Singapore pastor says girls should cover up to spare men from ‘lustful thoughts’

Singaporean pastor Joanne Chow, who ministers to youth in Pasir Panjang, has drawn criticism for preaching the old misogynist gospel that women lead men astray by how they dress.

Critics on Sunday were slamming Chow for pinning responsibility for one gender’s spiritual well-being on the other’s “skintight dress” and “bikini photo” in a recent blog post arguing that girls can help guys avoid sin by dressing modestly. 

“Can I also make a special appeal to the girls? Let’s help our brothers by not dressing in a revealing or provocative way. Of course you don’t have control over their lustful thoughts, and it may not be a sin to wear that skintight dress or post that bikini photo, but if we can help our brothers, why not?” read her Friday post on Christian website Thir.st.

The 38-year-old pastor, who is a mother of two girls, is a member of the Pasir Panjang Hill Brethren Church.

She had neither responded publicly to the criticism nor an email requesting comment as of publication time. 

Her comments came after it came out that an internationally famous evangelical leader who died last year was tainted by sexual scandal due to what seems an appetite for young women.

Thir.st staff wrote in social media comments yesterday that the blog post was published in the wake of the sexual abuse allegations that have come out against Canadian evangelist Ravi Zacharias, who was recently accused of sexually exploiting massage therapists and soliciting hundreds of photos from young women. He died of cancer last May at 74. 

In comments on social media, someone from the publication wrote that, despite the apparent victim-blaming comments, Chow was writing about “the need for repentance of sin, accountability and ministry to victims who have been abused.”

“She acknowledged that everyone is ultimately responsible for their own thought life,” its statement said. “However, she also suggested that girls could help the guys by dressing modestly. Both statements can be true at the same time and are not necessarily in conflict.”

In Chow’s post, she recounted struggling with a “whole new level of temptation” after agreeing with her boyfriend-turn-husband that they would avoid premarital sex. She also suggested that everyone unfollow explicit accounts on Instagram and TikTok, and activate explicit content filters for YouTube while also reaching out to other Christians with struggling with their sexual desires. 

“Sounds extreme? That’s a small price to pay if we’re serious about protecting ourselves. It’s better to be inconvenienced occasionally than to leave ourselves open to temptation,” she wrote.

Critics, some Christians themselves, bashed Chow online for a classic case of blame-the-victims.

“Excuse you, it’s not the women’s fault for wearing what they want. It’s these boys who [can’t] seem to understand what self control is and thinks it is okay to assault someone like that. Stop victim blaming and start calling people out for their mistakes instead,” @Celestia_cq wrote on Instagram yesterday.

“[I]t’s [already] sad that girls [got to] dress less [provocatively] in order to look out for their own safety, and now this post is saying we gotta do it so we make the lives of the men easier?????” another named Arikenna said. 

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CITY: SINGAPORECATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: RELIGION, VIRAL

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