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September 27, 2010

Comments

Wendy

This is so timely. There's a grandma in my neighborhood with the license plate "HOTBUBIE" and the juxtaposition of the plates with the poor driving skills (she never seems to signal when changing lanes) is really too much to bear. Every time she suddenly cuts me off as we enter the main street I wish that Bubbie could be a little less hot.

Darla Gaylor

Cady, I did a little shopping of my own this weekend. I thought I'd drop into a Plato's Closet (teen resale) to see if they might have some cute shirts my daughter would wear. I spend almost 20 seconds in there, maybe 25, but that was all I could stand.

I entered the store and was immediately inundated with loud rap music with explicit, easy to understand lyrics....something about not needing a saddle...I turned on my heel and exited the store. That that type of music, as vulgar as it was, was what was playing in a store that advertises for teens, and no doubt draws in 'tweens as well, made me ill.

It does make you wonder how it is even possible to raise a modest kid these days. The messages from society at large are so loud, whether they be visual or auditory.

More and more, I feel like becoming a separatist. Montana, here we come! :)

Lydia Harris

I appreciate your comments on modesty and that grandparents should be positive role models. I wrote a book that encourages grandparents in their roles. You can learn more here: www.preparingmyheart.net. I'm a grandmother of five and certainly want to be a godly influence in my five darling grandchildren's lives.

Lydia Harris (aka Grandma Tea)

Amanda

To Darla I also went into a platos closet last weekend and I being a young girl myself couldn't believe the music they were playing very loudly! A guy singing/rapping about getting 'booty' :O it makes me very sad.. I felt disgusted as a girl to hear some dude making us girls look like were only good for one thing! But in another thought alot of the girls portray themselves that way so the guys of course gladly receive it:(
To Cady, I hate going to the mall myself especially w/ my 5 year old son! They actually have a 'stripper' store inside the mall where I live!(Right next to JcPennys):O *sigh* but at the end all I know is that "fresh"and loose behavior can move into my world but IT WON'T move into ME!! :) And Prayfully my influence WILL make a difference:) Even if its only to 2 or 3...

Alyson Turley

Couldn't agree more. As someone who works in the fashion/retail industry, I definitely see my fair share of grandmas pouring themselves into looks they really shouldn't be messing with.

It always makes me wonder, what happened to aging gracefully?

Melissa May

I find it ironic that we still hold in our minds the ideals of grace and beauty exhibited by Jackie O., Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and the like, and yet, when it comes to mass marketing, we settle for being labeled "Fresh" or "Hot" or whatever. Even in magazines or store ads, when they're displaying their more professional clothes, they always have to throw in the "sexy" word. Enough already with the SEXY!!!

I think our first step is to not settle for what's shoved at us or our daughters. I haven't been to Plato's Closet, but some complaints by shoppers who refuse to do their shopping there because of the music might get a manager's attention. Not sure what the results would be, but in these tough economic times, managers may be willing to take more notice of things that drive customers out of the stores.

On a related note, when my daughter was born two years ago, I made a conscious effort not to go crazy with the princess themed items. Even though our daughter is a princess to US, she is not an actual princess. The stuff is cute, but there was something about indulging in the princess-labeled clothes and decor that made it seem more bratty than special.

It's amazing how once we start to take a look at our own modesty and the messages we send and receive via our appearance and behavior, how much more attuned we are to those messages around us.

Great job Cady in taking notice of these things. Now to figure out a solution!

Whatpuritylookslike.wordpress.com

Cady, I find it extremely interesting that you mentioned Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works in your post because what you, and most consumers, might not know is that they are both owned by the same company. Truth be told there are probably less than 50 corporations represented in a mall of 150 to 200 stores. What this means to us is the people calling the shots on the marketing campaigns for one store are the same people calling the shots for the other store. While this leads to a LOT of repetition in product and marketing for the consumers, it can also be a blessing. If we can get just one or two corporations to listen and make changes it has the potential to drastically affect the retail environment.

Now to comment on the "sexy grandma" part of your oh so observant post. . . My family and I were just commenting on this exact topic tonight while watching some TV (actually we were fast-forwarding through the commercials. I love DVR). In this particular Tide commercial there is a 20 something young women that comes down the stairs and asks her very lovely, conservative looking mother if she has borrowed her shirt. The mother gets a blank I-don't-know-what-you-are-talking-about look on her face as she flashed to the memory of wearing her DAUGHTER'S shirt to go CLUBBING where she happens to spill taco grease on the shirt from the taco she bought at the all-night taco stand waiting outside the club. I was so shocked by the audacity of the commercial and the unintended paradoxical satire it portrayed. And then I remembered what I read in a style book (yes, not the normal local for deep insight into societal issues, but work with me here). Women will often stay in the fashion era in which they were the most happy and fulfilled. Sometimes this means wearing a mullet for 30 years and sometimes it means grown women shopping in the Junior's section and grandmas wearing sexy conversation T's. Unfortunately, their life seemed to peak in their teens and early twenties and they don't feel comfortable or confident in the fact that they are mature women. They feel the only way to be valued in society is to look and act like their daughters or, heaven forbid, granddaughters. Is it any wonder why our young women are confused about their appearance? Their role models are shopping in the same section as they are.

Cady Driver

I've seen that commercial and it has puzzled me as well. In our society it seems that the elderly are being marginalized more and more. The farther that we get away from our roots of Judeo/Christian principles, the more we disrespect the elderly. In many cultures the elderly used to be held up in high regard for their cumulated years of experience and wisdom. Society now puts all of their emphasis on youth, youth, youth and lots of sex.

Perhaps this is why mothers and grandmothers are attempting to act, dress and imitate the younger culture? Does it stem from the fear of being pushed aside in life, left in a nursing home or being disrespected? Possibly...I don't know.

I think it's sad. It's sad that we, as women, can't gracefully grow older, get some wrinkles and gray hair (I have both!) and be dignified both in our dress and our wisdom about life. How does the younger generation learn without gleaning important life lessons from the older generation?

An older woman simply makes herself an object of ridicule when she attempts to be "mutton done over as lamb".


Shanna

Why can't a mom go out with her friends and still age gracefully? Are the two really mutually exclusive? I mean, yes, our society definitely has a (unhealthy even) fixation on youth, but really? The mom in the tide commercial? That shirt was cute, it wasn't tight and showed no cleavage. I believe it even covered most of her shoulders. It was a completely age appropriate top. The stain was from a taco, not getting sloppy drunk and spilling booze on it or throwing up. The tone of this post is definitely veering from it's best when women engage in age-appropriate dress and behavior to, women who don't dress matronly or don't focus solely on their family are wrong and silly.

Also, Bath and Body Works advertising is seasonal. Come winter it will be all christmassy and wholesome, and in the spring it will be flowery, soft and chaste. Summer is crisp, cool and clean. (Annual soap sale don'tcha know?)

Emily

Shanna I'm amazed how much time you have to troll on this site. The issue is not the shirt; the issue is the mom going CLUBBING. Let's not be willfully obtuse here. Going out with friends is not the same as a married woman going CLUBBING.

S

Emily was there a need to tell Shanna she was trolling? Really? Is there a need for that? I don't approve on Shanna's views on many things but I don't approve of your response. Claiming that people are trolling when all they are doing is making a their opinion known is a little much. I'm not asking you to like what Shanna's saying, I'm just asking you to be respectful. Respect for others is a key part of modesty and being modest.

On the note of the Tide commercial, (I've not seen it, I'm not sure if it airs in Canada) Shanna I would like to point out that Emily is right in saying that an older woman who is married and has kids going out clubbing is not usually deemed age-appropriate. In fact, I would say that rule applies to older men who are married and with kids too.

On the topic of the Bath and Bodyworks advertising, is anyone really surprised here that they promote "sexiness"? As a 16 year old, I see "sexy" advertising EVERYWHERE. I would say that being surprised at these kind of things is also being willfully obtuse. I can't control the type of advertising being used, but I can control how my (future) kids view it. Maybe that should be our focus - the strategies we could use to help our daughters and sons navigate their way around the tricky advertising ploys that surround them and to help them preserve their modesty.

Modestly yours,
S.

Cady Driver

S...thank you for your post and for defending Shanna. I hope that anyone and everyone can feel free to write about their opinions on the subjects that are posted here.

That being said, to say that the bloggers on this site are being "willfully obtuse" is inaccurate in the extreme. People who have lived significantly longer than your 16 years can remember a time when the advertising wasn't so sexual and at times, we do express surprise and disbelief at how far companies feel they need to go in order to sell a product.

Maybe there are people who don't just want to settle for a more degraded culture, clinging to the hope of helping their kids view it better. Maybe there are people who desire to see their children grow up and thrive in a place that respects women more by embracing modesty. We are those people and that is what this blog stands for.

BTW - obtuse 1. adj. annoyingly insensitive or slow to understand, stupid
synonyms - slow-witted, unintelligent, ignorant, witless, uncomprehending, dense, dumb, moronic.......

Shanna

I can't remember the commercial clearly, but did it actually show her clubbing? Or just walking with her friends in dressy/pseudo clubby attire? That said, some peoples definition of clubbing, is to just go dance with friends, not grind on random strangers. I don't think there's anything wrong with a mom (or even a father) taking a night off once in awhile to go out with friends

And personally, I don't care for most of the overtly sexually advertising either. It's creatively lazy, and is often poorly done. I also don't like how the theme of most of that advertising aimed towards women is you aren't good/feminine/etc enough unless your sexually appealing. Women are more then their sexuality. But I also don't think they deserve or should be shamed for showing or embracing their sexuality either.

S

Hi Cady,

To be completely honest, I felt a twinge of regret after incorporating "wilfully obtuse" in my post in hindsight. (Gotta love hindsight, right?). And if I have offended, I do apologize.

However, back to your response about advertising, although it's true " People who have lived significantly longer than your 16 years can remember a time when the advertising wasn't so sexual and at times, we do express surprise and disbelief at how far companies feel they need to go in order to sell a product." I, personally feel that surprise is not necessarily the reaction that I would expect from people who are significantly older than me. To me (and feel free to disagree), surprise (especially, considering the topic and perhaps even my age) shows that you have never seen/been introduced to such ideas and concepts. It shows (and I'm not trying to be hostile, rude or anything negative, it’s just that I couldn’t find another word) naïveté. That being said, I am in no way suggesting that people should be jaded. That would be worse. I probably should have made that clear in my last post. I'm assuming that's what your third paragraph is referring to.

Finally in response to your third paragraph, I'm not asking people to settle for a degraded world. I too notice the overtly sexual content (and that's putting it nicely) that surrounds me. Believe me when I say I’m not jaded. And I too hope to see my kids in world that has more morality, modesty and respect than I do in my own youth. And I believe we CAN change it, but I'm not sure if I'll see it in my lifetime. Until then, I won't let anything surprise me; I choose to learn from what's happening and then guide those that I can from what I know. I do expect that things will get worse before they get better. Therefore I would prefer to equip and prepare my children with what they need to not only make it through, but succeed and build their lives on the ground principles, morals and values that presumably all of us follow. I pray that perhaps it’ll be our children and grandchildren who’ll see those better days but I doubt it will be us.

Yours Respectfully,
S.

A Man

As an aside "Fresh" is not necessarily a bad thing to be in modern parlance.

From urbandictionary.com

Fresh. adj.

to mean it is acceptable and highly approved by someone. Orgin: Hiphop Mid 80's Ny Fresh is derived as in the sense of seeing something brand new and is attracting people like cars in commercials. but is used to refer to anything highly approved by someone.

"Those are some fresh shoes!"

"Lets go to Darrel's Shop they got fresher records down there".

The more you know.

Cady Driver

Dear S.

You write extraordinarily well for being only 16! :) Maybe you should take up blogging....

Well, I've been called worse things than naive, so thank you...

If you don't mind me asking, what school or type of school do you go to? I mean, don't tell the name of it, but public, private or homeschool?

Dear A Man,

Thanks for your illuminating definition of "fresh".....I'll have to keep that in mind the next time I see a grandmother advertising herself as such. lol

Whatpuritylookslike.wordpress.com

Shanna, I do love having you participate in these discussions. You are the perfect Devil's advocate (that is simply a form of speech and has no intended, negative connotation). Variety is the spice of life and you are certainly adding flavor to these discussions.

My rebuttal is as follows:)
I was not arguing that the shirt in question was either modest or immodest. I was arguing the behavior of the mother. There is a distinct difference between a woman, who is most likely married and definitely a mother, going out with a couple friends for dinner and the same woman going out with a couple of friends clubbing. The attitude in the commercial is that the mother is trying to relive her young, single days by deceptively dressing in her daughter's clothes. The mother is no longer young or single, and the problem that I have with the commercial is that instead of the mother being the happier for it she is forced to dig through her daughter's dirty laundry and try to be twenty again because that is the age of fulfillment. The message being sent is party hard girls 'cause it’s all downhill from here. The rest of your life will be spent yearning for the days when you were free and easy.

From what I've observed this message is deceptive. Many of the older women that I've spoken with say the best years of their lives weren't when they were young and single but when they were newly married and starting their own families. This is not to say that getting married and having children is how every woman will find fulfillment, but for many women that IS what they truly desire above all else.

However, droves of young women are conflicted between what they want deep down and what they think they should want based on society and the kind of behavior exhibited by the mother in the commercial. Many single young women have great careers and very active social lives, but all the grinding on the dance floor and late night tacos has not produced anyone that they want to grow old with or the family they so desire.
Someone is probably thinking, "Man, it’s just a detergent commercial." And they would be right in doing so, but there is just something about this new social trend of older women trading in the laurels of wisdom and experience for a sexy outfit and a night on the town that saddens me. As a young woman, it makes the road that I have ahead of me feel that much steeper and more uncertain because many of those that should be leading the way are instead walking beside me.

Melissa May

Well said, Whatpuritylookslike. I especially like that last sentence.
Since having my own daughter, I've found myself looking for older women role models so that I can learn how to lead her gracefully into maturity. I don't desire to be hip and cool mom anymore. I want to be a woman of grace and excellence and dignity.
It is the younger generation of girls I see being raised in this current environment of hyper-sexiness that inspires me to set a different type of example.

Cher

Great article... just today I was at Lowes and passed by a woman at least 6o years old proudly displaying her newest addition in a low cut t-shirt. It was a cool fall day in our town so at least a long sleeve shirt would have been appropriate... but she was walking proud. I rolled my eyes, and said loud enough for her to hear "quite the display".
It is so sad when older woman are having to dress in such ways, what an example this is to the younger generation~

Shanna

I still stand by my point that clubbing need not involve friction between strangers clothed genitals, also there are clubs and venues that are geared towards older people. ^-^ And technically, I can't say I was looking for a ring, but there was no husband to be seen in that commercial. I personally didn't get a life-goes-downhill-after-the-partying message, more a generic girls-night-out (and the shame of borrowing, and staining her daughters shirt without asking) And I'll agree that the message (of society in general) that life sucks after 25 is a bad one, and untrue. Most psychology studies show that people are at their most fulfilled in their 50's. That said, I think young women are subjected to a lot of mixed messages. For every message that says a woman must show her boobs to be truly feminine, is another saying she's going to hell for showing anything below her clavicle. That, and I just don't see how a woman can't be wise and graceful, and still throw on a pair a strappy heels and get overpriced drinks with her friends once-in-awhile. To me it's like saying pretty girls can't enjoy Shakespeare.


Alpana Trivedi

Good day, folks. I can see that this post provoked many different responses. I have to say that I don't agree with the idea that grandmas HAVE to be tiny, delicate, and dainty. Okay, I'm being facetious here:-). Not trying to offend anyone.

But back to trying to give a serious response. I wear loud, colorful clothing now and I'm 30. When I get to be my grandmother's age, I WANT to be feisty. Basically, I want to be....pretty much who I am now. And mind you, I don't even like clubbing. I have to say I'm not what you'd call modest in personality. I'm told I talk to hear the sound of my own voice. I'm also told I do "old-lady activities" like letter-writing and cross-stitching in addition to being told that I'm childish for crying over every little thing and still liking children's books (hey, you have to do SOMETHING to keep that inner child alive:-)). Maybe that's why it's hard for me to see some of these issues in black-and-white.

In the Navy (considering most people join at 18 rather than 27 like I did), I come across a lot more people in their early to late 20's than people closer to my age and there are stereotypes about what people are allowed to do at what age. I must say that I don't like being put in a box and I think Shanna was trying to say that going clubbing every now and then doesn't mean someone is "trying to relieve their youth." I think Cady was trying to argue against women being valued only for their youth rather than judging people for what they wear.

That said, I think this trend of people trying to get away with wearing less and less is scary, indeed, especially when people who wear more modest clothing start getting judged for "being ashamed of their bodies."

Nice post, Cady. It was very thought-provoking. Shanna, you're very articulate and thoughtful in your debates and you present the other side extremely well. Hooyah, team modesty. Okay, that was a little bit too much cheesy Navy stuff. Have a nice day.

JoAnn Phillips

I have enjoyed reading the many opinions expressed regarding the latest blog. As a 60+ grandmother, who dresses modestly, I hate seeing the women from my generation trying to look 30+ years younger. The only look they are successful in is looking foolish. They expose their cleavage but forget about the rest of their skin that is a dead give away to their age. They look so foolish in their tight jeans and high-heeled shoes. I much prefer the look of one of my friends who is 75-80 years old but looks much younger because of her tasteful make up and dresses modestly but at the same time is also a very classy dresser.

Ben Woolridge

I must say it is a frightening realization that many girls being raised in a culture, which continues to sexualize every aspect of the female identity in America, may not be able to benefit from the generational wisdom of a grandmother who has failed to communicate the morals and values so desperately needed to help mothers and daughters navigate through the dangers created by an obvious absence of modesty.

Darla Gaylor

I don't know- is it even possible to directly email any of you bloggers? Anyway, I just saw this on Yahoo, it seemed quite appropriate for our chats here...http://rivals.yahoo.com/highschool/blog/prep_rally/post/Connecticut-cheerleaders-want-uniforms-with-more?urn=highschool-274505

Melissa May

Darla,

That is a fascinating story. Good for them! It's a shame it's come to this, though. High school girls should not need to beg school officials to let them wear more clothing in public. Talk about a loss of personal freedoms. Wow. Astounding.

gina

I stumbled across your blog and have been enjoying reading your posts and comments about modesty - modesty inside and out. Such a high-minded, worthwhile character trait that is disappearing in our world.

On the subject of modest clothing - Here are some of my favorite stores with modest clothing. You may already have these as sources;

http://www.downeastbasics.com/newarrivals.aspx
http://www.layersclothing.com/
http://www.themodbod.com/
http://www.becomingswimdress.com/
http://www.jenclothing.com/

ElioraImmanuel

My Mother will be 63 this month. She dresses modestly, stylishly, with grace and dignity. She's always been objectified by men because of how she is built and she really does hate it. However, she has always dressed and carried herself in a manner that is moral.

I went the opposite way and allowed myself to be used. I have paid the consequences for it...in spades. This is why I want to raise our children differently. It breaks my heart that the worth of a woman is degraded to how sexy she is and how much she is willing to put out!

Sadly, my mother's generation was the start of the uber-feminist. Those that thought (still think) that becoming a man, adopting a mans' ways and exemplifying the basest qualities is what women want and need. We've been reduced to acting like any common animal! To see these women who should have wisdom of their years to share with us being reduced to something akin to hootchie mama's or prostitutes is so heartbreaking.To think that any woman must undergo life threatening, body altering surgery to have any worth or appeal in this society is absolutely disgusting!

Lisa

I have to say I am right there with Shanna on this one. As a mom of two young kids, I can say that I really like to dress up once in a blue moon and go out to the tavern and just be a grownup for a while. Some people really like dancing (I do when to mood strikes me) and some people like to sit and hear some music, have a few drinks, what have you. I don't think that I should age out of doing this.

One thing to consider is that a woman in her 60s now was in her 20s in the late 1960s or early 1970s, but had her girlhood at a time when a woman was "supposed to be" a homemaker, a nurse, a teacher, or the "wrong kind of woman." It's hard to say exactly what might inspire a woman to wear a "Fresh" t-shirt -- maybe she used to have a mean husband who told her to keep her mouth shut, so now she's proud to say her opinions out loud. Maybe someone gave her the shirt as a sort of a joke but she thought she'd try it out for the day. Or maybe she really just wants to call attention to herself, and that is certainly allowed, although we might not all make the same choice at the same time.

All of this is to say that we can't always know what is behind a person's clothing choices. But we can know what is behind our own.

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