Friday, September 24, 2010

7 Reasons to Wear (or consider wearing) Pants (sometimes)

Given the attention over pants/no pants recently in the Catholic blogosphere- I thought I would throw my 7 cents in...

7. I'm not going to take the 'advice' of Catholicity writers. I'm just stubborn that way.

6. Seriously- where does it end? Traditional Catholic women with long skirts would still be considered immodest by Amish, Orthodox Jewish and most Muslim standards.

5. I have a lovely, charitable friend who does not own 1 pair of pants because she wants to be just like Mary and, historically, women did not wear pants. I guess our challenge is to find that balance between history and today. Believe it or not, we women have benefited from the feminism of earlier years. We drive, vote and have the right to property. I suppose wearing pants while you are whipping up a nice dinner for hard-working daddy can show that balance.

4. I really don't like this argument: "Well, men are such visual creatures- we ladies must protect them by not distracting them with pants..." Once again- balance! If a man is going to sin by seeing a Christian woman with 6 + kids because she is wearing pants, he really needs to get into the confessional more often and work on his chastity altogether.

3. We women are called to be obedient to our husbands. My husband has never felt the need to ask me to change the way that I dress- so this is not an issue for me. But as always, the flip side to the coin is that our husbands must love us AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH. A tall order- a reason why to discuss modesty standards and such with your husband is- if he is asking/insisting that you dress 'modestly'- meaning floor length skirts and the like- why? Is he really loving you? Is it possible that he doesn't want you to be seen as attractive by other people? Is it possible that he also enjoys the attention of single women at work, perhaps even pornography- even while insisting that you be modest and have your 6th child in as many years?

2. How about going with the standards at St Peter's- no cleavage with sleeves of some kind and pants/skirts below the knee. Sounds both reasonable and doable- and these standards will still set us apart.

1. Gosh- I wish we Eastern Catholics were big enough to quibble over these small details of life.


  1. I love this post! It brings up so many good points... Balance is key, something I need to work on always.

    I like St. Peter's standards!

  2. Matushka, great post!

    I found the original post from the CatholiCity, and found the "message": reminds me of a line from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" when the robot Marvin says to the protagonist Arthur Dent "I can read your mind, you know? ... It amazes me that you can live in something that small".

    It seems that this "debate" is about modesty, and the instigators are carefully avoiding any discussion of it. Modesty is a virtue, and therefore an interior disposition and not external compliance. Moreover, it is a virtue for men as well as women (something that is a little lost in this current storm).

    Thus, one can be coquettish no matter what you wear, and there are many examples of this: as we know the teasing and concealing is much more provocative and seductive than brazen exhibitionism.

    In cultures where little clothing is worn, there are strict standards of modesty, which are mainly concerned with behaviour and attitude.

    So, shouldn't the discussion be more about attitudes and dispositions rather than the length of skirts? What about the behaviour of the men? I seem to recall something about looking a woman lustfully and committing adultery in the heart. It is the man's disposition here, not what the woman is wearing.

    Why are skirts any more modest than other forms of dress such as the subcontinental salwar? A tight short skirt is certainly much less modest and practical than a salwar.

    What is most curious is that the people pushing women into wearing skirts for the sake of modesty are usually very vocal in their support to have the hijab, other sign of women's modesty, banned?

    Moreover, why is it that the focus is usually on what WOMEN wear and never about what men wear? At work, at least the women who ride bicycles are usually good about getting changed into other attire and not spending the day walking around in lycra. Some of the men see no problem in walking around in lycra shorts for most of the day - and I can assure you it is not pretty!

  3. I think no pants is more immodest than pants.

  4. What?What? What? where is this going on? Seriously, I've never in my life been TOLD to wear a dress, well there was my baptism (and mom did all the work) First communion, A few occasions at school. Who needs all that extra work?

  5. I would agree with you kyooty- as a Catholic woman, I want to be modest, but people have different standards for modesty. I clinked on your profile and see that you are from Canada- I don't know exactly. A very nice retreat place called 'Madonna House' is close to Pembroke (sorry- spelling is wrong) in Ontario. While they might not tell you what to wear, you would probably see a lot of skirts. This so-called controversy is just in a little subsection of the Church. Thanks for commenting!

  6. This is exactly why I love you so much!

  7. Cat, bear, Rabbit- so many animals!

    No scandal here, folks- Cat's an old friend! :)

  8. There's debate about skirts here, in my Roman Catholic circle. Some women feel strongly about it, some don't.

    I think modesty is the most important part, isn't it? It's like you said--any man who wants to ogle me in line at the grocery store with all five kids, bearing some post pregnancy pounds, in my sweat pants, T-shirt, and sweatshirt needs some help. Seriously.

    But whether I wear a skirt (because it makes me feel feminine) or pants, I cover up the parts of me that are reserved for my husband's eyes. Whether I wear pants or a skirt, the clothing is NOT skin tight (as if I would even want to attempt wearing something like that) and I don't dress provocatively. When I dress, I dress to please my husband. When I style my hair, and if I put make-up on, it's either to please myself or to impress my spouse ... not to entertain others. I don't care what others think. I care what my husband thinks.

    That said, I require my daughters to wear a skirt or a dress to Mass if temperatures are above freezing. I do it too. They can wear a skirt any day they want, but it's a social sign of dressing up, a way to help them realize that this day is special. This day is God's day, we are on God's time, not our own.

    I've got to go read this article!

  9. Aubrey- Thanks for your comment!

    I think you have found a good balance- and as I stated in another post- "eyes on our own work!" It seems people are being judgemental of nice Catholic women (maybe because the 'normal' unbeliever is so immodest it is a 'lost cause.'

    The catholicity post put all the responsibility on women- men really should be using confession more and challenging themselves- just because they are naturally visual doesn't mean they should give in to nature and gawk.

  10. "1. Gosh- I wish we Eastern Catholics were big enough to quibble over these small details of life."

    Lord have mercy dear sister! You are quite obnoxious when trying to get your point across. I think I may be glad I didn't come over and say hello this past Sunday unless I had the full intention of offering every moment of it up if it were to be this complicated. And to think I thought I would be comfortable showing up in my long skirt and veil and to think what ya might be thinking of my poor husband! Gosh any woman who dresses like that....those western catholics... ugh.

    Good thing I did not read this post before my visit to your parish, now THAT woulda been uncomfortable.

    Just go up and talk to these women and their husbands. Get to know them. If they happen to be a bit dense, (I can relate, I am quite often) first thing is to try to remember this,

    "Let us flee from the pride of the Pharisee!
    And learn humility from the Publican's tears!
    Let us cry to our Savior,
    Have mercy on us,
    Only merciful One!"

    Be happy you may, and I stress may, know better, or better reasons for this & that but only because it pleases God. Not for the sake of just being right or God forbid, looking stupid.

    I suspect you are not exactly like the pharisee, I say exactly because we all can be a little like that a lot of the time. What I suspect is it's just some good old fashioned annoyance at good 'ol fashioned ignorance.

    But please, please my dear sister remember what you sound like on this blog all the while wanting to get the wonderful word out about the Eastern Rite Church, and that my dear would be practicing modesty.

    By the way, I can't wait to be able to actually say hello this time. Please try to forgive the fact that I am a western catholic and Irish to boot, which I am sure is a crime in and of itself around these parts.

    God Bless you.

    Oh and one more thing I was very taken with the warmth of your parish. People were smiling! Thnk God!

  11. Sorry to be "obnoxious" Rachel- but I am confused- you wear skirts to Mass? I try to, too- this post might have been poorly written- I was writing that both pants and skirts are fine- but I wasn't even writing specifically about church time. I make sure my girls always wear dresses to church even though they wear pants other times.

    So I am very confused about how "saying pants and skirts are fine" makes me a Pharisee.

    This post was written awhile back in response to a man's blog saying that pants are never modest for women. Maybe you believe this, too. (?)

    I think that long skirts and veils are beautiful for Mass.

    and we love Western Catholics and Irish- anything I wrote that could be construed as negative is my experience of Western Catholics coming to our tiny church- we welcome them, they get really involved and then 'drop' us because we "smile too much" or "I want to go where the priest doesn't know me" or "you are too small"- sorry if this offends you, but it happens- visitors are so welcome, and I pray that I have made this clear.

  12. Rachel- from your profile, I see that you are from Sacramento- I am not in Sacramento, so please don't be upset with your clergy! She is not me! :)

    But I am still confused as to your objections with my post...I guess I am a little dense

  13. Please excuse me this is my fault as I should remember that you can't hear the inflection in my voice and should write VERY deliberately and clearly here in blogland. Boy am I thankful for the good dose of humble pie I just ate when I read your comment. Thank you.:)

    I thought you were here with us in Sacramento! I thought I was told this blog was someone else's

    I'm sorry I came off so harsh in my comment, it wasn't meant to be. And no, I don't think you're like the pharisee, I really think we all can be like that sometimes, it's the point of the parable, well one of them at least. I have to remember to be very careful when I say things, or write, I tend to come off a bit harsh and I don't mean to be...even when I agree!

    Yes, I have some objections to your post and yes I wear pants. There are good & bad arguments out there for or against the wearing of pants. Too much to get into in a combox.

    One argument for me in wearing skirts or dresses exclusively to Mass though is that it it a formal dress for women to wear dresses and skirts. And of course we should wear our Sunday best, whatever that is, and of course, it should be modest.

    I do not think we have to dress in floor length skirts although some are quite beautiful with the material & cut.

    Take care & God Bless you!

  14. Rachel- I'm glad you came back to read my response- I don't know the priest and his wife from Sacramento, but I know where they studied, so they must be great people :) - I've seen pictures of the kids and they are so sweet.

    I'm sure that you are most welcome there- with skirts or pants! As for myself, I am gravitating towards a more skirt-centric wardrobe, but I certainly have pants in my closest (just not for church- that's what makes me feel most comfortable)

    I hope the rest of your Advent is blessed

  15. The church "breathes" with two lungs, the Western (Roman rite) and the Eastern (Byzantine) rite. I would not change my rite Roman, since you can only do it once and I tend to change my mind, so I believe the Lord put me where I belong. I love the Byzantine Divine Liturgy and learn so much about slowing down and using such meaningful words. The new Liturgy for Romans will include some of the richness of this, of that I'm so thankful.
    I''m glad you two made up, life's too short not to give each other a pass. God Bless you both.
    Merry Christmas.


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