Mailbag

The Mailbag: Modesty and having a male OB-GYN (Plus: “I’m working on it.”)

Similar to the public breastfeeding question, what is your perspective regarding women having male gynecologists? It seems to me they would be just as vulnerable to lust as any other man.

Well…it certainly would seem so, but I think this situation is a bit different. Great thinking, though!

Scripture is clear that godly women are to dress modestly in public…

and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 1 Corinthians 12:23

likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 1 Timothy 2:9

…and that men are committing adultery of the heart when they lust after women:

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28

My article, The Mailbag: Should Christian Women Cover Up While Breastfeeding addresses a public situation in which there are several alternatives to a woman exposing her breasts to any and every passerby, and most of them are not earth-shatteringly inconvenient. Furthermore, the men in a public setting who may see a woman who’s nursing are random onlookers who have no business seeing her…um…business.

Having an OB-GYN exam isn’t quite that simple nor is it the same. An OB-GYN has to look at, and touch, your exposed anatomy. You can’t cover up and still receive a proper exam. And that’s what an OB-GYN signed on for. He expects to see, and assumes responsibility for seeing exposed female anatomy as part of his job. That’s not the case for random men in a public place. Those men do not expect to, nor agree to see women’s exposed body parts when they go to the store or the dentist or the library. There’s an assumption that people in public places will have their body parts covered. And speaking of public places, an OB-GYN exam does not take place in public, but in private. You’re not exposed for the world to see, only for the professionally trained doctor who’s performing a specific service for you that not just anyone is qualified to perform. Scripture’s admonitions to women about modesty pertain to dressing modestly in public. That applies to nursing in public. It does not apply to undressing for a doctor’s appointment in private.

Another thing we need to keep in mind when considering this issue is that seeing a certain body part doesn’t automatically equal lust for every man. When you’re out in public exposed to a bunch of random men, it’s likely lust is an issue for many of them because for the vast majority of men, female nudity is connected only to one thing – sex. But when you’re seeing a trained OB-GYN, it’s unlikely he’s lusting after you because his main connection – 40 hours a week or more – to exposed female anatomy is work. He’s used to looking at female anatomy all day every day, and he’s used to looking at it in a professional, clinical, sterile context, not in the context of sex, so that, in the context of his work, he probably doesn’t give your anatomy any more thought than an ENT who’s treating your ear infection or a gastroenterologist who’s treating your ulcer. Any OB-GYN who struggles with the sin of lust in that situation needs to get a new job, just like anyone who struggles with gluttony probably shouldn’t be working at the Krispy Kreme, and anyone who struggles with greed, coveting, and stealing shouldn’t be working at a bank.

If it makes you uncomfortable to have a male OB-GYN, you can certainly use a female doctor instead, if that’s an option, but sometimes it isn’t. You might live in a small town where the only OB-GYN is a male. Your insurance company may not happen to offer a female OB-GYN as one of their preferred providers. You might go into labor while your female OB is on vacation and the only doctors covering for her are male.

Bottom line: It’s very unlikely your exposed anatomy is causing your OB-GYN to lust after you, and if he does, that’s on him, not on you, because, in the context of his exam room, you’re not disobeying Scripture’s admonition to dress modestly in public.


I’m working on it, I promise.

A whole passel of y’all have asked me two questions of late:

1. What do you know about The Bible Recap with Tara-Leigh Cobble? Is it doctrinally sound? Should I use the books, podcast, or Bible reading plan? What about D-Group?

As long-time readers may know, I hiatus every year from about mid-November to early January. I run a lot of holiday-themed article reruns, I don’t create a lot of new content, and I lay off the research. The questions about TBR / TLC started flooding in around Decemberish in the middle of my hiatus, so I’ve only just started my research on this. I’m listening to the podcast and I’ll start digging in to the other aspects of TBR / TLC soon. I know you want answers, but I also know you don’t want a knee-jerk, poorly substantiated answer. I’ll get it to you as soon as I can, either here or on the podcast.

In the meantime, if you’ve run across anything problematic with TBR / TLC, I’d appreciate a heads up. Email me with the specifics: links, page numbers, screenshots, exact quotes, video, etc.

2. I’ve heard Francine Rivers’ book Redeeming Love is being made into a movie. Can you comment on this? The book seems so explicit for a Christian novel. Is it OK for teenage girls to read the book or watch the movie?

Well, I bit the bullet (I really don’t like romances, secular or Christian), checked the book out of the library, and I’m a little over halfway finished. I plan to see the movie soon. Two things on this:

First, if you have specific concerns (not just “this is an awful book” or other generalities), about the book or movie, email me.

Next, it’s my understanding that RL has been revised several times over the years. The one I’m reading is the 1997 / 2007 copyright version. If you’ve read that version and any more recent versions and you’ve noticed major differences between them that would affect whether I would give the book a thumbs up or thumbs down, can you please email me and let me know?

Thanks for your patient understanding and your help.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

2 thoughts on “The Mailbag: Modesty and having a male OB-GYN (Plus: “I’m working on it.”)”

  1. Posted on FB regarding the movie under “I’m working on it”

    Women’s Ministry Toolbox

    January 18 at 9:52 AM ·

    If you’re thinking of seeing Redeeming Love, there are some things you need to know….

    I am thankful for the many men and women God has called to use movies to encourage believers and initiate gospel-focused conversations.

    I try when I can to check out the latest Christian movies as I love being able to share solid movie recs with other women’s ministry leaders.

    When the opportunity became available to see a pre-screening of Redeeming Love I signed up. Though it’s been many years since I read the book, I am familiar with the content and concerns.

    Based loosely on the book of Hosea, the book and movie take many creative liberties. The story has been expanded to include a fictionalized version of Gomer’s childhood in which she was orphaned and became a victim of sex trafficking as a young child (8 or 9). While certainly possible, it, unfortunately, becomes a large focus of the movie. The storyline continues by following Angel’s life as a prostitute and includes many on and off-camera sex scenes.

    I applaud Christian movies that are not afraid to tackle difficult topics such as abortion, sexual abuse, murder, physical abuse, suicide, and pedophilia through a biblical lens. However, I much prefer Christian movies that allow my mind to fill in the blanks without scenes that border on pornography or show the repeated brutality of abuse.

    Redeeming Love is rated PG13. There are many very graphic, lengthy sex scenes in this movie. There is partial nudity. Many scenes feature sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.

    While there are hints to God’s redemptive love and the message of forgiveness plays a key role in the storyline, the amount of time spent on these themes is minimal. You could easily watch the movie and not know it’s supposed to be a Christian film.

    I always recommend leaders review a book or movie thoroughly before sharing it with the women in their church. If you or your women’s ministry team feels led to host a viewing or outing to see this movie, I would strongly suggest previewing it first. You might change your mind.

    You may also want to prayerfully consider warning your women that they may find this movie disturbing and triggering.

    Praying for discernment for us all as we seek to make choices that glorify God.

    Cyndee Ownbey

    Like

    1. Thanks for the heads up! You’re actually the third person to tag me in this. :0) I agree with her on some points, but not on others. The review will most likely be on the podcast. Just giving Amy some time to read the book and see the movie. :0)

      Like

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