Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fearlessly Feminine - Challenge Day 2

Why dresses?

Deuteronomy 22:5 reads:
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.

So, really, why dresses? First of all, the scripture doesn't say that a woman shalt wear dresses and the man shalt wear pants! Besides, back then, didn't both sexes wear similar clothing? I've been asked the question, "weren't robes like dresses? and Jesus wore didn't Jesus wear a dress?" Goooood Point!

I'll pick apart the research I have done so far...

What did Jesus wear?
(or in other words...did Jesus wear a dress?)

In Jesus' time :
Men wore--
Tunic (short, usually stopped below the knee to mid-calf. No this was NOT a dress, although it was not pant either!)
Girdle (a belt)
Mantle (outer garment - like a robe)
*(Interesting fact... to "gird your loins" meant literally to take your Mantle and bring it up between your legs and tuck it into your girdle to keep it from getting in the way while you were working or running! Men often showed a LOT more leg than girls and when girded had a look that was similar to shorts... Women wouldn't have done would have been very indecent!)

Women wore--
Tunic (very long -- or in other words a dress, definitely NOT pants or something that showed any leg!)
Girdle (belt-more ornamented that a males)
Mantle (ornamented and LONG)
Veil (Head covering)

So- Jesus did NOT wear a dress. And, you are right! He did not wear pants either!

If we look at Deuteronomy we have to understand that the point is that it is NOT appropriate for a woman to wear that which is considered mans clothing. (An image of the restroom sign popped into my head again). She should wear that, which is womans clothing... (which, back then and up until the sexual revolution was modest dresses -regardless of what the man wore!).

I know, I know! There are many, many, many points that could be argued here...

Yes, there are obviously pants that are womens pants that could not really be worn by a man...but the question is, is it truly appropriate for a woman to wear pants at all? Don't look at me...I've been hung up on this issue for a while now. I'm not sure. What about this it appropriate for a man to wear a womans dress? We raise our eyebrows at that because, isn't. A dress is womens clothing! At least here in the U.S. and many European cultures it is. Of course, there are some individuals who cross dress...but, that is not the point!

I liked this comment from Dana...and she is right, a LOT of it does depend on culture. (I love surrounding myself with smart, educated people! Thanks for the thoughtful comment Dana!)

She said, "As for what constitutes "mens clothing" that all depends on the culture in which a person is living. In the middle east for example both men and women wear robes but colors vary. Women also wear the hijab of course covering their hair, neck, throat.

In the Pacific islands we find again that both sexes wear what we'd call a dress/skirt.

It both of the above cultures it's vitally important to wear these items as it helps the body maintain a healthy body temp & prevents overheating.

In colder climates among Innuit peoples in Siberia/Alaska/Canada we find that the dressing standards among the sexs is identical. Again it's a matter of keeping the body temperature regulated in a harsh environment.

Also in the Asian cultures we find that both sexes wear similar clothing tradtionally with color & pattern being the only real difference.

As of today those are the only true variations between the sexes within Western culture. People of both sexes tend to dress comfortably in whatever way best suits their individual needs. As we saw the need for women to crossover into jobs that were traditionally held by men we found that they began to adapt their dressing style to suit their workplace environs. For instance women can't work wearing dresses inside a factory setting as the loose garment could easily become entangled in fast moving equipment resulting in catastrophic injury and even death. The same goes for women who began to operate farm equipment once it became mechanized. It's too dangerous to work around thrashers/hay bailers/etc... in a skirt so they changed their attire.

She is absolutely right, historically, a lot of things changed during WWII when it became necessary for a woman to wear her husbands trousers while she worked on heavy & dangerous machinery... but interestingly enough, most women did NOT wear pants during social activities. It was still 'not done.' I wasn't until the late 60s (the sexual revolution man! peace! love! etc...) that everything changed.

It has only been in the last 50 years or so that wearing pants became 'OK.' My mom has told me that, for her, even up until late elementary school, it was required that girls wear skirts to school....because...well, girls wear skirts. Boys wore pants.

I'll be blogging more later this week about fashion, culture and changes through history and it is interesting to see the hemlines go from modest to (in my opinion) immoral in less than 3 decades.

I'll also be reviewing an interesting book I read by Colleen Hammond called "Dressing With Dignity." Just to give you a taste, Colleen says, "Do parents realize that 'ladies of the night' wouldn't wear on the street corners in the 1950's what some girls wear to the mall these days?" Yipes! I know I've seen this! Have you?

Also... What do you think a mans eyes are drawn to when a woman wears pants? What about when she wears a nice, modest skirt? I'm still looking for facts and figures on this one... Women who advocate skirts insist that mens eyes are drawn directly to your crotch in front...your booty in back. I'm still researching this and will see if I can get more on this before the 7 Day Challenge is over.

So, I did wear a skirt today. It went really well. I've actually been pretty comfortable and I don't think anybody thought anything of it. I ran a couple of errands and now just hanging out at home while the girls enjoy "quiet time."

As a quick Afterward:
NO! I am not trying to convince you to wear skirts. =) But I do feel something working in my own mind and I cannot help but study this out to see where it will go. I have had a couple of people ask me, "Do you feel the Holy Ghost is prompting you to wear dresses?" It is NOT culturally necessary in the LDS Church and I would be the cheese standing alone if I decided that this was the case. Honestly, I don't know. I did ask my husband (bless his heart-he supports me in these wild ideas I get) what he thought. I wondered if I were truly being prompted to wear skirts and dresses...then why am I the only one? His response was, "because you asked." Hmmm... good point. I can't imagine too many of my friends asking a similar question. LOL! When I mentioned it to a few friends many of them thought I was crazy...and usually ended up saying something like..."I'm afraid to ask because I don't want to find out the answer!" I did get a few comments about how, if it was truly an issue the President Monson would say something about it... but, would he? I mean, do we need to be commanded in all things? He is awfully busy combating bigger issues right now like Pornography and Provident Living. I believe there are some things we just have to decide for ourselves... And NO WAY! I did NOT throw out my pants... This is a 7 Day Challenge... Which is not only challenging me to dress femininely for a week...but challenging me to think about my wardrobe and decide what is modest and feminine and what makes me look like a bag lady and to thoughtfully consider new scriptures.


Dana Cheryl said...

Well, I, for one, think it's a very interesting experiment! It's a fascinating topic. By the way, I've never once thought that you were "preaching" or trying to convert the masses. lol!!

It's so true that the standards of dress have fallen quickly. For instance, I've been watching a lot of older tv shows thanks to streaming netflix and the changes in what is acceptable is glaring. My oh my! How we've changed. Not just in dress but in language but I guess that's a topic for another day. :)

p.s. Thx for the wonderful compliment! The only greater compliment for me than being called well educated is to be called a follower of Christ. :)

Colleen Hammond said...

I look forward to hearing your comments about "Dressing with Dignity", Stephanie! I hope to focus women on the concept of embracing their femininity...and no it's not all about trousers!!! Just being open and willing to embrace the Godly woman He created us to be.