Monday, June 21, 2010

Superwoman VS Immodesty

Summer is officially here. The heat and humidity have caused two major migrations; one is my kids moving towards the AC and the other is the hemlines of the general public running for cover. (Ha,ha, ha, ha, ha) All kidding aside, I am often disgusted to see adults showing more than I want to see. I wonder what they are thinking? Do they not own a mirror? Do they really think they look good in that strappy tank top, breasts bulging out of the top, a pasty, stretch-marked belly hanging out the bottom, a mini-skirt that keeps riding up to reveal cellulite dimpled thunder-thighs? (Shudder...gag...sorry.) In the end, I usually think "well, they are old enough to know better." and ignore much as possible.

My real pet peeve is what they put on their children. If a grown woman wants to look like a skanky harlot, that is her business, but a 4 year old has no reason to dress that way. Children should not be dressed in skimpy skirts and sleeveless tops. They don't need to expose their tummies or squeeze into "skinny jeans".

One of the neighbor girls came over in a bikini top the other day, proudly showing it off. My kids were stunned. My oldest son was mortified (Thank goodness!!) When I made a comment about her being nearly naked she frowned and said "but everything's covered." I realized she had no concept of what it means to be modest.

I am sure that many of you agree that little girls should not be dressed in a "sexy" way. So why is it that so many girls show up at church in beautiful, frilly, sleeveless dresses in the summer?

Those of you who are not LDS may have a different standard of what is and isn't modest. Just to clarify, in addition to wearing long shorts and skirts (at least to the knees) LDS teenagers and adults don't wear sleeveless or low-cut tops, or tight-fitting clothes. Youth activities always have dress standards that encourage modest dress.

I have been almost militant about making sure my girls dress modestly at all times. They must wear a shirt under sleeveless dresses or wear a sweater over it. I try to make sure they have dresses that have sleeves whenever possible. Sometimes they try and get away with wearing a tank top without a shirt over it. Even though they may be just playing at home, I make them dress appropriately. (My boys don't really feel the need to wear tank tops and they get sunburn easily so they prefer to wear a shirt outside.)

You may think little girls are so cute and sweet in their little sundresses. They are. I am not arguing with that. But they will not suffer from covering their bodies. The argument that they will get too hot or be uncomfortable is a pretty flimsy excuse to me.

My reasoning is this: I want my children to be prepared for attending the temple. I want them to serve missions, marry in the temple, and live modest, wholesome lives. To me, there is no grace period for developing these habits. I think it is unfair to "change the rules" on your kids. I don't want to suddenly be fighting with my 17 year old because she wants to wear a sleeveless dress to the prom or a bikini to a pool party. I want her to be comfortable in modest clothing so when the battles come, maybe they won't be so bad. (Same goes for the boys.)

Me at 18 in my homemade cow shorts. I wore them all the time!
We all have to make the choice to be modest. I know it may not be the easiest thing to do. Fortunately, capris and crop pants are readily available in most stores. When I was growing up, my mom often made shorts for me so that I had something long enough to be appropriate. Looking back, I shudder at how hideously ridiculous some of them were.(Does anyone remember my cow shorts?) I developed the belief that I had to choose between modest and attractive. That isn't really the case. If you want to be trendy, you can find ways to do it without compromising yourself.

I was lucky. I know I was. My teenage friends were all modest. We took pride in being dressed appropriately when we went to church activities. There were plenty of Young Women who tried to push the boundaries. They didn't stop with inching up their skirts. I am happy to report that my fellow Young Women are all active in the church. They have continued to make good choices. Sure, nobody's perfect. But I am so proud to call them my friends. I know that they have made my life so much easier. I hope my kids can have friends with the same moral strength. If not, I hope they have the courage to take the lead. Being different is never easy but that doesn't mean it isn't the better choice.


Anonymous said...

Hello Amy,

Once again you give us a good article, really well written and I am happy to see that I am not the only one to be someone desperate.

Do you mind if I use your article to help me out? I have some troubles with my young woman (more like they have problems to know what modest is)?

You do a great job. Continue in this direction


Amy said...

Thank you for the reminder that I am not the only one who doesn't dress my girls in sleeveless tops!! I get so tired of LDS women who think that it really doesn't matter until they have been to the temple! I also don't agree with those who think that it is okay to drive to and from the pool in their swimsuits, I always wait and change when I get there. Anyway, thanks again!!

Diann R. said...

Well said, well said! Have to agree with everything! Really difficult when we are forced to look at those bulging tops, bellies, and thighs. I mean really, do they really think that looks good? It seems like they just don't get it. Modesty is such an issue today, definitely best to try to teach them at a young age to appreciate their bodies as temples. I was always taught that true modesty in dress and behavior demonstrates that we love who we are.