Heavenly Father will help you with this trial.  Just stay close to Him, study his words, and pray sincerely.

-Actually, it's not a trial.  It's part of my identity, and it's not going away—no amount of prayer and scripture reading is going to make it go away.  That's a false idea that's perpetuated by well-meaning members, but it's not true.

I think it's alright to be direct.  It's one thing if you're being unnecessarily harsh, but if you are being passively/backhandedly criticized, then you deserve to defend yourself.

By the way, I don't disagree with my friend's choice to not answer—I support him in his decision.  I'm just saying that had he decided to answer a different way, he would have been justified.