16 September 2010

Pants are the Devil...and Make You Look Fat

Apparently there has recently been a debate of sorts circulating around the Catholic blogosphere on the moral standing of pants vs. skirts. Yes, pants vs. skirts. We're still having that discussion. This particular bout is being fought in response to an article over at CatholiCity, a website closely associated with a man who divorced his wife for no reason and gained custody of their four children by demanding she stop homeschooling them. Awesome, right?

So basically, the article pleads with women everywhere to discard our "damned pants" for the sake of modesty and femininity. We should wear dresses and skirts all the time in order to avoid being a stumbling block into temptation for all those poor men who want to respect us, but just can't if we insist on wearing form-hugging, flaw enhancing, evil, evil pants (actual points about pants made by the author...with the exception of "evil" although it is consistently implied).

Now, I'm an unabashed skirt wearer....especially during my pregnancy because, well, they're the only things that fit comfortably under my increasingly rotund belly. But I wear pants on occasion, especially during the wintertime or when I'm planning on engaging in an activity that will make the wearing of pants particularly convenient (like bungee jumping). I am, however, one of the weirdos that is sincerely, truly and honestly more comfortable in skirts. Given the choice between a pair of jeans and a long skirt, I will almost always choose the skirt. That being said, I take issue with the idea that women must wear skirts, or any particular article of clothing.

 My comments on the article follow:
Almost every style of pants reveals private information about your figure (by way of contour) what only your husband (and if not him, no man, including your sons, if you have sons) should perceive.
And some styles of skirts reveal just as much as a pair of tight pants. So is it the pants themselves that are the problem, or the fit? Can we not wear a skirt just as immodestly as a pair of pants? Is it really the pants themselves that are the problem? Hmmm.
Thus, even a woman endowed with the most spectacular genetic form, in the bloom of her youth, can be given the illusion of ugliness, if not cheapness, by wearing pants. Likewise, pants rarely do anything but exaggerate extra volume on our figures.
Wait a minute. First pants are an occasion for temptation, and now they merely serve to accentuate our wobbly bits? Make up your mind!
Of course, we defer and appeal to our male readers to make clear your moral clothing preferences to the women and girls within your realm of responsibility or influence.
...Um, what?
In the day-to-day reality of the suburban lives most of us live, men almost always delegate the purchase of clothing to their wives. Women then make virtually all the fashion choices, mistakenly relying upon the opinions of other women (who know either too little or too much about how fashion choices affect men morally). Good women are always tempted to buy the styles they see other women and young girls wearing; inevitably everyone, men and women, are pulled downward by the undertow of the constantly lowered bar of our sexualized and superficial culture.
Heaven forbid a woman purchase her own clothing!! It's too bad we're too weak-minded to make the right decisions about such purchases. The corrupting influence of society is too strong! WHO WILL HELP US?!?
May we suggest (or perhaps you wives and daughters might suggest) that your husbands and fathers take you shopping for the expressed purpose of choosing everyday clothing for you.
Oh thank God! I thought I was doomed to harlotry!

Can I just say that the idea of my dear father going shopping with me to help me pick out clothes makes me want to laugh so hard I would actually pee (pregnancy will do that to you). Not that he has poor taste, but I can just picture this scene in the women's department of JcPenney's:
Me: "So, um...what do you think of this?"
Dad: "Heck, I don't know. Get whatever you want. I'll be in the men's section..."
And while I take my darling husband's opinion into account, he by no means determines what I wear. He thinks I'm just as beautiful in a pair of pants as in a skirt, and he most definitely sees the practicality of pants for certain situations.

The fact that this has been turned into a moral issue is ridiculous. The pants themselves are morally neutral...they're just pants! It's how they are worn that constitutes the real moral issue, and I can definitely agree that there are some styles of pants that should never be worn. But if I wear a pair of pants to weed my garden I shouldn't feel like I'm breaking some moral code. I also shouldn't feel like I'm betraying my femininity. I affirm my femininity every day I bear this child in my womb, and I will continue to affirm my femininity once he is born by mothering him and raising him to be a respectful Catholic gentleman.

Now where are my maternity jeans?


  1. Manichee - Nice post, but I would consider taking out the little ad hominem bit at the beginning ;) You don't wanna expose another's faults more than they already are and they don't have any bearing on the pants vs. skirts article.

  2. I would just like to say that I'm ready to get on board with at least one of his points - as long as it's also applied to men. After all, pants certainly reveal "private information about [a man's] figure (by way of contour) what only [his wife] (and if not [her, no woman, even his daughters if he has daughters]) should perceive." I, for one, would feel much safer in a world where all men wore skirts. Maybe one of those nice middle-eastern countries....the skirts all around sure seem to be working well encouraging mutual respect between the sexes in that enlightened region....

    Thanks for a good laugh, Aims =)


  3. Marie - LOL! Absolutely! I vote all men wear kilts...

    Matt - Maybe, but I think it's relevant in that the website on which this article appeared is the same website that endorses his books, thus endorsing him as an author. It just seems incongruous to me.

  4. I don't think they would endorse his behavior though. I guess I was trying to say that McFarlan's behavior doesn't credit or discredit the article.

    Hey Marie, for what its worth, I typically prefer the cassock! :)

  5. Well, it is true, it is very titillating when women wear pants, particularly because the fashions demand form-fitting, that there is nothing left to the imagination. I understand that it might be quite impractical to wear skirts all the time, but coming from living in the Middle East, its quite obvious that jeans are much more titillating, but it has become entrenched in our culture. The rest of the tradition world (other than the secular West), find it quite shocking when globalization and american cultural hegemony demands western dressing styles and their inherent immodesty to be "modern and fashionable".

  6. Another great post! Here's one I wrote on my blog: Fifty Shades of Modesty http://designsbybirgit.blogspot.com/2012/07/fifty-shades-of-modesty.html



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