Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An Interesting Conversation About Modesty With a Guy (Part 6)

Today I had a conversation with my cousin regarded women's dress. I have been feeling kinda down on myself lately. Mainly because of all the weight I have put on and can't seem to lose. I generally just feel bloated and overweight all the time, and like nothing fits. Not the best feeling when you are used to having been a juniors size 7 for about 7 years of your life, and all of a sudden (within about 3 years) find yourself wearing a size 14). So I was talking to this cousin about clothing, despite him being a guy, and about how it feels in society today like you HAVE to be thin. You can't ever gain a little weight because once you do, it's so hard to find clothes that fit properly etc.This is the same cousin that has a ten year old daughter that I previously interviewed. During part of the conversation I remembered a past event in my life. An event that actually was rather disgusting to me...

My mother and I were walking down a street in New Jersey. We had parked and were heading to the salon that my aunt wanted us to get our hair done at for her wedding. I was about 20 at the time, and lived in my jeans. That particular day, I had on jeans, heels that are no more than two inches (! still have them and wear them 2.5 years later) and a button down sleeveless shirt. Considering the times, it's rather modest. No cleavage was really showing, and my jeans were not skin tight. I never wear skinny jeans, only bootcut or flare. So I was walking down the street, and this guy makes a perverted gesture towards me. Now, growing up, in Florida, spaghetti straps are common attire to wear with shorts or jeans. Mainly because of the heat. No one really thinks anything of it and most people would not tell a girl her outfit was immodest. Even taking that into consideration, I had dealt with cat calls and whistles from grown men from the time I was about 13 and my mom would let me and my friend walk down the street to the mall. I would be in jeans and a tank and get a cat call. At 13. I'm not really proud of this or anything, because frankly, I would never want to be with the type of guy who would whistle at any passing girls. Often I'd yell back at them my age and show my disgust. Other times I would just ignore them. I had been pretty used to having guys check me out.

Yet, I had never seen a guy make this particular gesture towards me. I was disgusted. I screamed out my disgust (and later got a lecture from my mother on how to behave properly when getting unwanted advances from a man twice my age) and the incident was over.

Recently, one of the things I have noticed missing from my life has been these rude gestures. Do I miss them? No. Not one bit. I actually welcome the change. I found two things to do this for me. One, I stopped caring as much about my appearance. I would just throw my hair in a bun, toss on a pair of jeans and just about any old shirt I could find that looked like it went well with what I had. I stopped really accessorizing and doing other things that promoted guys to look at me. Sure, I would sometimes throw on a mini skirt, or a low cut top with a push up bra. But I didn't do it often, and often felt uncomfortable when I did that.

Then, I saw the Duggars on their tv show, and I realized how I could remain covered and still look pretty!

Even more recently, I have realized that when I dress in my longer, non- form fitting skirts, with even a regular tee, I don't get the vulgar attention from men that I don't want!

Now, I know some women that actually enjoy the attention they get. That's fine for them if that is how they want to get attention. Me? I'm happy that I don't have to deal with cat calls, whistles, and vulgar gestures :-)

Except for when they're from my husband ;-)


Domestic Goddess said...

For three years I had a body that receivd cat calls. And I enjoyed it. Too much. I wore low cut tops and made sure I was wearing a pretty bra. I put myself in dangerous positions and ended up alone and pregnant...
We talk about modesty ALOT in our house. With a teenage daughter who craves the attention, the subject is discussed at length. My Husband, is a chew spitting, deer killing, cussing man. BUT when it comes to women it is all about respect. He talks to my (our) daughter about modesty. About keeping yourself covered for that special man. He told her he found it disappointing that she didn't care enough about herself to cover herself up. He said boys are more interested in the mystery then they are in the girls showing everything they have. He told her boys may look and may pay attention but as far as a real just won't happen.
I myself am working on looking feminine. Just because I'm heavy does not mean I have to dress like a frump. And maybe if I start taking care of myself, the weight may come off.

Rebecca said...

I'm glad your husband is taking the time to speak to your daughter about that. Not everyone really cares how a woman dresses, or they think that it's more important for their kids to fit in at school than it is for them to look respectful. It's honestly very depressing.

Working in theme parks, I constantly see girls walking around with mom and dad in outfits that barely cover anything. Some of these girls flirt shamelessly with some of the older men I work with. I sometimes wonder if they really know what they are doing. If they truly understand everything.

The book I'm reading right now, A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit, mentions how when we dress more provocatively, and because of women's liberation, men are taught that women want the same casual no commitment sex that men want. So they feel like any showing of cleavage etc is an invite to we want to have sex, and in many ways, we women are then taught that if we aren't dressing this way, and aren't having sex we obviously hvae mental hangups that we need to "get over." It's a really great book and I highly suggest reading either that one, or maybe even her second book, Girls Gone Mild to anyone interested in WHY modesty is so important.

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