Earlier today, I read “Seeing a Woman: A conversation between a father and son” by Nate Pyle. I believe that this article has several serious problems.1
Concerning how women should dress, he asserts,
There are two views regarding a woman’s dress code that you will be pressured to buy into. One view will say that women need to dress to get the attention of men. The other view will say women need to dress to protect men from themselves. Son, you are better than both of these. A woman, or any human being, should not have to dress to get your attention. You should give them the full attention they deserve simply because they are a fellow human being. On the other side, a woman should not have to feel like she needs to protect you from you. You need to be in control of you. [Italicized text is bold in the original]
(1) The author holds that “women should not have to dress to get your attention.” Scripture, however, indicates that a woman’s appropriately adorning herself externally is proper. Naomi counseled Ruth how she should make herself appropriately appealing to Boaz:
Rut 3:3 Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.
Naomi, obviously, was not just telling Ruth to clothe herself; she was advising Ruth to dress herself attractively. Understanding this, several versions bring out what is clear but implicit:
NAU Rut 3:3 “Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself and put on your best clothes, and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.
NET Rut 3:3 So bathe yourself, rub on some perfumed oil, and get dressed up. Then go down to the threshing floor. But don’t let the man know you’re there until he finishes his meal.
NIV Rut 3:3 Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking.
NKJ Rut 3:3 “Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.
Similarly, the bride in Psalm 45 clothes herself attractively:
Psa 45:13 The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. 14 She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework:
Moreover, the virtuous woman is skilled in producing clothing (Prov. 31:13, 24) and clothes herself in silk and purple (Prov. 31:22), which signify that she dresses herself attractively in appealing garments.
These Scriptural passages show that women should dress themselves in appropriate attire that does make them appropriately attractive to men in appropriate settings.
(2) Although this author rightly challenges men that they need to be in control of themselves, he errs when he says, “A woman should not have to feel like she needs to protect you from you. You need to be in control of you.” This statement seems to suggest that women should not be concerned about the possible effects that the way that they present themselves will have on men.
Scripture, however, warns that all believers are responsible not to “put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way” (Rom. 14:13). Knowing the sinful propensity of men to lust when they are presented with seeing women dressed in revealing ways, women do have a responsibility to help their brethren not to lust after them (Rom. 14:20-21).
(3) Concering women’s bodies, the author writes,
We’ve been a taught a woman’s body will cause men to sin. We’re told that if a woman shows too much of her body men will do stupid things. Let’s be clear: a woman’s body is not dangerous to you. Her body will not cause you harm. It will not make you do stupid things. If you do stupid things it is because you chose to do stupid things. So don’t contribute to the fear that exists between men and women.
Yes, men are responsible for the choices that they make. Women, however, are also responsible when men make ungodly choices because the women that they interact with dress and act in seductive ways that are inappropriate for male-female interaction except in the context of marriage.
For example, Scripture warns men about evil women “with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart” (Prov. 7:10). When the daughter of Herodias danced sensually before Herod, she was responsible for fueling his lust (Mark 6:22).
Viewing too much of a woman’s body is dangerous for any man who is not married to her.
(4) Concerning women, he asserts,
But don’t do all this because she is weaker. That’s the biggest bunch of . . . out there. Women are not weaker than men. They are not the weaker sex. They are the other sex. [Italicized text is bold in the original]
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the apostle Peter explicitly says otherwise:
1Pe 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. [bold formatting added]
Anyone who believes the Bible must reject the viewpoint of this author concerning women being weaker. Scripture directly teaches that they are.
Although the author means well, Scripture does not support what he has written. Yes, God holds us men responsible for lustfully looking at women, and we must take pains to discipline ourselves not to do so (Matt. 5:28-29). It is unbiblical, however, to assert that women should feel that they do not have to be concerned about protecting men. Biblical love demands that both men and women take care not to harm one another through how they dress and through how they speak and interact with one another.
1 http://natepyle.com/seeing-a-woman/; tellingly, the author cites no Scripture in his article.