I still remember walking to the mall one day with my friend during the beginning of my high school years. We both had on cute outfits and were hoping to get some attention. We would smile and giggle when guys honked or whistled out of their windows, harmlessly enjoying the attention and affirmation.
Then one car actually pulled over as one of the men in the car hung out of the window calling to us and our hearts almost stopped! We thought we were going to die or be abducted, until they finally drove off again. That was not the last time we have gotten cat-calls but it was certainly the last time we went looking for them.
It’s funny that you can get what you want and then realize you have no idea what to do with it and even that you don’t actually want it.
I think the same thing happens to the woman that gets all dolled up in a little black dress and goes to clubs, bars, or parties where most of the crowd has a ‘hook up culture’ mentality. She will get attention all right, but all too often it does not lead to the love she was hoping for.
It’s this paradoxical mindset of needing to be sexy in order to be beautiful that keeps many of us women finding ourselves wearing clothes or acting in ways that appeal to an idea that in order to find love we must be the hottest, sexiest woman in the room.
That may draw the eyes of men, but it will not draw the heart of one.
It contributes to lust and objectification because it feeds into the reduction of ourselves to just our sexual appeal. Our bodies become what we have to offer, afraid that our interior selves wouldn’t be enough.
The problem is that most of us don’t even know that we are doing this! Each woman who does this, at least deep down, really is hoping to have one man see her as beautiful, pursue her exclusively, and commit his life to her.
I know these were my intentions when I entered college wearing leggings, small tank tops, short shorts, and bikinis.
I wanted to be beautiful.
I wanted to be loved.
I wanted to be chosen, for one man to lay down his life for me.
I really had no intention of being a source of temptation or putting my body out there for all men.
As I met good, solid men and began to learn their sides of the story, I learned more about the billion dollar porn industry (for example that 1 in 5 online searches is for porn and about 70% of men in my age group use it monthly and a good amount of women do too) that had enslaved many of them since they were just little boys. I realized talking to them just how much my life truly affects those around me, especially living in the incredibly sexualized world that we do.
Us women send a powerful message to men by how we chose to dress, act, and speak. With true modesty we help our brothers who are on the road to healing their purity of minds and hearts. We help our sisters by making ourselves less tempting for harmful body comparisons. We help ourselves by taking a step towards preventing being seen as objects by those who do wish to lust after us and by inviting others to see the deeper mystery and fullness of our beauty as a whole woman.
Being beautiful does not mean being sexy. Being beautiful (and truly attractive to a man) means that your character, your heart, your virtue, your body–everything about you draws in the heart of a man and inspires him to rise to be worthy of your hand in marriage. Ultimately, it inspires him to grow in character and holiness so that he may be entrusted with you in your entirety.
Turning heads, attracting eyes, where does that lead you?
But turning a heart, now that is powerful.
“Beauty will save the world.”
[Listen to Kaylin’s interview with Jason Evert, discussing “Should Christian Women Wear Bikinis?” on the Love > Lust Podcast HERE!
Kaylin Zumwalt (Koslosky) is a part time high school science teacher and a full-time wife to her best friend/husband and mama to her beautiful little girl. She loves hiking and being outdoors, and is passionate about sharing the beauty of Christ and true love with others.