Shmiras einayim, or, guarding your eyes, is a mitzvah that seems mainly geared toward men guarding their eyes against the sight of immodestly dressed women. It also applies to men lingering their gaze for immoral purposes on any woman, whether she is modestly dressed or not.
Usually, women bear the brunt of the burden for ensuring that men don’t violate this mitzvah by adhering to laws of modest dress and behavior so that they don’t attract attention to themselves. Be attractive, not attracting.
A few years ago, I heard about the phenomenon of religious men wearing blurry glasses outdoors, in order to prevent themselves from sinning.
I’m not sure how well that particular invention took off, but lately there have been sightings of another innovation to help men preserve their purity – male modesty veils. [ETA – Shmilda commented that the photos are of Breslov Chasidim leaving for their annual Rosh Hashana pilgrimage to Uman from Tel Aviv in 2012. For some reason these photos are making the rounds of the internet again.]
The bottom photo is accredited to Yaakov Naumi on the Mystical Paths blog. The first photo was shared on Facebook, and I didn’t see an accreditation, but as it is also in an airport, it’s possible it’s from the same photo shoot.
I find this a refreshing change from the usual onus put upon women to weave an ever expanding cocoon of material over their bodies. These men are taking responsibility for their own stringencies. They aren’t placing demands upon women to cover up or stay at home. They aren’t shouting “Pritzus!” or “Zonah!” at immodestly dressed women. They are covering their own eyes.
Would I want to be driving alongside a veil-wearing man on the highway? No. Would I want to be within groping distance as he feels his way along a hallway to get to a correct office suite number? No. Would I want to be on the receiving end of a veil-wearing sales clerk handing me a package of pickle jars or paper weights? Not unless I had fast hands.
However, I have to respect a group of men who are putting the burden of extreme modesty requirements where it belongs – on the men who demand them.