Of Wine and Men
Some thoughts that have been rattling around in my brain…
Out there somewhere is the argument that if you have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic, then it would be irresponsible to offer him an alcoholic beverage. In the same way, since we know – not if - but since we know that men are visually stimulated, it is irresponsible for women to dress inappropriately. Dressing modestly would be the loving and respectful thing to do. Women do contribute to men’s ‘temptations’ and therefore must bear some responsibility in helping men control their urges.
I don’t know where this argument originated, but I have seen/heard it more than once. So, I am not pointing fingers at anyone. Those who use this argument probably heard from somewhere else, too, and thought it good enough to repeat.
At first glance, it seems logical. It appeals to our sense of kindness towards our fellow brethren and our desire to act responsibly. But after mulling over it some more, I’ve come to a different conclusion. The analogy is poor at best and offensive at worst. It objectifies women and emasculates men.
The implication here is that the way men view immodestly-dressed women is not too different from the way an alcoholic views alcohol. Really? I mean, really? In case you haven’t noticed, women are not alcoholic beverages! Even ‘immodestly-dressed’ ones! Women are human beings – and for the Christian – made in the image of God. If there is a man who actually views women – regardless of how she is dressed – like an alcoholic beverage, ie, merely as something to be consumed and enjoyed and then discarded, then that says much more about the man than it does about the woman. Furthermore, a woman is not offering anything by the way she dresses – not in the same way as your offering a drink to your recovering alcoholic friend.
Secondly, it is offensive to assume that men (all? most?) cannot control their ‘urges’ when ‘confronted’ with an ‘immodestly-dressed’ woman in the same way an alcoholic cannot handle alcohol responsibly. It emasculates men to say that women should help men out by not contributing to their weakness. Or, if ‘weakness’ is not politically correct, challenges. I would argue that unlike the alcoholic who has a bad record when it comes to responsible drinking, not all men have a bad record when it comes to having healthy relationships with women and treating them like decent human beings. To liken men to alcoholics in this manner is disrespectful.
Once again, women are not offering anything by the way they dress. (If someone wants to argue, ‘What about prostitutes?’, my question would be, ‘Do you really want to go there?’)
So, that’s where the analogy breaks down.
But, just for fun, let’s go with the analogy – with a twist (pun intended). Let’s say that women are offering something with the way they dress, that they are intoxicating, and that the best thing for them to do is to not offer it.
In the case of the alcoholic, we know what his weakness is. Bearing that in mind, not only do we not offer him a drink, we hide the liquor so that our friend won’t be tempted. It is a little bit harder when it comes to pinpointing the allure of the feminine figure since different men have different weaknesses, so the best thing to do would be to cover up the women completely in order that they can’t ‘tempt’ the men. Better still, we should hide the women so they can’t be seen at all.
What is this? The Taliban?
But wait – that’s just one side of the coin.
In the case of the alcoholic, since we are aware of his weakness with alcohol, it would be totally irresponsible to let him be in charge of a liquor store. After all, one does not allow paedophiles to look after children unsupervised, if at all. Since men have a weakness when it comes to women, it would be totally irresponsible to allow them to be in charge of the ‘liquor store’.
So to speak.