He had discovered a great law of human action,
without knowing it - namely, that in order to make
a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary
to make the thing difficult to obtain.
— Mark Twain—
You remember the story, right? Tom Sawyer has to whitewash his Aunt Polly’s fence on a Saturday morning when he had planned all sorts of other activities. When one of his friends happen by, he pretends that whitewashing is a great and wonderful privilege to get to do!
“I reckon there ain't one boy in a thousand, maybe two thousand, that can do it the way it's got to be done,” Tom says to the first hapless boy who comes to jeer at him. Moments later, Ben Rogers is doing Tom’s job… the first of a non-stop lineup of boys who insisted that they be given a chance, too… even paying him to let them do it!
“He had had a nice, good, idle time all the while—plenty of company—and the fence had three coats of whitewash on it! If he hadn't run out of whitewash he would have bankrupted every boy in the village.” (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Chapter 2)
It is right at this point in the the story that the quotation above is found. It capsulizes this very significant human reality…
To make someone covet something, just make it hard to obtain!
We laugh at Tom’s cunning pretence and the gullibility of all his friends who fell for it. But therein is an important truth about us all. In light of my most recent post, The Objectification of Women – Part 1, I thought this quote was imminently appropriate. Let me explain…
An Exquisite Beauty
Women are—by God’s fabulous design—wonderfully beautiful. For years (and long before I became a naturist) I have held the opinion that the naked female body is the most beautiful thing God made in all of creation.
God is aesthetic… He loves and creates beauty. Humans, who are made in God’s likeness, reflect that aesthetic nature; we are attracted to beauty.
Unlike the task of whitewashing a fence, the beauty of a woman is intrinsically attractive to us all. It is natural and pleasing to see. That beauty, by itself, does not incite lust. It is—like all other beauty—attractive to the human eye. And it should—like all other beauty—prompt us to admire the one who crafted the beautiful sight!
But what if we never get the chance to actually see it? What if we are told that its only permitted on a very limited basis? What if that sight is very “hard to obtain”?
Hiding Women’s Beauty Leads to Lust.
If the chance to whitewash a fence can be coveted because of its inaccessibility to a young man, how much more will lust be ignited when the inaccessible object is something of genuine beauty?
When Muslims make the beauty of a woman’s face “hard to obtain” by keeping it covered from sight, they cause men to “covet” or lust after women’s faces.
When Indians make the beauty of a woman’s legs and ankles “hard to obtain” by keeping them covered from sight, they cause men to “covet” or lust after women’s ankles.
When we in America judiciously ensure that every woman keeps any sight of the beauty of her breasts and buttocks “hard to obtain” by covering them, we also ensure that men will “covet” or lust after women’s breasts and buttocks.
Frank Exposure Defeats Lust
One of Tom Sawyer’s opening lines to his first victim was, “Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”
Herein is the key to Tom’s success… by hinting that whitewashing was a rare and exciting opportunity, he drew the fellow into wanting it for himself.
If Ben Rogers had ever been assigned the sorry duty of whitewashing his own fence, he never would have fallen for Tom’s pretense. Frank exposure to the truth of how much work it really is to paint a fence would have made him immune to any ideas to the contrary!
In like manner, boys who are exposed to the natural female form in non-sexual contexts will know the truth that seeing a woman’s unclothed form is not a “big deal,” and that the incident, by itself, is not a sexual experience at all. They will not fall for pornography’s offer of a rare and special experience (seeing a woman’s body) nor its pretense about how “sexual” that experience is.
But make it very difficult to ever see a woman’s body, and those boys will be ripe for lust… and ripe for falling into pornography’s distorted ideas about the meaning of that beauty.
Let’s Not Fall for the Pretense Anymore.
Tom Sawyer understood this reality, and he used it to con others into doing his work.
Satan understands this reality, too, and he’s used it very successfully to con countless men and women into doing relationships and sex his way.
In both cases, the allure is based on a lie. It’s time to open our eyes to the truth. We’ve been whitewashing Satan’s fence far too long.
— Matthew Neal
(If you have not already done so, please read the Introduction to the Quotes and Comments.)