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A friend blogged about this web site and it's swimwear:

http://www.wholesomewear.com/page-4.html

(the link worked last night, but seems to be down today).

Pretty darned close to a burka. Notice that there is no modest swimwear for men.

Maybe it's a joke.

In spite of the previous post, I *DO* know the difference between "its" and "it's."

I wonder if there's a relationship between "modesty as skin coverage" and body shame.

This swimwear is probably less 'frumpy' than the 'wholesomewear' but still more modest than the typical bathing suit:
http://ohanaswimwear.com/

When's the last time you walked around the BYU campus Dave? It's been quite awhile for me, yet I hear some of the jeans are pretty low, as seen in this post at BobandLogan.com:
http://www.bobandlogan.com/archives/000067.html

Reminds me of a story from a few years back. I was in a long distant relationship with a non-member from Delaware. (Long funny story about how we met and started dating - but I'll skip it) Anyway she came out to visit and of course for part of the visit I had to work. So she decided to go up to campus. But she had on a navel baring halter top with lots of cleavage. She felt very awkward there and said everyone kept looking at her oddly. (Actually I think her actual words were that she must have blown their minds - but that's an other matter) I felt bad for not mentioning anything, but to be honest I hadn't even thought about it.

Somewhat related I'm sure. Not the best exposure to Mormondom for her though.

When I first went to BYU shorts were forbidden, socks were a requirement ... the rules were slightly stricter than they are now. Services and stores at BYU (at that time) would enforce the rules by refusing service, but as new arrivals we didn't know that. A friend of mine waited in line for a very long time (I think to get his first i.d. card along with all the other freshmen) and when he got to where the service was offered they made him walk all the way back up to Deseret Towers to put socks on! It just seemed a little bizarre that they couldn't just let him off with a warning.

This is slightly off-topic but since someone mentioned a non-Mormon friend's encounter with BYU ... I had a (Jewish) friend come visit Provo from New York. He was celebrating his graduation by doing a cross-country road trip. We were walking from one place to another and he suddenly asked "Would it be ok if I smoked a cigarette?" I was stunned because I realized in the years I was at BYU I hadn't ever seen a single person smoke on campus and had no idea where a smoker would go or what they would do on campus with their cigarettes. The possibility had never occurred to me and I didn't know how to answer him. So he abstained 'til we were off campus.

Danithew: smart choice. your friend would have been politely escorted off of campus if he lit up. the only allowed smoking at BYU is when the Law School brings in foreign diplomats who smoke, covertly, on the east side of the law school building. maybe the marriott school has a smoke spot too?

All I ican say is at my (modest LDS) high school, I usually have to cringe as I walk down the hall. Too many girls with way too many love handles and other things being squeezed out of teeny tiny little clothes. I usually think the BYU campus is uptight, but perhaps it really isn't that bad to have place appropriate clothes. For instance, I don't think halter tops would be appropriate at a funeral or church. If I accept that standard, then what is wrong is saying that there can be university that has an almost church like dress standard?

BYU has a bulletin board called the "100 Hour Board" where a secret group of writers responds to questions from the student body. Anyways, I wrote a letter/comment commenting (okay, complaining) about the choice of many of the campus women to wear clothes that showed off love handles, "rear cleavage," underwear, belly button, pasty "pooches," and all manner of not-too-sightly stuff. Anyways, I was verbally accosted by some woman among the board's writers who thought my comments were rude and rather misogynist. I still don't find myself attracted to such clothing, and I still think it's a violation of the "Honor Code." That being said, after looking at Wholesomewear and Ohana, I found myself pleading "moderation in all things." I wish the girls would get with the program. Anyway, the New York Times says that the fashion this season is decidedly more modest (unfortunately, the article has just moved to the pay-to-view site, though you can find on Lexis-Nexis under the title "What Stylish Young Women Are Wearing: More").

Nate C.,

How odd. I think there's quite a gap between disliking immodest or unsightly clothing and being misogynistic. I guess they didn't like the comments about women's bodies not being ideal enough for the clothing they are wearing... if a person is able to conclude that from what you wrote.

A lot of clothing these days seems to be designed in such a manner that only a supermodel could look attractive wearing them ... I hope the article is right about styles becoming more modest.

For what it's worth, the comments do strike me as rude--they appear to be spoken by one who is comfortable putting down women by the use of very unflattering references. It's not quite as off color as telling a dirty joke in mixed company (or telling one at all), but it's the same type of fault. An "Honor Code" that not only allows but seems to promote this kind of pleasantly patriarchal trash talk is overbilling itself. It should simply be renamed "The Dress Code."

Nothing personal, NC. I just don't want you to dismiss the criticism you got earlier as a bunch of women whining--they've got a point. At least that's how I see it.

PS--Any relation to the former BYU historian of the same last name?

I feel that Chris & Nate C's posts wander into the dangerous territory of implying that unattractive/large women should not dress immodestly (solely) because it may be visually offensive. The obvious implied corollary is that attractive women should be permitted to dress immodestly because they look, well, attractive.

Corolleries don't always have a one to one mapping. In other words the reverse need not be true despite how reasonable it may appear.

I think the large women wearing small clothes isn't necessarily about not being permitted to dress immodestly. It is more about having clothes that fit. Many styles today are designed for supermodel type bodies. For fashion reasons (as far as I can guess), this is specifically done to accentuate the differences between people. Either you look really good in those clothes, or you look really bad. Trying to say the same clothes will flatter everyone is, in my opinion rather naive. If everyone looked good in something, chances are it wouldn't be very popular. Unfortunately mass popularity is usually based on something that only a few people can get away with. Once it reaches the masses, it usually looses it popularity and the elitist cycle has to start again.

What I find offensive is significant amounts of flesh hanging out of clothes. Usually this occurs as one tries to squeeze into something specifically designed not to fit a certain body type (or specifically designed to reveal certain pushable areas). Forcing the issue makes it seem that judging clothes based on fit is morally wrong. I think this is rather idealistic. I seemed to have the same attitude regarding the supper baggy snowboard clothes a decade back. Of course maybe I was just discriminating against skinny people who looked really bad in bags? By definition, personal preferences are discriminatory.

Just an extra comment. While giving my Spanish final just now, I was pretty much unable to look at the students from the front of my class. A student in the front row had a pretty revealing top on. She was not over weight and not skinny. Trying to not notice it was like trying not to notice a car wreck. Being a male teacher, I have to be very awae of things like this. Personally, having to deal with things like that in a class is just one more stress. If you send them home, you get accused of misogyny and bias treatment. If you inevitably look, you get accused (by rumor or innuedo) of innapropriate behaviour. Hence my moving to the back of the class to prevent even the chance of this. It also limits what you can do to help students. For questions in these instances, I have to write on the board instead of writing in the student's notebook. After all one can't be close to a student in those instances for fear of possible perceptions. In other words what happens when students have extra flesh hanging out, is myself and any other male has to look away. This becomes rather annoying when trying to walk down the halls and not look at anything. Again, this applies to love handles as much as it applies to cleavage.

That's an interesting take I'd not considered Chris. Immodest dress as sexual harrassment of teachers. Probably a lot of truth to it in our hypersensitive world.

I suspect with regards to your earlier comments that perhaps the way to put it is that modesty is not just about sexuality. I think it unfortunate that we've come to see it purely in sexual terms. I think the sense of "appropriate" is perhaps slightly less charged than modest. It's inappropriate, when overweight, to wear tight clothing that shows folds of fat (of either sex). Perhaps we err by bringing up women in this regard, but think of the stereotype of the fat plumber with his buttocks showing and I think the image is conveyed just as well.

I think what bothers me most about this whole topic is that modesty is being defined by outward signs, when it is absolutely an inward trait.

I wholeheartedly endorse the use of "appropriate" instead of "modest. "

But Ann, it doesn't seem modesty is an inward trait but an outward one. Desiring to be modest is an inward trait. But modesty itself isn't. After all one can be immodest without being aware of being immodest.

Only if you think modesty is entirely related to body covering. I think of modesty in the older sense, I guess, which is an attitude of un-self-absorption.

M-W.com defines modesty as:

Etymology: L modestus moderate; akin to Latin modus measure
1 a : placing a moderate estimate on one's abilities or worth b : neither bold nor self-assertive : tending toward diffidence
2 : arising from or characteristic of a modest nature
3 : observing the proprieties of dress and behavior : DECENT
4 a : limited in size, amount, or scope b : UNPRETENTIOUS

It's an attitude of not putting oneself forward, not showing off. Dressing appropriately is not only modesty, it's also common sense - how you get hired for a job, what impression you make, etc. Dressing modestly ought to come from an inner desire not to focus on the outward appearance, but on the inner self.

What the Old Guys mean when they say "dress modestly" is "cover up." The focus is entirely on outward appearances and not on cultivating the humility that would lead people away from treating our bodies as object for display.

Ann, I actually agree with you, with regards to modesty not simply being about covering ones body. It entails speech, action and so forth. For instance ostentatious consumption is also immodest. Bragging is immodest.

What I disagreed with was whether this was internal (in terms of my intents) or external (in terms of what I do, whether intentional or not). For instance I can think of immodest behavior I've done in the past which still makes me cringe. Yet a lot of it could be best explained by naivete or just plain stupidity. But I don't think it any less immodest...


Constant harrassment of YW to "cover up" (because I think it's mostly focussed on the YW) without addressing the need for real modesty just makes the girls see the issue as a negative.

"No cute clothes for you...you're an LDS woman now! Shoulders are sinful. Here, try on this tent..."

I think a stronger focus on what in means to be modest, in terms of cultivating a modest view of oneself (um, humility?) might go a long way toward fixing the problem.

Furthermore, I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with an exposed belly button or shoulders on a young woman.

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