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Frumper Fashion: It's not that feminine


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I just don't get it: Why do some fundies wear frumpers because it's oh-so feminine but then insist on completing the outfit with gender-neutral tennis shoes and not-at-all-feminine windbreakers/track suit jackets/hoodies etc.?

Apart from the modesty factor I thought the whole point was to wear gender-specific clothing. Pants with cuts that are just for women are still "male apparel" and thus un-godly for women but un-feminine shoes and jackets are totally a-ok?

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Wow. Look at how unfeminine Audrey is.

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Gorgeous Grace, as unfeminine as they come.

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Katharine Hepburn. If only you weren't in slacks. Then maybe you'd look like a lady.

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Oh, Julie, no! Not shorts and...short hair! You're practically a man!

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Now here are some feminine ladies!

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And the most ladiest of them all!

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I think the words fundies use like 'femininity' and 'modesty' and 'pro-life' don't have the same meaning as they do for us heathens. They live in a black and white universe and so they tend to define desirable traits as being the polar opposite of what ever it is they want to avoid.

That 'feminine' look is about what it isn't, rather than what it is: those women aren't wearing pants, those women (presumably) aren't behaving like they get to have an opinion, and those women aren't sexy. Therefore, to a fundie, those women are feminine and modest.

On top of those considerations, I imagine things like frugality and (comparable) comfort play a role, and there's probably an element of it being tribal uniform, IYKWIM. (Which is probably why their look is closer to Prairie Muffin and further from Botkinette).

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I think the words fundies use like 'femininity' and 'modesty' and 'pro-life' don't have the same meaning as they do for us heathens. They live in a black and white universe and so they tend to define desirable traits as being the polar opposite of what ever it is they want to avoid.

That 'feminine' look is about what it isn't, rather than what it is: those women aren't wearing pants, those women (presumably) aren't behaving like they get to have an opinion, and those women aren't sexy. Therefore, to a fundie, those women are feminine and modest.

On top of those considerations, I imagine things like frugality and (comparable) comfort play a role, and there's probably an element of it being tribal uniform, IYKWIM. (Which is probably why their look is closer to Prairie Muffin and further from Botkinette).

See, if it's about avoiding being sexy, then why is that newly married Duggar wearing so much makeup to make her look sexy?

And I'm still scarred by Jimbob's dry humping demo. So modest.

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Frumpers have always looked like kids clothing to me. The cut and the print of the fabrics are stuff I'd expect a 4 year old girl to wear. The clothes are feminine, but little girl feminine.

But I wonder if that's the point. So much of this culture is about keeping women in positions of dependence, essentially infantilizing them. The wear little girls' clothes because they are little girls.

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Frumpers have always looked like kids clothing to me. The cut and the print of the fabrics are stuff I'd expect a 4 year old girl to wear. The clothes are feminine, but little girl feminine.

But I wonder if that's the point. So much of this culture is about keeping women in positions of dependence, essentially infantilizing them. The wear little girls' clothes because they are little girls.

Excellent point.

I see such a wide range in what is "acceptable" depending on which branch of the fundie "cult" we are looking at, but those two pictures of the bad running shoes with baggy skirts, sweatshirts and slicked back hair under headcoverings, I get the idea their goals are twofold. 1) not wear that pertaining to a man (ie, pants) and 2) not look in any way sexual so as not to "cause a brother to stumble", which is a pointless endeavor, since men are designed to notice women.. and women to notice men. So, the uglification of young girls may be part of the holier than thou of their sect, as proof that they are not tempting their men! I see these as clothing for women, but designed to de-emphasize their femininity.

I also think (and someone mentioned this before) that if you have a lot of ill fitting baggy clothes because of poverty in some of the families. They can more readily be passed down to sisters in a large family-- baggy stuff can be modest and not fit anyone very well. Sweatshirts, poorly fitting jackets, shapeless jumpers.

As far as the shoes and sweatshirts tossed on with the frumpers... it is part of the "I can do anything in a dress that anyone else does--I don't need to wear pants" rhetoric we read. The outfits they are wearing are likely their "jeans" type outfits (though I could be wrong, they may wear the same thing for dressing up).

And, by dressing so completely out of the norm, while saying they are hoping not to attract the attention of men, they attract more attention than if they dressed more mainstream.

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Opinions on what is modest and what is feminine varies a lot amongst fundies. VF fundies have no issue with makeup and more mainstream clothing for example. Frumpers are easy to sew so are going to be popular with the fundies that tend to be poorer, eg ATI, Mennonite etc.

As for the tennis shoes and sports jackets, they're just comfy and practical. The Seven Sisters and others who wear them actually do outdoor, manual work. It's the princessy layabouts like the Botkinettes that get to wear more stereotypically feminine shoes.

I'm a Marxist feminist and not super into tearing women down for what they wear, when it's men who have introduced those clothing standards.

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I don't want to tear anyone down I'm just wondering about their reasoning.

The Seven Sisters do a pretty good job of dressing modest and unsexy, but my point was about dressing feminine. Instead of buying sports jackets they could just as well buy nice cardigans (or whatever) that actually go with their frumpers and are specifically WOMEN'S clothing (which should presumably be very important to them). The same goes for shoes. It would be just as practical and comfy.

If you're that serious about "dressing like a woman" that you wear dresses exclusively then why stop at the dresses and not get women's shoes and jackets too?

If the Seven Sisters wear old ratty frumpers with t-shirts or hoodies on top and tennis shoes for their farm chores or other works projects (like we have seen on the blog) that totally makes sense to me but in the above pic they're on a holiday so these are their nice clothes.

(I also agree that frumpers aren't actually feminine to begin with. They are for women, yes, but they make women look like shapeless overgrown little girls. My point was about pairing those supposedly feminine frumpers with other non-feminine clothing though.)

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I don't want to tear anyone down I'm just wondering about their reasoning.

The Seven Sisters do a pretty good job of dressing modest and unsexy, but my point was about dressing feminine. Instead of buying sports jackets they could just as well buy nice cardigans (or whatever) that actually go with their frumpers and are specifically WOMEN'S clothing (which should presumably be very important to them). The same goes for shoes. It would be just as practical and comfy.

If you're that serious about "dressing like a woman" that you wear dresses exclusively then why stop at the dresses and not get women's shoes and jackets too?

I got it, and I see your point.

I guess it's another one of those "don't look for logic in what these people do" things.

I suppose they buy the sneakers and jackets and hoodies in the women's department, so they can tell themselves these things are pertaining to a woman. Of course, it would be in a store that sells identical stuff for men, and pants in the women's clothing department, so . . . :shrug:

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Some very interesting points raised in this thread. To

me, the very old-fashioned looking dresses combined with modern running shoes look really incongruous. This somehow leaps out at me more than items of clothing not seeming to meet fundie gender standards. It's like they consciously choose clothes that are not only modest but are reminiscent of the "olden days". When everyone was more godly and women knew their place. That time never really existed, but try telling a fundy that. It's not difficult to find affordable, modern, modest clothing but some fundies seem to go out of their way to look old fashioned. Then they finish off the look with modern trainers. I understand it's a lot easier and cheaper than finding 19th century style boots, but it makes me wonder what the point of the fake historical dresses really is.

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I don't understand the gym shoes and flip flops. There are nice casual shoes that would look so much better with the dresses/skirts. Or even a sandal. The women should buy a cardigan or a jacket designed for a woman to go with the outfits. Save the running shoes and track jackets for outdoor work.

My sister in law is a fundie and she usually wears crocs with her long skirts, which just looks really weird to me.

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I think it's important to remember that looking cute and feminine is WORK, no matter who you are. When you're already expected to cook and clean for 12 people and do farm chores, the hair curlers are probably the first thing tofall by the wayside. I bet that in that case the skirts/dresses can be a (literal) CYA-- you may not be keeping up with an elaborate beauty routine, but you're wearing a skirt, so it counts as feminine!

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I don't want to tear anyone down I'm just wondering about their reasoning.

The Seven Sisters do a pretty good job of dressing modest and unsexy, but my point was about dressing feminine. Instead of buying sports jackets they could just as well buy nice cardigans (or whatever) that actually go with their frumpers and are specifically WOMEN'S clothing (which should presumably be very important to them). The same goes for shoes. It would be just as practical and comfy.

If you're that serious about "dressing like a woman" that you wear dresses exclusively then why stop at the dresses and not get women's shoes and jackets too?

If the Seven Sisters wear old ratty frumpers with t-shirts or hoodies on top and tennis shoes for their farm chores or other works projects (like we have seen on the blog) that totally makes sense to me but in the above pic they're on a holiday so these are their nice clothes.

(I also agree that frumpers aren't actually feminine to begin with. They are for women, yes, but they make women look like shapeless overgrown little girls. My point was about pairing those supposedly feminine frumpers with other non-feminine clothing though.)

Well, I wouldn't assume that people like the Seven Sisters would dress up in the same way others would. By holiday do you mean vacation or like, a religious holiday? Sorry, in the UK and here a holiday means a vacation, and I was confused because most people I know go more casual on vacation.

I think my issue is assuming that those jackets and shoes aren't women's jackets? Like, I would say that they look like women's jackets to me, and unless they have really big feet then they'll have bought their shoes in the women's section. Idk, I am uncomfortable with drawing these lines about what is feminine and what is not when the whole idea of femininity is not real to start with. I mean I know that's what the fundies are doing but I don't want to join in with that. I don't see the frumpers as being un-feminine, because basing femininity on showing more of your body (in terms of following curves) is pretty icky.

To the frumper wearers, feminine = wearing skirts and dresses. Given that femininity is a artificial social construct anyway, I'm not sure why it matters.

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for mennos sometimes beautiful = off limits. Like, even wearing a beautiful knit sweater is considered racy or seeking attention. :roll:

here are some examples of actual girl footwear: (but this was in the early 2000's so it's probably moved past sketchers)

trendy girls:

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not trendy girls lol:

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i actually had some of those ones on the bottom in black. :x it varies A LOT between congregations. Some of them do actually know how to be attractive and modest, but most of the time fugly=holy to them.

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I see the runners with skirts thing I. The Orthodox Jewish community too and thought it was weird at first.

For these women though EVERYTHING needs to be done in a skirt so it's not just for more formal stuff. It is hard to exercise or do tons of walking or do garden or farm work in girlie shoes. There are some that are high quality orthotics but they cost a fortune. Otherwise runners and crocs are cheap and practical. Same with jackets because cute cardigans are no good in rain or wind.

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Good luck finding shoes that are comfortable AND cute with a skirt when you have high arches and wide feet!

Edit - Seriously, my choices are flip flops, big clunky Dansko-stle shoes, or walking shoes. Unless I want to pay $150 and just hope they fit. Usually I find a pair of shoes that feels comfy in the store. 1 block down the road and my legs hurt from the knees down. But oops! Can't return them now because they've been worn!

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Good luck finding shoes that are comfortable AND cute with a skirt when you have high arches and wide feet!

Edit - Seriously, my choices are flip flops, big clunky Dansko-stle shoes, or walking shoes. Unless I want to pay $150 and just hope they fit. Usually I find a pair of shoes that feels comfy in the store. 1 block down the road and my legs hurt from the knees down. But oops! Can't return them now because they've been worn!

http://www.munroshoes.com/gallery?gclid ... Aop48P8HAQ

Not gorgeous, but have styles that go with skirts, fit a wide width and work with a high arch (hi, cuz) I order them mail order from nordstrums or 6PM and wear them around the house on carpet for a while and return the ones that don't fit. But I digress.

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Good luck finding shoes that are comfortable AND cute with a skirt when you have high arches and wide feet!

Edit - Seriously, my choices are flip flops, big clunky Dansko-stle shoes, or walking shoes. Unless I want to pay $150 and just hope they fit. Usually I find a pair of shoes that feels comfy in the store. 1 block down the road and my legs hurt from the knees down. But oops! Can't return them now because they've been worn!

I have high arches and I find trying on shoes later on in the day and after walking a few kilometers helps.

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I like Naot shoes and they let you know which style fit narrow or wide, and which have removable footbeds for orthotics.

The problem is that the prices in North America, if you don't get them at a clearance outlet, are not cheap. Buying 7 pairs of shoes for $200 each could be a challenge. Meanwhile, even cheap running shoes tend to be fairly comfortable for daily use.

Kids tend to run around, and they grow. $200 shoes don't make that much sense for them, and even good quality nicer shoes often aren't great for playing tag.

http://www.naotcanada.com/index.php?opt ... 05〈=en

During the summers, I live in sandals and in cool weather, I live in boots. My constant challenge is to find decent, comfortable closed-toed shoes that I can wear with a skirt at work and that allow me to run around a courthouse and be on my feet without getting really uncomfortable. If I need to walk long distances in a skirt, it can be a challenge to do it comfortably without the dreaded runners with skirt look.

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I wonder how much of this really is the adoption/continuation of a fundie "uniform." When I was growing up fundie, lo all those 30-ish years ago :) , I wore frumpers and keds with baggy sweaters if I was cold. It was what the women and girls in my church wore, and what the people at homeschool conferences wore, and what people at other fundie churches we visited wore. The girls/women in the photos upthread seriously could have been from my childhood church, 30 years ago.

This is a group of people who are highly resistant to change, and strongly motivated to be separated from the world. This uniform is a shining example of their ideology.

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I think there's so many athletic, practical, cheap type shoes they could use with the frumpers that would look a million times better than the type they pick. For some reason the world doesn't want me be able to save images of the strappy kind I mean :x . But these are close, come in lots of colors for around $20. Walmart and Payless and discount places carry them.

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Good luck finding shoes that are comfortable AND cute with a skirt when you have high arches and wide feet!

Edit - Seriously, my choices are flip flops, big clunky Dansko-stle shoes, or walking shoes. Unless I want to pay $150 and just hope they fit. Usually I find a pair of shoes that feels comfy in the store. 1 block down the road and my legs hurt from the knees down. But oops! Can't return them now because they've been worn!

Oh Jessica, I feel ya pain! I'm not bothered so much about cute, but I'm a UK size seven (41) and it's definitely a tough job to find comfy footwear. I'm tall so totter in any heels higher than two inches. Punk style boots are a godsend. I've got exactly four pairs - my Doc Martens, flame New Rocks, Converse Allstar trainers, and lastly plain black boots for when I need to be smart (work, interviews, weddings, funerals). Shoe shopping is my idea of hell.

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Oh Jessica, I feel ya pain! I'm not bothered so much about cute, but I'm a UK size seven (41) and it's definitely a tough job to find comfy footwear. I'm tall so totter in any heels higher than two inches. Punk style boots are a godsend. I've got exactly four pairs - my Doc Martens, flame New Rocks, Converse Allstar trainers, and lastly plain black boots for when I need to be smart (work, interviews, weddings, funerals). Shoe shopping is my idea of hell.

Ah, I'm the opposite, I'm a US size 5 and it's hard for me too. Stores don't usually have my size and I can fit in a 5 1/2 - 6 so some of my shoes are loose but it's not like I have many other alternatives. I usually get tennis shoes from the kids section, ha.

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