The Shameless Prudes:

… a wry but true name for a social action network
whose time is long overdue:

(c) 2014, Davd

When a teen-aged girl comes to church wearing a mini-skirt, and panty-hose of a colour i remember as approximately what highway workers wear to make themselves especially visible to drivers, I call that shameful. There are many things people can do that are more shameful, to be sure: Abortion of a healthy foetus with the potential to become a capable adult, for instance, bullying, financial deceit, excessive greed, murder—even the seldom mentioned sin of blasphemy. So having said that the girl in her Look! Loook!! tights (which in detailed fact probably were not pantyhose, but like many celibate old men, I don’t carefully record such details) walking forward to receive Eucharist, was mildly rather than extremely shameful in her dress conduct; and having got nods of sad agreement from two middle aged ushers; i wondered how i might write some gentle admonition to modesty…

… when Lo! and behear, on the CBC News the next morning plus one, came an item stating [i report approximately from memory] that some Fredericton schoolgirls had attacked their school’s dress code complaining that it contributed to a rape culture1. Did they seriously believe that displaying their sexuality where it ought not be active, is more modest? Or were they flaunting a privilege girls have [or are politickling to have], and boys have not; to be openly and overtly sexual wherever and whenever and however they please? Is it not obvious that modesty forestalls rather than contributes to, the probability of unwanted sexual attention? Do we see construction workers and boys lounging on street corners, whistling at nuns in traditional “habit” dress? at old-fashioned Muslim women in their equally shape-concealing garb? or at chiquitas in form-fitting tights and T-shirts?

It seems, as of December 1st, that the Fredericton schoolgirls are getting much more media sympathy, at least from some media, than their demands merit. They are not even politickling to loosen the standards for beach attire or dance hall attire (which loosening also can have significant social costs)—these audacious adolescents are claiming the privilege to disrupt the work of the schools (and the churches).

The connection between sexuality display in schools and the Look! Loook!! tights in church, is probably obvious to many readers. My purpose in church, is prayer, reflection, ritual, … which are often grouped together as worship. Men’s eyes (and women’s also) naturally look at some extremely bright colours—which is why highway workers wear them. A healthy pair of adolescent female human legs tends to hold most men’s attention, and even that of some women2, a bit longer. Both the bright colour and the tightly covered legs, detract and distract from the purposes for which we come to church.

In schools, the purpose would be called learning instead of worship, and the disciplines are somewhat different; but the effect of attention grabbing dress (and posture, manner of walking, etc.) is to distract that attention from learning—in school as in church, modesty supports the purposes of the institution and immodesty detracts from them. Immodest dress and conduct, i would make bold to contend, generally reduce the efficiency and sustainability of the society in which they are tolerated. Rather than remove the school dress code, let’s explicate one at least as modest, for churches (where a few decades ago, even teen-aged girls knew better.)

Seems to me it’s time for a lobby group called Shameless Prudes! Prudes {1} because relative to nonsense like “girls should be free to display their sexuality as, and as much as, they choose and boys must behave like eunuchs until specifically invited to respond”, healthy socially beneficial modesty can be called prudish; and {2}because modesty is prudent. Shameless because of the word’s more ordinary usage—that is, for wry surprise value—and because in truth there is no shame, rather much virtue, in modesty, and in school and church dress codes if modesty is not kept without them.

“Shameless” is ordinarily used as a condemning adjective, applied to something for which people ought to be ashamed. If applied to something for which people needn’t be ashamed, it is vacuous—or wry. “Shameless prude” is an absurd phrase if shameless is taken in the ordinary sense, exactly because it is boringly ordinary not to be ashamed of something that is not shameful. (Calling anyone a shameless bus driver, cook, gardener, janitor, etc., is likewise empty of meaning. Bus drivers, cooks, gardeners, janitors, etc., can indeed do shameful things—but their work is not shameful when done in an ordinarily competent way.) If by using the phrase “shameless prudes” wryly, we can get some well deserved attention for the practical value of modesty—let’s do.

Anyone who cares to offer a better name to use when the surprise value has been exploited, is welcome to; i begin with this phrase to frankly, get attention. Modesty and Christian sexual restraint have had far too little attention lately, and even less respect. Serious Muslims and, as best i can estimate, Buddhists and Jews, would agree that women3 should dress modestly in public; this is not a Christian-only concern. I would tentatively suggest that there be Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, (probably Native-spiritual, Sikh, etc.) and secular subgroups within “we Shameless Prudes”, and that the overall group be interfaith and more. My main point is that modesty contributes to work and study efficiency (and thus to societal efficiency), to goodwill and harmony between the sexes, and to the wiser choice of mates, whether for marriage or not.

I would rather not see any woman’s display of her sexuality. I’m not looking to remarry, nor to “hook up”—nor to flirt, nor to get entangled in the likes of Genesis, ch. 39.4

I would rather be an old scold than an old fool or an old goat.

 

Notes:

1. It should be noted for clarity,. that the phrase “rape culture” as used by such Feminists, is tendentious to the point of fraud. A rape culture approves of a violent crime whose name has been extended by Feminist interests, to many lesser offences and even to consensual sex between two intoxicated persons. “Catcalling”, for instance, is not rape and not close to it, and a culture that indulges in catcalling is not thereby a rape culture. Immodest dress invites catcalling.

2 … whether for Lesbian or comparison purposes, i don’t need to know—but if Lesbian, perhaps it should be confessed to the priest.

3 … and men, but most men are modest while a far larger fraction of women than of men, are not.

4. This chapter tells of the false accusation of Potiphar’s wife against Joesph, and his consequent imprisonment.

 

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About Davd

Davd (PhD, 1966) has been a professor, a single father keeping a small commercial herb garden so as to have flexible time for his sons, and editor of _Ecoforestry_. He is a practicing Christian, and in particular an advocate of ecoforestry, self-sufficiency horticulture, and men of all faiths living together “in peace and brotherhood” for the fellowship, the efficiency, and the goodwill that sharing work so often brings.

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