A Modest Proposal

It is a melancholy object to all of us, whether in the heart of Zion or the fringes of the so-called “mission field,” to see how women who dress to flaunt their shapely knees and calves, or who purchase backpacks with only one strap to wear across the chest and make their double-breastedness evident to all, assail the hapless eyes of the red-blooded and vigorous boys and men around them. These pitiable men are captive to the sight of the female body, with its mincing steps and outstretched neck, on which they cannot gaze without losing themselves utterly to a deluge of lustful and wicked transportations.

Indeed, some women dress so as to turn men into walking pornographers.

Certainly we can all agree that this is a problem which demands a fair, cheap, and easy method to liberate these men from the insidious vision of the female body. I have been assured that a male whose eyes are plucked out in the first few years after his birth will learn, with all the facility of one who never had sight to begin with, how to manage through the expert extension of his other four senses, how to read and write Braille as easily as his female peers read and write in standard orthographies, and most essentially, how to govern his attraction to a  creature of the opposite sex, without losing his internal virtue to the exhibition of her enticements.

A man free of the distractions of his own gaze can moreover be much better relied upon to make his decisions for courtship and marriage with a mind more occupied with her habits of speech, her character, her temperament, and the compatibility of their goals and interests. He is less likely to reject an otherwise excellent woman because he is dissatisfied with how shiny her hair is or how good she’ll look in a bikini on their honeymoon.

I can think of no objection that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it be that some men are not attracted to women, and for that matter, some women are. However, the years of childhood are certainly not the final opportunity for the removal of a person’s eyes, and any adolescent girl, who finds her brain immobilized by the sliver of exposed skin when her female classmate reaches for an object on a high shelf, will be only a little impaired by the lateness of her emancipation from the sullying effects of the sight of female flesh. As for gay men, who have already lost their sight before their immunity to the seduction of women is known — surely they will only appreciate the advantages in being blind to the confounding bewitchery of the well-appointed male form.


  1. This is pure brilliance, Melyngoch!

    I only hope those of us too old to be helped can have our eyes grandfathered in and not removed.

  2. You’ve no need to worry about the single strap backpack. Those things are mega dorky and make breasts look bad, not good. No one is turned into a walking pornographer thus, just a walking jerk who makes fun of people who wear something so stupid looking.

  3. Has a man never turned a woman’s head? Let us all be blind together!

    Surely a more reasonable, nay a more modest, proposal would be that we all dress modestly and avoid the issue all together.

    Oh wait…

  4. On a much less highbrow note, I am reminded of an old SNL Weekend Update classic:

    A 32-year-old Filipino farmer sliced his gentials off with a machete in a fit of religious fervor, because he believed his penis was leading him to sin. In a follow-up to this story – he was right, and it worked.

  5. I’ve read a lot of modesty posts lately. Must be a trend or something.

    Would it help anyone to learn that body modesty is not a principle of the gospel?

    We’ve always taught our daughters to remember the answer to God’s question: “Who told thee thou wast naked?” It’s helped us keep perspective on the subject when primary/YW lessons or church magazine articles or sacrament meeting talks are trying to perpetuate the satanic notion of shame over a naked body.

    We focus instead on teaching them to live the law of chastity, while practicing nudism in the own home.

  6. Geez, Melyngoch, this sounds a little extreme. I think it would be more fair to say that all men must stay indoors at all times, unless they are escorted by female relatives while wearing a blindfold outside. As long as we strictly regulate what sorts of media they are exposed to, we will be able to securely save their virtue this way.

    Also solves the messy problem of all that eye-ball disposal.

  7. Maybe instead of gouging out their eyes we could devise a head covering that men could wear in public that would merely obscure their vision- for their own protection of course.
    Something like this maybe?

  8. Just so you know I wrote a fantastic comment[1] and now it’s in the mod queue. Probably because it has a link in it.

    [1] this may be up for debate

  9. Could have been an opportunity for healthy discussion on an important topic. Sometimes intended farce is simply thoughtless snark dressed up in linguistic finery; reduced to stupidity by pandering to the group-thought masses.

    Sorry to say, this is one of those “sometimes.” Was looking forward to thoughtful commentary and discussion. Will have to look elsewhere.

  10. I would wholeheartedly agree with this, except that it would encourage frumpiness in our women, which would surely be displeasing in the eyes if the Lord.

  11. Hagoth: Men putting lustful thoughts in women’s heads? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

    nat: Well, golly, we don’t want to oppress them! Just protect them.

    reb: “snark dressed up in linguistic finery” strikes me as a fine description of Mr. Swift’s own work, so I thank you. Really, there’s been so much healthy discussion on this important topic lately, it seemed high time to have a Chocodile for lunch.

    Aaron: You raise a good point. As one of my mission comps used to say (wholly sarcastically), “The better you look, the better the gospel looks.”

    Kaimi: Consider the sea cucumber. They toil not, neither to they spin, but not even Solomon had a calcified exoskeleton like that.

  12. I rather like the idea of people running around nearly naked (like indigenous tribes did before being “civilized”). In a generation or two, the body won’t be nearly so titillating. A couple of hundred years ago, an ankle was a sexual thing that “should not be shown.” Shoulders were similar at some point in time, as well as *gasp* limbs.

  13. Surely a more reasonable, nay a more modest, proposal would be that we all dress modestly and avoid the issue all together.

    In principle, I agree with Toni’s response. The Church has a very vexed relationship to sexuality that I don’t feel I entirely have a handle on. But if the goal is for everyone to behave and think non-sexually in public, we’ll come a lot closer to achieving that by running around naked than by covering ourselves. Think about it—in cultures in which breasts are covered (like ours), they’re sexualized, so when they’re actually shown, they’re titillating. When elbows or feet are covered, they’re sexualized. If women can’t wear pants, when they do show their legs it’s experienced as obscene. Covering up isn’t going to change this dynamic, just reinforce it.

    We frequently talk as if the less skin is covered in our society, the more degraded our society has become. But this isn’t how modesty works. Modesty is relative. Parts of the world where people just wear loincloths aren’t the most depraved or pornographic, because in those places wearing a loincloth isn’t experienced as sexually provocative; it’s normal.

  14. My vote is for loincloths for male models, burkas for the High Priests in my ward, and whatever-the-hell-we-want for women. I’m sick of wearing those dorky Shade shirts under everything.

  15. Oh, and suits and ties for the rest of the male population. There is just something about a man in a suit…….

  16. @22

    Perhaps my choice of expression was a poor one since it could be misinterpreted as the male’s verb. To be clear, the verb rests with the woman. I should have written.

    “Has no woman ever turned her head to look at a man?”


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