“You are the prettiest blue-eyed leopard I’ve ever seen.” These unusual and creepy words were uttered by one of the hundreds of customers I tend to on the regular. For context, this man said this to me as I handed him his food with a leopard print mask on. Let’s also keep in mind, that I am pretty sure my eyes are more of a green and definitely not completely blue.
I have worked at the same job since I was fifteen. I find myself working at the same fast food chain that I have worked at since I was a freshman in high school. Now, as a senior, I think it’s quite impressive that I have stayed consistent. Many things have changed in my three years, from management to menu changes, it is not the same job I had three years ago. However, one thing remains the same, the strange and inappropriate men that make myself and my female coworkers uncomfortable or fearful on the daily. This is one thing all women seem to have in common.
A common misconception that has been engrained in my head since I was very young, is that my attire and appearance needs to be “modest” in order to keep men from stumbling. That as a Godly woman, my job is to dress in a way that prevents men, who are not my husband, from seeing me in a sexual manner. To be blunt, and even to be a broken record, this is an extremely toxic and backward mindset. This ideology sexualized myself and other women from a very young age.
As I got older, I began to understand that there is no way to dress to prevent certain perverted men from saying strange things, from touching women inappropriately, or thinking lustful thoughts. That regardless of the clothes I am wearing, the job I have, my age, or the things I say, certain men will be inappropriate. Keep in mind, I do not mean all men, but the select few are the ones that keep women continually on edge.
I asked my female friends and family about their earliest memories of being catcalled or sexualized. The ages shockingly ranged from ten to sixteen and the stories were stomach wrenching. I heard stories that included family members, friends, coworkers, and strangers that sexualized these young women. The most miserable thought that came to mind as I listened to these stories, was just how common they were. Even Christian men were among the men that inflicted these memories upon myself and others.
The Bible says, “For we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, but I find it ironic, that even as I was dressed to “prevent men from stumbling”, my earliest memories of being catcalled and or sexualized were from when I dressed “modestly.”
This topic has been repeated and explained over and over again, but yet women still find themselves being afraid of walking in public alone, of going to work, and even of wearing certain clothes. God has not called for women to prevent men from sexual sin, women are not called to be responsible for the sexual sin of others. It is shocking to know that many believe that a woman is to dress for the comfort of men, not the comfort of themselves, or to honor God. These men that continually say and do inappropriate things to women are sadly not going anywhere, they are not going to disappear overnight.
I wish I knew the answer of how to fix this, but wait I do. Respect women because they are people. Respect women because they are children of God. Respect women. It’s that simple.
For additional biblical and Christian resources on this topic please read my wonderful mama’s blog. https://findingmyfreedomdoingmylife.com/2020/10/17/men-the-monsters-of-modesty-culture/