In Which a Comment Thread Offers a Moment of Redemption

Dear CF,

Remember when we found out about that god-awful Christian “Modesty Survey” that invited boys to blame girls not just for how they dressed, but for playing with jewelry, wearing a purse across their chests, or walking? Jezebel ran a piece today in which a gentleman dispenses advice along similar lines.

What disgusts me most about this account of things is that it demands that a girl telepathically inhabit the minds of all possible males—their souls are in her hands. My takeaway from that post was this:

In order to understand how not to arouse her Christian brothers, she must first understand what does. (Like messenger bags.) To protect them properly, she has to become not just conversant but fluent in all possible masculine sexual fantasies. She has to learn their origin and derivation. She has to study how men can possibly convert an innocent movement (like walking) into an erotic stimulus. In fact, she has to become a virtual Ph.D. on masculine sexuality; she has to become a fantasizing male-by-proxy in order to avoid tempting any such male. She must call on all her resources, her empathy, her understanding, to imagine what it is like to be male and incorrigibly sexual. And she should perform these empathic acrobatics without having any sexual thoughts of her own.

Now, this is all ostensibly to protect the souls of her “Christian brothers.” What about her soul? From a Christian point of view, can there be a better recipe for temptation than to force a human being to become a theoretical expert in precisely the imaginary prurient scenarios that ostensibly jeopardize the souls of men?

It was a dark moment. And it was darker still when I saw this covered on Jezebel and felt the familiar rage descend.

Then I came across this in the comments:

The part about the angels is wrong. That’s a detail. To see Milton show up on Jezebel in defense of an uncloistered virtue is exactly what he would have wanted. God bless jfwlucy and whoever taught her Paradise Lost.




3 Responses to In Which a Comment Thread Offers a Moment of Redemption

  1. Vysakh says:

    Could explain why that bit about the angels is wrong?

  2. Millicent says:

    Sure! In Milton’s account, the angels *do* have free will. Satan’s revolt against God couldn’t have happened otherwise (and Satan is certainly the most willful character in the poem, even before the Fall). Abdiel is the angel who famously stands up to the rebels and chooses to return to God. God is certainly fond of Man and created Adam in His image, but part of his fondness derives from human weakness and vulnerability. it’s made clear that the angels occupy a higher spiritual plane (they can “either sex assume, or both”), but it doesn’t follow that their obedience is compulsory.

  3. Vysakh says:

    Face-palmed myself, so obvious: Satan’s rebellion couldn’t have happened otherwise.

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