It is an irony of the day that one has to dress with more class to sit in a courtroom than a church pew. When you receive a summons for jury duty you are instructed to wear “business attire,” and indeed on the day that you appear in court you are surprised to see how nicely clad most potential jurors are. Far better than many venues on the island.
No such requirements apparently are cited for church services. Congregants are dressed in everything from dungarees to tennis togs. Fascinating that we must show more respect for a criminal than our Creator.
Priests and ministers are not blind to the phenomenon, but they are embarrassed to broach the subject. Few pastors in America take the stance of the Vatican in Rome where ladies who dare to bare are physically barred from entering St.Peter’s Basilica. Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Jacksonville, however has posted a plea to all genders on the church door that reads in part, “Out of respect for our Lord and the edification of our neighbors, we beg men and women, boys and girls to appear in church modestly dressed … shorts, tank tops, low cut, backless and mini dresses, halters, bare midriffs, tight fitting clothes, etc., do not meet the norm of Christian modesty and respect.”
Whoever coined the phrase that American moral standards have descended to curb level must attend fashion shows. We women seem to be leading the descent. Bosoms are showing up in the boardroom and the bakery as much as on the beach. Cleavage at 10 in the morning is as common as it used to be at 10 in the evening.
Most recently, division of a non-political nature was revealed on the floor of the U.S. Senate, causing the linotype to light up at The Washington Post. “Showing cleavage in a setting that does not involve cocktails and hors d’oeuvres is a provocation,” declared the usually liberal newspaper, “… showing cleavage is a request to be engaged in a particular way.”
And perhaps in a way that is totally unintended. A recent Associated Press article claimed that juvenile sex offense cases have risen 40 percent in 20 years, leading some psychologists to lay the blame at the feet of a sex-saturated society. A teacher in Fernandina displaying more decolletage than decimals was seen seated at recess among a group of young male students, bringing to mind the comment of a teenage resident in a low-income neighborhood in Texas. He said that gang members are more likely to do physical violence to sexually provocative women than modest, motherly women because they have respect for the latter, but not the former.
One young girl surmised that women have become sartorially bolder in response to the nearly naked celebrities they view on television and in the movies. This raises the question, does every woman walking on the street have to look like a streetwalker?
However much a woman admires her body, its overt display does not necessarily draw similar admiration from more objective viewers. “They all look like hookers to me,” an older man commented to a younger male friend in Baltimore. The younger man laughed, and both men agreed that skin shows can be a turnoff more than a “turn on,” particularly when women of a certain age have cleavage surrounding the cleavage.
It is strange that this overt sexuality is concurrent with the modern woman’s desire to be respected for her smarts. Even men who might ogle the frame may wonder what’s under the dome of a lady so anxious to call attention to what’s below rather than above her neck.
Related articles and websites:A Young Man Speaks About Modesty The Controversy of Dress BettyBeguiles.com PureFashion.com
Peggy Stanton is a Catholic writer who resides in Floria.
Comment from Johnnette: Ladies, as the article above suggests, we women need to exercise prudent judgement regarding our attire. Look in the mirror and ask yourself these questions as you are selecting an outfit – and be brutallly honest:
“What message am I sending?”
“What is my purpose in wearing this outfit?”
“What comments or thoughts do I want people to make about me when they see me today/tonight?”
If the answer to these questions include the words “hot,” “sexy,” “smoking,” or any other of a variety of words that indicate “siren,” it would be wise to “retire the attire.” It is not in keeping with your dignity and vocation as a woman. You are worth more than that.
Consider this quote: “ Woman is the conscience of man.” –Soren Kierkegaard