What (Evangelical) Men Talk About When They Talk About Women

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[Trigger warning: proto-rapist apologism]

In doing research work for my book, I’ve been examining a lot of what men who are within modesty culture have to say about women. In particular, I’ve been combing through the response to the Rebelution Modesty Survey, a survey put out in 2008 by brothers Brett and Alex Harris (which spawned an online community of “Rebelutionaries” discussing and promoting modesty).

I realized that other people needed to see how these young men and boys talk about women, that there is consistent, frankly scary rhetoric these men are using when prompted to give a response to an open question. These responses in particular are to the question: "How do you feel about girls who purposely flaunt their bodies?”

So, with little further adieu, I present to you: “How Men In Modesty Culture Talk About Women.”* All emphasis mine.

Saddened; disappointed; sometimes angered. They're distracting good men, dishonoring God and marriage, and offering themselves cheaply--which makes me desire even more strongly a girl who is modest, who is valuable. I would be disingenuous if I didn't concede that these kinds of girls are a temptation. But I always remind myself that if a girl flaunts herself before I marry her, she'll do the same thing afterward. As a husband, that would make me pretty mad.What would make me happy is dedicating all my energy to loving a young woman who reserves herself for me. (Age 22)
If a girl flaunts herself, it changes everything about what I think of her. To start with, I automatically assume she is not a Christian or is not taking her walk with Christ seriously (I might even try witnessing to her). If she is a Christian, I'll probably tell her that she is being a sexual distraction (much more gently, of course). If you flaunt yourself, you have the attention of lots of guys, but you instantly lose their respect and admiration. I would never consider courting a girl that advertises her body like a product. (Age 17)
When a girl is flaunting her body, my opinion of her character lowers quite a bit. I get the strong impression that she does not respect the Biblical standards of modesty and purity, or the Biblical injunctions to avoid causing your brothers in Christ to sin. (Age 17)
It's not their body to flaunt. It belongs to Christ and their future husband. How dare they flaunt something that God did not permit them to flaunt? How dare they write a check the Bible doesn't allow them to cash? When a girl purposely flaunts her body, she is almost immediately ruled out for anything beyond acquantenance [sic] in my eyes. (Age 22)
It drives me crazy. They are the type of girls that I do not want to be around. Not only will they most likely cause me to sin, but they will not help me to grow as a follower of Christ. They also don’t display much self value and that is a big draw back. I want someone who will help me to avoid temptation, not provide me with it. When you flaunt yourself, you drive me away and sometimes actually make me physically sick. (Age 16)
I feel they need to be rebuked. I feel that they are self-consumed...or consumed in the world. Their standard of living, dressing, etc…isn’t that of the Word, but of the world. (Age 25)
Feelings are irrelevant. Scripture speaks of such women as harlots. (unspecified age between 40-49)
It actually really angers me. I find it disrespectful. I don't think they get it. Do they realize that they have just caused someone to have sexual thoughts about them in their mind? Now the guy feels bad because he fell AGAIN and the girl wiggles on her merry way. If an unsaved girl dresses this way it doesn't bother me that much, because really how would she know better? But a girl who says she is a Christian, and she says her body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. When that girl flaunts her body in a sexual way, I get really frustrated, because she should know better! Another thing I would like to know is..where is her father??!! He is a man, he knows how we think, how can he let her go out dressed like that??!! (Age 21)
Girls who purposely flaunt their bodies will get no respect from me. I would not want to have a girlfriend, or get married to somebody like that, because there are other men looking at her and thinking impure thoughts about her. Those other men may also tempt her and she may become unfaithful. (age 18)
Sickening. The disgust far outweighs the attraction. What do they expect to gain from their display?I respect and admire a girl with a dress. I totally ignore something that looks like a heathen prostitute.More of a problem is those who have remained bastions of purity, yet unknowingly take a fling in the opposite direction. You become accustomed to looking at them unguardedly, and when they suddenly change for the worst...bad things happen. (Age 19)
I don't like them. If it is purposely done, it shows a lack of respect, or understanding, for those (guys) around them and it makes it incredibly tough for us. Again, the mind thinks up a whole range of scenarios that generally aren't that good. (Age 17)
First, I feel sorry that they think they have to do that. Second, it disgusts me. Be the woman God has called you to be. Don't be a fake. (Age 25)
Although I am tempted physically by their appearance, I highly disrespect their conduct and do not find it truly attractive. (Age 19)
I feel sorry for them. They are giving freely to the world, the gift that God has given them for their husbands alone. I feel no attraction to them, as "attractive" as they may be, because of their irresponsibility pertaining to guarding their own bodies, and for not considering the mental purity of their brothers in Christ. (Age 18)
If a girl purposefully flaunts her body she loses her right to ask guys to stop looking at her like something to be had. When you flaunt your body by wearing tight clothes, low-cut shirts, short skirts and underwear that sticks out of your clothes, then you are asking to have guys stare at you. We are visual. When we see skin we look. When we see cleavage or underwear, our imagination takes over. Girls, have some dignity about yourself and don't flaunt your body and then wonder why you can't get any respect from people. (Age 19)
I usually first feel anger. "COVER UP!" I shout in my head. Then I look away. I can't look at them. So I can't talk to them. I can't really be friends with them, etc. But when I reflect on it, I feel sorry for them, because they must value their looks a lot, and esteem themselves a lot in their body, rather than in their relationship with the Lord. I also wonder if they have a healthy relationship with their father; "Does he compliment her enough? Does he show his love for her?" I also think that it shows that they do not have a close walk with God. That they are far from Him in prayer and far from His Word, or else they would realize that they need to dress modestly. (Age 22)
It makes me sick. Usually those girls are very blessed in more ways than just outward beauty, but because they choose to be flirty, they cannot use their other gifts and follow the path God has for them. They tend to get in trouble more often and cause lots of hurt by leading guys on and then breaking them apart. If you flaunt your body you are not respecting God's temple. (1 Cor. 6:19-20) "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." If you are using your body to draw attention to yourself or are causing others (guys in particular) to stumble then you are dishonoring God by disgracing His temple. (Age 16)
Girls who try to act like strippers are going to get that response. There are always going to be guys who get turned on by clothes that show a little skin, no matter where it is, but acting as the lady that you are will mostly stop that type of thought. (Age 18)
Kind of disgusted usually. The most attractive girls I know are ones that don't try to show themselves off. It's better that way. (Age 18)

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*Of course not ALL men. If you say in that in the comments, you will be moderated.