01 January 2008

Skirts, Long Hair, and Other Feminine Things

I recently received a letter, after I had posted the entries about my wearing skirts, and the things I like about them. I wanted to share the thoughts here, anonymously, to let you know that I am still thinking about these things, old fashioned though they may seem, and it still looks to me like I am not the only lady who considers these things. I would like to hear any other thoughts on these things, if you would like to share.

My name is ____ and I am a 43 year old mother of 3 boys ages 20, 17, and 11. I have been married to my husband for 22 years. And believe it or not just in the last year or so I have been feeling convicted about modesty and being a lady not that I was doing that bad before but I am confused I sometimes want to wear a pair of jeans but I am constantly aware not to dress in a way that could lead someone else astray. My oldest son goes to a church that really emphasizes dress as being very important. The rest of us go to a church where dress is not really an issue. I believe God will accept you any way you are but I still feel that I should be dressing in long skirts which I love and I have short hair and I am trying to let it grow out. I know that this won’t make me a better Christian but I feel that maybe it is what we as women are meant to do. What are your thoughts?

My answer:

I'm sorry I took so long to get back to you. I am an almost 40 year old mother of 4 - 2 boys and 2 girls, all under 12, and I've not had as many years with my husband as you have either; we celebrate 15 this January. But I've also only been really convicted of modest dress and "being a lady" for the past few years, and things that I change in one way seem to affect other areas of my life. I think highly of any lady who has begun thinking about how her style of dress affects the men in her life, because I know it's not something that we as women understand about men's minds and eyes, and we really do have to move "out of our comfort zone" to think about and change our way of dressing.

I personally don't find anything wrong with a woman wearing pants, but as I said, over the years, modest dress, humility, the role of wife and mother and daughter of a King have all come together to make me not want to wear them as much. First, because so many women's styles of jeans are made to show off the shape underneath, and secondly because if it's not showing off my female figure, then it's either making me look like a man, or I can find things more comfortable that show that I'm a female (without showing off). I first switched to pants over jeans, because it looked nicer (more dressy, or feminine), and I still do wear them sometimes. **I have also written before about the Indian outfits, the salwar kameez, which are actually very feminine dressy pant suits, and I also wear these sometimes.**

I am not sure what to say about a church family that determines (or ignores) dress - but I will pass along to you what my daughter said: "we're going to be going before the King; of course we want to dress right". I suppose it is up to each person to determine what "right" is when dressing before the King of kings, but I think that it's more important than not at all, and yet not a matter of law, since this King has not mandated particular styles, other than to point out that we shouldn't be showing off or forgetting to show proper humility before him and one another.

I think God accepts what you have to offer, too, but remember that He sees the heart. I think it's important that each person be convinced in their own mind, as the writer Paul said concerning things that are not laws. If your heart and mind say to dress more femininely, grow your hair longer, be sure that you are not doing it *only* because you feel that it is your duty, but because it is your desire. For me, the more my desire grew, the more my understanding grew, and I begin to feel like what you wrote, that "maybe as women it is what we are meant to do." One of my thoughts about long hair, aside from the writer Paul calling woman's hair her "glory", is remembering that most little girls I have ever known, and most idealized pictures we have of women and princesses, shows long, flowing hair. It's not anything scientific, just an observation, that I think most of us find it more "beautiful" or "lovely". Flowing material, as in skirts, and esp. long skirts, is part of that too, I think. But, as you asked for my thoughts, that's all I can offer.

God did make men and women different. And we live in a culture where it's "politically incorrect" to make an observation like that. But I think it's pretty neat to consider on it, and even emphasize the difference. I think it makes our men be more like what they're meant to be (the "knight in shining armor," guarding, protecting, leading...), when we are less like them, and more like we're meant to be. Not that we are not strong! But in a very different way.

I hope that makes some sense. I'll post this to my blog too and see if there is any response. My blog isn't extremely popular, I know, but I try to at least show that if there's anyone else out there like me, we're not alone in our journey back to being what we were meant to be - Ladies. :)

Thank you for writing. It`s helped me to think it through some more, and I hope helped you too.

Go with God

Illustration above: Windswept, 1902, by John William Waterhouse

See also:

Read one man`s opinion of God-fearing women in pants here.

Read a blog entry and long discussion of Hair and Worship, at Faith and Gender.

Read an account of one lady`s decision to wear long skirts and long hair here.

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