Owning Your Own Thoughts

Recently the Friendly Atheist posted a video from a pastor preaching to women about how to dress. The main thrust of the argument was that women should control their dress to make it easier for the men around them to avoid impure thoughts. This is a mix of sexual shaming, patronizing patriarchy, and general avoidance of personal responsibility.

It is the last point that is critical to this discussion. Your own thoughts are your personal responsibility (baring any neurological disorder). No one else can take on the burden of what goes on inside your own head.  What you think is on your shoulders.

I do not deny the influence outside forces can have on our thoughts. Religion, media, culture, family are among the list of things that influence how and why we think the way we do. These can be extremely powerful.

But they are all merely the reasons for our thoughts; they are not an excuse. If you think that women are inherently inferior to men, you will be judged by the viewpoint, regardless of where that thought comes from. You can not evade the responsibility simply by explaining where you were taught to think that way.

It is your responsibility as a fully functioning adult to be responsibly for your thoughts. If you have lustful thoughts because a beautiful woman in a skirt walks by, you can not blame her for your thoughts. You can not stop her and attempt to shame her for her dress. You control how you think, and how those thoughts influence your actions.

If you do not like the thoughts you have, work to change them. Seek the origins of your thought process. If it is the company you keep, seek better company. If it is your religion, explore other options. If it is your culture, work to limit its influence and seek counter-culture options. Own your thoughts and refuse to pass along that responsibility.

Just like Harry Truman’s desk, your mind should have a sign reading “The Buck Stops Here.”

-That is all.


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