Jared Fogle, Ashley Madison, Planned Parenthood and Our Men Without Chests

men without chests

One man was exposed for sexually exploiting minors. Thousands of men were exposed for seeking affairs through a website. And an entire national organization continued to be exposed for barbaric practices toward unborn (and born) infants. And that’s just this week.

Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle, adultery website Ashley Madison and the abortion industry of Planned Parenthood have not occurred in a vacuum. They are the logical extension of the society we have created and cultivated.

In The Abolition of Man, one of his most prophetic pieces, C.S. Lewis saw the same thing happening over 70 years ago.

And all the time—such is the tragi-comedy of our situation—we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive’, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity’. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests1 and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

Our culture demands certain virtues, but it removes and mocks the very means by which those virtues are developed.

We oversexualize young girls and are horrified when men see them as sexual objects.

What Fogle, and others connected with him, did is morally repugnant and blameworthy, but it is also tragic. He drank too deeply from our poisoned cultural cistern.

Have you ever shopped for little girl’s clothes? At an earlier and earlier age, their clothing is inappropriately sexual. Those who lament this development are deemed “prudes” and “sexually-repressed.”

We rightly condemn those who treat children as merely sexual objects, but we tolerate and even condone those who do so partially—without ever realizing the latter leads to the former.

We lampoon monogamy and marriage and are shocked when men commit adultery.

Today, affairs are glamorized. Divorce is normalized. And the enjoyment of sex is rooted purely in temporary pleasure, not deeply committed joy.

Very rarely do you see monogamy celebrated or even acknowledged as a worthwhile option. So why are we so surprised thousands of men, married or not, sought to find the ever elusive pleasure derived from casual sex?

Almost universally, the Internet has told the men exposed by the Ashley Madison hack, “It serves you right.” But this same Internet will also continue consuming pornography and imagining the enjoyment of the very lifestyle it criticizes.

We sacrifice everything for sexual freedom and are mortified when those sacrifices show up on undercover videos.

This is the end result of our casual disregard for human life. The Planned Parenthood videos and the horrors of Kermit Gosnell are not the exception to the rule, they are the logical extension.

These crimes have revealed the ugly truth behind the rationale for abortion. It is absurd to argue personhood is determined solely by location and the preferences of another. Yet, this is where we are left with the current abortion laws and logic.

How can you be surprised that someone would kill a child just outside of the womb, when they have been conditioned to believe, contrary to their own medical education, that just a moment earlier, when the child was inside the womb, it was only a “tissue”? The atrocities are the direct result of the dehumanization of life in the womb.

But the roots and branches of abortion tragedies also extend to and intertwine with the cases of Fogle and Ashley Madison.

If children are sexual objects, then they can be sacrificed in order for us to maintain our sexual freedom. If the only thing we expect from sex is pleasure, any children that result can be discarded.

As abortion doctors cut out the pieces of unborn children from the wombs of women, they also cut out the chests of men (and women).

Ruben Navarrette Jr., a writer for Daily Beast, considered himself pro-choice, but the Planned Parenthood videos have made him reconsider his position.

The words of his wife has also stirred reflection. She told him:

These are babies that are being killed. Millions of them. And you need to use your voice to protect them. That’s what a man does. He protects children—his own children, and other children. That’s what it means to be a man.

He may be a man, but Lewis is right—culture has taken his chest. Navarrette is a man fighting to regain the chest that has been ripped from his body.

Allow me to rephrase Lewis a bit for our current circumstances.

We laugh at chastity and are shocked to find the sexually exploitive in our midst. We are constantly feeding the sexual appetite of young men and bidding them “be faithful.” We demand consequence free sex and are appalled when we see what we deem “consequences” have faces that are being sliced open.

These children have faces that will continue to be ripped apart until we realize we have chests that have already been removed.

The follow-up post “Can We Blame Culture for Our Choices?” deals with the discussion over the relationship between culture’s influence on our lives and our personal responsibility. 

Does a corrupt (or corrupting) society offer men (or women) an excuse for their poor behavior?



1. When Lewis speaks of chests and the removal of it, he is using symbolic language, much the way we speak of heart. We use heart to symbolize love and other emotions. When he talks about the chest, he is speaking about the part of us that produces virtue and trains our emotions.

UPDATE: Since it was asked in the comments, if you are curious as to where Josh Duggar is in the piece, I was unaware of his involvement with Ashley Madison when I first wrote this piece.

I did not leave him out because he contradicts the message. In fact, I believe his involvement is the perfect example of this. Despite what he professed to believe, his actions demonstrated that he felt sex should be used merely for his personal enjoyment—regardless of the potential consequences to his victims, his wife, his family, his employer and his faith.

If you are curious, I have written about him twice before on this blog: “Preventing the Next Josh Duggar Situation” and “Are All Christians Hypocrites? Yes, Maybe and No.”

UPDATE 2: Some have critiqued the post for focusing too heavily on men. My appropriating Lewis’ language of “men without chests” and drawing from Navarrette’s piece about the challenge his wife gave him, does not mean, therefore, that none of the points are applicable to women.

Still others of you believe this article allows men escape personal responsibility by simply blaming culture or society for their choices, or worse yet, blaming the victims—”it’s your fault you dressed like that.”

One post does not and cannot contain all that I’ve written on a topic or published on this blog, particularly one as broad as our sex-saturated culture and the repercussions involved.

I have written on this topic and directed it more toward women in these two posts: Fifty Shades of Magic Mike: The Pornification of Women and The Bachelorette: Emotional Pornography?.

I also had four women last week share their views on abortion and challenge the ideas held by many of their fellow females—What Pro-Gospel Has to Do With Pro-Life, I Am Woman, I Am Pro-Life, Hear Me Roar, Choose Life and Life Abundantly, and Being Pro-life is the Ultimate Pro-Choice Stance.

In terms of the second accusation (and the first to some extent), I wrote the follow-up post on the connection between culture and the individual. But to sum up my position, I believe it is possible to critique a culture without absolving members of their responsibility.

74 Comments

  1. Jayne

    Excellent article. Keep fighting the good fight! God bless you.

    [Ed. Jayne’s comment also graciously pointed out some very silly spelling and grammar errors I made in my post, which have now been corrected. Jayne asked that the comment not be published, but I have published it minus the corrections in order to offer my thanks.]

    • Da truth

      All this is BS.

      You describe the fairytale reality of human existence. Btw I am agnostic and a scientist at heart, and a true realist at heart. Humans are ‘animals.’ That is it. Much of our behavior can be retraced to inane animalistic instincts. Reproduce. Consume. Survive. Regardless of the governor we try to place on those instincts, they are real, and frequently unstoppable.

      We are not hard wired for monogamy. For faithfulness. For conservation.

      Men desire women. Constantly. Sex is on ever mans mind daily, whether they like it or not. The recent conscienceness of modern society is battling those feelings, and doomed to lose.

      Society arbitrary chooses 18 as the age of adulthood and sexual allowance, but only 100 years ago (and throughout the 50,000 years preceding) coupling occurred at 13,14,15. Why do you think our bodies are preparing for those changes at that time? Choosing those ages for going through puberty? Because its natural. Hardwired. Our life expectancy was only 30 some years. It was reproduce early or die and become extinct. Just because we live into our 70s now, and society says you shouldn’t desire every attractive women you see, doesn’t mean it is wrong or can be avoided. Regardless of upbringing, this is hard wired into our animalistic dna…

      Of course I do not support these crimes. But, I will not describe these individuals as sick…or perverse… It is noble and right to uphold the standards of society, remain faithful and not act on these desires, however—humans are reproducing at a unsustainable rate. I say bring on the abortions, the forced castration or execution of true violent crimes, the 1 child o my laws. 7 Billion people live on Earth. Before you blink that will be 10B. Then 15B. Then what!??!

      No clean water. Not enough food. Climate change. Rising coast lines. War for land and resources. Poverty, famine and devastation. Nuclear annihilation. This isn’t revelation or the second coming, because these is no God. This is the threat of true human extinction.

      But sometimes I wonder if the world, and future universe wouldn’t be better off without us…so why try to stop the inevitable.

      Food for thought

      • Lee

        1. You say these are base animal instincts, then later say it’s good not to fall to them. Instincts are soft wired adapted traits built for survival. What’s natural, isn’t necessarily what’s good. We’ve risen above natural and our evolution is social.

        2. You worry about overpopulation, and yet….it hasn’t happened. Very few resources are limited and most of those are no where near capacity. Humans have tended toward volunteering for depopulation as they get overpopulated in an area. The age of 6 or 7 kids is thrown away with many opting for 1 or 2. Base animals like deer, don’t seem to have that tendency. Humans seem to have a wired tendency to keep to a population norm, and animals have a wired tendency to populate and let predators control their population. Seems odd for evolution to take that route. We aren’t THE alpha predator, and many animals will kill us for food if pressed.

        3. Yes, our life expectancy is much higher than 30 now. So, it’s reasonable to push back reproduction age.

        What you are seeing, with all these ideals and morals, is a social evolution that has outpaced our biological evolution. And so those two are competing. Yet, our social evolution is the right course.

        Morality is higher than base instinct.

        • dirk

          No, it’s not “reasonable to push back reproductive age”. First, because the date of puberty and menopause have not changed. Female fertility peaks at about 16 to 18 and drops slightly every year after that. How many years a woman can live AFTER menopause is not relevant.

          Next, Both of you are reading the statement “life expectancy was 30 back then”. Just because life expectancy was 30, does NOT, I repeat NOT mean that you were “old” at thirty, or that 30 year olds were dying of old age. Infant and childhood mortality were huge. Assume that 2/3 of all people die before their 1st birthday. Assume then that the remaining 1/3 lived to the age of 90. What’s the median life expectancy? 30. Yet if you make it to 30, you are only 1/3 done with your life.

          Finally, and get this through your head Christians. The 18 year age for adulthood is an ARBITRARY AND LEGAL NUMBER. It has nothing to do with biology. Why am I picking on Christians? Because they will claim that an 18 year old having sex with a 17 year old girl is a “child molester” Keep in mind that your God had a habit of diddling 15 year old girls, who were already married, by the way. Get off your high horse. Not one male in the new or old testament did not have sex with what, today, are under age girls.

          • Dirk, are you advocating women marrying and having children at 16? Because otherwise, your argument has no real point. If you are merely advocating for the acceptance of teenagers having sex, the vast majority of them are going to seek to prevent having children until much later (around the time they would be getting married and having children anyway). This means they are still losing those years of fertility, be they through waiting to have sex or simply waiting to have a child.

            You are correct that our society has determined 18 to be the legal age for an adult in somewhat of a contradiction to previous societies, who set the age lower. But that is part of larger societal shifts outside of merely telling teenagers to not have sex.

            Previous generations were more agrarian and needed larger families to tend their farms. Infant mortality was also much higher then, as you rightly point out, so it made societal sense for a young women to marry and start having children much sooner than is commonly practiced today. They needed as many as possible to work the farm and unfortunately they were all but assured of losing some of their children very early on.

            But we do not have those same influences today and society is shaped much differently. Generally speaking today, a young women will not best aid her family (both current and future) by having children as soon as possible, but rather by graduating from high school (and possibly college) before marriage and kids.

            As to your swipe at Christians, you display both a misunderstanding of us and our theology. Virtually every one, Christians included, recognizes a distinction between an 18 year old and a 17 year old having sex and an 30 year old sexually assaulting a 12 year old. That’s a strawman argument.

            The line is drawn at 18 because we have to draw the line somewhere. We can’t merely say it’s a free-for-all or we would be forced to allow the 30 year old and 12 year old (or younger). Currently, 18 coincides best with physical, mental and social development combined with societal expectations and familial needs. Sure, you could argue a few years younger (and some states do allow younger marriages), but 18 is not some unreasonable number for all the factors involved.

            As to your understanding of Mary becoming pregnant with Jesus, nowhere in the Bible is it described in the crass way you do. You can find those types of descriptions in ancient Greek literature, where the gods have sex with humans, but that is not the type of language or concept you have in the New Testament with the conception of Jesus.

            Secondly, I’ve already addressed why previous cultures, including those in the Old and New Testament, had earlier ages of marriage. Also your reductionist concept of marriage to “having sex” when discussing those periods is problematic. But I can assure you, I can quite easily find a male in the New Testament who did not have sex with an underage girl or any woman for that matter—Jesus.

      • ChristiaN h

        Perfectly stated. We are animals and that is that.

        • An animal cannot state anything “perfectly,” as that is a moral judgment. You, by your affirmation, of an opinion demonstrate that you are much more than an animal.

          As “Da Truth” stated, animals merely respond to impulses. But oddly, here we are disagreeing over which impulse is correct to follow. Rational beings with something that can judge between impulses do that. So again, by your very arguing the point, show how much more than an animal you truly are.

      • Rick

        DA TRUTH wrote:

        “Humans are ‘animals.’ That is it.”

        “It is noble and right to uphold the standards of society”

        “This isn’t revelation or the second coming, because there is no God.”

        DA TRUTH — I’m intrigued that you’ve chosen “DA TRUTH” for your screen name. Are you arguing that YOU are the source of truth? If so, offer an argument as to why.

        If humans are only animals, you probably assert that animals cease to exist when their bodies die. If that is the case, it begs the question of what meaning there is to all life. If there is no ultimate meaning to life, then how have you arrived at your view of “truth” that ANYTHING could be “noble” or “right”?

        How can an “agnostic” like yourself make the statement of “truth” that “there is no God”?

        Please explain.

      • Kyle

        You give a very succinct description of our fallen nature, and then demonstrate it well with your hostility towards actual, biblical truth. Sin puts us in the place of constant struggle, not animal instinct.

        Also, you are either incorrectly classifying yourself as an agnostic, or misstating your own beliefs when you say there is no God. An agnostic believes there is a God, but doesn’t care to know him or even know about him. An atheist believes there is no God. Most professing atheists, however, are, if honest with themselves, agnostics. They just don’t want to be subject to him, and professing belief in without obedience to a sovereign power is quite damning. They deceive themselves to be able to live however they choose. Still as damning, coincidentally.

  2. MichAEl

    This was a great article. Our love has become profane and self-serving. It reminds me
    Of CS Lewis’ “Till We Have Faces.” Now the challenge is being so distinct that we do not rejoice at all in sin, not even culturally acceptable levels

    • Angelisa

      Human being can control themselves. You are just justifying bad behavior. It is possible to be monogamous. The problem is you just don’t want to be monogamous.

  3. Don

    So what’s your take on Josh Duggar? Just wondering, because he belongs in this article, but I have a feeling you left him out because he WAS raised in a Christian household with Christian values, and has gone around preaching exactly what you’re preaching and getting paid for it. I just find it interesting that he was overlooked…

    • Don, thanks for asking. I did not leave Duggar out because of his background; I wrote this article before his involvement was exposed.

      If you are curious, I have written about him twice here at my blog.

      Preventing the Next Josh Duggar Situation: http://thewardrobedoor.com/2015/05/preventing-the-next-josh-duggar-situation.html

      Are All Christians Hypocrites? Yes, No & Maybe: http://thewardrobedoor.com/2015/05/are-all-christians-hypocrites-yes-maybe-and-no.html

      • Kyle

        In response to update two: the focus should be on men. We are responsible to raise our children and lead our wives to be wholesome and pure. Sin is not a new thing. Sexual exploitation & perversion is not a new thing (Sodom had a perversion named after it). So, using our current culture as an excuse doesn’t cut it.

        How do we lead without providing the example first!?! We have a responsibility first to God, then to our families, to be pure ourselves, and then to require it from them, while providing the support they need to do so.

        • I agree. Thanks for the reminder and challenge.

          • Kyle

            Lewis is spot on. Though I think the chest isn’t the only thing we are guilty of cutting out when we don’t rear our boys to be men courageous enough to go against societal norms, and stand firmly on what is right.

        • I always wonder about these comments that state that men are responsible for the purity of women. It’s an absurd concept since at the same time we are told women should obey men. In other words, patriarchy insists men should lead and women follow, yet, women should “cross their legs” and say “no” to the very man whom she should be obeying. And everyone wonders why everybody has cognitive dissonance.

          Patriarchy creates predators when it insists that women exist to please men; women become objects that men pursue instead of persons; objects don’t say no. Because of this, women are told that they should be protected by the “good men.” But what happens when the “good man” becomes a “bad man”? Bad things. And that’s the irony of all of this. We talk about purity as if it was only about sex, and we ignore respect, consideration, and how to be human. As long as men think that they have to do the thinking for women, we are going to see what the author laments; on the one hadn the oversexualization of women, the victim-blaming, and on the other the false hopes of purity culture that promises happiness and creates Josh Duggard. There is a happy middle and that is the realization that men and women are responsible for their own behavior regardless of what happens around them, and that respect takes us further than all the talks about who needs what and when.

        • Tamra

          Thank you for calling that out, I was agreeing:) We should be putting this in it’s proper perspective, not conforming to our screwed up society.

    • Samantha

      With all do respect, I think you missed some of the point. A child must be a part of society. At some age, it doesn’t not matter what upbringing they have, society WILL effect them. I mean has anyone even seen these new MTV Movie Award commercials with Miley Cyrus? They are beyond disgusting, but everyone seems to be fine with her wearing nothing but green screen pasties or preforming oral sex to the camera. Seriously, I’m not making this up.
      Even as adults we are vulnerable to society’s influences, and unfortunately (as this article states) it is NOT for the better.

      And Thank you Aaron, I loved this article and you put it into better words what I have been trying to express for months.

  4. Danny

    Thank you for writing this. It needed to be said.

  5. Wow this is a great piece of writing Mr. Aaron Earls. Well done, well done! You slink and weave through the ramifications and justifications surrounding these issues with style and grace. Keep it up, God be with you!

    -Justin

  6. Mom of 7

    This has been my question for years. “Where are the REAL MEN?” I think so many of the men are walking in sin that they cannot fight the real fight.

  7. Great piece! I really appreciate seeing other writers bring to the forefront that many of these current issues are the fruit of seeds planted a while back.

    As for one particular seed that you mentioned, “If the only thing we expect from sex is pleasure, any children that result can be discarded.” I think both Christian and secular need to be called out for that notion that we get to decide when sex does and does not have the likelihood of conceiving a child.

    https://thomascreed87.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/why-i-expected-the-supreme-courts-decision/

    • Adrian L

      Real men? They are being systematically taken out in the “real fight”. Where man was given dominion and woman was made to be his helper, women now have dominion and men are their helpers.
      Just try being a “real man” and standing opposed to this.
      The real fight started in the garden of Eden when satan said “did God really say that”, and in today’s society this is the accepted practice in Church.
      Did God really say that ? The same as the garden, Adam is taking now more than ever the fruit from Eve’s hand.
      Real men say NO…I will listen to God first.
      Women are being so pumped with fear that they do not see men as something to be loved but something to fear and to dominate.

      Sad times. Where are the real men ? They’ve been taken out with “restraining orders” and with Father State of NY, Ohio, or California with their children taken from them, restraining orders, wage slavery and FEAR, CONTROL and DOMINATION by a state authority rather than the father of his children.
      That is where the real fight and where the real men are. They’re systematically being threatened and emasculated by the religion of feminism.
      It’s hard to love a heavenly father when you fear and have been turned from loving your earthly father.
      Read the end of Malachi.

  8. Barbara Moore

    I agree with the whole piece. The only issue I have with it, is, reads like this one are hidden away, along with the person writing it. I agree with every word. I could write these very words or something close. But, where is everyone? We don’t see them on, TV, we don’t see them protesting or they are letting the, opposers over power you. The parents raising these children to grow up and conduct themselves this way need have these types of, articles facing them daily. The feel good society is out of control. The, ” I assume the way I’m raising my kids is all they need ” They never make sure all is well. There is no explanation for, Josh Duggar. When we can trust a man raised the way he was, we can’t trust anyone. You can only do so much as a parent. I think his were pretty much on top of things. Teaching, Gods word, Morals, sin, etc. So, he understood all of that. So, to me, what all this proves is, no one can be trusted. Not even the, Author of this story. There is nothing to make me believe anymore that there are clear cut, fixes to any problem. I also know that we have made ourselves believe that, days gone by didn’t do these things. Sure, they weren’t exposed to the, internet, TV, etc. But, people were the same. I have heard stories in my life, seen in my life, things that proves the past was no better. Christian or not. I’m sure everyone knows the stories. Starting with the, Catholic Church. Men were no more, ” men ” then, then they are now. The list is long. All we can put faith in other than our, Lord and Savior, is ourselves. If we can’t control ourselves, don’t expect anyone else to. It’s all about the, original sin, TEMPTATION!! Not one of us are above it. It’s a battle we all fight, and some of us lose in bigger ways than others.

    • Barbara, hopefully you do not see me in this piece setting myself up as a paradigm of trustworthiness or claiming to have all the answers. I completely agree with you that I am not someone in whom you can have complete trust.

      But I am a bit of an optimist, so I am not quite as pessimistic about our situation as many others. And as a Christian, I always have hope. I know that Jesus said the gates of hell would never prevail against His Church.

      Actually I believe there are some explanations for why Josh Duggar fell the way he did (I wrote about those previously), but you are right that ultimately we are all potential victims of an epic fall.

      I think back to the words of one of my favorite hymns: “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.” That is my continual prayer for myself because I know how prone I am to wander, but I know how great and good my God is to sustain me.

  9. Rick

    If only people would stop & consider this honestly. This simply sets forth the truth.

  10. Tom c

    Caviet: I’m not purposely play devil’s advocate. A resounding theme in your treatise is where are the “real” men, the “Godly” men, the men of CHARACTER . It is a fair question. Your reply that without Christ it ain’t gonna happen. But what about women? Women who choose to be as srxually promiscuous as men. Women who choose to dress in clothing that OVER emphasizes. The number of wives that are just as faithless to their husbands and their God as men. The issues a r e as old as our first father and mother. The bottom line is , Sin is in promiscuity is sin no matter how you break down the equation. Taking of life in out or half way is sin CHOOSING to change facts to satisfy your own proclivities is sin SIN IS SIN and without the redemption that ONLY CHRIST affords sin will continue to run rampant amongst us.

  11. aaron

    There is a book called “Unwind” in which parents are given the choice for retro-active abortion and have their children “unwound” up until a certain age. They then use their bodies for science, medical, etc… I have not read this book, but only know the premise.

    However, I am afraid that if the bulk of our society accepts/turns a blind eye at all the videos of planned parenthood, that this is something that could be in our future. We are allowing a society to grow, where children are property, not human beings, until they reach a certain age.

  12. Patrick

    I am in agreement with the article and the points of emphasis but I do think the article overlooks for the most part the aggressive sexuality of the “liberated female” that is heavily promoted by our world on almost every level. Spend a few minutes around any college campus on a Friday night and you would probably mistake most of the young women for professional escort employees. The reality of the broken desires from Genesis 3 continue to play out and the emasculated man is certainly a huge part of the problem AND the increased broken effort to make women more masculine.

  13. There is indeed a dearth of magnanimity and sentiment in our society. Cynicism seems to be the order of the day, and any and all sentiment is roundly mocked. Lewis was prescient, standing upon the shoulders of greats like Chesterton (who himself fought the good fight against the removal of chests). It’s a sad state of affairs, but like all sin we didn’t get here all it once. It came in dribs and drabs over many, many years. I’m shocked, but not surprised. Nothing is sacred anymore…

    Very good piece! Keep fighting the good fight.

  14. Jeremy

    You realize, of course, that women commit adultery with equal frequency. Why? Are you prepared to argue that we oversexualizing our men just as much? If not, that’s a pretty big hole on your thesis.

    • Margaret

      If you look at the data from the Ashley Madison scandal (compiled here: http://blog.erratasec.com/2015/08/notes-on-ashley-madison-dump.html?m=1), you’ll see that a LARGE percentage of the users were men. I imagine that being male also had something to do with the author’s choice of focus for this article. One simply cannot deal with ALL the issues at once. However, even taking your point into account, can you honestly postulate that the reasons women commit adultery are completely unrelated to the points the author has made here? Being a woman, allow me to put forth a few fallacies our society touts as truth about men, to help illustrate my point. As a young woman, I was frequently exposed to the idea that a “real man” was one who made a lot of money and could provide all the material things I ever wanted. (I didn’t buy it, but I was exposed to it.) He also had to be muscle-bound and ruggedly handsome. And those were pretty much the only requirements. Now, you can’t seriously tell me that this idea of a “real man” is any less objectifying than seeing a woman or a young girl as nothing but a tool for sexual pleasure. Men and women want different things from each other, and that’s why the “hole” you mentioned is not actually there. A good example to illustrate this is the presence in our society of “cougars,” women who attempt to attract the attention of men much younger than themselves (a notion that most in our society find vulgar and repulsive). We abhor that they are only after these young men for their youth/looks, and yet we don’t seem to find any fault when women do this to men of their own age. It is objectification, any way you slice it. And it ruins marriages. And it causes people to see unborn children as parasites and obstacles. And it causes men to see young girls, who are taught that it’s fun to dress like a grown-up and flaunt your sexuality, as objects of pleasure. So, how big is that “hole,” again?

  15. Aaron, I would love to chat with you. After reading this article, I’d like to invite you to take a look at your web site. We are a NPO that is working hard to overcome exactly the issues you put forth in this article, by starting with the heart in every man, woman and child.

    Most people know me as the author of The Princess and the Kiss storybook for kids, but now I operate PurityWorks and speak internationally on all these subjects, training families and fighting porn as an affiliate of the DC organization, the National Coalition on Sexual Exploitation.

    As I said, I would love to chat. Please email me at the address above. I think we have MUCH in common!

  16. The most important issue about Mr. Duggar and so many others is that, as an addict, all this pressure will likely only push him into another relapse. The insensitivity of dealing with addicted individuals is tragic considering the environment that we allow in which such addictions are encouraged to flourish for the sake of libertinism and the almighty dollar. This incredible greed that is, as you say, a “chest” or “heart” issue, cannot be legislated away. It must be the commitment to maintaining a good heart that every individual must choose, and every parent must teach. Championing that heart care with you, Aaron! Well done!

  17. tracey

    Have you ever shopped for little girl’s clothes? At an earlier and earlier age, their clothing is inappropriately sexual. Those who lament this development are deemed “prudes” and “sexually-repressed.”

    We rightly condemn those who treat children as merely sexual objects, but we tolerate and even condone those who do so partially—without ever realizing the latter leads to the former.

    I took issue with the quote above. Men don’t sexually assault children because of how they are dressed. They do it because they are sexual deviants. They sexually assault boys wearing sweatpants as often as girls wearing shorts. I think we need to stop blaming girls for how they dress and start blaming the sexual predators who abuse them. Blaming the victim only contributes to rape culture. By blaming “society” for men behaving badly, we are absolving them of some of their personal responsibility.

    • Tracey, there is a difference in saying, “As a culture, we are over-sexualizing our children” than saying “The sexual predator is not to blame.” A culture of gun violence is wrong, but it does not excuse the one who shoots and kills his neighbor. We can critique the former without excusing the latter. That’s what I’ve tried to do in this post.

      • Julia

        As the mother of a tween girl I heartily agree with the toxicity of the culture where we raise girls. When she was SIX I had to find a dress for her to wear to a wedding and had to go to five stores to find something appropriate. I went to Target to buy shorts for her last year (we live in Florida where shorts are the norm much of the year) and couldn’t find a single pair that would pass the dress code at the public school she attends. Her classmates started talking about dating and “going out” with each other in the second grade. What’s worse, is that the parents seemed to think it was cute and encouraged it. Then they act shocked when their sixteen year old gets pregnant. And while that does not excuse the Jared Fogles of the world, because there is no excuse for them, it is time for a long look at our culture that doesn’t celebrate or PROTECT the wonder and beauty that is childhood.

  18. Brendt Wayne Waters

    Two thoughts:

    1) Given the last sentence of the Lewis quote, one wonders if “chests” was the first word choice that occurred to him.

    2) The assumptions (by others) of your motives/thoughts that led to the necessity of the two updates is suicidally depressing.

  19. I love this article and it makes me so sad at the same time. I lived with the secret sin of a husband without a chest. He lived a double life pretending to be a man of honor, a priest, a teacher, a father , a faithful husband……all the while living a double life of free casual sex, adulterous affairs…..ever deepening and darkening sins that led to an arrest and conviction. It was heartbreaking and devastating. We have to teach our young men and women to have not only head….but chests….hearts and souls full of integrity and respect for others. Thank you for your words of wisdom and for tackling this difficult subject! (mybeautifullybrokenlife.com)

    • I’m so sorry for what you went through Leslie. Thank you for sharing your story. I stopped to take a moment and pray for you and how God is using you now.

  20. wm j (bill) tanner

    Excellent, wonderful article. For society to regard sexually suggestive dress and behavior as inappropriate, and as reprehensible for children, would be a good thing. Commitment to morality and sexual purity by men (and women) is a good thing, but it is not the whole answer. For many people, commitment does not have power to overcome all temptation. However, for a Christian who believes the Bible, and who believes the promises of Christ and the Bible that God gives us victory over sin through Jesus Christ, such a Christian can ask the Lord to give him/her the victory over these sins and be sure that he/she will receive victory over these sins. I have almost finished a 260 page book on this subject. You may use any part of this comment, edited as you like.

  21. fantastic article. My wife and I were talking about this this morning in fact. Thank you for articulating it!

  22. Jill

    In addition to Planned Parenthood what is your position on fertility clinics destroying the remaining embryos once a couple has had their children or the “selective reduction” that occurs when there are too many fetuses in the womb. It seems wrong to single out Planned Parenthood when they provide a multitude of other services along with abortion.

    • You asked several questions, some of which are more personal opinion than legal opinion. As for my personal opinions on your first questions, I am opposed to IVF (in most instances) partially for the reasons you raise.

      But when we talk about Planned Parenthood, we are talking about something different—especially what has been uncovered in the videos. And yes, there are positives that PP can do, but there is nothing they do that cannot be (and is not) done by community health centers and other organizations.

      This demonstrates how many community health centers there are for women (13,500+) versus PP clinics (650+). http://dailysignal.com/2015/08/17/planned-parenthood-loses-government-funding-heres-map-health-clinics-take-place/

      There is no need for PP period, much less for the federal funding of it.

  23. erin

    I am disturbed by the implication you make in your blog linking revealing girls clothing to pedophilia. While you lead into the section acknowledging that Fogle’s actions are ‘morally repugnant and blameworthy’, I believe you also create a space for people to continue to hold women and young girls responsible for the sexual abuse and assault they suffer because of the clothes they wear.

    The Christian community cannot keep making this argument. It – not revealing clothing – makes girls and boys, men and women vulnerable. Boys and men are responsible for the way they view the opposite sex. When an adult man oversexualizes a 5-year-old girl in a bikini, it’s simply the result of him being a dangerous, sick predator. That little girls clothes have no bearing on his desire to violate her. Fogle, like all pedophiles, was not pulled into sexual abuse and buying teen prostitutes by teenage girls in tiny shorts and tank tops with no bra. He simply made choice after choice to do harm to others.

    I do agree with you that society oversexualizes women to the point of objectification, but that has been the case throughout history and women often had no agency in those decisions. Men defined womanhood and the parameters of their sexuality and femininity. I would desperately like to see men – particularly in the Body of Believers – venture bravely into the rarely charted waters of holding themselves and other men responsible for their sexual desires and behaviors, independent of women.

    • Rick

      Are you asserting that parents who dress a six-year-old girl in clothing that is intended to communicate a sexual message are not responsible for contributing to the problem?

      • erin

        I am saying that clothing is never the issue when it comes to sexual assault, sexual abuse and pedophilia.

        • I agree with you, Erin. It is never the fault of the victim. But I believe part of protecting future victims is to critique and help correct a culture that has a mixed up perspective on sex and sexuality.

          I’m writing for tomorrow on the influence culture has, but the responsibility the individual retains. If you look at some of the comments I have received here, I am being criticized from both sides of this coin.

          Literally, I am being criticized for blaming society too much (and men too little) and for blaming men too much (and society too little) for the same piece of writing.

          Hopefully, tomorrow’s piece will demonstrate a little more where I stand on this issue and help readers better understand this piece.

          • erin

            Aaron, thanks for your clarifying response. I look forward to reading tomorrow’s post. Even though I disagreed with some points made in this blog, I appreciate your willingness to have the conversation.

        • Erin, I hope you get a chance to read the post today: http://thewardrobedoor.com/2015/08/can-we-blame-culture-for-our-choices.html

          You may still disagree with me and with this post, but I want you to disagree with all of what I’m saying, not a piece apart from its larger context.

          Thanks for taking the time to read and interact.

  24. I feel like everything in this article is contradictory, you say people codenm the Ashley Madison guys but then they go view porn on the other hand, uh did you consider that the creeps on the cheating websites are all the same ones on the porn websites. It just seems very not thought thru, like the nature of human beings wasn’t taken in to consideration at all before you wrote this. Just saying

    • I’m all but certain those on Ashley Madison also view pornography. I’m not disputing that. My point is that some feel personally justified because they are not on the cheating website, even though they are regularly viewing pornography.

      The non-Ashley Madison user who “just” looks at pornography, doesn’t realize he is contributing to the culture that creates something like Ashley Madison. His objectifying women through his computer screen cultivates a society where that is more normalized, which leads to Ashley Madison.

      I can assure you that I considered human nature as I wrote this, though I appreciate your concern that I didn’t think this through very much.

  25. Stefan

    Erin, you are missing the point. If I walk into a bank and withdraw $1000, what do I usually do with that money?? Do I walk around with it hanging out of my pockets?? Do I walk outside and announce that I just withdrew a large amount of cash the ATM machine?? Do I post a sign on my forehead that says
    “I have a lot of money”???? NO!!!! I will quietly put it away in a wallet or purse. Why Do I do that?? To keep the money and mysel safe!!! I know that if i go flashing hundred dollar bills around at everyone I might find myself in a situation that Idon’t want to be in. Someone might want to steal my money. Is it my fault that someone might try and steal my money?? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! That responsibility lies soley on the person doing the stealing. Is it very possible that that same person could have robbed me even if I had tucked that money away in my purse instead of flaunting it for him to see?? Yep!!! So, should I just run around with cash hanging out of my pockets or should I put the cash away in my purse?? If I tuck the cash away in my purse am I just promoting ” robbery culture” or in reality am I trying to do all I can within my power to protect myself knowing that there are jerks out there no matter what I do??? As a mother my job is to PROTECT my daughter in the best ways that I can knowing that there are still jerks out there. YES, the culture of men/boys looking at women and girls as strictly sexual object has to change and I will start with my own son. But putting my 11 year old daughter in clothes that are equivalent to clothes that I wear when I’m purposely trying to get my husband in a sexual mood and then throwing her out to the wolves and saying
    ” boys, you really need to control yourselves” is absolutely unacceptable as a parent.

    • erin

      Stefan, thank you for your response. This is the thing, how one responds to clothing is subjective. For instance, when you said, “But putting my 11 year old daughter in clothes that are equivalent to clothes that I wear when I’m purposely trying to get my husband in a sexual mood,” I’m not sure what such an outfit entails. I’m not suggesting parents should dress their daughters in sexy teddy lingerie, but even if a pre-teen or teen or adult woman was to wear such a thing, it does not justify sexual abuse, sexual assault or pedophilia.

      This is the truth I think we’re all terrified to admit, especially as parents…and especially as parents of girls, no amount of modest dressing can ensure our daughters, sisters, mothers or girlfriends will be safe from sexual violation because we live in a world that doesn’t protect and value women.

      We should also really ask ourselves why we don’t have this conversation about boys and men when we know 1 in 6 men have experienced unwanted or abusive sexual experiences before age 18.

      Let me be clear, a pedophile is a pedophile is a pedophile. What a child is wearing is not the lure. Pedophiles are sick, deviant predators. Simple as that. Yes, you should protect your children. Be wise. But please, oh please, if something should happen to them, know that they are not at fault. Be sure to hold the right person responsible.

      • Stefan

        I am the first one to admit, as a parent of two pre teen daughters, that it doesn’t matter how much I teach them about modesty, there will always be pedophiles that I can’t protect them from. I also recognize that no matter how much i teach them about stranger danger, they could still get kidnapped……that doesn’t mean that I won’t keep teaching to stay away from strangers and to run and scream if they are attacked. How people react to certain clothing is subjective and that’s the point of the article…..we, as a culture, have taught our men to react to women in bikinis in a sexual way and then we go to the store and find 90 percent of the bathing suits available for our 6 year old daughters are bikinis, so we put our daughters in these bikinis and tell the men that we have trained to react this way to stop reacting this way. Pedophiles are Pedophiles are Pedophiles………NO TRUER WORDS WERE EVER SPOKEN!!! I would NEVER blame my daughter or son for being raped….EVER!!!!!! I’m talking more about say, a normal teenage boy walking down the halls of high school. I’m sorry, but i find it hard to believe that a lot of girls who dress in provocative clothing don’t do that on purpose. Teenage girls aren’t stupid…..they know how to get a boys attention. Boys are absolutely accountable for their actions, thoughts and choices and they need to be held accountable for those choices. But girls have a responsibility for their choices too. It’s a mutual accountability. We can’t keep telling the other party to be responsible so that we can do what we want. ” Men, You control your thoughts so that I can wear whatever I want’ “Girls, you wear pants and sweaters all summer so that I don’t have any sexual thoughts” How about ” Girls, we promise to do our best to respect you as women and not look at you as sexual objects if you can help us out by not wearing clothes that flaunt your sexual parts openly and clearly in front of our faces” and vice versa.

  26. Interesting points. Although I’m not a Christian, I agree with your (and Lewis’s) basic tenet that you can’t mock and degrade a set of societal values, then turn around and be shocked when large segments of the society fail to live up to said values. That, to me, has nothing in particular to do with religion — it’s simply a matter of cause and effect.

    Lewis may have seen “the same thing happening over 70 years ago,” but the truth is, this has ALWAYS been happening, in every age and era of human civilization. This problem is as old as we are.

    As one of the comments above pointed out, we are animals. I agree, and would add that we are animals trying to become something more than just animals. Evolution moves slowly though; humans are not fundamentally different than they were 10,000 years ago. For all intents and purposes, these issues of moral transgression vs hypocritical moral outrage will likely be with us until we either evolve into some new form, or go extinct.

    I’m betting on the latter.

  27. Miki

    What a great article! Thank you! Please continue to share your gift of writing. Can’t help but think of Isaiah 5:20: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

  28. wm j (bill) tanner

    I remember that while Ted Bundy was awaiting execution for killing many adult young women in Florida, he was reported to have said that pornography had led him into a perverted state of mind. I read a piece by a syndicated (I think) columnist who said that he didn’t believe in capital punishment, but that he felt Bundy should be because he blamed pornography. One could say that the columnist was offended because of his (supposed) hypocrisy or blaming others for his crimes. However, he believed (knew) that he was about to face the Lord, the Righteous Judge, Who is not swayed by human excuses – He seemed to be giving a warning to other men, especially young men, Whatever, the columnist did not want to execute Bundy because of his many murders, but wanted to execute him for condemning pornography. Bundy did not blame the victims – It wasn’t their dress or their pictures that contributed to his journey into depravity. So too, your writings speak about how our society’s inappropriate attitudes contribute to depravity, and the innocent victims suffer for it. When the courts practically eliminated all government censorship, it was said that pornography would reduce and perhaps eliminate sexual assaults by giving an outlet for their urges. That has been shown to be false. The courts have allowed child pornography to be outlawed – Does anyone think that this blames the victims rather than the child molesters? Of course not. Most child molesters are found to have child pornography after they are arrested.

  29. Cheryl Buford

    I appreciate your insightful critique. It’s never a clean either “culture made me do it” and therefore individuals aren’t responsible or, “individuals are solely responsible without culture increasing their vulnerability.” I agree, we need to address both.

  30. Amy

    I love this post! I wish we could recognize that we can’t wait until the problem is a full blown mature problem to fix it, but that we need to fix it at it’s root. We can’t be okay with pornography but not the results of the addictions. We can’t tell people it’s no big deal and then tell them there is no recovering from their mistakes once they slip outside what we’ve deemed “appropriate”. (I had to put it in quotes because a lot of what we deem appropriate is so disgusting.)

    I fully believe that we are responsible for our own choices and actions, but we are all swayed by culture to one degree or another and we need to stand up and do what we can to change the tide of culture away from these awful behaviors.

  31. Jennifer

    This is a terrific post. Thank you for your voice! Thank you for addressing abortion in with this whole mess.

About Author

Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.