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May 26, 2009

Comments

Ashley

I think it's that and when they recognize that it's not just because it's cold it's an act of modesty there goes that "opression" alarm in their heads. though I have to say, I recently went bathing suit shopping for the summer season this year, this time with an eye for modesty and it's been so much more of a pleasant experience for me. Being plus size AND pale, shopping for a bathing suit used to be a complete nightmare... so much so that I'd just choose not to go to the pool for a much needed dip or to the beach but I'm really looking forward to it now. I found a great suit that fits in with the Jewish standards of modesty and I feel liberated by that decision. Not having to worry about what's falling out , or moving or anything. I can be myself and actually enjoy the act of swimming or walking the beachside which in turn is me Being ME instead of acting for someone else.
I'm sure I'll get some glares every so often but I care MUCH less about being judged for modesty than I do about how many situps or how my chest looks in a bikini top. Modesty allows me to wear my clothes, not have them wear me and it's true, most women just don't get- or rather don't WANT to get that.

Lindsay

Interesting... I've been wearing modest clothes for nearly all my adult life and have not noticed many glares and in all honesty, I think the ones that I did notice may have been my imagination.

Shannon

Yes, I would like to think it should be a sign of hope. Women, no matter how thin or beautiful, generally do not feel comfortable wearing grossly scant and immodest clothing, though they are told it is confidence in a woman to pull it off. I feel like I've seen this scene many times in store dressing rooms, seeing girlfriends urging each other to get things that are provocative (and largely unattractive).

I believe the real confidence is in respecting yourself (and the perks are thereby attracting much more lovely company!).

bailey

My mother had great style, very conservative, but we had opposite bodies. She had long, flat, elegant lines and I'm curvy. I was always responsive to her style which helped me balance out my body. I think I've shown cleavage once but now, living in the middle of the Med, for the first time, my sense of modesty has been been, well, challenged. It's just so hot.

Here in Malta you have all the youth coming from europe to learn english for the summer, so it's really jarring for me to see young people wearing scanty bathing suits along the street, even after living Rome, with racy fashion being, basically a middle finger to point at the Pope.

I've lived in London and they make political statements, the plus size women specifically wear clothing that doesn't fit, to make a statement.

I just know I miss dressing modestly and wearing my regular wardrobe because it made me feel like I was being artistic, individualistic, just me being me.

Great points though, women follow trends which is just pure manipulation.

TheLadyOfTheHouse

Wow, and I thought I got those glares because I'm Muslim! (I wear a headscarf.)

Maybe there IS a hostility to modesty, but maybe it's a hostility towards what people *associate* with modesty. I know many people assume I am only dressed the way I am because there is some tyrannical Arab male ruining my life. Actually, both I and the vast majority of my hijabi friends went against our parents in *wearing* hijab in the first place. Their fathers think they'll never be successful as doctors, lawyers, etc., if they wear it. Where I live many people associate modest clothing with religious sects that also have male-dominance stereotypes. When modesty got to be associated with "male-directed" and nakedness with "female liberation" I don't know exactly but it is soooo paradoxical!

I will say that modesty is contagious, though, and I think deep down many women ache to be given "permission" somehow to dress more modestly. I have been taking my 3 young daughters to swimming lessons for several years now and they have been wearing the (sadly now discontinued) "Wave Bodysuits" from LL Bean. I have had SO many people ask me where I got them from and if the sell similar suits for *women*! This led me to research modest swimwear and now I have recommended Modest Swimwear Solutions and Spashgear and others to many people and many of my friends and relatives (who are not religious) have bought modest swimwear! I myself bought a hijabi-swimsuit (some people call them "burqinis" although I despise that wor) and have been swimming at the Y myself.

And so maybe the "glares" you have seen are a deep-seated discomfort with the fact that you have been able to rebel against society to follow what you feel is right, and they wish they could do the same but lack the guts to do it.

Anonymous

I agree-- I think they wish they could do the same, but aren't sure how.

This weekend I attended a gathering at which there were perhaps fifteen or twenty older women, all dressed in pants, jeans, shorts, and t-shirts or blouses. I was wearing a long skirt and long-sleeved shirt, and was definitely a bit out of place, though I don't think in a bad way.

I think in the culture I'm living in, it's very easy for women to feel that they fit in and thus, to feel comfortable, when they are wearing things that don't really flatter them as women. It's only when they finally see the odd woman in a long skirt or dress that they are jolted out of the complacency of this "group think" mentality.

It seems to me that in those moments they must be forced to come to terms with the fact that they are choosing to represent themselves a certain way, and that they don't have to dress that way if they don't want to. But as many have already mentioned, it's very difficult to make a conscious choice to go against the grain, and sometimes it's easier to forget about it or pretend that the choice doesn't really matter so much.

The more I wear feminine clothing, the more I find that what I wear really does matter to me, a lot. I used to wear boyish clothes all the time, and it was only back then that I would say to myself, "Well, it doesn't matter what I wear, I'm still the same person." To some degree, that's true, but it's been liberating to give myself permission to care about how to look, and to let myself dress in a feminine way.

Anyway, yes, hurrah, and I do enjoy the second looks I get when I go bicycling in a long skirt-- I don't think they're glares so much as looks of awe.

lydee

you shouldn't be dressing in a way that draws attention to yourself.

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