You don't have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump. Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word. --Elizabeth Bibesco

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Religious Justifications for Immodesty

So I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about my religious justifications for modesty, but truthfully, I believe that God really just wants us to be humble and not worry about what we wear. (Check out the specs on that here.) Modesty makes sense for me, but it may not make sense for everyone.

Since I feel this way, and since I know many religious people who don't believe in religiously-motivated modesty or believe in what I'll call religiously-motivated immodesty (ie. that God is okay or promotes us wearing things that aren't modest), I feel like I should write about it!

Perhaps one of the biggest argument for religious immodesty is that God, in all God's wisdom, created us naked. Genesis 2:25 "Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame." The nakedness isn't the sin of Adam and Eve. Neither, mind you, are the clothes, but the clothes are emblematic of the sin: eating from the tree God told them not to eat from was the sin, which resulted in them being ashamed of their nakedness, so they made clothes for themselves.

Let's think about that for a second: our first sin as humans as symbolized by clothes-- God knows we sinned because we came out of it clothed. Forever after that, every (or nearly every) human over the age of, say, 2 wears clothes.

Let's pull back and personify God for a second. (I think that's appropriate because much of Genesis personifies God.) A friend of mine describes Genesis as a love story. And I so agree. God has angels. Why would God create humans? Answer: humans have free will and God wants to love a creature that chooses to love Her. Being loved and praised by creatures that are unable to do anything besides love and praise you isn't nearly as fulfilling as being loved and praised by a creature you gave the free will to turn away from you.

So God orchestrates this beautiful love story, creates humans and gives us stewardship of the whole earth and what do we do? We turn away. The marker of this change in the relationship is that humans now wear clothes. For millennia afterwords, humans continue to wear clothes. Rubbing salt in the wound much? Now, God is infinitely loving, so She has forgiven us this, but it still looks like we're just trying to piss God off, doesn't it? That right there is a fabulous argument not to wear any clothes at all. Of course, generally speaking this is an impractical argument, because most places in the world won't let you be naked.

Now let's talk about Jesus's feelings about clothes.

Jesus denounces even the most splendid of clothes as not as beautiful as what God has created. ("Consider the lilies, how they grow : they neither toil nor spin ; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these" Luke 12:27.)

Jesus continues, "If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!" (Luke 12:28) What I get from this is that we need to relax and not worry about what we wear. What one might get from this is that the "clothes" God has provided for us (our skin, our hair, etc.) are enough and we don't need other adornments.

So there you go. Two basic arguments for religious immodesty.
1) Since clothes are a symbol of our first sin against God, the wearing of them and --worse!-- the fussing over them is a continual reminder to God of our sin.
2) Jesus even told us that what God gave us to cover us should be enough for us, at least in the way of beauty. We could not find any kind of clothes in the world that would make us more beautiful than the way God made us.
Actually, in fairness, these are probably better arguments for religiously motivated nudism, rather than immodesty, but it's what I've got.

Anyone else have thoughts on this to share?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Things I've Learned from Working in a Hospital

1. Not everyone wearing a white coat is a doctor. In fact, if she looks like a 22-year-old who just graduated with a BA in psychology, she probably is. But be nice to her, just to be on the safe side-- she could be your internist!

2. A lab coat makes a fabulous modest addition to any hospital worker's wardrobe. Or any wardrobe. Seriously. Suppose you find yourself in the following situation: you woke up late (on purpose) because you refuse to wake up before 6:00 am, even though you need to be at work at 7:30 am and your work is technically an hour and a half away from home. You throw on some clothes in the semi-darkness, which you picked out the night before, also in the semi-darkness, and rush out the door to work. Then suppose you have an awkward interaction with a subject in which your pretty sure he's not looking at your face, even though you're wearing a shirt that is only an inch below you collar bones, so you go to the bathroom to check out your outfit and discover that your shirt is actually see-through. In this totally hypothetical situation, what do you do? Grab a lab coat. Spilled marinara sauce all over your sweater? Lab coat. Cold in your office because they expect it to be warm in Chicago in the summer? Lab coat.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to answer the people who stop me in the hall to ask for directions to radiology. I always want to respond, "Why don't you ask a grown-up?" Oops... that might be me!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Modest Swimsuit Update

So that immodesty article will show up in a minute (read: a few days), but since my swimsuit post continues to get the most hits, I thought I'd update you all on my swimsuit search for the summer.

I got this top, but in black from
I initially planned to wear some kind of tankini and board shorts. I'm not interested in keeping tzniut, but I am interested in something more modest than your average tankini for my legs. And I don't buy those little skirts they sell either-- they may be a little more modest out of the water, but the moment you get in the water, it flies up and you might as well not be wearing it. That's not to say I disapprove of women who wear it-- if that extra coverage out of the water is all you need, go for it! It's just not for me.

I did end up with a really cute black checkered tankini from Delia's. (If you're not from the U.S., I think Delia's is generally thought of as a pre-teen girl store, but it had the cutest range of tankinis by far.) Again, I realize it's nowhere near tzniut, but I'm with the Mormons on this one: modesty is relative. Just perhaps not as relative as most Americans think it is...

Anyway, so the tankini went well.

The board shorts are another story. I looked all over. I wanted black or white (to go with the top) board shorts that hit just above my knees (or lower!) that were designed for women. Now, I know many a woman who will wear men's swim trunks, but I have 2 complaints with them. 1) I just don't think they look good on me. At all. Vain, I know, but hey-- a girl's got to have standards. 2) I resent having to buy men's clothing in order to cover my thighs and go in the water. That's just absurd!

I searched all over. Even Coolibar didn't have what I was looking for! (To be fair, Coolibar does have nearly knee-length swim shorts and even swim capris which go well beyond the knee, but they are skin tight-- not what I wanted.) I tried Lands End's longest swim shorts (an 11-inch inseam). Now, maybe this would have been enough if I weren't abnormally long-legged, but they were just the awkwardest length! It didn't look right at all and they didn't hit where I wanted them to anyway. So I returned them.
My sport skirt from Kosher Casual.

What I have settled on for now (although I will take suggestions) is my absolutely wonderful sports skirt with built-in leggings from Kosher Casual. Now, I asked, and this version is not chlorine resistant, but I'm mostly planning to swim in Lake Michigan and that may have a lot of things in it, but I'm pretty sure chlorine isn't one of them. They will start making the chlorine resistant version in a few weeks, though, which is good news! That's one thing I like about Kosher Casual: they are very willing to take suggestions where possible. Also, the clothes are just freaking gorgeous, even for those who aren't tzniut.

So that's my plan for the moment. I also need to buy a swim cap, because I'm covering my head out of the house, but swim caps are easy.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

SlutWalk Chicago was Today!

I went to SlutWalk Chicago today and it was wonderful. It's always inspiring to see how many people turn out for that kind of thing! It was a little bizarre how many people were taking pictures of us (my Woman and I), especially without our consent! :O But we did consent when people asked...

Anyway, check me out,y'all!
 I learned how to turn one of my scarves into a niqab, thanks to The Non-Muslim Hijabi's Youtube video, which was super helpful, and using beautiful pins from The Modest Woman on Etsy.

If you can't read the sign, it says: "Don't teach women how to dress; teach men how not to rape." And yes, I did actually use a semi-colon in my protest sign.

Also, my woman came to SlutWalk, just wearing what she would normally wear.
Her sign says: "Nobody deserves to be sexually assaulted." On the back, it said, "To prevent sexual assault, stop victim blaming."

That's all for today-- it's a billion degrees here and balancing my laptop on my lap any longer just isn't an option. Tune in sometime later this week for a post about the religious justifications for immodesty.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Blog Title!

So I've been looking for something moderately creative for my blog title since Lent was over, but I hadn't been able to find anything... until now!

I found this quote looking for sayings and such to put on a sign for SlutWalk.

You don't have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump. Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word. --Elizabeth Bibesco 

I picked it because it made me laugh-- so many of our political movements now as then (Bibesco lived from 1897-1945) think our clothes are emblematic of our political beliefs... and they can be, but they don't have to be. Plus, my exploration of this whole modesty thing feels like "a mild interest in the length of hemlines."

I think it's a fabulous discriptor.

Anyway, it's still the same URL (, just a different title. Hope you enjoy!