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I'm just a believer that is recovering from my experience at Teen Mania's Honor Academy and I would like to share my journey of healing with you.

December 16, 2011

Gender Roles at Teen Mania

The first paragraph from the latest Honor Academy newsletter actually makes me want to barf. Regarding the Men's and Women's Life Transforming Event, it said:


It was an encouraging weekend with men doing manly activities (like rescuing their sister core) and women doing womenly activities (like being rescued by their brother core) as well as hearing solid teachings that brought Godly manhood and womanhood to the forefront.


Who decided those categories of manly and womanly things? These are just reinforcements of negative gender stereotypes. There are plenty of strong women in the Bible who led men and actually did the rescuing themselves. Where is Teen Mania getting this gender philosophy? Because its not from the Bible...

There is A LOT more that can be said about this topic and I'll try to tackle that next year. Time for a holiday break now and posting will resume January 2nd.

50 comments:

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. Disgusting.

Yeah, but you know powerful women like Deborah were exceptions to the rule ya know...because there were no "strong men" around. I like how Biblical Literalists dismiss all the literal examples of women in leadership in the Bible as "exceptions".

This post just made me fully realize I can't take seriously anything they say anymore. Do people actually believe this stuff still? Wow. This would be laughable except for all the abuse of unsuspecting young people that still happens =(.

My personal position is that TM is unbiblical with that said:

There are serious differences between men and women from both a scriptural standpoint and practical. The means in which this is taught at teen mania are not so helpful or biblical. If you would like some teaching on the subject from a biblical position here is a great source; http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/topic-index/biblical-manhood-womanhood

Also, there is a lengthy teaching on Marriage, Family, and sexuality from David Platt http://www.disciplemakingintl.org/media/schurch/series_list/?id=293

Hope these resources may help you form a biblical view of manhood and womanhood.

Regarding "powerful women like Deborah" that was judgement on the nation of Israel for their sin.

This comment has been removed by the author.

So tired of people ignoring how women can have power. I mean good Grief if the first person to preach the gospel even to the disciples was a woman, which we know it was according to the bible then acting like women are less preferred just shows men not wanting to allow women equality when Jesus gave that to women.

Rescued from what? Is TM intentionally putting women in dangerous situations just to make a point about culturally-ascribed gender roles? Because that would really be a very un-manly (and ungodly) action.

I really highly doubt that if I was ever in an avalanche, I'd be overly picky whether it was a man or a woman who came to my rescue. God doesn't care either.

I remember something similar happening during my year. I think it was just my core and bro-core. Basically, I remember the guys being taught that they need to protect and cherish their sisters (core) and that the girls were supposed to support and allow our brothers to lead.

It is a nice gesture... I appreciate it when a man opens doors for me and allows me to walk in first. I appreciate it when a man stands to greet me--- I live in the South, where this is still somewhat commonplace. BUT, I also do NOT expect a man to stand, or open a door. I don't expect to be taken care of.

I know that I am capable for taking care of myself. I know that I can open doors, and carry heavy things for myself.

TM also told women that if we didn't allow a man to open the door or carry a heavy box, we were not allowing the man to lead and we were not allowing them to be men. Which I find to be BS.

I am all for chivlary as long as you can understand that I am not a poor, helpless woman who requires these things--- which is NOT what TM teaches.

TM teaches women that they have to be feminine, dress certain ways, perform certain ways, act certain ways. And those teachings have definitely been challenging for me to overcome.

In 2002, once Trailer club replaced Knighthood as the campus wide men's program, there was a night where all of the men (or maybe just the men who wanted to pariticipate) went out into the woods. We were put into groups of 4, given 2 shields, a paintball gun and a roll of tape. We had to run out into a field and locate a girl who was surrounded by GIs toting paintball guns of their own. We had to use the shields to defend and the gun to fight off. If anyone got hit, our "medic" had to cover the "wound" with tape, or we couldn't use that limb. Our objective was to "rescue" the girl from the field. At least two of my group got shot and we ran out of tape. So we spent the rest of the exercise pinned down in the bushes. We did have a girl with us, but that was as far as we got.

In our year, we were told to be polite by opening doors and offering to help with heavy lifting. It never came across (to me anyway) that we were doing this to "lead" but rather to show respect to our sisters by being polite. We were warned, however, not to show favoritism to any particular girl or group of girls, lest it seem like we wanted to date them.

What Carl said. We women were told to call out for our brother core to come rescue us. Honestly, not getting rescued, the GI's made me feel like my brother core didn't care enough.

Preston,

Uh, I am not so sure I would reccommend John Piper's position that you referenced on gender roles either.

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/topic-index/biblical-manhood-womanhood

The issue here is not whether it is important that men do these things for women. The issue is that TM is trying to infuse a "works" oriented salvation on others and to take the position of the HOly Spirit in producing change. Change only comes from the Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit; no one can force change on someone. Change comes from the heart and that person has to come to that realization. If one has the fruits of the Holy Spirit one is going to realize how he or she needs to treat each other as a brother and sister in Christ. TM has NO ability to even be able to produce that heart change. They might be able to make someone feel guilty, but that is not true heart change. All our actions are in response to our love for Jesus Christ and that is only done by submitting to the Holy Spirit to work in us.

Preston, John Piper is a misogynistic tyrant. His teachings are damaging to men and women alike.

Further, here is an interesting take on John Piper's idea of biblical manhood/womanhood: http://arewomenhuman.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/john-piper-on-sex-and-masculine-leadership/

I agree with Layne- the problem is that many of these "Christian" leaders are introducing a works oriented gospel. It is time to leave these guys to the dust and get back to the Word of God. The Holy Spirit is perfect in teaching us His Word.

Carl, I'm curious... what do they (TM/HA) believe that interns will/should get out of these gender-role-specific exercises?

As a young woman who HAD felt empowered by everything I had been able to do on GE trips (8 trips), I was sorely disappointed in the Women's Ministry at HA. I was constantly offended by leaders whom I had previously respected.

The last straw, for me, was when one of the women leaders talked (during "the week of the Wife") about how we should wear makeup, with no real evidence to back that up except that her husband didn't "notice" her while she was still a "chapstick girl." Whatever. But the problem is that she then passed around a Mary Kay catalog and asked us if we wanted to buy makeup -- from HER. I took this as an abuse of power and reported my shock to a few other interns who said she was "being helpful" or "providing a resource." THAT was when I stopped going to "optional" women's events.

Meh, sorry Preston but I am over complementarianism. I am an egalitarian and feminist through and through. Thankfully my husband is as well. It's been a long road for me since I was raised with complementarianism in addition to TM indoctrination, but I am finally free. I have a hardcore Calvinist friend who is gaga for Piper but I am not a fan. I don't swallow anything any modern teacher says whole anymore.

Wow wow wow wow wow. Ugh. I actually BELIEVE in gender roles, trhat men and women are wired very differently, etc. Yet I have never thought to put men in the category of "rescuers" and women in the category of "rescued". That makes no sense.

How is being rescused a "womanly activity"? If a man "needs rescuing", is he no longer a man? And how is needing to be rescued an activity? Isn't it a simple human need?

If I was ever in a place of "needing rescuing" at TM where a guy or guys pitched in, I would have been chastised as a harlot. Seriously, TM is so concerned that we women are going to make men stumble that I'm frankly shocked they'd want to put the girls into situations where men rescue them.

It's just one more case to me where TM demeans women and can't keep their teachings straight.

Layne-
I honestly have no idea. I hated this exercise. Our resources were too limited for success, and quite frankly it was absolutely pointless. There was no stated intention, other than the goal of the exercise. This along with ESOAL/PEARL and testimonies concerning other LTEs has led me to believe that someone in leadership at TM just comes up with asinine ideas and everyone assumes that the interns will "get something out of it." And then they do because they're told that they should and humans have the extreme gift of rationalization.

I think the idea that they are teaching men that they have the power to "rescue" or "save" a women is insane and can lead to men trying to "fix" the women in their lives. Further, teaching women that men are their "saviors" is disgusting, even outside of christianity.

That being said, I thought this was a christian ministry who believe that a human soul can only be saved through Jesus Christ... mixed messages much?

@ Joyanna:

Her husband didn't notice her when she was a "chapstick girl?" Seriously? That's a bunch of crap. My husband started dating me before he ever saw me in makeup. He likes when I wear it, but he still thinks I'm beautiful without it. Men like that exist... we all don't have to become these cookie cutter fembots just to get a husband. It makes me so mad that TM equates this to being a woman of God.

I remember all that stuff about how real women of God wore makeup and acted feminine and whatnot. Well, sorry boys, but I like carrying my own heavy things. I power lift at the gym for petes sake. I appreciate having doors held open for me by either gender, but I don't expect it.

Also, my mom is a lovely petite woman no higher than my shoulder, and she built our downstairs bathroom, in addition to several other self-done renovation projects. She is beautiful and strong, and I would rather be like her than a delicate girly thing. I'm not even saying it's wrong to want to be delicate... but I am saying that my mom and I are no less of women for being strong.

@layne: mixed messages--exactly. I can guarantee that just one of the messages we had drilled into our heads was how we had to become the best Teen Mania woman on our own so we could have a great marriage in the future and not depend "too much" on our husband.

I think they want us (women) to fit into their interpretation of Proverbs 31, they want us to be self-suficient and eye candy/trophy wives to men, and they want us to "know our place".

Just let me be a person. I'm so tired of people saying women can be everything (as if we SHOULD be everything) and do anything (again, SHOULD do EVERYTHING). And I'm sick of people sayng women should be limited because we are female. Let me walk in my strengths and my weaknesses as an individual created by a loving God and start trying to look at me with the eyes of Jesus instead of the eyes of Man (claiming to be speaking for God).

I completely do not understand why it's so vital to generalize and then preach what men or women should be. I once heard a teacher say "not sure if you're a real man? Take off your clothes, stand in front of the mirror. If it looks like you're a guy, then congratulations. You found a real man."

Honestly makes me wonder if, like everything else in life, those who fixate on a certain topic are just completely insecure themselves in that area. Preaching about gender roles? Maybe you need to take off your clothes, stand in front of the mirror.....

The interesting thing I've found in my fundamentalist journey, TM included is that in practice these "biblical"gender role teachings do not usually produce macho men. I do not personally know any Christian men who have really dominated or "rescued" their wives. What I have seen LOTS of is because the wife is indoctrinated with these teachings is she is judging her husband against what a "godly man" should be, lamenting that he doesn't "lead enough", isn't the "spiritual head" of their house, etc. The men in turn are like "the eff, I'm loving you and trying to follow Christ, what more do you want?". Or when he does make a decision, she doesn't like it and still judges it.

I mean, I know there is still plenty of male chauvenism in fundamentalism and sadly husbands who are domineering...just in my personal journey I've seen laid back husbands with passive aggressive wives. As we speak I know of at least two couples where the wife is anguishing and "praying" for this and it is causing undue stress in their marriages.

Even my marriage, which was already amazing...became even more so when I gave up the idea that must husband was supposed to be the leader (he never tried to lord anything over me) and happily started seeing him as my equal, my partner *swoons*.

It is clear the amount of anger that many have towards TM from the above posts. In great part I agree with your anger that you were taught and instructed with such gross biblical negligence. Again let me state that I do not agree with the doctrines of TM nor indorse the ways in which they sought to teach most of these. Teaching "macho" things does not make godly men, fully agreed.

But, there is a difference between men and women regardless of what you would like to believe the bible makes this clear. 1 Peter 3:7 "Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the weaker vessel" Either, this passage is true and there is a difference or its not. If is not why believe any of the bible? If the bible says something we don't like do we just mark it out? Then what is the point in claiming any belief in the authority of scripture? Why not just throw the whole thing out and make our own rules.... oh wait that is precisely what we all do... TM and ourselves included.

Please don't let your frustration of what happened during your time at TM burn you. Denounce them and move on. Your days at TM were but a moment in time. the joys of knowing Christ in his fullness can be the rest of the story.

-----------------------------------------------------------------
What does it take for a man to be godly to exercise the fruits of the Spirit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal. 5:22) A godly man is one who prayers for his family, and his church, that the glory of Christ's name to be made known among them to the nations.

Enough said from me about gender roles.

I'd like to share this one last thing. Lets go take a look at one of the women of the bible if you will..., Ruth

It will be well worth your time!

http://www.disciplemakingintl.org/media/series/view/271/the-mystery-of-mercy/video?filter=book&book=6

Preston, I wouldn't expect much support around here for your black-and-white worldview. Further, I would be careful calling women "weak".

Makes my skin crawl. It's like hearing someone tell you why one race is stronger/smarter/more suitable for leadership than another and back it up with "scripture". Creepy.

"Regarding 'powerful women like Deborah' that was judgement on the nation of Israel for their sin" (Preston).

Lord help me, I can't help but femininely roll my eyes at statements like this.

Ruth is a great example of a woman following another woman's advice to do something very counter to her contemporary gender roles. Thanks!

Preston: Never fear; denouncing Teen Mania is exactly what we're doing here, and we'll "move on" just as soon as they stop repeating the same old false teachings.

Your remarks about the Bible might have more weight if (1) you didn't couch it in a false dichotomy fallacy. (Are those really our only two options, to take that interpretation of the verse or abandon the Bible entirely? What if this passage is true but we conclude that you're misinterpreting it? What if it's true but intended metaphorically?)

And (2) if you'd quoted it correctly. For one thing, it's specifically not about all women but about how a husband should treat his wife. That's immediately obvious from the first word, "Likewise, husbands, treat your wives...". (In passing, this is why I always deleted the phrase "The Bible makes it clear" when I was a copyeditor.)

For another thing, you left out the word "as." The verse actually says, "show her honor as a weaker vessel"-- It doesn't say that a woman is weaker, just that your wife is like a weaker vessel, to the specified extent that both of them should be handled with respect (cf. fine china or glassware). Jesus said we should be "harmless as doves" but that doesn't mean we should coo and lay eggs.

For a third thing, worst of all, you don't quote the second half of the verse, which contains the phrase, "as being also joint heirs of the grace of life..." That is, the very verse you appeal to specifically says that men and women are heirs of God equally. A bit of an egalitarian view, perhaps?

As pastor Wade Burleson recently observed, you could make a nifty tu quoque by arguing that the approach to the Scriptures that the CBMW advocates (Piper et al.) is an extremely "liberal" exegesis that, in effect, functionally denies the authority of God's Word. Read it here.

That said, it's clear that we're all in agreement that Teen Mania's doctrine is destructive and hurtful, whatever shapes it comes in and whoever else agrees with it. The main focus should be on clearly speaking the truth. Unfortunately this debate does tend to sidetrack people from what the Bible really does make clear-- e.g. works-righteousness is false, authoritarianism is abuse, God is love, and the rest.

Regarding Ruth I was saying literally lets go take a look at the story, David Platt does an excellent walk through check it out at:

http://www.disciplemakingintl.org/media/series/view/271/the-mystery-of-mercy/video?filter=book&book=6

Preston! We're you at teen mania in 2007? If so- I think you were in my Bro core! Lol.
And, once again, thank you EVERYONE for this post!
This was very helpful. Especially the comment about girls being taught that the way you respect men is to not do anything but make them do it. If they dont they're not real men. What crazy, cray teaching!

This post does nothing more than prove that there are no positive intentions from anyone on this site to make TM a better place for interns. Instead of focusing on whatever these people claim first upset them, you are blowing new things out of proportion. If things really happened directly to anyone in the past, shouldn't those things be the focus? People are not being permanently damaged by having their brother cores 'rescue' them... I want HA to be a great place for the interns current and future... which is why this post should be deleted and this site should return to its purpose. Don't un-do the progress that has been made by doing things like this.

To Anonymous (the one directly above this comment):

Thank you (sincerely) for your input. I can see where you're coming from, and why someone might look at this particular entry and think that we are simply nit-picking a tiny, insignificant issue, trying to get the masses aroused over nothing. You're probably right that people aren't being permanently damaged by having their brother cores "rescue" them. But I feel that RA made it pretty clear that she is presenting this is a just one small, seemingly harmless example of a more sinister and pervasive idea that gets perpetuated at the HA. She even states her intention to expound further after the first of the year.

I'm totally with you; I, too, want the HA to be a great place for interns. I agree that because of this sight, progress has been made--many positive changes have occurred at the HA as a direct result of the push-back from this site. There is still a loooooong way to go however; you can give the interns nicer furniture and more time to sleep, etc., and etc., but if you don't seriously examine some of the harmful TEACHINGS and PHILOSOPHY that underlie the entire program, than you aren't going to prevent interns from being hurt.

I say this from personal experience. Of all the things that happened to me at the HA or that I internalized, Teen Mania's attitude toward relationships, gender, and gender roles might have been the single most devastatingly harmful aspect. I was terribly wounded by the leadership that promoted these teachings, and even more so by the teachings themselves, which followed me long after the internship and contributed to many destructive behaviors and decisions made afterword. My very self-worth and identity has been undermined, and it has taken YEARS to deal with the mess. I have not be involved with TM in any way for 8 years, but it has only been within the last year that I have started really examining the effects of this particular aspect of the HA on my life. I am only just now beginning to work through the damage that was done. Continued....

When I wrote my story for this blog "Jamie's Story", I hardly addressed the gender issue and its impact on my life, because it wasn't until afterward that I was able to look back at it from a more objective standpoint (pretending that I was just a reader happening upon someone else's story). The responses to it were also very revealing. And very healing. And yet, I feel lucky. My wound is relatively shallow compared to others who have shared their stories. One young lady here was once told by Dave Hasz himself that she had a greater responsibility than most girls to "keep her brothers from stumbling" because of her larger-than-average breasts. Tremendous inappropriateness aside, it was comments and attitudes like that which caused her to feel ashamed of the body God had given her, as if it were dirty--the catalyst of other people's sin (to the individual I am speaking of: PLEASE correct me if I am misrepresenting your story or you in any way. That is not my intention). Later on, after she was raped by an intern alumni, this comment from Dave is what came to mind. She believed that it was somehow HER fault for the violence that had been done to her.

Now that you have allowed me to present my case, you might still stand by your original opinion that this particular entry is petty and that the author and her supporters have no positive intentions. That's okay. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I just hope that maybe you understand a little better why this post matters to a lot of us, and why the topic is being addressed. I hope you can see that, in fact, we have the best of intentions: we want to protect other people from being hurt or victimized. That is a bigger priority than protecting the HA, which is the institution that has been doing the harming. Many of us still have high hopes for the internship in general, and that is the reason things like this HAVE to be addressed. The whole "knights rescuing the damsel in distress" is a part of something sorta nasty and the fact that it happens is evidence of a much deeper, darker issue.

If I had been presented with this scenerio during my year at the HA, I believe I would've tried very hard to be that damsil for those guys because I deeply wanted to be a "Godly woman." BUT NOW, I think I would've grabbed that paint ball gun from the CA's and told them to let the guys know I was safe on my way back to the dorm for some sleep. Which is what I would've done before my HA days as well.


On another note...

I seriously didn't think any of the guys at the HA even liked me while I was there. I just felt like I got in their way and tried to not be a harlot by wearing my purse strap acrossed my chest.

I was so afraid I would be the reason some guy would stumble and ministry in the world as we know it would change. I would literally run from guys. OH and I never made eye contact with them over 5 seconds without looking away so that they wouldn't think I was overly interested in them. I don't know why I felt I had to do that but I didn't do that any other time in my life before the HA nor did I have that kind of teaching anywhere else.

I personally have know idea how interns go on to marry other interns. Maybe I just took the rules too seriously? I didn't even contact guys after the internship because I thought they would call me if they were interested. I didn't think we were supposed to pursue them at all. Which is another shocking mentality I picked up at the HA because during my HS days I had no problem talking with guys or even asking them out if I wanted to.

And all the talks about women being a "stumbling block" counteracted all the "paint the barn" talks. I just recently grasped that I sabotaged my appearance subconciously while at the HA. I rarely dressed to my liking and gained weight like crazy because I didn't want guys to be distracted my me.

The gender roles teaching at TM's HA is very hurtful on too many levels.

Nicole, I understand what you are saying about passive-agressive wives. I've even been in women's bible studies where it is prayed for our husbands and men to "step Up." I agree with you. Your comments also made me think of something that I've wanted to share for awhile.


In my experience, it has been taught (handed down from generations) in the church from more experienced women to less experienced women to behave in a manipulating type of ways. Especially if a woman is dealing with a controlling or jealous husband, or a husband who sees her as not equal and wants submission (or the false teaching of that submission in his eyes). I have counceled and mentored with women who have taught me to "paint the barn," speak certain ways, boost my husbands ego, and even suit his 'needs' in whatever way, so that I can gain freedom to have a girls night, or make decisions. For some of my friends, in extreme cases, they 'act pretty' for their husbands so that he will agree for her to get a hair cut that he may be opposed to.

Remember the line in the movie, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? The daughter is distressed because her dad won't give her permission to get married, so she goes to her mother. This is her mother's reaction, "The Man, he is the head, but the woman, she is the neck, and she can turn the head any way she wants."

I believe we as women have been taught in many ways that we are less than men. I think women are mistreated and abused in too many ways. We are overlooked, looked down apon, and in some cases walked all over.

Coming from a culture that the men are the "providers." And the women, Well the women, do everything else 90% of the time whether they have full time jobs or not.

I think women have learned how to survive. But it's through this survival by manipulation and passive agressiveness that we have cheapend ourselves.

Just because we can get a man to do what we want with our witting passive agressive arguments or manipulate him with our "painted barns" and over all kind nature doesn't mean they will respect us. It just means that we got our way that one time. In the end, we are still viewed as less than men in their eyes. And in the eyes of the people who teach this type of damsil in distress point of view, we still look weak for resorting to petty measures.

I have watched women as they have learned to be three things under all the false teaching from churches and ministries that teach their opinions of gender roles: women become manipulative by stroking a man's ego so that they can have some freedom and false equality, women become passive agressive to defend themselves from husbands who seemingly don't care or match the mold of a leader, and women who lose themselves and self esteem because they don't do any of the above two approaches.

I'm not saying this is the story of every woman but I see it happening in many many women's lives all over the christian rhelm and even out of the christian rhelm. And I think it is safe to say, Teaching like we recieved at the HA is breeding ground for women to behave like I've stated above.

Personally, I am a woman and a child of GOd and want to be treated like a child of GOd. I don't want to have to be passive agressive, manipulative, or treated as less because of my gender. I want to say what I believe to be right. Live free. Have hope. And be taken seriously without a patty caked idea that I am less.

I don't mean "Our" culture as a whole when I said,

"Coming from a culture that the men are the "providers." And the women, Well the women, do everything else 90% of the time whether they have full time jobs or not."


I meant, the culture from which I live.

As a mother of four, I only have one comment to make.
If a man could have a child, we would see who is "weak" i.e., inner weakness vs. physical weakness.
I'm just saying...(Wink!)

Okay, two comments. I can do all things through Christ...is a much better point @ Preston.

"I was so afraid I would be the reason some guy would stumble and ministry in the world as we know it would change. I would literally run from guys. OH and I never made eye contact with them over 5 seconds without looking away so that they wouldn't think I was overly interested in them.... Maybe I just took the rules too seriously?"

This is very frustrating to hear and sincerely think Dave Hasz would be appalled by some of the teaching that has happened behind closed doors both with CAs and RDs. This type of teaching never came from my CA which I'm thankful. Much of this seems to be a result of placing CAs and RDs with no knowledge or experience except what their former CA or RD taught them.

I took everything with a grain of salt while at the HA, and tried my best to filter it through the scriptures..., which resulted in many rules not being taken seriously.

From hearing about how the teaching of CAs is monitored now it seems as some of this would dissipate greatly.

Now, with all that said there is great truth in a women being modest and that our culture cares nothing of modesty.
*** Yet, all teaching given to a bunch of young people to flesh out among each other is always going to result in exaggeration and out of balance ***

Preston - Unfortunately, this teaching is NOT just given out by CAs and RDs. It comes from the top. I'll have a post that examines that further in the near future...

Preston,

I understand that the first possible people to blame would be CA's or RD's. I used to think that is were the problem started too. But my CA was amazing, my manager was very good, and my core are some of the nicest and spiritually mature people I've known to date.

I am the Anonymous that you got the quote from above. Thanks for responding but it was from Ron Luce, Katie Luce, DH and the women DI's at that time that I took this type of teaching. I only wish I had my old notes to explain why I felt the way I did.

Preston,
"Now, with all that said there is great truth in a women being modest and that our culture cares nothing of modesty."

Just women? What is this "great truth"?

I'd like to offer this post for your reading enjoyment...
"How Modesty Made Me Fat"
http://nonprophetmessage.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/how-modesty-made-me-fat/

And the follow-up post, which is equally poignant...

"Modesty: a response to common misunderstandings"
http://nonprophetmessage.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/modesty-a-response-to-common-misunderstandings/

I'd like to offer this post for your reading enjoyment...
"How Modesty Made Me Fat"

results of exaggeration and out of balance perspective. Don't blow things out of proportion and become legalistic would be the lesson, see the spirit of the law not the letter. Balance, Balance, Balance...

Modesty is a biblical mandate on both men and women. Measuring the length of a dress is not a biblical mandate. Taking the wisdom of older women into account is well just wise.... but not law

The amount of over embellishment to wisdom given is evident..., now I understand this teaching most likely was not given in a form of wisdom but law..., this is were common sense comes to play....

I'm done with this blog the above statement has a lot of truth to it: "This post does nothing more than prove that there are no positive intentions from anyone on this site to make TM a better place for interns. Instead of focusing on whatever these people claim first upset them, you are blowing new things out of proportion."

And I dislike TM and hope it shuts its doors, yet find my self defending it against such a distorted perception.

Bye Bye.

Preston - You've shown a very sexist attitude with your casual dismissal of very real issues and pain. Bye-bye!

Preston: The New Testament has exactly one sentence with the word "modest" in it referring to clothing. Actually, a better translation of the word would be "well-ordered" (kosimos). So who is really blowing things out of proportion here?

Teen Mania, as well as many other misguided teachers (like the ones you cite), is providing a distorted perception simply by making a "biblical mandate" out of something that the Bible mentions only in passing, as a sub-point of a sub-point where the main point should be the Gospel. For trying to clear that perception away, this site gets blamed for doing what Teen Mania is doing in fact. That's really very unfair.

I'd recommend my own article for a fuller exploration: http://www.ericpazdziora.com/writing/garments-of-salvation/

In our year, we were told to be polite by opening doors and offering to help with heavy lifting. It never came across (to me anyway) that we were doing this to "lead" but rather to show respect to our sisters by being polite. We were warned, however, not to show favoritism to any particular girl or group of girls, lest it seem like we wanted to date them.

@Carl Litchfield-If you do that for a girl who is married, engaged, or taken, by showing favoritism, you'd better be careful. She might have a husband, fiance, or boyfriend that could turn out to be violent and possibly kill you. Most men in our culture don't tolerate other men doing anything chivalrous for their wife or girlfriend. So make sure she's not married, engaged, or involved.

@Anon -

"If you do that for a girl who is married, engaged, or taken, by showing favoritism, you'd better be careful. She might have a husband, fiance, or boyfriend that could turn out to be violent and possibly kill you. Most men in our culture don't tolerate other men doing anything chivalrous for their wife or girlfriend. So make sure she's not married, engaged, or involved."

Wait, what? No really. WHAT?! This is... I don't know where you are getting this. I'm assuming by "most men", you are referring to characters in TV shows and movies? I have never in my life met a man who would become violent toward another man for opening the door for his lady. Psychopaths maybe? But you say "most men", inferring that this is absolutely common. Do you live in Detroit?

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