The Silhouette Challenge

This request was made 17 February 2021…

So! Here we are.

The Silhouette Challenge.

I’ll do a quick LAQ (Lola Answers Questions) based on comments I’ve seen around.

Q: Why are people getting upset because strangers are removing the filter, what did they expect?

Whilst you can’t stop people from people-ing; the creators expected people to engage with the content as is.

Q: Why do women complain about being sexually objectified, only to participate in something like this? Aren’t they feeding the monster?

The issue here is autonomy or the lack of. Largely, women don’t want to be reduced to sex objects by anyone at anytime – without (their) permission.

Q: Lola, what do you think about the challenge?

Human bodies are simply divine. I think women’s bodies are particularly exquisite – the curves, the stretch marks, the dips, that faint V from defined abs. A guy that hasn’t missed leg day in tiny shorts? Amen. I live for guys that buy slightly smaller shirts to show off their “gains”. But nothing comes close to a man who can’t see his toes, walking majestically into a room.

I adore human bodies. A LOT. The only thing that tops this is the confidence of the owner.

And I earnestly think, this is the essence of the challenge – CONFIDENCE but it would be incredibly na├»ve to say that confidence for confidence-sake was its sole purpose. The challenge sought to portray confidence provocatively.

It’s at this point, Christian opinion diverges from the norm.

I believe Christians should have opinions on things, particularly things in the world we live in. I also think Christians should always make the case for godly standards, without injecting superiority or disdain for people.

So here goes my attempt (pray for me… please)

My Attempt

I think there are contexts in which we can enjoy / appreciate the (naked) human form in a non-sexual manner. The naked body is not sinful. God made it and it is good.

Thinking of the Venus de Milo, David by Michaelangelo, tribes with bare-breasted women or breastfeeding. We are able to engage with neutral displays of nakedness in art / culture and appreciate it (or not).

I think as Christians, we should be able to engage with people for who they are and not what they’re wearing (or not wearing). We should be able to see another person made in the image of God and treat them with the respect and dignity conferred on them by the creator of the Universe.

Now, I’m not saying ignore your eyes (or loins); I’m saying they don’t control you. We can grow in and exercise the fruit of the Spirit.

How the fruit of the Spirit be saving us from ourselves…

However, the difference between the Venus de Milo and the Silhouette challenge is the nature of the “reveal”. One is “merely revealing” (neutrally undressed) whilst the other is sexually revealing (undressed and provocative). Thank you Fasoli, Durante and Volpato for the terms.

This is where my contention begins. I part with the challenge on 2 grounds – the nature of the reveal (primary) and our current context (secondary).

Ground 1 – My Primary Contention

Songs of Solomon 8:4 reminds us not to awaken love before its time. We also believe that sex is sacred. This means sexual activity should be between married individuals (married to each other). High stakes right? I know. I say this to remind us that though the standard we follow based on our commitment to Christ is incredibly high; God’s grace is continually available to us to joyfully abide in him.

Personally, there’s nothing sinful in married couples “challenging” themselves. (Whatever you do, don’t store it on the Family Cloud, if you’re not a family of 2).

My major conflict with the challenge, is the showcasing of the human form provocatively. For Christians, this sort of provocative display is reserved for married couples.

Ground 2 – Secondary Contention 

It’s our concept of “common decency” and indecent exposure. Currently (and sadly – depending on which side you’re on) non-sexual exhibitionism and public nudity is even sometimes considered indecent exposure. Most of the platforms used for this challenge actively censor the naked form – including neutral nakedness. If they don’t want naked bodies on there, we should abide by that.

I don’t feel too strongly about this as consensus changes often.

I think trends and challenges like this are here to stay. Here are a few things I’d like to say to Christians:

  • Be introspective. If these things are triggering for you, look within. Protect YOUR space. Filter the content you engage with. Deal with you.
  • A person’s worth is not determined by the challenges they (don’t) partake part in. It is determined by God and the value intrinsic to all humans.
  • The human body is not a sin. Especially, the female form. God made it. It is good.
  • Embrace your (/lack of): hips, biceps, breasts, legs, pecs, butts, chests. However, don’t be defined by them. True confidence comes from your unshakeable identity in Christ.

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