A war of attitudes: Ashland vs. Islam

When Ashland parents vehemently defended their teenage girls from criticism raised over the manner in which they dressed &

and the girls' attendance at themed parties focused on crude portrayals of sexual attitudes &

they inadvertently found themselves in the midst of a debate that has wreaked havoc in Islam for generations.

Progressive Ashland and conservative Islam are polar opposites, each seated on extreme sides of the dress code spectrum. Inherent within the spectrum are attitudes about sex and sexual conduct. As some of Ashland's teenage girls seek to exploit sexual themes and acceptable liberal dress codes as a means by which to make money, their counterparts in Iran face harsh criticism for merely showing too much hair, arms or legs in an effort to be viewed as attractive.

Iran has laws that prohibit any manner of dress that reveals the curves of a woman's body, much less her bare skin. Conservative Islamic attitudes regard a woman's hair, shoulders, arms, legs, feet and the curvature of her body as sensual temptations &

widely understood as a slippery slope toward sexual behavior outside of marriage, which is also forbidden. It is believed such temptations also lead young men to skirt strict religious guidelines to pursue personal lusts.

However, with the influence of western attitudes and culture, Islam has seen a cultural revolution rise up in its own youth. Today, Iran maintains the same legal prohibitions on dress, but is embroiled in a debate over how to enforce such laws.

Ashland parents who condone the obvious sensual dress of their teenage girls are on the opposite end of the spectrum from conservative Muslims. In Ashland, education on sexual matters is seen as the pre-eminent method of dealing with the negatives that are attached to the subject. For many parents, it seems the manner of dress of their teenage girls doesn't necessarily relate to sexual attitude or behavior.

If we objectively view the pervasive perspectives existing on both extremes of the dress code spectrum, we find a legitimacy of the fears held within Islam. While many Americans may not agree with Islamic methods of enforcement, it is hard to disagree with the belief that the gradual progression toward liberal dress codes brings with it more liberal attitudes about sexual conduct, which invariably end with the notion that sex is a personal pleasure to be engaged in by any two consenting individuals. Such a notion undermines religious beliefs and has wreaked havoc in western societies, leading governments to define, by legal statutes, who can and cannot legally engage in sexual activities freely of their own volition.

With a move toward the liberal end of the spectrum, secular governments &

in like fashion to religious governments &

must also define dress codes in addition to when and where sex can be legally engaged, while religiously-held beliefs of right and wrong are transformed into legal and illegal disputes.

Thus, secular governments have become arbiters of right and wrong for many progressives, while beliefs in a higher power remain a part of the equation for many conservatives of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, as well as other religions. Yet, within religious communities &

not just Islam &

the manner of dress is a serious topic of debate that reflects attitudes toward central core issues pertaining to evil, temptation, and abuse of sex.

Inherent within the debate over clothing options is the misguided notion among many progressives that education is key to resolving the negative dilemmas of sexual conduct. Out-of-wedlock births, abortion, sexual disease, heartaches and relationship woes seem to all fall under the wide umbrella of sexual education. The assumption is that those who fall prey to negative results of sexual conduct were simply uneducated about the ramifications of their decisions.

Yet, education has not prevented widespread corruption among our nation's leaders, despite the fact that all of them understand the ramifications of stealing, lying and even sexual improprieties. And sadly, even some educators themselves face imprisonment for their sexual exploits with teens.

Indeed, attitudes toward dress codes have everything to do with attitudes toward sex. And as long as teenage girls are led to believe that fashion trends have nothing to do with sex and religious codes of ethics, they will inadvertently subject themselves to harsh criticisms of their character based upon their manner of dress and sexual behavior.

Ironically, it appears that some who regard themselves as progressives need more education in an effort to understand the ramifications of the decisions of their children.

is the Daily Tidings Content Editor. He is a conservative author and columnist. He can be reached at

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