where are my pants?

I will repeatedly say, to anyone who has vague suspicions, that I don’t count as a Christian. I mean, you’d be stretching the definition a long way. Sure, Jesus had some great ideas, but does that really mean I have to take the whole Bible as some divinely-inspired document? Can’t I just view it as a brilliant cross-section of cultural norms that applied at the time and might serve as some inspiration to those who really dig that culture?

So. Established. I am pretty darn heterodox and satisfied to be that way.

You’d never know it from my taste in clothing.

I gave up short-shorts aged thirteen, miniskirts before I was thirty (only with leggings for years, realized I was too old for that look). I’m small-chested and I don’t generally go to the beach to show off anyhow, so what’s the point of a bikini? Give me a one-piece and some shorts. I won’t wear leggings without a long top or a short dress to cover my rump.

Now, “small-chested” means I can get away with an awful lot that other women can’t. I can wear lower-cut shirts. I don’t risk falling out of tops or dresses that are made to give a girl cleavage; it’s also not nearly as interesting compared to, say, if my mother were to do that. I get cold easily — modesty is practical. Seven or eight months of the year it’s practically compulsory.

What I’d like is good advice on modest dress without the attendant lecture about morality.

I do not make moral judgments based on the amount of fabric covering a person. Do I sometimes find it tacky to go too short? Do I wonder “where are your pants?” Yes. Because that’s my taste. And because that’s my taste, I keep my mouth shut.

I don’t object to Kristen and Bethany from GirlDefined on grounds of taste. I think their tastes are just fine. I object to them because they’re kinda — really — judgy about the things they don’t understand. I wish I could spend a week with them just showing them that a feminist is a woman like any other, but I’ll leave it to actual Christians to do that. I wish I could get their fashion advice without the preaching.

There are some great YouTubers — Muslim, Christian, I believe a few are Orthodox Jewish? — who give very similar advice without the harsh judgment of who you are inside. More of an “if you wanna be modest, here’s some guidelines”. Yes, some are speaking from a religious perspective, and that is not a problem. I know who it’s targeting. The lines these YouTubers don’t cross are the ones that attack a woman’s worth. There’s a particular British modesty vlogger who speaks openly to her sisters in Christ and I can admire that because she then proceeds to encourage from a practical POV as well as a spiritual one.

Notice I said encourage. The last thing you want to do, if you want people to see it your way, is beat them into doing so, browbeating or otherwise. I rebutted the GirlDefined video in the same spirit as I felt it was created. I would not get that harsh with someone who simply said “I don’t understand”. Be open to learning, you’ll find teachers.

So I will be browsing the vlogs and maybe recommending one or two on Facebook in a “love her style and her attitude” way. I refuse to endorse anyone who’s going to hurt someone else in an effort to spread any perspective.

If you have a more modest style than not, please feel free to get in touch. Just understand that I already have beliefs that make me happy.

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One thought on “where are my pants?

  1. I’ve always hated it when people assume any behavior or idea is somehow inherently attached to a religious view of the world. People think modesty is part of some sort of religious code instead of simply being modesty. They think morality is born of religion, when it quite obviously isn’t. Sure, these religions teach such things. The Protestant Work Ethic is thusly named for a reason, but that doesn’t mean others don’t develop their own solid work ethic independently of some holy man’s teachings.

    And as far as your fashions, I think they’re wonderful. How you dress is an expression of your choices, style, and desires. I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen more of your hair and skin than what is on your hands and face, but I don’t feel like I know you any less for that. In fact what I do know of you visually is largely comprised of your personal expression which shows me more of what’s going on inside instead of out, even if sometimes that’s “she doesn’t like the cold.”

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