25 July 2007

Living Modestly - Worldwide

I came across some interesting thoughts today in this article: "The hijab is a widely misunderstood symbol", that I'd like to share with you.

First, a little history on the covering of the head, as it relates to the Muslim faith, as well as to women of ancient times:

The practice of wearing a hijab in Islam is one based on religious doctrine, grounded in Islam's emphasis on modesty. While there is a difference of views amongst Muslim scholars about the level of hijab (ie only headscarf, with face veil, etc), it is clear that some kind of head covering has almost always been practised in Muslim societies since the time of the Prophet Mohammad.

In fact, the practice of women veiling their faces and largely living in seclusion appeared in the Near East, classical Greece, Byzantium, Persia and India centuries before the time of the Prophet Mohammad.

The author has several things to say about a woman's right to chose to dress as she feels is proper. She also comments about modesty and covering up:

The other issue that emerges as a challenge for us as Muslims, is an internal challenge within our own societies because the hijab has emerged as a powerful symbol which defines or identifies the Muslim woman. Hence there is an automatic assumption that modesty and righteousness can be achieved just by veiling someone and this is naïve because modesty is an attitude, it's a behaviour, it's a way of life, it is not easily attainable; it is a life-long effort to maintain, it's far deeper than the clothing we choose to wear.[emphasis mine - LM]

I say this because I can see a generation of young girls in my society who wear what appears to be Islamic dress, but their conduct is contrary to modesty, or righteousness. Many are apathetic about the core issues that we face in the world today, or are not at all devoted to the betterment of our society.

Some people I know criticize women of any background dressing modestly on purpose. Perhaps some of the misunderstanding is rooted in just this sort of hypocrisy and misunderstanding on the part of the woman wearing the clothes.

In her closing comments, she writes: "A woman who is educated, who has a strong sense of purpose in life will choose modesty because she has no desire to be viewed as an object, but this modesty will be on her own terms."

It seems to me that modesty is not for one place or time, but for all times and places. Modesty has to do with a full lifestyle attitude, and even a growing in understanding of that attitude as we go. It's not just about rebelling against the status quo of girls who go wild, or about cramming my opinions of proper dress styles on someone else. Modesty really is part of a Way of life, thinking properly about which things are right, pure, and lovely.

(photo above found at flickr.com)

Once again, free advertising for ModestClothes.com - the Author there has organized by category, by creed, by region, the variety of clothes that are available on line for ladies who wish to dress modestly.

On other topics which I am apt to talk too much about and risk making little to no Godly sense, I just came across Jess' article: Talkers Beware!

Thank you, Jess!

21 July 2007

Three Teens Define “A Real Woman”

From a Biblical Christian point of view. Written by Philip Hainline, Heidi Reimer, and Maria Reimer at the respective ages of 16, 19, and 17. In The Rebelution.com. Please go to the website link for the entire article, and a link to a PDF file that you can download and print out.

A real woman . . .
…is glad she’s a woman and rejoices in her femininity, expressing it through her attitude, appearance and bearing. (1 Timothy 2:9-10)

…does not compete for equality with men or chafe at God’s design for male and female, but delights in and understands the importance of her calling to complement man’s role. (1 Timothy 2:11-12, Ephesians 5:22-24)

…values the cultivation of her mind and diligently seeks after wisdom and knowledge. (Proverbs 22:17-21, 2:2-6)

…realizes her imperative need to allow the Holy Spirit to control her emotions and expressions of them. (James 1:19-20)

…does not wallow in self-pity or make a habit of voicing complaints, but radiates cheerfulness and joy. (Proverbs 15:15, Proverbs 17:22)

A real woman . . .

…appreciates her father’s protection, and respects and submits to his authority. In so doing, she is preparing herself to exercise the Biblical role in her relationship with a possible future husband. (Ephesians 5:33-6:3, 1 Peter 3:1-2)

…is trustworthy and gains the respect of those around her. (Proverbs 31:11)

…restrains herself from listening to, or participating in gossip, but instead speaks with wisdom and discretion. (Proverbs 11:12-13, 22, 20:19, 3:11)

…encourages and builds up those around her instead of criticizing and tearing them down. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, Ephesians 4:29)

…does not have a nagging, contentious or manipulative manner in which she deals with others. (Judges 16:16, Proverbs 21:9, 19, 26:21)

…is not boisterous or loud in her speech or actions but is characterized by a gentle and quiet spirit. (Proverbs 9:13, 1 Peter 3:4)

A real woman . . .
…portrays chastity, modesty and reverence in her manner, and wears the ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is her true beauty. (1 Peter 3:3-4, Titus 2:4-5)

…is not offended by respect shown her through gentlemanly courtesies (opening doors, etc.) but cultivates the differences between the sexes that make her worthy of this deference. (1 Peter 3:7, Mark 10:6)

…seeks to make God her number one desire and the Lover of her soul, knowing that only He can fully satisfy. (Psalm 73:25, Psalm 63:1)

…uses her years of singleness to seek and serve God without distraction, and is content to leave the details of her future to Him. (Psalm 73:25, Philippians 4:11)

As of today, there are 89 responses to this post at The Rebelution since February 1, 2006. I love old fashioned young men and women.

20 July 2007

"When Queens Ride By"

A friend of mine just made me aware of the short story: "When Queens Ride By", and I found the entire story posted here. Please, oh, please, if you haven't read it before, take the time to read it now. I was so touched by it, and I know you will be too. If you'd like to own the story, by Agnes Slight Turnbull (1888), you can find it here.

18 July 2007

"Ladies' Days" in the Old Days Had to be Green

"Women of ancient cultures couldn’t buy feminine hygiene products at the supermarket or drugstore chain, so they improvised, fashioning them instead out of various natural and biodegradable materials — from papyrus and wool to grasses and vegetable fibers. Modern women, however, have relied on a variety of disposable products that create significant after-use waste and can also be dangerous to their health. "
An article on the use of feminine hygiene products, aimed at modern women of all types. It made me think of what the ladies in the old days must have done, and still retained their ladyship. I won't research that particular thing, but I will pass on the link to this article. Being earth friendly during times when you just want to be alone...

Please read: Greener and Healthier Feminine Hygiene

16 July 2007

Modesty in the news

Ya, ya. More on modest fashions. I got the google alert set on it.

"Girls Gone Mild(er)? A New Modesty Movement" in Newsweek. Including a secular point of view. Concluding paragraph:
What makes the movement unique, according to Shalit, is that it's the adults who are often pushing sexual boundaries, and the kids who are slamming on the brakes. "Well-meaning experts and parents say that they understand kids' wanting to be 'bad' instead of 'good'," she writes in her book. "Yet this reversal of adults' expectations is often experienced not as a gift of freedom but a new kind of oppression." Which just may prove that rebelling against Mom and Dad is one trend that will never go out of style.

Links mentioned in the article:

Pure Fashion - a Celebration of Style and Virtue

Modest Apparel USA - "Because a modest woman is a beautiful woman"

Modest By Design - "Clothing your father would approve of"

Dress Modestly - "Modest AND in style"

Eliza Magazine - [a little more on the wild side, but not as wild as some other fashion mags - LM]

Shade Clothing - "founded by two Mormon women wanting trendy, but not-revealing, clothes"

Miss Utah's one-piece bathing suit entry - article from local KUTV

Modesty Zone - "for good girls in hiding, everywhere," a website by Wendy Shalit, author of "Girls Gone Mild"

Flapper, by Joshua Zeitz - A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern

06 July 2007

Dressing with Joy at the Wedding

above image of a 1988 wedding from fashion-era.com

Alternatives to modern barely-there swim wear are available, as I reported in an earlier entry, "Dress with Joy this Swimwear Season."

Alternatives to modern "sexy" bridal gowns are also available. I'm sure there is a listing somewhere else as well (such as at ModestClothes.com/modest formal dresses), but I'll provide here a list of some websites with beautiful photos of bridal gowns that glorify the purity and beauty of a new bride. Most of these sites also provide dresses for the bridal party, as well as formal wear for other special occasions.

[Personal note: after reading several articles about and praying about living modestly and simply, as in the previous articles, I think that it is also possible to buy, borrow, rent or make a wedding dress for a modest amount of money; but you must look carefully and think creatively. You may even consider breaking the whole "bridal gown" tradition in favour of using what would have been spent on a gown for good works; but that, of course, is up to you.] above image from BridalImage.com

Let me first remind you of my understanding of my thoughts on dressing with joy and pride when appearing in a formal situation:

* You don't need to be undressed to be pretty. Please have a look at these websites, and any others you can find in a web-search on "modest wedding gowns". The ladies that you see are extremely beautiful and classy. right image from Eternitygowns.com

* Dressing discretely at your wedding does not mean that you are ashamed of the body you are presenting to your new husband. The Christian lady will remember the description of the holy city being "adorned as a bride" for her husband, Christ. There is a sense of glory, beauty, wonder and even splendor in being dressed for him. The description of the woman's breasts as being something to satisfy really are directed toward her husband and no one else. He should be able to "rejoice in the wife of his youth" and be satisfied with her breasts - can he do that if everyone else is rejoicing in them too? If either the bride or the groom wants to show off what he's got, that is considered pride, and it also places her body as a prize rather than something which he will cherish as precious and special for him alone (as illustrated in Song of Solomon).

* Men do not just need to learn to live with women baring their chests in public. They really don't.image from Allposters.com
Here's an article on how to pick your modest bridal gown: "Modest Wedding Dresses for Every Kind of Girl," from Buzzle.com, which begins with these lines: "I think it would be safe to say that today most brides prefer sleeveless wedding dresses. However, you might be surprised to know that many brides prefer modest wedding dresses and you might be even more surprised that they look lovely in them." (This article was written in January 2007) Published in January 2006, is "The Hunt for a Modest Wedding Dress", showing that women were looking for alternatives to the modern styles without being "frowsy" a long time ago, such as online sites, what to tell your seamstress, or how to do it yourself. You see, it is not impossible to retain your modesty and dignity if you really want to. See also the articles under the topic "Modest Wedding Dress" at LoveToKnow.com, for more descriptions and help on finding the perfect dress for your once in a lifetime occasion.

None of the following websites paid me for promoting them. The fact that these are listed does not mean that you will approve of every thing that you see, nor need you. These websites are merely provided to present you with a list of some of what IS available as an alternative to the modern strapless or very low cut bridal gown. This list is also not a complete list, and does not include dresses for sale on ebay or craigslist.org. Please, pass on the link to this article if you know of anyone who says, "But there just AREN'T any decent wedding gowns out there!"

Totally Modest
Latter Day Brides
Victoria's Bridal
Kathleen's Bridal
Simply Elegant
A Formal Choice
Bonny; Bliss collection
The Bridal Online Store
Gowns by Simple Elegance
Anastasia Modest Bridal
Dress of a Lifetime
Carilynn's Modest Wedding Collection
Lydia of Purple
Katrina Marie Designs
Bridal Fantasies
Legacy Bridal
Simcha Wear

05 July 2007

Living Modestly, in another sense

The Walled Garden posted some wonderful thoughts about living more "modestly", in the sense that was brought up in the article I posted the other day called "the 13th Sunday" (see previous post). Her article refers to sponsorship of someone in need, and may seem to be from only a "Roman Catholic" perspective - but we all know that there is some lovely Truth in living simply. The more I have, the less I can do; do you see? "If you want to see what children can do, you must stop giving them things," wrote Norman Douglas.

I know that some people feel that a truly old-fashioned lady has a room full of fru-fru and antiques and lots of other bric a brac. To quote an old-fashioned song, "It ain't necessarily so." Give some further thought to living modestly, in other ways than merely dressing appropriately.