Mission: Modesty (part 2)

Don’t miss the beginning of this series: part 1!

Let’s take a look back in history when fifty or sixty years ago it was rare to find a woman wearing pants. Why? Because pants were classified as men’s clothing. The issue wasn’t that pants were wrong for women to wear. Rather, it was a modesty issue. It was a distinguishing mark. A lady was classified by her modest clothing, her demeanor, and how she conducted herself in public.

So what’s changed? Why are pants now accepted as the norm for women, and skirts raise questions? Did God? No. He can’t (Malachi 3:6). So then if God didn’t change, then that means over time people changed. They changed their standards and beliefs and trailed behind whatever the popular movement was. The “time’s changed” and so did the trends – and the people followed. When I got older and stupid enough to stand up to my parents, I began really questioning why I wasn’t allowed to wear pants. All the kids my age were making fun of me, I got asked if I was Amish at least once a week, and – let’s be honest here – skirts are not the most modest thing for a tomboy to be hanging upside down from trees in. And yes, I took being a tomboy to a whole new level.

My mom would always take me back some thirty-some years and recall how the Lord worked in her life and convicted her that as a Christian she should be wearing skirts. Then she would whip out Deuteronomy 22:5 and quote it to me: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” Lastly she would end her side of the discussion with something like this:

“If we let this issue slide, then what’s next… low-cut shirts? Above-the-knee dresses? Spaghetti-strap tank shirts, shorts, or mini skirts? That’s not pleasing to the Lord. If a boy sees you wearing pants, His thoughts will not be on the Lord – you’ll become a stumbling block for his thought process. Do you want to do that?” …and so on.

Being the wanna-be-lawyer that I was, I continued to argue my case:

“It’s not my problem if boys have dirty minds! And just because I wear pants doesn’t mean I’m going to be immodest… they make pants that aren’t tight, you know. Plus, I’m not going to be wearing men’s pants… I’d be getting them from the women’s department ; therefore, I’d be wearing that which “pertains” to a woman, not a man…” …and so on.

My argument never won me any battles in the war I fought against my parents on this issue. In fact, I finally stopped trying to combat their points and I quit verbally mocking their convictions; instead, I quietly continued in my rebellion against them in my heart. I couldn’t turn 18 soon enough. I made no secret about stating my unpreventable plan to wear pants one day to my parents, beginning the moment I moved out of my their house.

I’d like to take a closer look at the word “pertain” though. What does it mean? It’s okay, leave your dictionary on the bookshelf… I’ve got mine right here.

per·tain | [pərˈteɪn]
–verb (used without object)

  1. to have reference or relation; relate.
  2. to belong or be connected as a part, adjunct, possession, or attribute.
  3. to belong properly or fittingly; be appropriate.


Now, let’s go back those sixty years again. Men wore pants. Ladies wore dresses. When you heard the word “pants” you associated – or “related” – them with men. When you heard the word “dress” you associated – or, again, “related” – them with women. It was fitting; it was appropriate; it was an attribute which distinguished their difference in gender. They don’t sell dresses in the men’s department. So I ask again… what changed?

Stay with me now. Don’t tune me out just yet… you may be surprised with the way this will end. Then again, maybe you won’t. 😉 But you’ll never know unless you stick around until the end.

Stay tuned for part 3!

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Posted on July 20, 2010, in Modesty and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. This gets interesting – especially when you compare Bible times with now. Back then, of course, pants did not exist. At least not in the Bible lands; maybe they did in places like China or Japan. Around the Middle East, men wore what were basically skirts. As you’ll recall, David had the same modesty problem dancing in his “skirt” that you had hanging from a tree branch.

    And, of course, most men in Bible lands didn’t shave (helped by the fact that neither Gillette nor Shick were founded yet). Except for a few individual people, like Samson and the Nazirites, I don’t know of any Scriptures on that. But, sometimes, men who did shave were considered sinners. That one’s gone back and forth through history. In some centuries men wore beards; in others they didn’t.

    But people from Bible times would at least consider most of today’s beardless men immodest, if not sinners. And yet I recall that when I was in college we thought any men who DID wear beards were immodest and probably sinners. That one, at least, is only a men’s problem. BTW, I do wear a beard, but a short one. Not because I think shaving is a sin; but because there got to be too many lines in my face and the beard covered most of them up very nicely.

    Will be interested to see what you say in part 3!

  2. Heather,

    I completely understand where you’re coming from, but I too have my own personal convictions laid out before me based on many in depth conversations with the Lord. (BTW… I don’t have a problem wearing pants… In fact, it is my first choice over a dress/skirt any day).
    But, I would question the whole “Pants Vs. Skirts” debate when I see too many professing “Christians” wearingr skirts/dresses that are more immodest and revealing than ANY pair of pants I have EVER worn in my life!!!
    Just a thought… Modesty for a woman isn’t just about pants or skirts, it has to do with our heart and how we choose to display our temple (the body) to the world. Are we going to display our body in a revealing, lustful image through immodest garments or are we going to acknowledge that as Christians, our body is now the temple of the Holy Ghost, and therefore choose a level of clothing that is not only beautiful, but shows our sincere respect for ourselves our temple?

  1. Pingback: Mission: Modesty (part 1) « Grow Up!

  2. Pingback: Mission: Modesty (part 3) « Grow Up!

  3. Pingback: Confessions of a RIFB girl of 20-something {I wear snow pants.} « Grow Up!

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