Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why this Mormon mom wears (gasp) tank tops

I am so done with this absurd, over-the-top obsession with "modesty" (modesty as defined by Mormons), that I have to write a blog post devoted to the topic. (Yep, according to devout Mormons, what I'm wearing in the above photo is immodest and I'm a brazen hussy.) In the Mormon faith, if you take out temple endowments, one is supposed to wear garments, an under-the-clothes version of underwear that is similar to a T-shirt with sleeves and panties that go down almost to the knees. To cover up those garments, a devout Mormon will wear clothes that don't include tank tops or shorts/skirts above the knee.

But the Mormon church isn't stopping there. Even if one does not wear garments, they are preaching to the youth in the church that they should dress as if they are wearing garments, starting as young as a baby. That means no sundresses or, well, shorts above the knee.

Like the dress in this photo? BAD! Throw a T-shirt under it and THEN the child can wear it. (eek)

Apparently if one (well, mostly women, because modesty is somehow placed at the feet of girls and women) dresses covered enough to satisfy the Mormon Modesty Police, then men won't have naughty thoughts, and there won't be rape, unmarried pregnancies, infidelity and everything else.

What makes me White Hot Mad is that one of the reasons young children are being taught that they should cover up is to help boys and men control their thoughts. After all, men have such horrible thoughts all day long that the only way they can stay pure and good is if we girls and women don't show shoulders and knees. Because, as we all know, as long as we cover those scandalous body parts, men are great all of a sudden, thoughts are pure, everyone is modest, everyone in the world is happy, and, well, there you have it.

Following the logic? Yah, me either. It's so ridiculous that I can't even handle it. And my 14-year old daughter gets this message in church and extra curricular activities endlessly and I am so incredibly OVER IT.

Here are some facts: Boys and men have sexual thoughts all day long. For boys in puberty, they are getting erections and aroused non stop. It is normal and nothing at all to be ashamed of. And if I had a son, I would tell him that if he wasn't having sexual thoughts all day long, we'll get him therapy. The next fact is that we must train boys (and men) to control their behavior. Because even if he is aroused, he can't grope a girl, masturbate in public, or try to have sex with a girl against her will. It really is that simple. Boys are going to get aroused by shoulders, kneecaps, a hot girl, an unattractive girl, a smile, eyes, the shape of a neckline, toes and, well, a lamp post.

That's right-- the girl wearing these shoes will turn on scores of men so let's stop wearing flipflops and painting toes, too, you know-- to help the guys out.

What makes the Mormon church's teachings interesting, however, is that they say that impure thoughts are just as bad as impure behavior (really now). So control your thoughts. And girls need to help those boys to control their thoughts. And if a boy does have impure thoughts, let's find a girl to blame it on. (Oh if it were only that simple.)

Wow. Dangerous, if you ask me. What The Hell. What is really sad is that some people believe this. And the result is that our daughters and sons are developing some really unhealthy attitudes towards bodies, sex, and behavior.

The latest is written by a blogger, Veronica Partridge, who writes that she won't be wearing leggings anymore because her husband gets turned on by women wearing leggings and yoga pants in public. Seriously, in case you don't believe me, here is a snippet:
If it is difficult for my husband who loves, honors, and respects me to keep his eyes focused ahead, then how much more difficult could it be for a man that may not have the same self-control? Sure, if a man wants to look, they are going to look, but why entice them? Is it possible that the thin, form-fitting yoga pants or leggings could make a married (or sinlge) man look at a woman in a way he should only look at his wife.
And at that moment, I made a personal vow to myself and to my husband. I will no longer wear thin, form-fitting yoga pants or leggings in public. The only time I feel (for myself) it is acceptable to wear them, is if I am in the comfort of my own home or if I am wearing a shirt long enough to cover my rear end. I also want to set the best example of how to dress for my daughter. I want her to know, her value is not in the way her body looks or how she dresses, but in the character and personality God has given her. I have been following the vow I made to myself for the past couple of weeks  now and though it may be difficult to find an outfit at times, my conscience is clear and I feel I am honoring God and my husband in the way I dress.

To Veronica, I gotta ask: What are you going to do when a man tells you that your hair really turns him on. Or your eyes. Or that top you're wearing. Or toes (lots of men have toe fetishes, you know, and there is an entire cottage industry devoted to toe fetishes).

If every day I looked in the mirror and asked myself what I'm wearing that could possible turn some guy on, and then try and try and try to keep modifying my outfit, well, that would be one very frustrating endeavor. Sheesh-- let's just throw on a burqa and be done with it.


Oh, wait, women fully covered get raped, too. And men still have a desire to have sex with, and impregnate, burqa-wearing women. Why is that? Because sex and a sexual desire is natural, covered or not.

But let's go back to leggings. I wear leggings all the dang time. In fact, I'm wearing leggings in the photo below, and so is my daughter. I think they are cute and stylish, go with everything, and they are so comfy. And, really, they're about as sexy as, well, a pair of jeans or most other item of clothing.

Regardless, we don't teach our daughters that they are responsible for the behavior of others. In my humble opinion, we teach our children that they communicate to the world who they are by how they present themselves. I'm not a fan of allowing kids to dress like hookers, and trust me, I've seen some pretty shocking girls dressed in ways that I would never allow. Like butt cheeks hanging out of shorts, having the ability to see panties from the front of a girls' shorts, and boobs hanging out everywhere. But modesty and dressing tastesfully has far more to do with not wearing leggings, showing a shoulder, or a kneecap. Modesty and tastefulness has to do with how you present yourself, how you behave, dressing appropriately for the occasion, hair color and style, accessories... It's a package. So if you really want to "go there," then be modest in all you do.

But modesty aside, just know that men are going to be finding all kinds of women attractive and a turn-on all day long for all kinds of reasons. And, really, it's not my (or my daughters') responsibility to obsess over how we can curtail it. Now if a guy gropes me or wips out his penis and starts fondling himself in front of me, I'm calling the authorities!

If one more well-meaning Mormon church leader tells my daughters that they need to cover up because of boys, I'm calling him or her out on it. This has to stop.