The other day I read the post "Sister... show mercy!" on Pyromaniacs, a team blog made up of a group of Reformed bloggers. I don't agree with everything they write, but they usually give me some challenging topics to reflect on. That post was no different. In it, Dan Phillips (who maintains his own blog which I also like... mainly because he often finds and posts some really cool stuff, like this) humbly requests that many sisters in Christ be helpful to their brothers by dressing more modestly. That's a topic that I've never really thought about, but in the comments many Christian men agreed, and related several anecdotes in which bare backs or plunging necklines had caused them to mentally stumble.
On the same day, I read this article by Mike Ensley which was written for Focus on the Family's Boundless web magazine. The actual article was about another topic that I won't get into here, but the opening anecdote in which a provocative ad for men's fashion caused Mike to mentally stumble was interesting to me. The main reason it was interesting was because I thought about the rarity of such provocative displays of male sexuality when compared to that of females.
I guess the rest of this post is directed towards guys who struggle with homosexuality. Both the Pyromaniacs and Ensley posts reminded me that, in some ways, we have things a little easier than our straight Christian brothers. That's because, unfortunately, in our society the female form is on much greater display than the male one (I would go so far to say that it's often exploited). Provocative and sexually-charged images of women are the norm. That's not to say that there aren't provocative images of men (go to an Abercrombie store and you'll see what I mean; as a side note, I don't understand why a clothing store uses models that barely wear any clothing). But women are definitely sexualized more in our culture than men (and I suppose they always have been).
A good example of this is something I was watching recently. I was watching the music video of the song "If I Never See Your Face Again," by the band Maroon 5 with a special appearance by the songstress Rihanna. It's an absolutely great song, and I've linked to it in my new playlist feature on my side bar. The music video is pretty good as well, but I didn't link to it. That's because even though I found the video fine, I think a lot of straight guys who were trying to remain "pure in thought" might have found a problem with it. After all, in the video the handsome members of Maroon 5 are all fully dressed in crisp suit - nice looking, but nothing that would cause me to mentally stumble. The stunning Rihanna, on the other hand, is singing wearing little more than high heels and a skimpy red negligee. She's gorgeous, but I'm pretty sure that kind of image wouldn't really help most straight Christian men, or maybe I'm just not giving straight guys enough credit. ;-)
Now, with the Internet there is plenty of opportunity for anyone of any sexuality to stumble. However, I do think that guys struggling with homosexuality (and I suppose even straight women) have it easier when it comes to day-to-day thought patterns. Men generally don't dress half as provocatively as a woman can. I live in a beach town and go to a college that consistently ranks as having one of the most attractive student bodies (whoever does those rankings has never seen me at 8:00 in the morning, but whatever). Therefore, there are lots of beautiful women walking around wearing very little clothing. Like I said, I've never really cared before. However, I'm sure I have several straight brothers who I'm sure must have a hard time with all the miniskirts and low-cut tops. At least, they would if they are as committed to taking their thoughts captive as most SSA-strugglers are, but that might be another post for another time. :)
So, that's about all the post was about. Holiness isn't easy, and I think a lot of SSA-strugglers view our struggle as harder than anyone else's. It certainly has its own unique traits, but purity is hard for everyone, and for those attracted to women (that means straight men and struggling lesbians), it's probably harder thanks to our culture's exploitation of the female body. Let's just call it a bright side, and as I've written before, I always look for those in this struggle, especially when it seems difficult.