Friday, 21 February 2014

Moderating the Mormon Discourse on Modesty


Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife just had an article in the print version of Exponent II called Moderating the Mormon Discourse on Modesty. I think it is one of the best articles I have seen to date on the issue. It is more thoughtful and balanced than many other pieces I have read on this subject (which too often are either a bit too intent on keeping the status quo, or a bit too incendiary).

Here's a tidbit:
"As a subculture that believes in the sacredness and limited scope of legitimate sexual expression, the cavalier manner in which broader American culture flaunts and trivializes sexuality threatens our values and stirs a deeply held anxiety: we fear our sexuality may undermine our spiritual progression, keep us from God, and cost us our social standing. In the face of these risks, getting women to cover up seems like an efficient solution, if not a righteous response to the perceived threat to our values. 

"However, the cultural meaning of this expectation for 
women is extraordinarily costly to them, because it 
represents women’s disproportionate shouldering of our 
shared sexual anxiety. While many would argue that 
modesty protects women from sexual objectification 
and devaluation, I suggest the rhetoric on modesty does 
precisely the opposite."

Note how she states that the "rhetoric on modesty" does the opposite of what it intends. A very interesting read. I'd love to hear your thoughts.