[This is me sighing.] I’ve written a few times here about modesty. Some might think I sound like a broken record. There is some truth to that claim. However, in self-defense, I have two daughters (ages 15.5 and 12) and I am Mormon, which means modesty gets a lot of play at our house. And “modesty” in Mormon culture continues to become increasingly narrow.
Sometimes the things I hear/read genuinely freak me out. Like this comment that was posted here in response to my post about how the church covered up the scandalously exposed shoulders of the subjects in Carl Bloch’s painting:
One week when I was an EFY counselor I had this group of girls that was a little more wild (aka: not molly-mo) but they had all come to EFY to try and feel the spirit and grow. They had been having a great week. They knew the EFY dress code and strove to follow it, and had occasionally been asked to change. (I thought they looked fine, but apparently I was not being strict enough). So it comes to the last dance, we’ve all had this spiritual week, we’re happy and having fun. Well, another counselor came to get me and I went over to find two of my girls kneeling on the ground in the middle of the dance while the BC (the counselor over counselors) checked their dresses. To this day I regret not making a firm and decided stand against that BC and telling her that her actions were completely inappropriate.
I took those two girls back to the dorms where they sat and sobbed for a good 30 minutes. They were humiliated, devastated and heartbroken. All the good from the week was basically wiped out in that 30 seconds. I hadn’t thought there was anything wrong with their dresses and I was heartbroken because I blamed myself for not making them change before the dance. I sat with them and told them how beautiful they were and that God loved them no matter what they wore. I don’t know if anything I said got through.
This experience really affected me. It made me really question how important the letter of the law is when it destroys the spirit of the law. I don’t want anyone to ever feel that they are of less worth because of what they wear. In the grand scheme of things that hardly seems important.
Urg. My leggy 5’8” 15 year old is going to EFY with her cousins in San Antonio in July, so this comment gives me some serious pause. (I hope the above commenter’s experience took place in a galaxy far, far away, and at least one–preferably two–generations ago.)
Or take this snippet I just saw passed around on Facebook where in a 10-year-old girl explains that she took a stand and refused to dress her Barbie doll in her friend’s borrowed bikini because bikinis are immodest.
Okay, so ten year olds are cute, but this example is extreme. [Of course, I was one of those moms who allowed her son and daughter to play with Bratz dolls, so I’m not to be trusted.] As I read the story, I wanted it to end something like this, “I thought for one second about not using the bikini, but then I decided that was silly, so I put on the bikini and got back to our game.” But it didn’t.
And I saved the best for last—a new trend going around on Pinterest (which I am not the least bit pinterested in) where people post photos of their kids’ Barbie dolls once they have painted underwear and bras on them with sharpies or nail polish to make them modest. The caption on one of these says, “Nail polish + naked barbies = modest barbies. Tshirts and leggings under short skirts and tank top barbie clothes. Love, love, love this idea!!!!” This idea is posted under “Fun stuff.” (Umm, on what planet is it “fun” to paint underwear on your kids’ toys in an effort to make them modest?)
I could say more, but, well, this is just nutters.