The Evil Underbelly of Pantsgate

It’s so unfair. I get sick, so I don’t pay much attention to the internet for 48 hours or so, and this makes me go and miss Pantsgate!

Simcha’s takedown is both effective and hysterically funny, I could never write anything half so funny and cannot add anything to it except my ire (the world doesn’t really need more of that) so I’m not really going to reflect on the substance of Pantsgate, that is, the question of whether or not it is modest to for women to wear pants.

It’s a stupid question anyway. The Vatican dress code lets you in wearing slacks, but not if your skirt is too short. I know, I’ve visited the Vatican. In slacks! Discussion closed.

But while I was *gasp* pulling on my pants this morning, it occurred to me, I’ve heard one of these arguments before. Specifically this argument:

2. Do this for us, the minority of chaste men who merit the gift of enjoying your beauty in such a way as to be grateful to your creator without temptation. Make it so it is good for men to look upon you, rather than requiring us to look away (which is a tragedy).

…well, it is creepily similar to this:

Heck, I have attraction to all kinds of women, many of whom are not my wife. It doesn’t mean I go home—“Honey, I’m in love with another woman, because I felt this attraction.” No! It means I’m recognizing the goodness and the beauty of another person—which I’m supposed to do! That’s who [sic] was going on in that story I told you about—the red hair. [He whistles. Audience giggles.] I saw something genuinely beautiful about this person, and through the eyes of purity this becomes something that lifts our sights to the heavens.

The former is from the silly “women wearing pants are immodest” Pantsgate article. The latter is a quote from Christopher West as filtered through Dawn Eden’s thesis. I can’t work out how her bibliography works, so I can’t cite West directly.

Authors from each end of the traditional–postmodern spectrum have finally found some common ground! It is man’s prerogative to ogle women. They only differ on the particular formalities of how to ogle women without concupiscence. One shifts responsibility for the matter entirely onto the woman and her manner of dress. The other denies that any concupiscence is involved at all, that his ogling is a virtuous appreciation of beauty… regardless of how it might horrify or offend or disgust his object.

But these are just surface differences. Both sides treat the woman as an object. Both sides proclaim that it is right and good that men ogle women, that women ought to meekly submit to such ogling, that our human dignity as women is celebrated by being ogled. But it is unique to Pantsgate, and horrifically so, that it is a woman’s responsibility to wear skirts and dresses to maximize value for the ogler. In the name of modesty.

Modest women everywhere, devotees of skirts AND pants, should be outraged by this attack on their dignity and virtue under the guise of modesty. That list of reasons why women shouldn’t wear pants has nothing to do with modesty at all, and everything to do with trying to demarcate and then toe the line of sin.


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2 responses to “The Evil Underbelly of Pantsgate

  • mab

    I never knew that choosing pants was such an emotionally and politically charged choice… I just thought I was hiding my unshaven legs! :)

    LOVED The article you linked to. Amen to pants!

  • GeekLady

    You wouldn’t believe the fuss it’s caused, mab. I’m completely in favor of dressing modestly, but the original article was only using modesty as a blind – its entire substance was “pants make you look ugly, and we deserve to look at you at your prettiest and most feminine, so you have a moral imperative to wear pants.”

    And that pisses me off. Not so much that men like to look at women, but the sense of entitlement involved.

    The other thing that angers me is the attitude that we pants wearing sinners are just clinging to our evil ways in defiance of all that is good and virtuous, and that chafing has nothing at all to do with our wardrobe choices.

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