Wednesday, June 06, 2007


After the extra long weekend it was a bit of a struggle to get back into a work frame of mind. I didn't achieve much in the morning and the afternoon was taken up with a student services meeting. It was uneventful until the last few minutes when a comment was made about the shortness of some of the girl's skirts at present being inappropriate but that the male teacher in question was unwilling to confront the female students because of the risk of being accused of being a pervert. I understood where he was coming from and agree it's a tricky issue. What surprised me was the response from one of the female staff who had a go at him about palming the issue off onto the female staff.

A few times in my career as a youthworker I have had occasion to challenge girls about their attire when it has been too short, too low cut or too revealing but I have also been burnt by the experience. One time in particular the girl in question got extremely upset with me and it damaged what had been a good relationship.

In 2007, girls can and do wear whatever they like, revealing more and more of their bodies.
That is within their rights, but, they should be mindful of the impact it has on boys and men who see them and the unintended message it can send.
I have asked girls whether they realise the impact they have and how it can be interpreted, and usually get one of two responses. 1. Naivte, no awareness of it's impact and surprise when told, or 2. oblivious disregard, they know exactly what they're doing and they don't care!
Either way, it can be very difficult for a man not to be drawn to girl's bodies when they are so openly on show. While the attraction between the sexes can be a natural and pleasant part of life, for those of us who are married and seeking to be faithful, and to honour our wives and our committment to them, the display can be unhelpfully distracting.

At the same time, I'm well aware that our society has elevated sex and sexual imagery to a huge level and we are constantly bombarded with sex and sexual images in the media and in day-to-day life, which desensitizes us to the issue and sends a message to girls that they are valued for sex more so than for character or personality or values and behaviour. Similarly boys and men are persuded that girls are sex objects above all else and are to be pursued and treated as such. I see and hear the evidence of this every Friday night in the taxi and the older the boys get the more basic and blatant their attitudes become.
I have warned female passengers about the risks they face at the hands and attention of sleazy alcohol- fuelled young men with only one thing on their minds.
For the girls who are still at school, they are already playing adult games, dressing in adult ways and taking adult risks, long before they are mature enough or ready to handle adult responsibility.
The issue won't go away quickly, in fact I think it will just continue to get worse, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be addressed and at times confronted.


Zaac said...

i guess there are two sides to everything but i would say 1. that he has a very good point about being called a perve, that's hassle you just don't need, and 2. girls can be VERY sensitive about this and it probably comes across better from another female, especially considering some it can be an attempt to get love and acceptance from males and so a rebuke, even a gentle one, can be a crushing rejection. it's certainly shaky ground...

2Peter said...

A difficult topic indeed. I wonder if we were all nudists, maybe the issue would go away!

Playing devils advocate: I'm not sure women should have to take responsibility for mens lack of sensory discipline.

Anonymous said...

This is an argument that could/does go around and around . . anyone, male or female should be able to dress however we feel comfortable regardless.
I have got to agree with the above comment that it should be up to individuals both male and female to be able to control their thoughts/urges, why should people have to dress thinking about what others might be thinking, i know though that this brings up all the other comments about society ect. . . I do however agree as well with making younger girls aware of what other people may be thinking about their choice of clothing as unfortunately it is a fact of life.
Zaac made an excellent comment that young girls are trying out new things and also looking for approval and to be considered "cool" or popular . . they are also just begining to discover there sexuality and the impact that it can make on others.
Sorry this is long, it has taken me ages to write as well . . hope it made some sense