What the “women-in-pants” thing is really about

What the “women-in-pants” thing is really about

Because I have a morbid fascination with pouring proverbial fuel on the proverbial fire and watching people run around with their hair figuratively on fire (love that image?), here’s a thought on the whole “women-in-pants” thing.

Let’s be completely honest about it. Strip away all the talk about modesty, about how paradoxically women wearing pants are both more slutty and more manly, and all the rest, and come clean that what really motivates people to say women shouldn’t wear pants is the same fascination with the 1950s as some mythical golden age of the Church and society and that if only all women acted like June Cleaver and Donna Reed all would be right with the world again.

Because if we’re going to go there, then we have to insist that all men wear fedoras and suits and smoke pipes and drink Scotch when they get home from work (actually, that’s not a bad idea…) and all young boys have to run about in short pants with slingshots in their back pockets and on and on.

Meanwhile, people who actually lived in the 1950s can tell us what it was really like and how the mythical golden age is in fact a myth.

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  • To which I say: So what?

    The reality is that fashion and modesty is culturally and chronologically conditioned. What is scandalous to one generation is not to another. In one place,  the sight of a bare ankle will cause men to sin, while in others bare breasts are completely ignored.

    I’m not saying that there aren’t standards of modesty. I’m saying that standards depend on where and when you are in time and place. Thus the standards that apply in Genoa in 1959 are not the same as in Peoria in 2006.

    Or were the Puritans and Amish right all along?

    I don’t know whether it’s an unfair characterization. I do know that what is superficial is an approach to modesty based on problems of 50 years ago, not today. The fact that you have to appeal to a 50-year-old document by a single cardinal to his own archdiocese in another country says a lot to me.

  • “I’m not saying that there aren’t standards of modesty. I’m saying that standards depend on where and when you are in time and place.”

    I think for the Christian, the reality that the body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit remains always and forever the standard.  I think a Christian should desire to dress their body with love for God and with respect for their infinite dignity.

    It is God who we should want to please in our dress.  We should give it thought each day and take the time to consider if it is pleasing to God and worthy of our state.


  • Oh, and we shouldn’t forget that the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima said,” “Certain fashions will be introduced which will offend Our Divine Lord very much”. Are we certain we are not offending God very much in our dress nowadays?


  • “’m not saying that there aren’t standards of modesty. I’m saying that standards depend on where and when you are in time and place. Thus the standards that apply in Genoa in 1959 are not the same as in Peoria in 2006.”

    What’s it mean when there isn’t even a unified regional cultural standard of modesty?  Think of a Mormon church ten blocks from a California beach and five blocks from a full-burqa Islamic neighborhood.

  • Don, regarding your last post, I do believe women are less loved now. I meet so many of them at the abortion mills.  They are the real unwanted. “Women and children first to die!”

    Don’t know if this attitude has anything to do with wearing pants but it is very popular.


  • Don,

    Maybe you’re new here so I’ll cut you slack this one time. I don’t allow multiple comments in a row. If you can’t say it one comment, then I’m not going to read it.

    And I haven’t read any of them. Summarize or don’t bother. Stop monopolizing the conversation.

  • To quote form the commenting guidelines:

    A common tactic adopted by inexperienced debaters is to ask a long series of questions that place an enormous burden on their opposition, without actually making any particular point. Such an approach is not only unfair to your opponent, but it really isn’t argumentation at all. These kinds of “question avalanches” can hardly be responded to in the confines of a comment section, but will often foster animosity.

    The same is true of those with too much time on their hands (or a gift for speed writing) who present far too many arguments at one time in hopes of “burying” their opponent under the supposed “empirical” weight. Both of these abuses inhibit true argumentation and inevitably degrade the quality of a discussion. Respect yourself and your opponents at all times by using moderation in your argumentation and questioning.

    I allot 2,500 characters for each comment. That should be more than enough for anyone and I hardly consider that “short”. Any more and people simply won’t read what you write.

    If you have more to say, set up your own blog (they’re free) and use the Trackback function. That’s only polite.

  • So what fashons was Our Lady talking about when she said “Certain fashons will be introduced that will offend our Lord very much” in 1917? 

    What is the Christian standard that never changes because it is the standard that never offends but is pleasing to our Lord?


  • Why did the Blessed Virgin Mary say that there would be fashions introduced that would offend our Lord very much in 1917?  What fashions do we have now that they didn’t have then?  I think we should be concerned with pleasing God and avoid whatever might offend him for love of him.

    I don’t know if that is pants or just jeans or two piece bathing suits or any bathing suits or shorts or mini skirts or halter tops or tube tops or spagetti straps or strapless dresses and shirts or plunging necklines or skirts that show your bottom when you bow toward the altar of what. I know that Jesus is offended by certain fashions and If we want to be holy and loving toward him we should care what He thinks and try to dress tastefully and with respect for ourselves, others and God. 

    I do know that there are fashions that are offensive to me and to many of us especially when worn in Church. God’s standards are probably alot higher than ours.  We should try to please Him at least in His own house.

    Before going to Mass, check out the back of you as well as the front. Pants can do strange things without our even realizing it back there.  They can be a horrible sight for the one in the pew behind you.


  • I agree that many fashions today are quite immodest.  I don’t, however, have a problem with women wearing pants, as long as they are not skin-tight and revealing.  (Sadly, most of them are, especially on young women.)

  • No the difference is that you weren’t engaging in coversation. You were scatterposting comment after comment, hoping to overwhelm the thread so that no one could reply without wading through thousands of words of text.

  • And I posted the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary regarding fashions being introduced that would offend our Lord very much!

  • “What did she mean?” Exactly!  What if we are all offending our Lord very much by the clothing we are wearing?  I think we should at least ask ourselves if our choice of clothing each day would offend God and what is our intention in choosing to wear it.  I don’t think we should just ignore our Lady’s words simply because she didn’t elaborate to our personal satisfaction. They are deserving of our utmost consideration.

    What is so immodest about women wearing pants?  Well I have to admit, I have seen alot of backsides at the grocery store when women bend down to get what is on the bottom of the cart. At Mass, I have seen pants so low that shaving was necessary and so tight that the outline of the feminine area and rear of the body was made plain.

    Perhaps that is what our Lady was warning us of. It is not as if it is the exception now but the rule, even in Church by many of the young women. The world and the Christian woman are united it seems. There is no real visable distinction.

    Certainly it is the intention of the heart that God judges.  However what intention does a Christian woman have in wearing low rise or tight   pants, push up bras, thongs, halter tops, bikini’s, tube tops, mini skirts, short shorts, spagettee straps, strapless dresses or anything that accentuates the sensuality of the body rather than it’s holiness in being the Temple of the Holy Spirit? That is for each woman to answer for herself. I am not the fashion police. However I do believe that at Mass special consideration to what we wear should be given so as not to offend our Lord or the members of the church who are might suffer a weakness in distraction even at Mass.

    I think wearing pants was a practical idea that has been corrupted into making many women appear unholy and cheap.  Women should rebel against anything that exploits their femininity for a design and goal that is an enemy of their sanctification and infinite worth.