Recently, my friend sent me a link on our forum about modesty and girls. A reader had sent in a question to the 100 Hour Board talking about his issues with woman's fashion. (side note: that link does not take you to the question I'm discussing...just to the page in general.) In a nutshell, he thinks that even if a girl isn't showing cleavage, she's being immodest if too much of her "upper chest" area is exposed. He also claims that this leads to impure thoughts in men. Clearly, the girl's fault.
Hold up. I get sick of men writing in to BYU's paper or anywhere claiming that the way women dress is to blame for impure thoughts in the menfolk. I thought we were all free agents? In a sense, mind you. When did I (or any girl) become responsible for your shortcomings?
Don't we believe that "...men are free according to the flesh...they are free to choose liberty and eternal life...or to choose captivity and death..." (2 Nephi 2:27). And further we believe that "men will be punished for their own sins..." (Second Article of Faith). Now, I know that I cut that last one without finishing its thought. (Which is "...and not for Adam's transgressions.") But, I maintain that if we are not held responsible for his sins, we won't be held responsible for anyone's sins, but our own.
Choosing to dress immodestly does not make the girl responsible for the impure thoughts of the men around her. I'm sorry, I will never believe that it does. She has no real control over what a man thinks, only he does. She might act as a catalyst for the initial "hey......" moment, but he is ultimately in control of his thoughts and can put a stop to them. It might not be easy, but he can....and should.
This is not to say that girls should dress however they want. Modesty is going to be the better option. (Even the best option.) Like I mentioned, dressing immodestly will trigger a natural man reaction. Girls do need to be aware of that, but it's (again!) not their responsibility if the guy can't control his thoughts.
Lastly, what of the men? Why don't they have lengthy discussions of modesty thrust down their throats? You might say, "cuz girls aren't visually stimulated like men are" but I would disagree. We might be less so, but we have eyes, and they do see. I admit, that when a man in a nicely cut pair of pants walks by, I take notice. I may even rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. Is this his fault for putting on "suggestive" pants? No. I have the ability to stop, and I do stop it before it moves from a playful rating game to something more inappropriate.
Bottom line boys: man up. You have control over yourself, and nothing a girl does will prevent you from having impure thoughts if you're not in control.