Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Feminine Apparel

Anonymous said... I would love to hear your thoughts on dating/courtship ( I am
saving my first kiss for my husband!) and on how women should dress.
I have already given my perspectives on dating/courtship, and will now turn my attention to feminine apparel. I realized after my last post - in which I mentioned that I am known as "that girl who wears skirts all the time" - that I should address this topic now, rather than later, before anyone concludes that I would advocate a bonfire for women's pants :).

It is true that I wear skirts/dresses almost exclusively, with rare exceptions. I wear loose shorts or culottes when I swim or on other rare occasions. I finally got rid of my last pair of pants a few months ago, after it lay unused in my drawer for a few years :). It is natural, given these statements, for one to draw the conclusion that I would advocate a bonfire for women's pants (I have heard of such events). I do not, however, believe that a blanket statement can be made that women should never wear pants or shorts for any reason. Allow me to expound.

A short summary of my own history: I grew up wearing pants or shorts regularly, reserving skirts/dresses for dress-up or more formal events. As I grew older I began to appreciate skirts both for their beauty and feminine appeal, and also for modesty's sake. About three years ago I began to wear skirts/dresses on a regular basis and have never looked back. I truly find them to be more comfortable than pants or shorts. They are actually more practical in the winter, as well, as skirts are easily layered for warmth :).

I began wearing skirts regularly the summer after I started college. I was working as a cashier at a grocery store, having to wear pants everyday at work. I hated the role I was having to play, as a college girl who was trying to work her way up the ranks, and having to wear pants made it worse. I felt I was losing my identity as a young lady who desired to someday be a keeper at home, instead playing a man in both apparel and role. I began to wear skirts mainly to emphasize my identity as a woman.

I also began wearing skirts for modesty's sake. Gracefully loose (read "not frumpy or excessively baggy") skirts are beautiful without drawing unnecessary attention to certain areas of a woman's body. I trust that my readers will catch my drift. While pants can certainly be worn loosely, I still feel that they draw more undesirable attention to a woman's figure than do loose skirts; hence, I avoid wearing them. I drew this conclusion after much study and attention to the appearance of myself and other ladies, and after much reading and prayer. I do not believe skirts are exclusively modest, rather in most cases more modest. In saying this I am not trying to set up a religious hierarchy of "holy," "holier," and "holiest."

At the time I chose to switch to skirts, all of the info I had read on the "women's pants controversy" had come across to me as so judgmental and accusatory - all about rules and not the heart attitude - and I was turned off to the idea of choosing skirts as a conviction because of what I had read, although I admitted to myself that I would not feel "right" going back to pants - not that I wanted to go back! I continued to surf the web for info regarding women and modesty, and I am so thankful to God for bringing me to Ladies Against Feminism! All the issues which I had been struggling with and trying to bring to focus made so much more sense when I started visiting LAF's website. Here was a group of ladies that focused more on their personal convictions (rather than a set of rules), while still challenging others in a gracious way to seek to be more feminine and modest!

As I sought for answers, through LAF and other sites, I realized that the real problem is not "skirts v. pants," but feminism v. Biblical womanhood. That is the real battle we are fighting. I also started realizing the connection between women starting to wear pants, the feminist revolution, and women entering the workforce. Historically worldwide, cultures have always had differences in apparel (not necessarily pants v. skirts) for men and women, that is until the past century or so, with the explosion of feminism. It was considered a shame to cross-dress until the lines between the sexes were blurred in the last century. This, coupled with my belief that in most cases skirts really are more modest, is my personal reason for wearing skirts. As skirts are still recognized in our culture as female apparel (for the most part), and as skirts eliminate undue attention to my figure, skirts seemed the natural solution to a problem of feminist making.

I do not believe an absolute case can be made for the exclusive wearing of skirts by women; however I do believe the principles of modesty, femininity, and gender distinction in appearance are clearly outlined in the Bible. As loose, graceful skirts fit the aformentioned principles, I have chosen to wear skirts. I do not consider skirts to be the boundary for Godly female apparel, rather I consider loose, graceful skirts to be within the boundaries for Godly female apparel.

Ultimately, I think the issue of female apparel is one that must be decided by each woman, with the council of her father or husband, and with much prayer and contemplation.

I do not seek out opportunities to preach my conviction to others, although I do feel strongly about this personally. I am also not saying I will never ever wear pants again for any reason, but I think I can safely predict that I will never wear them again on a regular basis. To me, my choice to wear skirts everyday is my testimony to others that I am happy in my role as a woman, it is my gift to my brothers in Christ as I help them to protect their purity by not drawing impure attention to my body, and it is my thankfulness to God for making me female!

3 comments:

zan said...

That was a good support of wearing skirts. I rarely wear skirts but I understand why people do. I actually feel immodest when I do wear skirts. Weird-huh? I don't feel like I can do all the things a can in pants. (BTW, I went through a period of exclusively wearing dresses/skirts.) I also disagree that skirts are warmer. I was raised in VT where it gets so cold your nostrils seem to freeze together when you breathe in. (Not really, it just feels that way.)Pants are definately warmer (with long underwear) in my opinion.

About kissing. I received my first kiss after one of the dates with my future husband. I can't change that. We had a very short engagement. I don't recommend a lot of physical touching if you have to wait years. I understand the first kiss being at the wedding. But, I just never liked the idea of my first kiss being infront of my family and friends. I guess I like a little romance. It never seemed romantic to me. However, I like BJU's policy of six inches. If you are sending your daughter somewhere I would want strict rules like that. It would make me feel better as a mom.
-Zan

Ashley said...

Thanks for sharing; I really appreciated it! I have discovered a love for skirts since I've entered the work force and became a "grown up", although I definitely still wear pants. I get lazy and don't like to shave my legs, so usually in the winter I'll wear pants all the time.

Susan said...

Zan said, "But, I just never liked the idea of my first kiss being infront of my family and friends."

This made me smile, Zan, because it reminds me of a friend of a friend who saved her first kiss until marriage but also did not want to share such a moment with a crowd, so she simply omitted "the kiss" from the marriage ceremony, and after they were pronounced man and wife they walked down the aisle - no kiss to seal off the ceremony! What a disappointment for the guests ;). I think it would be special (yet embarassing!) and a great testimony to share such a moment with friends and family, but I certainly understand why not everyone would be eager for that scenario.