Fathers Have a Responsibility to Teach Their Daughters About Modesty

While realizing that nothing I say will spare me from the accusation of slut-shaming, I want to point out that I’m not blaming women for my or any other man’s lust. We are responsible for our actions and thoughts. Nothing a woman does or does not do justifies on any level being leered at (or worse) by men. But the reality that men lust still remains. As a father of a daughter who’s almost a teenager, that reality doesn’t allow me to sit on the sidelines. And as her father, I see two main objectives: 1. Her safety 2. Teaching her to love her neighbor.

Thankfully, my daughter is still naïve to the dirty glances that I’m already catching men sneak at her. It disgusts me, and I remind myself of my fatherly disgust whenever I’m tempted to sneak wanton looks at ladies. The dirty little secret that’s not really a secret, but that is frequently dismissed or foolishly denied, is that men are more likely to be tempted to leer when there is something to leer at. This means, as her father, I’m going to do my best to teach my daughter how to make wise decisions in reference to how she dresses. As a female, she’s already going to have to deal with the sick behavior of men; I don’t want her to inadvertently exacerbate it.

Of course, the angry rejoinder is going to be “men should be taught not to objectify women.” Well, that’s true. I absolutely agree with that statement. In fact, as my son gets older, I’m going to do my best to train him to view women as individuals made in the image of God and of equal worth as men. I’m going to teach him that when he lusts after a woman, he is violating her and declaring his belief that women are not made in the image of God. But, and this is important, why should my daughter assume that every male is being taught these things—and that they're paying attention to the teaching?

That angry rejoinder also says that if I teach my daughter to take self-defense classes or not to leave her drink unattended, I’m a rape enabler. That misguided thought states that men should be taught to not rape women and to stop putting the onus on women to stop rape. That’s utter nonsense! For one thing, teaching girls to protect themselves does not mean that boys can’t be taught to not rape girls. It’s not an either/or. For another thing, and to repeat myself, it’s nonsense! No woman should be required to depend on the decency of men in order to not be raped. For their own sakes, women should learn to protect themselves from rapists.