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Shallow & ironic: my post on p/t/d/ women's clothing


MamaJunebug

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Anybody who knows me IRL knows that I am the very last person who should be snarking on another's clothing.

But honestly, patriarchal/theonomic/dominionist women? What *is* it with them? Exhibit A: the ladies of the Servenclan.blogspot.com. Pastor Marcus gets his DMin degree and, ok, I know that the day was all about him, but still, really? None of the ladies could add a blazer or cardigan to their rumpled, short-sleeved, shirttails out (I know it's a conscious style of blouse, just don't know the right name for it) blouses?

I mean, fine: freedom of choice means freedom to dress the way you want ... I just can't imagine that the Missus and the remaining girls wouldn't have wanted to add a little pizzazz to their outfits for the big day. The daughter-in-law at least had a skirt a little shorter than tea-length (but still covering those seductive knees, y'all) and a blouse that appears to be in the same color family ... as opposed to the white blouse, dark (long, shapless) skirt ensemble.

Back in the day, Rebecca wore her hair up - not in an updo per se, but twisted into chignons at the nape and sides - and she looked at least a little intentional.

Heck, Cheryl Serven probably still wears a size 6 after 9 kids. She could add a lightweight, short jacket and look effortlessly snazzy. Marcus cleans up nicely in his suit & tie; she looks every bit the wife/mother/homeschooler in her outfit. But then that's probably the point.

It's a small thing, and as I said, if you saw me on 5 days out of 7, you'd scream at me, you really would, and call me "phony" and say things about castings and first stones. I'm a slob. But I do put on the dog for a special event. It just strikes me as really, really weird that p/t/d women have *one* outfit, in effect, -- ok, maybe two for the change of seasons.

Weird.

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But pizzaz would take focus away from a woman's countenance and she would entice men into raping her and for ever be known as a whore. Give a little leeway and the women folk might start calling for men to control their own urges.

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As a fundie of some description, I actually agree, some of the outfits these women come out with are so... dull!

I've often thought of posting to these skirts only linkups with some of my own photos just to show them that you can dress modestly, in skirts only, and still look good, or at least interesting. When I was a teen I used to dress very medieval goth style, which usually involved long skirts and lacy, ribbony, somewhat modest tops as part of the fashion (I was into the victorian corsets more than the punk chains and neon hair, moving to modest dress isn't too much of a leap when you've been dressing neo-victorian for years!). While I no longer wear my more extreme outfits, some didn't match my new modesty ideals, my corsets no longer fit and delicately embellished tops don't mix too well with curious toddlers, many of the tops and skirts have made their way into my adult wardrobe, and it's not hard to dress something up or make something a little bit special. Just putting a fabric flower on those tops would dress them up! Or simply wearing a more unusual colour, I have a lovely outfit that looks good because it is brown and lavender, an unusual colour combination when most people are wearing black or white on at least half their body. I actually LIKE the 90s style frumpers and some of the other 'frunpy' dresses, I think they're unique and a bit different, so maybe I'm not a great judge, but then again the outfit I'm wearing right now is quite modern, with store bought items that are only a couple of years old (on sale, of course ;) ). If you can ignore the fact my 'maternity skirt' was actually sold as a maxi dress (those shirred elastic tops on maxi dresses are THE most comfortable maternity waistbands EVER, and fit from 3 months right up to delivery) I think I actually look pretty hip and modern today, for someone 5 months pregnant at least, and still holding a high standard of modesty.

It's possible that the family you've refered to specifically believe in 'plain' dress, like the plain mennonites except not restricted to a dress style, so they just wear solid colours and simple cuts, but I have seen plenty of fundies who don't believe in plain styles and still look so... generic. If I were going to an event like that one I would probably be overdressed in some velvet dress and bolero, or a plain top covered with a lacey overtop thing and one of my nicest skirts. Not a plain white blouse and plain straight skirt.

Then again, it's not just the fundies that have no idea what dressing up means anymore. I went to a wedding last weekend, and the invite specifically said 'formal', so I dressed formally, and was so overdressed compared to the other female guests it wasn't even funny (there were about 5 other ladies who looked as formal as I did, and 3 were all from one family!). Apparently the definition of 'formal' for women these days is 'wear a skirt and shoes that aren't sneakers'. Most of my shopping and errand outfits are more formal than most of the outfits there, purely because I wear skirts and skirts that go below the knee are now considered formal by default. I thought people must have just missed that bit of the invite until I saw the mother of the groom. Now don't get me wrong, she looked lovely, as did most the other women, I'm not trying to say anyone looked awful by any means, but she looked like she was dressed for a lunch out or a night home with some girlfriends, not a wedding reception as mother of the groom. (this was a fundie-lite wedding, there was no chance of miscommunication with the mother, the event was held in her backyard! Though just to clarify, aside from anyone related to me and my husband, or the bride and grooms immediate family, pretty much no one else in attendance could be considered fundie, or even conservative, these were mainstream families).

My husband fared much better, almost all the men were in varying stages of suit and tie (some had their shirts untucked and the ties loosened in that sort of casual suit style that's popular atm, but it was still a suit!), so he didn't stand out too much, to his delight. But among the children I think people were wondering if my daughter was the flower girl, compared to the other little ones. Again, none of the children looked BAD (ok, except for one), but they certainly didn't dress up for the occasion aside from one little boy who happened to have a suit in his wardrobe (so cuuuuuuuuuute). I'd take my daughter to the park in most of those outfits.

So I don't know that the lack of dress up is so much a fundie problem as it is a society problem, with peoples ideas of what constitutes formal and casual clothes changes. I mean, when I was a kid no one would wear sweatpants out, nowdays it's not unusual to see. It used to be there was a distinct difference between work jeans and dress jeans, but now they all seem to be about the same. Clothes that my mum would have considered 'round the house clothes' and never let me walk out the door while wearing are now worn by kids in restraunts.

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CanadianHippie, you're right - it's puffin' oneself up to dress in such a way that doesn't indicate that all one is about, in life, is being a wife/mother/homeschooler. Heaven forfend a woman would want to look as ready for the worldly world as does her husband in a business suit. *razz emoticon*

abba12, for someone who really doesn't care about clothes (or don't I?! :D ) I really enjoyed your story. I could rattle about clothing and society for paragraphs on end, but wanting to keep this topic in Snark, I'll respond with some thoughts on dominionistic clothing that your essay prompted.

I've said before that while working in a mall, I realized how ... unattractive! women's clothing has gotten - for us older women. It's not even remarkable that a lady of a certain age appears in public with a shirt that rides up over her bottom, leaving a crumply or dimply pair of sweat pants or woven-cloth pants for all to see.

It isn't that it's immodest, it's just ... I dunno ... ugly! Meditating upon that, along with exposure to dom/fundie ideas about modesty, I began to really perceive how a skirt can present a gal's bum in a lot more aesthetic way, for all that that will help society.

In an case I have come to the conclusion that tunic tops or 3/4-length shirts would go a long way toward making us oldies look better and possibly feel better. Certainly a woman might be taken more seriously if she appears to have given some thought to her appearance in public beyond covering her nakedness.

And - long story finally to the point - I guess the white-top, long-skirt, limp-hair "uniform" of the patriarchaladies is logical: to add the jacket or cardi, to dress the hair (as the old ones used to say), to wear coordinating colors that make the woman look taller (as opposed to the white shirt/dark skirt combination) is to present a woman who expects to be taken more seriously. By men. By their husbands.

And we can't have that, can we? Especially not at a graduation ceremony, especially at a seminary that doesn't (TTBOMK) train women for the pastoral ministry.

The Serven ladies and others in their community aren't dowdy: they know their place, their role, and wear the costumes for it. I'm not that nuts about Peter, but at least his wife dresses outside the norm. Maybe there's hope for the future after all ... in the whole community, not jsut that family. I know, elsewhere the Bradricks are counting the weeks 'til they can conceive #6 -- but I have to find hope somewhere, y'all.

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You are right MJB. All she had to do was pull on a simple jacket.

I'm of the opinion that the PTD's have been influenced by evil societal dressing habits and don't even realize it. Otherwise, knowing "the rules" about dressing appropriately for occasions, they wouldn't dress like the slobs they portray. And I agree, weddings are a chore now, because so many people are so relaxed. I'm always wondering if we will be better dressed than the bridal party.

I grew up in conservative Baptist church of the 50's and 60's. Most of the women were stay at home women because that is what we were taught or worked for family businesses. All of us dressed appropriately, modestly, conservatively. None of us looked sloppy or rumpled and our clothes fit. When we left the house, we changed our clothes. When we returned, we changed our clothes. We understood that certain events called for a certain criteria of dress.

I attended a bridal shower a while ago and the pastor's wife (from an uber p/t/d group), showed up wearing something akin to a long loose nightie, wrinkled and paired with what appeared to be an over-sized man's furry, matted, alpaca pull-over - an old man sweater. Now I know accidents can happen but she looked like she'd spent the morning in the wringer and then tumble dry. The apparent heathens present were turned out better.

I think it is also trying to appear humble and the women are so run off the feet they don't care, think about it or have time to anymore.

So yeah, to Ma Serven a Big Fail for dressing for the berry patch instead of Pa Serven's Doctoral graduation.

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Anybody who knows me IRL knows that I am the very last person who should be snarking on another's clothing.

But honestly, patriarchal/theonomic/dominionist women? What *is* it with them? Exhibit A: the ladies of the Servenclan.blogspot.com. Pastor Marcus gets his DMin degree and, ok, I know that the day was all about him, but still, really? None of the ladies could add a blazer or cardigan to their rumpled, short-sleeved, shirttails out (I know it's a conscious style of blouse, just don't know the right name for it) blouses?

I mean, fine: freedom of choice means freedom to dress the way you want ... I just can't imagine that the Missus and the remaining girls wouldn't have wanted to add a little pizzazz to their outfits for the big day. The daughter-in-law at least had a skirt a little shorter than tea-length (but still covering those seductive knees, y'all) and a blouse that appears to be in the same color family ... as opposed to the white blouse, dark (long, shapless) skirt ensemble.

Back in the day, Rebecca wore her hair up - not in an updo per se, but twisted into chignons at the nape and sides - and she looked at least a little intentional.

Heck, Cheryl Serven probably still wears a size 6 after 9 kids. She could add a lightweight, short jacket and look effortlessly snazzy. Marcus cleans up nicely in his suit & tie; she looks every bit the wife/mother/homeschooler in her outfit. But then that's probably the point.

It's a small thing, and as I said, if you saw me on 5 days out of 7, you'd scream at me, you really would, and call me "phony" and say things about castings and first stones. I'm a slob. But I do put on the dog for a special event. It just strikes me as really, really weird that p/t/d women have *one* outfit, in effect, -- ok, maybe two for the change of seasons.

Weird.

Yes, you have captured what I think AND the way I dress. I wear what could well be described as business frump. Pretty much every single day I wear black pants, a sweater set, and sensible shoes. My hair is almost always in a braid or bun. My make up is almost always: sunscreen, eye liner, blush and lip gloss (so pretty plain). On my days off I almost always wear yoga pants, a t shirt and a hoodie and no makeup other than sun screen and chap stick and my hair is generally just pulled back in a pony tail. I do clean up nicely but I almost never bother. YET I find that I am quite comfortable in offering my opinion about appearances when no opinion was asked. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. I shall now hang my head in shame.

edited for clarity

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My work 'uniform' was trousers (black), colored or white silk shirt and accenting blazer, sensible shoes. All easy to find and match when one had to be at a vanpool by 6a.m. But I'm a crazed ironer. I cannot stand wrinkled clothes and am content to iron for hours on end :D

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It looks like Mama Serven wore a blue tee shirt to his graduation ceremony!

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My computer is telling me that the blog posted contains malware. Anyone else?

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Proof to me that the dress codes are not about modesty, but about making a women feel unattractive and ashamed of her own body.

There is no way to look good in a frumper, period, and I think it is difficult to have good self-esteem if you not only look in the mirror and do not like what you see, but know that you can't even attempt to improve it.

By contrast, many of the Islamic women I see out and about manage to dress modestly, but chicly, and in styles and colors that flatter their body type.

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