Where Are The Men?

Mormon-ModestyIn case you’re wondering, yes, that is a take-off on the title of a Tony Jones post. And, yes, it’s one that bit him in the ass (something that seems to happen to poor old TJ quite a bit). But, taking  a page out of his book, I’ve noticed something over the past few days. Almost no men are writing about their problems with modesty/purity culture.

While it’s impossible to know for sure, (because the internet is a big place and I’m to lazy to do more than cursory search to back up my assumption), by my count, based mostly on a blog post from Kate Schell, just over 1% of blog posts on the subject are written by men. Seriously, out of the 24 pieces at the end of Schell’s article, I saw 3 authored by men. 3. That’s pretty pitiful, guys.

So I wonder if you can tell me why the voices on this subject seem to be so overwhelmingly female? Why aren’t more men speaking up about the damage this antiquated, biased idea inflicts on people? Does the debate on the subject make us uncomfortable? Or, do we so feel bad about the way modesty, sexuality, motherhood and god knows what else has been used by men to subjugate women that we feel we don’t have any business speaking up? Is it the subject matter? I.e. it’s a “women’s issue” so women should take the lead? Or, is it that we just don’t feel like it.

Men readers, I’m particularly interested in your thoughts.

Okay, I’ve had my fun spoofing TJ this morning. But, I do wonder at the absence of male voices on this subject. Is it because of the reasons listed in the previous paragraph? If so, I hate to break it to you, fellows, but all they’re all crap. Why? Let me break it down for you:

  • The debate on the subject make us uncomfortable. It makes you uncomfortable? Seriously? I believe a big part of being a man is stepping outside your comfort zone and doing the things that need to be done, no matter how much you don’t want to. This one’s a non-starter and I’m not wasting any more time on it.
  • We so feel bad for the way it’s been used  that we feel we don’t have any business speaking up. This one doesn’t hold any water, either. Martin Luther King said once, ““In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Our silence on this issue is deafening, my brothers.

These last two points, I believe, cut closer to the truth than anything else and that makes me sadder than I can say.

  • It’s a “women’s issue” so women should take the lead. Sorry boys, but this isn’t a “women’s issue” because modesty/purity culture hurts us all. Not just women, not just fathers of women, not just men married to women, but all of us. When women are told to “dress modestly” so as not to tempt men, the unspoken part of that message is that all men are animals unable to control their baser instincts. When only young women are told  that their value it inextricably tied to their virginity, young men are left to wonder where their value might lie. And, we’re not “letting women take the lead”, we’re not saying anything. That’s not good.
  • We just don’t feel like it. Why don’t we feel like it? I don’t know. Maybe we think that since it’s a “women’s issue”, it doesn’t really affect us. Maybe we feel that our talents are better served tackling weightier theological issues like atonement theory, hermeneutics or whether there was an actual physical resurrection than dealing with something as “superficial” as what clothes women should wear. If it’s the former, go back and read the last bullet point. If it’s the latter? Well, that’s a little arrogant, isn’t it?  And, by “a little arrogant”, I mean if you believe this, your name should be “Doctor Arroganto“.

Have I engaged in a little hyperbole and there are more men writing about this subject than I’ve seen? Maybe (like I said, I’m too lazy to do an exhaustive search). Is it possible that the reasons I’ve listed for the dearth of posts from male bloggers are totally off base? That’s a safe bet (and it wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened). But, the fact remains that women are writing/talking about this a hell of a lot more than men are. And, I want to know why.