While still in browse-the-fundamentalist mode, I came across this website, Modest Clothing for Women and Girls. No, I'm not gonna start snarking about the outfits. I just wanted to note that I'm struck by this:
What caused the attitude to change from "au naturel"? What caused the need to cover up? The answer is rooted in an understanding of the sin of Adam and Eve.
According to commentators, through the eating of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, the tendency to do evil was internalized within the human psyche. Previously, man and woman had an intellectual choice between good and evil, but evil was outside of the body, a philosophical issue, not an inner pull or an emotional desire.
Before the sin, a person's soul expressed itself through its body. Body and soul were in consonance with each other. For example, when the soul wanted to pray to God, the body rose early and prayed. When the soul wanted to study and grow most effectively, the body ate healthy foods and took care of itself to provide the necessary fuel and energy for the demanding task. Now, post-sin, a dichotomy exists. Almost a schizophrenia. One's soul wants to pray, his body groans, turns over and shuts off the alarm clock. The soul strives to perfect itself, the body wants to eat chocolate cake, watch television and lie on the beach!
The body is no longer in the service of the soul, it no longer runs to do its bidding. Not only is the body not a reflection of the soul, but they are now working at cross-purposes.
What does all this have to do with clothing, modesty and covering up?
When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, their bodies were a mirror of their souls, there was no need to cover up such a pure innocent expression of a person's spirituality, of God's image within a human being.
However, once evil was integrated into man, the body came to represent something antithetical to the soul. Looking at the body could now distract the observer from focusing on his or her internal being and instead focus only on the physical, the external and the superficial.
It became necessary to de-emphasize the physical in order to emphasize the spiritual, to cover up the body in order to let the soul shine through.
It strikes me because, among other things, it is reminding me irresistibly of the argument, as I have seen in various places over the last few months, to one degree or another, that erotica/sex/what have you is irrecovably tainted because we live in a Patriarchal culture.
It reminds me of it in more ways than one, point of fact.
But particularly, the solution: so, okay, our body and soul are at cross purposes. We're tainted. The solution? Load on more shame; reject emphasis on the body and/or various sexual expressions even more. Purify, purify; so shall we reach the Promised Land. Or not. But points for trying. Maybe.
Does it never occur to some people that maybe an attempt at integration, here and now, not in some magical past or future utopia, might be a more useful way to go? Guess not. But why?