Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Modesty Police Are Barking Up The Wrong Tree

I saw the following picture this morning.  It accompanied an article on the PRI regarding Saudi women registering to vote for the first time.

Although it was an interesting and worthwhile article, the picture caught me for a completely different reason.

In Utah, there is this misguided notion among "modesty" minded folks that, if we can just cover up women - make sure their dresses are long enough, cover the cleavage, spare the boys those sinful shoulders - we can somehow get our poor males to behave themselves.

I love the PRI picture, because it calls bullshit on that whole premise. Obviously, the dress choices of the ladies does not change a darn thing...

1 comment:

one crazy girl said...

I was always taught that modesty wasn't just for girls (and yes, I did group up in Utah) and that it included our attitude about ourselves as much as what we had on our bodies. My parents let us wear what we wanted (within the family budget, of course) as long as it was clean and covered all essential body parts. I was never sent home from a church (yes, LDS church) activity for wearing shorts or sleeveless tops (which I did wear to activities in the summer). The one place where there was a restriction was swimwear; my parents wouldn't buy bikinis for their daughters, though I did have some two-piece swimsuits, just not bikinis. The truth is, our culture (American/Western culture, not LDS culture) objectifies women in advertising, television, and the media in general. I think it is this fact that causes more stress to be put on what girls wear than what boys wear. However, in my ward, the young men are taught that they should wear clean pants, white shirts, and a tie when passing the Sacrament on Sundays (isn't that horrible? that they would tell the boys what to wear for this ordinance? who do they think they are?). While I was Young Women's president, we didn't have a single lesson on dressing modestly. One girl wanted to organize a Modest is Hottest fashion show for her Personal Progress (a program similar to the Boy Scouts merit badges and Eagle Scout awards). We let the girls pick the clothes they wore and the music that was played. The leaders had to give a final okay (because it was at the church building, and there are standards for dress [yes for the boys as well] and music in the building), but there wasn't anything we ended up changing or telling them they couldn't use.

For the most part, people will find something offensive (I'm not talking about clothing anymore here but about perceived restrictions and reactions of others) if they are looking for something offensive. If you are worried about how other people are going to react or what they are going to say about something, you will most likely find a way to convince yourself that what they said is what you thought they would say, even if they in no way meant anything close to how you took it. Judgment goes both ways. We are all guilty of judging other people's motives and actions based on our own preconceived ideas of what they mean or how they are going to act. Human nature. Just remember that the next time you get your panties in a twist because a well-meaning grandmother buys her 5 year-old granddaughter a cute T-shirt to go under her sundress. Maybe she's thinking of the coming winter and doesn't want the child to have cold upper arms. You have no way of actually knowing her motivation.

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