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{Published in the Colorado Springs Gazette, July 18th, 2013}

Anyone who has Googled “bikini” within the past two weeks (90 percent of hormonally active males with an Internet connection) knows all about Madelyn Sheaffer. While trying to enjoy the long Fourth of July weekend. Ms. Sheaffer was kicked out of a Missouri water park when she refused to cover up her revealing attire.

What gave this story “legs”, as they  say in the biz, is that Sheaffer is not some teenybopper floozy or model wannabe. She is a mother in her 40s who was not in the mood to take prudery and discrimination lightly. By her account, she had been significantly overweight for years. She had lost 100 pounds through hard work, perseverance and faith, and had developed a new confidence in her appearance.

She is to use the term appropriate for a family newspaper, full-figured. So go ahead guys, Google her now, like her Facebook page, I’ll wait. Yes. there are pictures, probably NSFW. You’re just helping me make my point.

The degree of progress a civilization has made can be measured by how everyone who is not an alpha male is treated. In the case of women, this means treating them as full human beings exercising autonomy over their bodies, their lives, and yes their clothing.

All societies recognize the effect that exposed female real estate has on males. There are deep, profound biological reasons for it, going back hundreds of thousands of years. I suspect they will be with us for millennia to come.

What distinguishes enlightened societies from primitive ones is how they handle it. Post-enlightenment, progressive societies place the burden on men. More primitive ones place it on women. It is no accident that women are veiled in those parts of the Islamic world where the Enlightenment has yet to take hold.

What does this have to do with Madelyn Sheaffer getting kicked out of a Missouri water park? What probably happened is that someone complained, and the management of the park (who if sources are to be believed, were all men) agreed. I’d suggest that ultimately, the same forces are at work here.

Men were distracted by a woman’s appearance, and they placed the burden on her to deal with it. That’s a step backward.

It’s the same impulse, I‘d suggest, that led to Iowa dentist James Knight firing his female assistant after consulting with his pastor. Apparently, despite her being happily married and working with him for 10 years, she had become too attractive and a threat to his marriage. So the good pastor advised Dr. Knight to tire her. After all, his marriage was at stake, so what choice did he have?

When it comes to female beauty and personal expressiveness, the forces of regression and authority have always tried to control it. Post-WW ll Britain saw a British medical journal bemoaning the “sluttish undergarments” that girls were now wearing. The Taliban explicitly forbade makeup for women: One of the first signs of life in a post-Taliban Afghanistan was the emergence of beauty salons on the streets of Kabul. Today if you want to open a business where a woman appears topless or, heaven forbid, nude, you have to satisfy dozens of legal requirements way beyond those necessary for public health and safety.

I don’t mean just to indict the fuddy-duddy right here. The left gets its slutty undergarments in a twist just as often. They’re all about a woman’s right to choose when it comes to reproduction, but if she chooses to open a Bikini Espresso stand or play in the Lingerie Football League, they start screaming about exploitation and the evils of capitalism. Who exactly is pro-choice here?

Guys. I‘m a normal adult male. Scantily clad women can be distracting. I get that. But this is 21st-Century America. The burden is on us men to deal with our biology. Women should be allowed to wear what they want.

Except for my daughter. Erica, if you’re reading this, I don’t care how old you are: There’s no way you’re going out dressed like that.