Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Battle Over Modesty

As the parents of a girl who's only 9 years old, you'd think that my wife and I wouldn't already be facing the problem of finding decent, modest clothing for her to wear. But we are. Fortunately, our little girl goes to a school that requires modest dress by way of standardized uniforms, but she doesn't want to be seen in her "uni" when she's off campus, and that's where the problem arises. Just today, the two of them were trying to find a decent pair of jeans, a pair that didn't ride way down on her hips or fit so tight as to cut off the circulation in her legs. They were . . . not successful. And remember, we're talking clothes for a 9-year-old!

Rebecca Hagelin, who is a vice president of The Heritage Foundation and the author of Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture That's Gone Stark Ravng Mad, covers this very topic in her column today ("Fashioning a response to immodest clothing"). She had written a column a few weeks ago about her futile attempts at finding modest clothing for her 13-year-old daughter. Many of her readers wrote and let her know that she was not alone in this problem.

After sharing some of her readers' comments, Hagelin goes on to write:

Women and girls who decide to dress modestly often have another surprise in store -- men and boys treat them differently. In the book "Dressing with Dignity," former model Colleen Hammond explains why:

"I believe it is because, subconsciously, men can read women's body language. If they see a woman who dresses with dignity and carries herself with grace and femininity, they pick up on that. They take it as a sign to approach her with the respect, reverence and honor a woman ought to have."

Exactly. And if a girl dresses like a streetwalker, they pick up the opposite message. Is that the signal we want our daughters to send?

We should all try to communicate to the little girls in our lives a simple message Hagelin likes to use: "God made you a person of value. You're somebody special who deserves to be respected. So . . . I want you to dress in a way that reflects the treasure you are."


At Tuesday, August 23, 2005 8:25:00 PM, Anonymous Ed Cone said...

It is a real battle, in ways far beyond clothing, to preserve some element of childhood for grade-school kids. You wonder what some of these parents are thinking.

At Tuesday, August 23, 2005 10:07:00 PM, Anonymous b said...

Well said Ed. I'd say the parents are NOT thinking.

At Wednesday, August 24, 2005 9:03:00 AM, Anonymous christspeak said...

I remember the first time I said something about too much clevage to my oldest girl when she was middle-schooler. She responded, "Gross Dad, that's like...sexually abusive!"

After that I would voice concern through my wife and she would set the girls straight.

At Wednesday, August 24, 2005 12:22:00 PM, Blogger David Wharton said...

Keep at it, Mickey. It's a constant issue in our household (two girls, 11 and 14). Like Chip, I've found it's usually best to let my wife do most of the talking.

If you're interested, I posted a while back about one of the worst retailers in this respect -- Abercrombie & Fitch.

At Wednesday, August 24, 2005 2:07:00 PM, Blogger Joe Guarino said...

Great post, Mickey.

At Wednesday, August 24, 2005 2:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The craziest aspect of all this is that....they don't even look good! Obviously this is a subjective conclusion but the jeans are so tight and low-wasted that it almost distorts the figure. It can make a good figure look bad. Senseless.

But what really gets me are these kids who have to expend one of their arms at all times to hold their pants up while they walk. How absolutely moronic can you get? It's sad that anyone feels that pressured by "fashion".

But like you're saying, Mickey, the stores themselves are limiting our options. Scary.

the Heckler

At Wednesday, August 24, 2005 3:40:00 PM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

Thank you all for your comments and encouraging words (and thank you, Ed, for linking to this post on your blog). I find it interesting that everyone who has commented so far has been male (at least as far as I can tell - I don't know whether "B" is male or female). So what about the moms out there - how do you feel about this issue?

At Wednesday, August 24, 2005 5:32:00 PM, Anonymous BGH said...

"B" is male - it should have read BGH but I hit the login and publish a bit quick. Sorry.

At Wednesday, August 24, 2005 5:35:00 PM, Anonymous BGH said...

And one other thing to christspeak and david wharton - keep at it with your daughters even though they might think you're over the top. They must hear from their Dads on all issues and clothing (or lack thereof) is such an important one. Seek God's guidance and stand as firm as possible.


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