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Jun 29th 2014 new
(quote) Devan-877827 said:

This is the problem with liberalism. It introduces ambiguity into even the most fundamental of concepts which even children come out of the womb understanding. Thanks to the "lgbt" movement there are now 38 genders, or so I'm told.

It is in our nature to be modest, it's one of our better qualities, inasmuch as Aquinas defines virtue as the ordering of human beings to the service of our nature. Vice, the opposite of virtue, is a corruption of that nature. In other words, the highest is good is for man to live as God intended we should live.

Your argument seems to suggest that persons who adorn themselves immodestly with the intention of drawing undue attention to their body parts are not morally culpable for their actions, but only the people who predictably leer at them as a result. If you twist St. Paul's dictum to such a degree as to negate all forms of immodesty (because our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit) then what exactly is not permitted? Why is it people shouldn't (perish the thought) attend Mass without clothes?

We are temples of the Holy Spirit if and only if we tidy our bodies and prepare to receive it. The Holy Spirit isn't a squatter.


Devan, you are in bold.

This is the problem with liberalism. It introduces ambiguity into even the most fundamental of concepts which even children come out of the womb understanding. Thanks to the "lgbt" movement there are now 38 genders, or so I'm told.


I had to laugh, because obviously, you have never had little ones --- they love to be naked, love it, and keeping clothes on some of them can be quite a chore for quite awhile.

And, not thanks to the LGBT movement are there now 38 genders which is an exaggeration, gender is a social construction as in gender is what a society/culture identifies as the social roles for an individual. Western based countries often have a binary system of masculine and feminine, but many cultures officially acknowledge at least three, masculine, feminine and neuter - other researchers argue that there are at least five distinctions that can be made. What makes this confusing for people, including those who co-opt the discussion, is that gender is not sexual orientation, although they can be linked, they are not necessarily so. Gender, likewise, is not sex as in the biological /physiological sense. But, all of that is an entirely different topic.

It is in our nature to be modest, it's one of our better qualities, inasmuch as Aquinas defines virtue as the ordering of human beings to the service of our nature. Vice, the opposite of virtue, is a corruption of that nature. In other words, the highest is good is for man to live as God intended we should live.

I think this is actually inaccurate. Modesty is now required of us, but in the Garden of Eden we were naked and most arguably would have stayed so, had we remained there, but we did not. One of the most telling things about the consequences of eating the forbidden fruit, was that Adam and Eve were suddenly aware they were naked. So modestly and immodesty seem most probably to me a consequence of our Fallen status rather than our intended nature. Therefore, if not for concupiscence, we would have no need for discussions of modesty or immodesty. But, since we are fallen and now subject to concupiscence, modesty is a virtue which can help us and others master our desires, while immodesty can only provoke those disordered desires.

Your argument seems to suggest that persons who adorn themselves immodestly with the intention of drawing undue attention to their body parts are not morally culpable for their actions, but only the people who predictably leer at them as a result. If you twist St. Paul's dictum to such a degree as to negate all forms of immodesty (because our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit) then what exactly is not permitted? Why is it people shouldn't (perish the thought) attend Mass without clothes?

If both the adorner and the leerer viewed the body as a Temple of the Holy Spirit, neither would be viewing the body as an object of disordered desire, but as a beautiful and miraculous gift of God, as a holy dwelling of the Holy Spirit -- a conception that as a result could preclude any thoughts of a sexual nature. But, because we are fallen, this is no longer possible for us. The biggest issue is the tangling of this concept in modern feminist movement that women have every right to dress or act as they would please and that men (being horrible lustful beings) should harness themselves even in the presence of temptation. It is an exaggeration of a concept that has some truth to it -- as we are all called to harness our disordered desires. However, what is missing from this concept is the idea of right = obligation and in this case, the right to be able to dress as one wishes without being assaulted, is the right without the obligation. If one, understands the way in which our bodies, male and female work, then women would understand that the right to dress as one pleases carries the obligation to dress in a manner that attempts to allow men to view us as individuals and not sexual objects.

I was at the rodeo last night and saw all manner of dress, one young girl was walking toward us. She had a cropped tank top, a beautifully flat and stretch mark free belly with a blingy belly button ring, which danced as she moved catching the light, and the shortest pair of shorts molded to her perfect little backside and as I moved my attention up was just stunned and saddened, that this little girl couldn't have been more than fourteen if that. . .she at that tender young age, has learned how to adorn her body in a manner that draws attention to its perfection -- but she has not learned her obligation to mask her sexuality (defined as a readiness for sexual matters). Women and girls today are advertising their sexuality but it is in essence false advertising, because in some cases they are ready and willing for sexual encounters, but on the whole they are not, or are not even considering anything beyond the attention of a pack of sexually aware and ready males.

Modesty allows us to maintain the majority of our relationships above a sexually aware preparedness, reserving that for our spouse, and not previewing it to any with eyes. So in this sense, modesty allows us to reserve the best and most private parts of ourselves for our spouse and it prepares us for that most exclusive and important of human relations - a sacramental marriage.
I


Jun 29th 2014 new
(quote) Tony-1031677 said: I was going to search in the forum for this but there is no way to search, hence a new post to make everyone happy and mad about each other's opinions on modesty.

People have pointed out there are cultural considerations in defining what is modest. Well, the example used most that I have seen is people in Africa that wear very little even when they go to Mass because that's what they wear, is not immodest there but would be very immodest to us in the developed world. Besides that, I don't know of other places where the normal fashion would be immodest to us.

People also point out environment circumstances, too. Obviously, beach/pool vs. not beach/pool. The summer when it is hot outside.

One reason why it is important to dress modestly is to not cause scandal and tempt another to sin through objectifying you or imagining you as only something to use.

I think it is easy to agree on some clothing that is always immodest: Yoga pants/leggings all exposed, bikini, speedo for men, extremely short shorts for women (men don't wear them as far as I know), skintight shirts/tops, and cleavage revealing shirts/dresses.

Now for questions for the community to answer, and if you have reasons, I hope you include WHY you draw the lines where you do.

1. Where do you draw the line to say that women's shorts or dress/skirt length are modest and not immodest?

2. If a swimsuit is considered modest, does clothing covering an equal amount of skin in a different environment than the beach/pool also deserve to be called modest, even if it's exposing a lot of legs and shoulders?

3. Assuming we agree revealing cleavage is immodest, how much, if any, of a woman's shoulders/neck may be exposed and still be called modest? Does it make a difference if it is a fancy dress or a tank top or spaghetti strap top?

4. Jeans: they cover the legs entirely. There are definitely super tight jeans that would be immodest like yoga pants. Yet most jeans for women are not super tight, but still are form-fitting without any bagginess. Do you think the normal jeans and other form-fitting, not-baggy pants that women wear are appropriate?

I look forward to hearing what you fellow Catholics think! As of now, I myself answer my own questions as follows. Still, others might be able to persuade me to shift my views.
1. I am actually undecided about shorts. Too short is too short, but I also have the thought, "What's so bad about exposing a little more leg, something both men and women have and know how it looks?" The middle thigh is just like the lower thigh, just higher. On the other hand, I think skirts should at least drop down to the top of the knees.
2. No, an equal amount of clothing is not modest in a different environment because environment does matter.
3. I am undecided. My friend that I think cares about modesty wore a dress that exposed half of her shoulders but was not revealing, and open in back to a little below her shoulder blades, and I thought it was modest enough and she looked elegant.
4. I think they are okay if they are not super skintight because they have become so common. They don't stand out like tighter pants do.
MMMM
1) I am not sure which Africa you are alluding to here.
2) Africa is a very big continent with different weather patterns and cultures.
3) Most people in Africa imitate the Western way of dressing which is considered by many people to be too skimpy and definitely not appropriate (my part of Africa.
4) Modesty is highly esteemed such that if I went to church exposing my body or wearing tight fitting clothing, the people surrounding me will tell me that is not acceptable and they will tell me am distracting them. Most women usually have a piece of clothing like a throw and they will offer that to me so that I look descent. That's the Africa I know.

Having said that, yes people still wear skimpy things, blaming it on hot weather but that is the exception rather than the norm. It is a thorny issue that affects mainly women.

What do i think is immodest? Anything that draws unwarranted attention to my body. So I try to go by the maxim that, whether am going to church or work or clubbing, I am called to give witness to Christ. Nothing changes that. The other day in Church a very tall gentleman came is micro mini pair of shorts. I was so embarrassed when he sat down.



Jun 29th 2014 new
(quote) Charles-976166 said: I agree, Here is a quote from Catherine Hepburn


The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It's the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.
HI Charles, wasn't this Audrey Hepburn?? I love this quote whichever Hepburn said it :-)
Jun 29th 2014 new
This is a topic I struggled with since my teenage years. I was very self conscious of my body type and somehow picked up a distorted sense of modesty. It wasn't until I carefully read Pope John Paul or I should say Saint, on"Love and Responsibilty" that I was able to arrive at some serenity over this topic.
I think a lot of women who want to look feminine and beautiful will dress in ways that are edgy when it comes to modesty. It is not easy to get all three together, feminine, modest and beautiful. You might have to spend a lot of time shopping and be willing to pay more.
Some may disagree but I think it's even more of a problem when women dress like men. Maybe everything is covered up but there's something distorting about that way of dressing also. That said, who has time to do so much shopping so as to arrive at the perfect balance?
Jun 29th 2014 new
(quote) Lauren-927923 said: Devan, you are in bold.

This is the problem with liberalism. It introduces ambiguity into even the most fundamental of concepts which even children come out of the womb understanding. Thanks to the "lgbt" movement there are now 38 genders, or so I'm told.


I had to laugh, because obviously, you have never had little ones --- they love to be naked, love it, and keeping clothes on some of them can be quite a chore for quite awhile.

And, not thanks to the LGBT movement are there now 38 genders which is an exaggeration, gender is a social construction as in gender is what a society/culture identifies as the social roles for an individual. Western based countries often have a binary system of masculine and feminine, but many cultures officially acknowledge at least three, masculine, feminine and neuter - other researchers argue that there are at least five distinctions that can be made. What makes this confusing for people, including those who co-opt the discussion, is that gender is not sexual orientation, although they can be linked, they are not necessarily so. Gender, likewise, is not sex as in the biological /physiological sense. But, all of that is an entirely different topic.

It is in our nature to be modest, it's one of our better qualities, inasmuch as Aquinas defines virtue as the ordering of human beings to the service of our nature. Vice, the opposite of virtue, is a corruption of that nature. In other words, the highest is good is for man to live as God intended we should live.

I think this is actually inaccurate. Modesty is now required of us, but in the Garden of Eden we were naked and most arguably would have stayed so, had we remained there, but we did not. One of the most telling things about the consequences of eating the forbidden fruit, was that Adam and Eve were suddenly aware they were naked. So modestly and immodesty seem most probably to me a consequence of our Fallen status rather than our intended nature. Therefore, if not for concupiscence, we would have no need for discussions of modesty or immodesty. But, since we are fallen and now subject to concupiscence, modesty is a virtue which can help us and others master our desires, while immodesty can only provoke those disordered desires.

Your argument seems to suggest that persons who adorn themselves immodestly with the intention of drawing undue attention to their body parts are not morally culpable for their actions, but only the people who predictably leer at them as a result. If you twist St. Paul's dictum to such a degree as to negate all forms of immodesty (because our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit) then what exactly is not permitted? Why is it people shouldn't (perish the thought) attend Mass without clothes?

If both the adorner and the leerer viewed the body as a Temple of the Holy Spirit, neither would be viewing the body as an object of disordered desire, but as a beautiful and miraculous gift of God, as a holy dwelling of the Holy Spirit -- a conception that as a result could preclude any thoughts of a sexual nature. But, because we are fallen, this is no longer possible for us. The biggest issue is the tangling of this concept in modern feminist movement that women have every right to dress or act as they would please and that men (being horrible lustful beings) should harness themselves even in the presence of temptation. It is an exaggeration of a concept that has some truth to it -- as we are all called to harness our disordered desires. However, what is missing from this concept is the idea of right = obligation and in this case, the right to be able to dress as one wishes without being assaulted, is the right without the obligation. If one, understands the way in which our bodies, male and female work, then women would understand that the right to dress as one pleases carries the obligation to dress in a manner that attempts to allow men to view us as individuals and not sexual objects.

I was at the rodeo last night and saw all manner of dress, one young girl was walking toward us. She had a cropped tank top, a beautifully flat and stretch mark free belly with a blingy belly button ring, which danced as she moved catching the light, and the shortest pair of shorts molded to her perfect little backside and as I moved my attention up was just stunned and saddened, that this little girl couldn't have been more than fourteen if that. . .she at that tender young age, has learned how to adorn her body in a manner that draws attention to its perfection -- but she has not learned her obligation to mask her sexuality (defined as a readiness for sexual matters). Women and girls today are advertising their sexuality but it is in essence false advertising, because in some cases they are ready and willing for sexual encounters, but on the whole they are not, or are not even considering anything beyond the attention of a pack of sexually aware and ready males.

Modesty allows us to maintain the majority of our relationships above a sexually aware preparedness, reserving that for our spouse, and not previewing it to any with eyes. So in this sense, modesty allows us to reserve the best and most private parts of ourselves for our spouse and it prepares us for that most exclusive and important of human relations - a sacramental marriage.
I


As I've said previously, the separation of gender from sexuality, as well as its definition as a "social construction," is another feminist dichotomy which I'm well aware of, and which I don't accept on an intuitive or scientific basis. The science simply doesn't support the idea of gender as distinct from sexuality. There are too many similarities across too many different cultures which seem to dismiss the notions of socially constructed gender. We are what our chromosomes say that we are. I'm reminded of recent studies in which infants were left by themselves in a room full of toys, and were studied playing with toys which conform to traditional gender roles. I'm reminded of the discrediting of gender theory by the nations known for the highest levels of "gender equity," the Nordic countries.

It's not only the West which is "binary," but plenty of Eastern cultures as well, and they certainly didn't get it from us, as it preceded contact with the West. Secondly, I'm not aware of advanced societies or civilizations which are structured on this basis. When I was studying sociology, I was constantly bombarded with examples of primitive cultures which were "matriarchal" in nature, such as one tribe in Africa in which traditionally masculine roles are reversed. Instead the males tend the homestead, and the females go hunting, for example. Only, there's just one problem. There isn't a single instance of such matriarchal societies evolving to form advanced civilizations, much to the chagrin of my feminist educators. Only patriarchal societies have ever achieved the greatest possible good for both sexes, inclining folks like me to presume that as a superior good comes more naturally to humans than the latter.

Thirdly, Eden is different of course because it was an idyllic existence in which humans were gifted with all sorts of unmerited graces which of course we don't enjoy today due to the transgressions of our first ancestors. There was no toil, no shame, no violence etc. Upon the expulsion of human beings from Paradise, our nature has changed to reflect our change in circumstances. Per the Aquinian formulation (which is borrowed from the Aristotelian formulation) virtue is the highest end of man, and modesty, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is a component of the cardinal virtue of temperance. It is in our human nature therefore, to be modest, and that is a good thing.
Jun 29th 2014 new
I don't think it is in our nature to be modest- more so, it behooves us to work towards modesty. Our nature is fallen, no?

This may be a simplistic notion, but there is a distinction between being modest because we deem our bodies to be evil (a heresy), and covering it up because it is good. Or a good. So the interior attitude is important, I think.
Jun 29th 2014 new
(quote) Sara-979131 said: I don't think it is in our nature to be modest- more so, it behooves us to work towards modesty. Our nature is fallen, no?

This may be a simplistic notion, but there is a distinction between being modest because we deem our bodies to be evil (a heresy), and covering it up because it is good. Or a good. So the interior attitude is important, I think.

Your distinction is between modesty and chauvinism, which modesty is not. Modesty is good, through and through, and is a part of the virtue of temperance, which is a cardinal virtue. This isn't my teaching, this is the Catholic Church speaking.

2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

www.vatican.va

Jun 29th 2014 new
(quote) Devan-877827 said:

As I've said previously, the separation of gender from sexuality, as well as its definition as a "social construction," is another feminist dichotomy which I'm well aware of, and which I don't accept on an intuitive or scientific basis. The science simply doesn't support the idea of gender as distinct from sexuality. There are too many similarities across too many different cultures which seem to dismiss the notions of socially constructed gender. We are what our chromosomes say that we are. I'm reminded of recent studies in which infants were left by themselves in a room full of toys, and were studied playing with toys which conform to traditional gender roles. I'm reminded of the discrediting of gender theory by the nations known for the highest levels of "gender equity," the Nordic countries.

It's not only the West which is "binary," but plenty of Eastern cultures as well, and they certainly didn't get it from us, as it preceded contact with the West. Secondly, I'm not aware of advanced societies or civilizations which are structured on this basis. When I was studying sociology, I was constantly bombarded with examples of primitive cultures which were "matriarchal" in nature, such as one tribe in Africa in which traditionally masculine roles are reversed. Instead the males tend the homestead, and the females go hunting, for example. Only, there's just one problem. There isn't a single instance of such matriarchal societies evolving to form advanced civilizations, much to the chagrin of my feminist educators. Only patriarchal societies have ever achieved the greatest possible good for both sexes, inclining folks like me to presume that as a superior good comes more naturally to humans than the latter.

Thirdly, Eden is different of course because it was an idyllic existence in which humans were gifted with all sorts of unmerited graces which of course we don't enjoy today due to the transgressions of our first ancestors. There was no toil, no shame, no violence etc. Upon the expulsion of human beings from Paradise, our nature has changed to reflect our change in circumstances. Per the Aquinian formulation (which is borrowed from the Aristotelian formulation) virtue is the highest end of man, and modesty, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is a component of the cardinal virtue of temperance. It is in our human nature therefore, to be modest, and that is a good thing.
Devan, again you are in bold.

As I've said previously, the separation of gender from sexuality, as well as its definition as a "social construction," is another feminist dichotomy which I'm well aware of, and which I don't accept on an intuitive or scientific basis. The science simply doesn't support the idea of gender as distinct from sexuality.


It takes only a single instance to nullify a hypothesis. This is not just a feminist dichotomy and in fact represents no dichotomy at all.

The science is growing in this field. For children born with no disparity between their biological or chromosomal sex, and their in utero development -- they will as the toy study suggests divide into traditional gender roles. This has to do with the Nature vs Nurture debate -- the idea of what is determined or influenced by our biology (including genetics and physiology) and what is determined or influenced by our nurture (or socially learned behaviors the culture or sub-culture in which we are raised.) An excellent study of this exact issue can be found in the story of David Reimer chronicled in the book As Nature Made Him: the Boy who was raised as a girl by John Colapinto. And, then following David's story after that to his eventual suicide.

It's not only the West which is "binary," but plenty of Eastern cultures as well, and they certainly didn't get it from us, as it preceded contact with the West.

Because it is the norm in many societies a single exception nullifies the hypothesis that this is the only method of gender assignment. The Berdache today known as the Two Spirits throughout the Americas are repesented in at least 150 tribal groups for male Two Spirits and at least seventy five for female Two Spirits. The Hijra of India, The Xanith or Khanith of Oman, the Fa'afafine (Samoa particularly) others include the Mahu wahine of Hawaiiof the Polynesian islands, the Guevodoces of the Dominican Republic and Turniman of Papua New Guinea and these are but a few of the recognized third genders in cultures across the globe. The last two mentioned are some of the only ones where a chromosomal abnormality is responsible, 5 alpha-reductase deficiency. The interesting thing is both cultures know these infants are male, but among the Dominican republic they are raised as girls until puberty where the majority switch to take on male gender identity but among the Papuans they are most often raised as male, but often prohibited from attaining full mature male status. For some the status is changeable, for example for the Xanith of Oman, they may switch to a full male status by changing their clothing and behavior, marrying and fathering children. There is some evidence that Two Spirits in some Native American cultures could also change their gender status.

There isn't a single instance of such matriarchal societies evolving to form advanced civilizations, much to the chagrin of my feminist educators. Only patriarchal societies have ever achieved the greatest possible good for both sexes, inclining folks like me to presume that as a superior good comes more naturally to humans than the latter.

Whether or not a matriarchy built a civilization like we see today and have seen in the past is irrelevant. It is an adaptation born of increased aggregation and increased reliance on agricultural product to provide for the increased population. Along with this comes a host of not so great things for individuals female or male -- including social stratification, the development of socio economic disparity and restriction of access to resources, which leads to exploitation etc, etc, etc. . . hardly superior for the majority of individuals, but its what we have and the ony way to return to a different form of social organization is the entire collapse of the world as we currently know it -- a zombie apocalypse perhaps :-). This thinking of the superiority of our way of living is a mistake -- it is merely one of many adaptations and currently the only truly viable option given the population of the world and the way we are set up. But, there are lots and lots of issues that come with civilization, only made possible by the advent of agriculturalism.

We are what our chromosomes say that we are.

Ahh if this were only true. We are in most cases male or female and our chromosomes agree. Unfortunately, we are also XXY and XXX and XXXX and XXXXY and a lot of other combinations resulting in chromosomal mosaicisms with their corresponding phenotypic representations which are often very different or even subtly different from the norm of male of female. And, then we have 5 alpha-reductase deficiency and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia that results in masculinized females, so much so along the continuum that they appear male at birth. And, vice versa. Its estimated that 1 in 100 births result in an infant with ambiguous genitalia. And, the above represent chromosomal abnormalities but there are also developmental things that can go awry and cause issues for example estrogen washes in utero (above normal limits) can result in both ambiguous genitalia and more importantly for this discussion a miss-wiring of the brain, meaning a male infant will be born with a brain that is feminized. The reverse can occur if there is a testosterone wash and the female infant is then born with a masculinized brain. We also have true hermaphroditism where an infant is born with the sexual organs of both sexes.

Children born with ambiguous genitalia or intersexed conditions for years and years were treated according to John Money's protocols developed through his belief that Nurture trumped Nature, based on the debacle of his work with David Reimer and his twin brother. It's becoming more and more recognized that there is far more to this than just our biological sex. And, the recommendations now require far more research and even waiting before choosing or not choosing a sexual assignment and undergoing surgeries to make the physical match that assignment. It isn't just a matter of changing the body and the hormones. Our sex is biological/chromosomal/hormonal. Our gender is socially constructed, in this society men act in this way and women act in this way masculine and feminine or intermediate for societies who recognize the differences. For example, the Xanith of Oman, wear traditional male clothing but in female colors -- pastels. They are also permitted in the women's areas including the harems, because they are not viewed as males who act as males. Their dress and hairstyles represent an intermediate position recognizing both their biological male sex and their gender as not really male. Another interesting point -- third genders do not match up with other third genders -- they match up with their opposite in gender. Male Two spirits take husbands who are fully male and are considered fully heterosexually male. Hijras are most often castrated and bleed out their maleness, then considering themselves female and yet society creates a distinction between them and full women. It would be lovely if this were as cut and dried as we like to think it is, but it isn't. Girls with CAH, depending on the severity of it are born with masculinized genitalia -- it can be fixed in utero, but it isn't a normal thing tested for. And, little girls with CAH are decidedly more male like in thinking and behavior depending on the severity of the condition.

The Nordic countries mentioned above were more gender equal in relation to things such as battle and the right to speak. So were many Native groups and the Celts and other Germanic tribes. Because these were socially constructed definitions of what male and female could and couldn't do. It doesn't negate the fact that many gendered behaviors also correlate with brain wiring or genitalia.

And, because this can affect so many births it deserves to be treated and understood. It is also very important to understand the definitions between: sex, sexuality, gender and sexual orientation -- they are not the same thing and they are not interchangeable. They are however somewhat interconnected. But, there are other influencing factors as well -- for example, first consensual sexual encounters leave an imprint that sets up preferences for later sexual encounters. . .this is very important in developmental considerations.

Per the Aquinian formulation (which is borrowed from the Aristotelian formulation) virtue is the highest end of man, and modesty, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is a component of the cardinal virtue of temperance. It is in our human nature therefore, to be modest, and that is a good thing.

I agree that virtue is what we should strive to attain. I also agree that modesty is a good thing. I still affirm that modesty is only necessary because of concupiscence, and was not part of our nature as originally created, but is a consequence of our fall.


Jun 29th 2014 new
(quote) Lauren-927923 said: Devan, again you are in bold.

As I've said previously, the separation of gender from sexuality, as well as its definition as a "social construction," is another feminist dichotomy which I'm well aware of, and which I don't accept on an intuitive or scientific basis. The science simply doesn't support the idea of gender as distinct from sexuality.


It takes only a single instance to nullify a hypothesis. This is not just a feminist dichotomy and in fact represents no dichotomy at all.

The science is growing in this field. For children born with no disparity between their biological or chromosomal sex, and their in utero development -- they will as the toy study suggests divide into traditional gender roles. This has to do with the Nature vs Nurture debate -- the idea of what is determined or influenced by our biology (including genetics and physiology) and what is determined or influenced by our nurture (or socially learned behaviors the culture or sub-culture in which we are raised.) An excellent study of this exact issue can be found in the story of David Reimer chronicled in the book As Nature Made Him: the Boy who was raised as a girl by John Colapinto. And, then following David's story after that to his eventual suicide.

It's not only the West which is "binary," but plenty of Eastern cultures as well, and they certainly didn't get it from us, as it preceded contact with the West.

Because it is the norm in many societies a single exception nullifies the hypothesis that this is the only method of gender assignment. The Berdache today known as the Two Spirits throughout the Americas are repesented in at least 150 tribal groups for male Two Spirits and at least seventy five for female Two Spirits. The Hijra of India, The Xanith or Khanith of Oman, the Fa'afafine (Samoa particularly) others include the Mahu wahine of Hawaiiof the Polynesian islands, the Guevodoces of the Dominican Republic and Turniman of Papua New Guinea and these are but a few of the recognized third genders in cultures across the globe. The last two mentioned are some of the only ones where a chromosomal abnormality is responsible, 5 alpha-reductase deficiency. The interesting thing is both cultures know these infants are male, but among the Dominican republic they are raised as girls until puberty where the majority switch to take on male gender identity but among the Papuans they are most often raised as male, but often prohibited from attaining full mature male status. For some the status is changeable, for example for the Xanith of Oman, they may switch to a full male status by changing their clothing and behavior, marrying and fathering children. There is some evidence that Two Spirits in some Native American cultures could also change their gender status.

There isn't a single instance of such matriarchal societies evolving to form advanced civilizations, much to the chagrin of my feminist educators. Only patriarchal societies have ever achieved the greatest possible good for both sexes, inclining folks like me to presume that as a superior good comes more naturally to humans than the latter.

Whether or not a matriarchy built a civilization like we see today and have seen in the past is irrelevant. It is an adaptation born of increased aggregation and increased reliance on agricultural product to provide for the increased population. Along with this comes a host of not so great things for individuals female or male -- including social stratification, the development of socio economic disparity and restriction of access to resources, which leads to exploitation etc, etc, etc. . . hardly superior for the majority of individuals, but its what we have and the ony way to return to a different form of social organization is the entire collapse of the world as we currently know it -- a zombie apocalypse perhaps :-). This thinking of the superiority of our way of living is a mistake -- it is merely one of many adaptations and currently the only truly viable option given the population of the world and the way we are set up. But, there are lots and lots of issues that come with civilization, only made possible by the advent of agriculturalism.

We are what our chromosomes say that we are.

Ahh if this were only true. We are in most cases male or female and our chromosomes agree. Unfortunately, we are also XXY and XXX and XXXX and XXXXY and a lot of other combinations resulting in chromosomal mosaicisms with their corresponding phenotypic representations which are often very different or even subtly different from the norm of male of female. And, then we have 5 alpha-reductase deficiency and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia that results in masculinized females, so much so along the continuum that they appear male at birth. And, vice versa. Its estimated that 1 in 100 births result in an infant with ambiguous genitalia. And, the above represent chromosomal abnormalities but there are also developmental things that can go awry and cause issues for example estrogen washes in utero (above normal limits) can result in both ambiguous genitalia and more importantly for this discussion a miss-wiring of the brain, meaning a male infant will be born with a brain that is feminized. The reverse can occur if there is a testosterone wash and the female infant is then born with a masculinized brain. We also have true hermaphroditism where an infant is born with the sexual organs of both sexes.

Children born with ambiguous genitalia or intersexed conditions for years and years were treated according to John Money's protocols developed through his belief that Nurture trumped Nature, based on the debacle of his work with David Reimer and his twin brother. It's becoming more and more recognized that there is far more to this than just our biological sex. And, the recommendations now require far more research and even waiting before choosing or not choosing a sexual assignment and undergoing surgeries to make the physical match that assignment. It isn't just a matter of changing the body and the hormones. Our sex is biological/chromosomal/hormonal. Our gender is socially constructed, in this society men act in this way and women act in this way masculine and feminine or intermediate for societies who recognize the differences. For example, the Xanith of Oman, wear traditional male clothing but in female colors -- pastels. They are also permitted in the women's areas including the harems, because they are not viewed as males who act as males. Their dress and hairstyles represent an intermediate position recognizing both their biological male sex and their gender as not really male. Another interesting point -- third genders do not match up with other third genders -- they match up with their opposite in gender. Male Two spirits take husbands who are fully male and are considered fully heterosexually male. Hijras are most often castrated and bleed out their maleness, then considering themselves female and yet society creates a distinction between them and full women. It would be lovely if this were as cut and dried as we like to think it is, but it isn't. Girls with CAH, depending on the severity of it are born with masculinized genitalia -- it can be fixed in utero, but it isn't a normal thing tested for. And, little girls with CAH are decidedly more male like in thinking and behavior depending on the severity of the condition.

The Nordic countries mentioned above were more gender equal in relation to things such as battle and the right to speak. So were many Native groups and the Celts and other Germanic tribes. Because these were socially constructed definitions of what male and female could and couldn't do. It doesn't negate the fact that many gendered behaviors also correlate with brain wiring or genitalia.

And, because this can affect so many births it deserves to be treated and understood. It is also very important to understand the definitions between: sex, sexuality, gender and sexual orientation -- they are not the same thing and they are not interchangeable. They are however somewhat interconnected. But, there are other influencing factors as well -- for example, first consensual sexual encounters leave an imprint that sets up preferences for later sexual encounters. . .this is very important in developmental considerations.

Per the Aquinian formulation (which is borrowed from the Aristotelian formulation) virtue is the highest end of man, and modesty, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is a component of the cardinal virtue of temperance. It is in our human nature therefore, to be modest, and that is a good thing.

I agree that virtue is what we should strive to attain. I also agree that modesty is a good thing. I still affirm that modesty is only necessary because of concupiscence, and was not part of our nature as originally created, but is a consequence of our fall.


My point in introducing studies of infants was to suggest that "gender" is a component of sexuality, since it precedes socialization, aka parental imprinting, aka "nurture." Therefore, what is typically associated with nurture, is in fact a component of our genetic makeup and is not solely explained by socialization. Left to themselves, and absent parental influence infants (barring rare exceptions) conform to roughly male and female roles.

Secondly, gender ambiguities such as hermaphroditism seem almost always slant toward one sex or another, and Catholic teaching speaks to this reality. Magisterial teaching suggests that in such cases patients should be counseled to "choose" the sex with which they most naturally associate. I can't recall any examples of hermaphrodites condemned to perpetual gender limbo for lack of an ability or a desire to choose between male and female.

Thirdly, there's a reason Genesis says "male and female He created them." I don't think that I'm obliged by your anthropological examples to believe that a primitive culture which propounds three genders, for example, is any more natural than an aberrant culture which legally sanctions genital mutilation, rape, or murder, in its codification of law. I'm reminded of the relativistic argument which falls back on cultural differences across the globe in an attempt to dismiss the Natural Law, because at certain times humans feebly stray from the natural law and attempt to codify unjust customs divorced from the natural law into statutes.

Jun 29th 2014 new
I have a comment for the men: please, unless you are at an appropriate place and are sunning yourself, keep your shirts on! biggrin
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