I am pretty much exhausted by the discussion of modesty and chastity in both LDS and feminist circles. This is unfortunate timing because my daughter has not yet started in Young Women’s, so I know we’ll be subjected to several more years of these lessons in the near future. Instead of dreading these earnest discussions with their carefully planned object lessons, I’ve decided to prepare for them.
I don’t want my daughter to be discouraged and shamed because as normal teenager she feels she is not as perfect as a fresh rosebud or as chocolately as a warm brownie (or whatever it is a girl is supposed to be in the brownie modesty analogy) or is an apple clinging tightly to the most inaccessible branch of the tree.
The next time I’m in a YW object lesson that involves passing around a rose or brownie and having everyone manhandle it and then asking who wants it now, I want to say, “Me. I’ll take it. I believe it still has intrinsic value. And did that rose or brownie ask to be passed around and abused? Did it give consent? What role are we playing in this little drama? Passive bystanders? Accomplices? Participants? Unwitting gangbangers? And you, the presenter, you are the leader who has led all of us into committing this crime against nature that violates the autonomy of the rose/brownie. And you knew what you were doing.” Of course, this may be why I’ve never been called to serve in the Young Women’s organization, knock on wood. And to be honest, I would likely stop after “accomplices” depending on the audience.
The violated brownie, the bruised rose are not the only games in town. There’s the chastity tree meme that went around fb a few months ago. Don’t be low hanging fruit, or some such nonsense. Pfui. You want time to mature and ripen, sure, but an apple’s location on the tree is not a matter of volition, and fruit can drop off of the tree no matter what branch it started out on.
So what are your favorite object lessons? And what is your favorite way to subvert their messages? Do you go the reductio ad absurdum route, or do you approach it from a different point of view? And given the limitations and drawbacks of these analogies, what is the best way to teach the youth? I prefer honest conversation, but these object lessons exists for a reason. Is it because they are effective attention getters, they offer good illustrations, or because the adults involved in the discussions prefer not to use more direct language?