I recently attended two youth retreats with kids aged 11-19 (they were separated between Jr. and Sr. high) at the same location. When I attended the first one, a man (who was there as a youth leader) noticed my pompadour-twirl-bangs hairstyle and commented that he liked my “pin-up” hairstyle. I told him it wasn’t a pin-up style, but was just a retro hairstyle I did regularly (and of course one must realize many women wore their hair in this particular way in the 40s and 50s, but this guy associated it with pin-up girls because he was fascinated with pin-up art from that time). He proceeded to tell me that he was going to be getting a tattoo featuring a pin-up pirate girl on his leg. I responded, “I have a pirate tattoo myself” and showed him the jolly roger flag on my arm. Then I said, “I hope your pin-up girl will be modest.” He didn’t really say anything to me in response other than, “Well I’ve noticed your hair since yesterday and wanted to tell you that it’s cool.”
About a month later I went to the second retreat where a youth leader (maybe youth pastor, as I didn’t ask) approached me and told me that his friend who told me about his pin-up tattoo got it done and he had pictures of it to show me. He pulled out his phone and showed me various rotations of the tattoo. I sat there in shock looking at it. My husband was directly behind me and in my head I was thinking, “I hope he’s not looking at this,” because pin-ups were a problem for him when he used to view pornography. All I could say was, “She’s not modest.” I stared at the phone for probably a full minute before he pulled it away. The pin-up girl had a sensual pose with her legs shown off and her midriff exposed and large bosoms covered but you could see that her nipples were erect. I was appalled. It is one thing if I were to see this tattoo randomly from someone who didn’t proclaim Christianity, but after my comment, the man holding the phone said, “His wife loves it!” and I was even sicker to my stomach.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the situation for the rest of that morning. I kept thinking that his tattoo was a stumbling block to any kids who might see his tattoo and think it is cool. My husband said that the tattoo was a promotion of pornography to the kids. Soft-core porn is what started his past addiction, so of course a Christian man who shows a bunch of kids his tattoo of an immodest woman and having pride in it could cause a child to say, “I want to see more pin-up girls!” and of course their lust might increase and it could all stem from this leader’s tattoo. If he wears shorts, his tattoo is open for the entire public to see.
I don’t know what the man with the tattoo’s personal relationship with Jesus is like or if he has his own struggles he’s dealing with regarding pornography. If you are a leader in a church, you need to be very careful with what you promote in your heart and to others with what you say and do. Some questions to ponder are, “Is this something that is godly?”, “Will it cause someone to possibly sin?”, or “Will talking about this set me apart as someone who is of God or will it make me look just like the rest of the world?”
I was nearly a pin-up girl myself on various popular soft-core pornography websites and by popular recreated pin-up photographers but I rejected them all because I started to feel God pull on my life towards Him and knew that I was doing wrong to begin with. I am hurt that married men, single men, guys I knew personally, and my own husband and I showed off the pictures of me in that time period that I may have completely rid of since, but the images might still linger in the minds of others. I can never go back and decide to never take those photos of myself, to never pose in what I did or didn’t have on. It’s too late.
Instead of pitying myself over it, I’ve come through to realize God’s word as truth which delivered me from evil. I’ve come to know that I was rescued from a lifestyle that would have been very difficult on my life and would have tore me away from God completely and would have destroyed my marriage. It was the worst time period in my life (age 18-21) ever when I was involved with such things. In becoming a youth leader I was very concerned about the people who would look up to me as a role model and who I was standing up for (Jesus who cleansed me). Instead of being a poster girl for pornography, I’ve turned it around to being a poster girl for modesty. I don’t think even a lot of Christians understand that pin-up drawings and photos are not something we should embrace when it can truly harm so many people’s minds and relationships and does not promote Christ in any form at all. During the worst time of my life, my husband and I even had a pastor near our age who had pin-up girl calendars and pin-up girl shower curtains in their home! They had a young child in their home who saw that every single day and many people seeking God visited them often.
I urge you all to encourage Christians no matter if they are leaders or not to be very careful of what they are advertising. Are you promoting Christ or sin? You cannot seek pleasure from the world and be of the world if you are also trying to please Christ with how you live. It just isn’t possible. People are always watching. You can’t even speak about purity if you are going to represent impurity. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Galatians 1:9-11