Target is thinking ahead for this year’s Pride Month, as it’s known – the time of the year since 1999 in which we celebrate LGBTQ+ persons in the U.S., as well as their loudest and proudest allies in our midst.
What is Target doing, you might ask? Why, they’re marketing a new line of clothing featuring androgenizing pieces like chest binders and packing underwear. The latter of these innovations is, I presume from the name, intended so young men who want to wear women’s swimsuit styles can do so without us noticing, ahem, certain biological anomalies not corresponding to their gender preference. And the former of these is obviously for women who likewise either want to pass for males, or else leave us all guessing.
As an aside where Target is concerned, I would point out that I personally am feeling triggered by the fact that they still have among eight categories on their website one for ‘Women,’ as well as another for ‘Beauty,’ despite the fact that there is a great deal of debate about what constitutes either of these two things. But I’ll just assume they must have biologists on staff who, unlike President Biden’s most recent appointment to the Supreme Court, are able to define what in fact a woman is.
But on a more serious note, now is as good a time as any for us to talk seriously about mammaries, particularly in the context of Deuteronomy 22:5 where we read that, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”
Now at a minimum, I gather from this that Target does not employ nearly so many theologians as they do biologists. But perhaps that is for the best. We would not want to study uncritically any books on either theology or biology which this upper middle-class box store could be expected to carry.
Really, though, what else could God have meant about what “pertaineth unto a woman” or man where clothing is concerned except that they belong in separate departments due to anticipated dimensional differences in certain general regions of the bodies of those who will wear them? That is to say, men and women have bodies that are shaped differently by God’s design, and it seems self-evident to me that our fashion should reflect that in some way, shape, or form.
Makeup is a lie, as often to accentuate certain feminine qualities which are considered attractive as to mask other undesirable features like zits. But now we have moved on to wardrobe also. So both the crotches of men and the chests of women need a little help where our ambitions tend toward blurring the lines.
On this latter point, Biblical modesty really is more about not attracting undue attention to ourselves and not enticing others to lustful thoughts. It’s not first and foremost about how much skin is covered and precisely where on the body, nor either making it impossible to tell whether a man is a man or a woman is a woman. Moreover, there must be a line past which such endeavors to conceal the differences become absurd and unreasonable.
God was not so terribly and sternly specific as the most conservative among us typically are. Cultural context and setting are important considerations here. So also, personal conscience and individual discretion must be. Nevertheless, I hope the baggy-denim-skirts-down-to-their-ankles conservative Christian crowd is entirely free of internal conflict as to what to make of these chest binders for our females.
But now that we’ve accepted draconian requirements for face-coverings in public for two years, the addition of Target’s new options for LBTQ+ fashion almost make me wonder. Do we have some newfangled variety of Muslim cleric doing the social engineering in this country now? And what’s next, rainbow burqas and hijabs for anyone who wants to go out in public?
Perhaps the feminine men will want padding on their hips to make them seem a little wider. Or maybe the masculine women will want padding on their waists to make their hips seem narrower.
Call me old-fashioned, but I think we’ll stick to Proverbs 5:18-19, thank you very much.
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