If you don’t live in a bubble, you have probably heard about the great debate over what attire is appropriate for a woman to wear in public in order for a man to not have lustful thoughts. The arguments in this area are mainly comprised of how leggings or yoga pants, being form fitting, or how sleeveless shirts or dresses, that reveal a woman’s shoulders, can cause a man to have lustful thoughts.
From experience, I have one more thing that should be added to the list of lust-invoking thought catalysts: blonde hair. Yes, blonde hair.
Probably the most eye-opening, blatant statement anyone ever made to me was about my blonde hair. When I first became a manager, my superior told me that the guys on my team wouldn’t listen to me because they were too busy wanting to sleep with me. He suggested that in order to be taken seriously, I should dye my hair brown.
What? WHAT?! Why on earth would he say that? What made him think that the men in the office wanted to sleep with me because I had blonde hair? I worked hard to get that promotion. I was good at sales and could teach others. Wouldn’t my team listen to me because I knew what I was doing?
If I dyed my hair brown would that make me smarter? Would it enable me in some way to do my job better? Would brown hair actually somehow make men hear what I had to say? I am ashamed to admit that I almost bought into his comments. I did actually dye my hair darker blonde for a while. I figured that I would try to make my hair darker gradually. My husband didn’t like it though.
Then it occurred to me. Why in the world was I trying to change myself anyways? Why was I the one responsible for the alleged lustful thoughts of male co-workers? So I went back to my regular blonde hair. As a manager, I trained employees in group settings and individually. I took over a team that was not doing well, in fact, dead last in the company, and within a year, we were number one in the company. Believe it or not, I was able to accomplish this even with my blonde hair.
Being totally honest here, I have reasons as to why women should not wear blue silk blouses, white pants, or dress-length trench coats because they invoke lustful thoughts in men. I won’t go into those stories because this is a family-friendly article, you’ll just have to trust me when I say that these wardrobe choices elicited some rather inappropriate, lustful commentary. So let’s add those to the list of banned items as well.
It is not my intention to ridicule anyone’s personal decision to wear jeans rather than leggings for the sake of modesty. I firmly believe that as women, and for me personally, as a Christian, we should dress in a manner that is respectful of our own bodies. If we demand respect, we will get respect, right? As the mother of three boys, I appreciate a movement for women to dress modestly. That teaches our sons that it is not okay for society to sexualize women; similarly, it teaches our daughters that gaining affection from a man should not be based on merely being able to attract attention with provocative attire. We should all be praising modesty, lest we end up with more Miley Cyruses, scantily clad, twerking and grinding with large foam fingers.
But what if the list of “do-not-wear-this” is not enough? I mean, we could probably keep adding to it until almost nothing is deemed appropriate, except maybe for sweatpants and sweatshirts. And even then, there may be some sweatshirt-lusting men out there. So what’s the answer?
The Bible warns men against adultery and lust; likewise, it directs women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety. Each has a responsibility to act in accordance with God’s word.
“Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes.” Psalm 6:25
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” I John 2:15-17
“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” I Timothy 2:9-10
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” I Peter 3:3-4
So does this mean that I have to give up leggings, yoga pants, blonde hair, silk blouses, white pants, or any other item that could remotely have the possibility of spurring a lustful thought for a man? No. It is a man’s responsibility to have control over his thoughts and control his desires. It is my responsibility, however, to use good judgment when it comes to my wardrobe choices.