Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dress Dare

A year ago one of my blogging friends  posted that she was doing the "Dress Dare" hosted by the young Catholic women who blog at "Defining Beauty". Here is the details of their dare.

Here we go!

The Official Rules are:

Wear dresses and skirts throughout the month of May.

Exceptions:  Snoozing {zzz} and Exercising.

Honor Mary, grow closer to Jesus.

Be beautiful--- be YOU!

My first reaction to the dare was NO WAY HOSEA!

I couldn't fathom how anyone could wear a dress every day, for a whole month. It seemed a little crazy to me and not a bit of fun.  I found myself thinking, "Come on this is the 21st century! Didn't our great-grandmothers fight so that we wouldn't have to wear dresses? Why would you revert back?" 

Then after Abe was born I found myself wearing lots of skirts (because none of my pants fit) and much to my surprise I discovered that I really loved wearing skirts. They made me feel different-- in a good way-- and now, even though my pants fit again, I find I am still wearing skirts more than I used to.

In the last few months I have been thinking about this scripture in Deuteronomy 22:5, in which Moses gives instructions to the children of Israel.
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.

I don't really understand  the whole context of why or where this counsel was given, but I am intrigued by the fact that it was given. I not even sure if the counsel is talking about dresses or not because people dressed differently back then. Yet I have been impressed that this was something a prophet of God felt compelled to counsel his people about. And obviously even back in Moses time it appears there was some cross dressing going on! I'd like to understand if there is something more to this scripture that I don't understand.

Is there spiritual significance in having men and women dress differently?

What are the consequences when men and women begin to dress the same, or to switch traditional clothing?

Have women lost something, something I can't even put my finger on, because we don't wear dresses any more?   

These are questions I'd like better answers to.

So this May I am going to take the Dress Dare and wear a skirt every day this month (except for today because I forgot that it was May 1st and I am wearing jeans, oops:) only making exceptions for sleeping and sports.

It is sort of an experiment.

First, I want to see if I can actually do it and second, I hope to figure out a little bit more about what that scripture in Deuteronomy means to me and try to find answers to my questions.

Besides, every time I wear a dress Rose tells me I am " pretty princess"-- so I'll have some good moral support

Anyone else up for the challenge?

35 comments:

  1. I think it's interesting that Joseph Smith said that Moroni was wearing a "loose robe" when he visited Joseph (JSH 1:31). And in most pictures of the 1st Vision (and temple video) it shows that Jesus & Heavenly Father were wearing robes. Maybe robes and skirts are celestial type clothing???

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    1. I agree Lisa! It is really interesting and I've thought a lot about the scripture in Deut. referring to temple clothing as well.

      It is interesting to think about dresses being the first type of clothing and pants being a cultural adaptation. Men use to wear "dresses" and in lots of countries they still do! I'd like to know more about the symbolism of dresses and what the importance of men and women dressing differently means!

      Thanks for your thoughts.

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  2. Awesome. I definitely feel freer and more feminine when I'm wearing a comfortable skirt. I'll be really interested to see what you learn from this challenge.

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  3. My husband and I have talked at length about this scripture. I don't thing (IMO) that is means women are to wear dresses all the time, there are many pants that look feminine along with pretty tops and such. However, I have noticed a trend (especially now that I have a girl in Jr. High) that girls are starting to dress in way that are not feminine at all, and sometimes from the back you can't tell what gender they are. That goes along with the boys too, teh ways they are doing their hair, putting on make-up (yep even in this Utah county school) and nail polish (granted these boys are the extreme) make them look feminine. It reminds me of the Proclamation ont he Family, gender is important. Gender is part of our divine nature and should be respected as such in our manners and dress. Anyway,those are some thoughts I have had on the subject, I am interested to see what insight you come up with!

    A few years ago I did a dress challenge, it was only for a week, but I found I LOVED it! I now wear more skirts for everyday than I ever did before. Durring the winter when it is cold, I do resort to pants, but in the summer...bring on the pretty cotton skirts. I wear the long peasant style skirt, I find they are just as modest as pants, even with little kids, they are super cool and they are...pretty! :) I also find people treat me a little differently, and my husband loves it.

    Good luck I am excited to hear how it goes, and I think I just might take up the challenge too!

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  4. I stumbled upon your blog today and I am a fan. :)

    I would just like to point out that I'm Pentecostal and I wear pants all the time (except snoozing) and while it can be a challenge at times (especially when I was younger) I feel closer to God because of it.

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  5. I have had this same discussion with several of my friends within the Christian faith that have striven for they phrase as a return to biblical womanhood. They all where skirts or dresses, don't cut their hair and feel the role of women (even non married daughters) are to stay home. They focus on many scriptures like this and Titus: 2. It has been an interesting discussion to be apart of. I find it interesting that we, as women within the LDS Church, wouldn't think of going to church on Sunday without a dress/skirt. We would never consider entering the Temple in feminine dress pants, but in a dress/skirt. So why are we so casual about it during the week. I hadn't thought about what Jesus himself would have worn during his time. It wasn't pants, was it? So then what truly does classify what is women's clothing in God's eyes? It would be nice to hear what other members of our church had to say about this as I have only discussed this with others outside of the church. Great topic.

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  6. I think I'm going to try it, too! Sounds like fun :)

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  7. I wear mostly skirts and dresses, some pants/capris (I have one pair of each). I love the feminine feel of a modest dress or skirt. My husband appreciates when I dress feminine. Total strangers treat me differently when I am dressed in a skirt or dress. There is a real difference!

    One point I'll toss out there though - There are dresses or skirt/shirt combos that, while covering the body, are still NOT modest. There are two particular women in my ward who dress like barbie, everything happens to be covered, but the clothing is tight and leaves NOTHING to the imagination. It is embarrasing. It really is. If my husband or sons don't need to see you naked because they can see everything you have due to the tightness of your clothing then please, go change. It's porn, even if it's got a layer of fabric over it.

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  8. Oooo, this is a great challenge! I also found that skirts were way more comfy after having a baby (and gentler on my tender tummy). I only have a few that fit right now, but I'll try this challenge!

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  9. This is a very interesting topic- one I've thought a lot about myself. I wonder what truly Godly clothing is. I don't really understand the fuss over that particular scripture as everyone wore robe-like clothes back then. There's a lot of fuss about how pants are "not modest" for women, but I could argue the same for men. Just think of the jokes or sly comments you might have heard, seen in a movie or read about involving women looking at men from behind and admiring what they see. So, do we all wear robes as people used to for maximum modesty? Do we accept that pants have a place and are safer in many environments where clothing might be caught in machinery, etc.? I think even Brigham Young at one point was trying to figure out some sort of glorified "pants" for women for the sake of practicality.
    I haven't come to any personal conclusions. I just try my best to dress femininely, but when I'm out working in the yard with a pick-axe you can bet I'll be wearing jeans! Good luck on your challenge!

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  10. My three daughters and I did this for about eight years. The younger girls wore shorts or stretch pants under their dresses, and the older one and I did, too, when the activity required it (like hoeing at the regional farm). Jumpers were my favorite - nothing to constrict the tummy! Eventually I started a college program that required pants, and I slowly drifted back to a mix of pants or skirts. Someday, I plan to go back to all dresses, all the time. Mind you, I was never a pantyhose person, except for Sunday or the temple. I wore sandals or ankle socks and dainty tennis shoes. I commend you for your experiment, and hope you enjoy the month.

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  11. I started wearing skirts everyday about two months ago and LOVE it. I feel more feminine and pretty. My skirts flow as I walk down the stairs, and I dance around the house more. One day, all my skirts were dirty so I wore pants and I noticed that I didn't carry myself as well. I truly felt more masculine. It was a feeling I had never experienced (or noticed) before.

    I found something important in my skirt wearing that you may also find: I need casual skirts that are beneath my knee that I don't mind getting dirty. Our children are similar ages, and we need to move about! I found these AWESOME skirts from Hanes, if you find you like wearing skirts and need more:

    http://www.hanes.com/clothing/women/hanes-signature-collection/skirts---dresses/hanes-foldover-convertible-dress-to-skirt

    They can also be a strapless dress. Wahoo! (just kidding. I mean, they can, but of course I won't be wearing them that way)

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    1. ooh, so cute. I will have to get one of those! I've found that the fuller and longer the skirt the more easier it is to wear! It make a lot more sense to me know why women wore floor length skirts. You can really do everything in them-- except maybe ride a horse :)

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  12. When I read that scripture, I think more of transvestites/impersonation. To seek to dress like a man is to try to deny your womanhood, and men who dress as women (aside perhaps for Halloween) are generally the men who try to deny their manhood. People who feel they were born the wrong gender, perhaps. We all have a divine gender that comes with divine gifts. To seek to throw those gifts away is to mock His love and your divine nature.
    Basically, to wear clothes for the opposite gender may be okay for a play, or a costume, or something like that. I think it's more the intent, the "why" you may choose to wear clothes that hide your true identity as a son or daughter of God.

    I think it's an interesting challenge and I may attempt it.

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  13. Oh, so neat! I created my own challenge-like thing last summer, and I'm doing it again this summer - with a friend! I just love the overall more-feminine feeling that I get when I wear skirts and dresses; and those around me tend to respect me more - even kids! And besides being more womanly, it's just great fun! I wish you the best as you take the dare! :)

    Shaylee Ann
    mother {at} heart

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  14. Interesting challenge, but I don't think I'll do it. The waxing alone would be cost prohibitive.

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    1. and now I'm totally grossed out. Thanks!

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  15. The scripture: Deut 22:5 "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do are abomination unto the Lord thy God."

    I did some research, and the key word here is "abomination". This particular Hebrew translation of that word, alludes to "Idoatry or idols, illicit sex; Ilicit marriage, male homosexual and heterosexual immorality; temple prostitution, etc."
    Heather I think you are on the right track, because of the information in some of your previous post's concerning Egypt and its influence on the children of Israel.
    The children of Israel brought a lot of idolatrous customs with them, including "personal gods" which they tried to incorporate into the pure worship of YAWH.(Asherah) I have read that some of the idolatrous worship did consist of men and women "crossing" the clothing, men in women's attire,women in men's attire; bringing offerings,having sex on the alters, etc. So for this to be considered or even practiced along side of the pure worship of YAWH was an abomination to God.
    So, I don't think it is so much the style of the clothes, because everyone at that time wore similar clothing, even now. But when the exchange of said clothing that pertained to either sex,resulted in activity that was contrary to God's requirements of pure worship of Him only,therin lies the sin. This behavior is a continuing thread in the old testament, and also into the new. Even the Apostle Paul comments on it in 1 Corinthians 11:4-16. The saints of the new church still had issues with incorporating idolotraus practices with the pure worship of God.

    On a lighter note, I think it would be somewhat liberating to wear dresses or skirts for a month, because summer is coming.
    Thanks for this enlightening post Heather.

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    1. Wow, I am going to have to look more into that RGG! Those thoughts are fascinating. I think you are right though, because the word abomination is most often used with idol/goddess worship. So interesting .Thanks for sending my mind in the right direction!

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  16. As a man I find your blog quite interesting. I have a site about men in skirts (sensible, not stupid or demeaning). I think you might find my page Bible Hypocracy may provide part of an answer to your questions. http://www.libminded.co.uk/administrator/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&layout=edit&id=6.
    The Religious part of my site is quite direct. I have placed a link from my site. I respect others as individuals and their beliefs but I do unfortunately find many religious people do not reciprocate. My religious pages do give an outline of my true beliefs as too I hope that my site gives a balanced view promoting a more balanced and equal society that many these days strive for.

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  17. I have enjoyed reading this discussion. I tend to wear skirts during the warmer weather, and I do love how I feel. My girls (I have 4) also love to wear dresses and skirts. One of my daughters loves it so much that when it is cold she wears them with her jeans. I think we do identify to what we are wearing. It affects our attitudes and feelings of self-worth. Over the years when I have struggled with depression and axiety, one of the things that I do to over come it and get going for the day is to make sure that I get up and get DRESSED. By this I don't mean to just throw on my jeans and a t-shirt. But to actually pick out an outfit that makes me feel good, do my hair and make-up, not because I have anyone to impress...but because it makes me feel good and put together. This is not something that I do EVERYDAY, and more often than not I do just throw on the "busy mom" outfit", but when I am having a rough week...I try to dress like life means something.
    Another thought I have refers to the scripture that opened this discussion. I do agree that it could have been direction just as it sounds, about the importance of appearances. But couldn't it also be refering to the different roles of men and women? For a women to put on the "garment" of man might mean that she intends to take-over the responsibilities that God has given to males (i.e. provider, laborer) vice-versa for the man to change his role to cover the things that women were blessed with the talent to do (i.e. nurturing, keeping the home, raising children). When you put on a "uniform" for work....it requires you to do that work. Just a thought.

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  18. Interesting! I may try this, or at least make more of an effort to wear skirts in general. I wore some slobby clothes yesterday and I felt so "blah" all day long!

    It's very interesting how the clothes we wear affect our behaviour.

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  19. I'd love to try this too. DH sometimes says he'd like me to wear skirts on regular days and I've just never done that ever in my life. I wouldn't be able to wear my Vibram Five Fingers if I did though...I think that would look silly. :-p

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  20. I love skirts, I love dresses. I completely agree about the comfiness factor post-baby. Having said that, if you personally feel closer to the Lord because of something you wear, that's great for you. Some people really love their CTR rings for this reason. However, it is neither a sin nor a doctrinal requirement for us to do so. It doesn't make us morally superior, it doesn't make us better women of Christ. I suppose I just wanted to say this, because I have seen a lot of blogging trends lately that I think make some moms feel inadequate for things that shouldn't. If this is something that works for you great, but like many people have noted here, clothing is Strongly cultural. Clothing trends change frequently. Many clothing items that were originally for men are now considered women's, and some vice versa. Let's not confuse developing Divine attributes of women (e.g. endurance, fortitude, compassion) with staking a claim in cultural warfare.

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    1. Thanks, DMM. Maybe it's because I live in a colder climate, but I don't care for skirts and dresses, though I grit my teeth on Sundays and wear them to church. If it was culturally acceptable, I'd gladly wear a pantsuit instead. Unlike some of the other commenters here, I actually find skirts quite restrictive and limiting of my abilities and activities (cleaning house, chasing my three boys, etc.). I feel plenty feminine in a pair of well-fitting jeans and a cute top and don't feel any closer to Mary or Jesus based on the clothing I'm wearing. If it helps someone else, great! But it's certainly not a universal experience at all.

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    2. Interesting perspective. I had no trouble with skirts in subzero weather or while chasing my 6 while pregnant with my 7th this winter (and 4 of those 6 were little boys). I think it's something you get used to if you actually do it regularly, just like you get used to pants, or hats, or anything really.

      Still, to each their own!

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  21. I want to do this...mainly because it gives me an excuse to find good skirts to wear. But I do love to dress up. I often dress nicely to clean the house because I feel less crummy doing it! :)

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  22. This post made me think (which is good!) :) I truly don't think there is anything wrong with wearing jeans or pants of any kind. I'm not less of a woman because I wear them. HOWEVER. I've also noticed that I like the way I feel in dresses and skirts, and yet my "go to" mommy outfit is jeans and a t-shirt. Why is that, I wonder? I'm going to think about this further, and I might just try wearing skirts for the rest of the month.

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  23. I can't imagine all the shaving and self-tanner it would take to get my hairy, white legs through an entire month! Good luck with your experiment, though!

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  24. I already wear skirts most of the time, not for any particular reason than I feel they are more comfortable and I like the way I feel in them. Good luck with your challenge!

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  25. I have a friend who wears skirts fulltime and loves it! She lives in a cooler climate and says that with being able to wear leggings under skirts with tall boots, she is actually warmer in them than in pants. I live in a hot climate and like the airflow that skirts give, but have a hard time finding flexible skirts that I don't worry about getting dirty doing whatever I've got to do that day. I'd like to add more peasant type skirts, and I think that would make it easier to wear them more often.
    I have noticed a difference in how men treat me when I am wearing skirts vs. pants--out shopping, in restaurants, everyhwere, really. They are more chivalrous.

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  26. I'm not even close to ready to join you in this challenge. I just plain do not own enough skirts to wear throughout the month! I have nice skirts for Sunday but not practical skirts that I could wear while going to the park and chasing kids around. So, not this month, but maybe I can try it next year, or even just challenge myself to wear the skirts I do have more this month. Maybe start slow, once a week aside from Sunday :)

    Anyways, I'd actually just read that scripture in Deuteronomy and had been thinking about this too. I'd recommend going to the institute manual for the Old Testament and reading what it has to say. It helped me to understand it better too :)

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  27. Dresses are a lot cooler under the abaya, especially when the temps are soaring over 100 degrees in Riyadh.

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  28. Check in: The first day I accepted this challenge. I went and folded all my laundry in my room and put it away. to find dresses and skirts to be ready. I found all my missing pants I took that as a temptation to quit. So All pants immediately got put away in the bottom dresser drawer. Putting all those clothes away caused me to clean my bedroom. I slept so good that night because I did not sleep in my clothes"literally two ways" Then after feeling how good it felt I started making my family pick up on saturdays to have that feeling on the sabbath. We actually had company over and I was excited.
    What I noticed at the store: Men held the door open for me. People seemed to be more polite, well except one day I decided to wear sexy shoes and it was early in the morning. Woman looked at me like they were going to tear my eyeballs out. I just smiled at them and thought they had not had there coffee yet. I was dressed modestly so it was not like I deserved it.( oh I took another dare three months ago to smile at everyone and I liked it and kept it so I was doing it too)
    My husband has been treating me different too. The change is very slight but it adds up in a over all feeling. Its been 14 days. OH and its still slightly chilly were I live and I actually think I am loosing weight. I did not feel squished and compacted during cleanse but I was bloated because my shoes were uncomfortable.
    I think Heavenly father noticed too. His signs have been more apparent and I am very aware of him trying to teach me of my requests to learn to be more positive. I think I have been more aware and acceptable to his teachings.

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