Saturday 30 March 2019

Leggings and tiny Ts.

As every Catholic blogger knows, there's nothing like writing about women's clothing to get the hits.

Today I volunteered to write about the brave Catholic mom who asked the young ladies of Notre Dame University to stop wearing leggings without something to cover their butts. Her one mistake was not to say, okay, wear the leggings, but wear long shirts with them, for cryin' out loud because the tiny T-shirt detail is getting lost in the media circus. The controversy is not really about leggings but about women's rumps waggling about. (We're all too shy to discuss what's going on in front.)

Going out wearing a tiny T-shirt and skin-tight leggings and a tiny T-shirt is pretty much the same as going out wearing a tiny T-shirt and tights.  It actually is the same as going out wearing long underwear. My thought is this combo is okay at the gym, where everyone is focused on their own body, but nowhere else.

I cut out my reflections on my boxing days three times. In the end, I decided it would really detract from my point, which is that young women wield a lot of sexual power, and they should be gentle with it, as gentle as they expect young men to be be with their physical power.

This is not about blaming women. This is about asking young women to be careful. We ask young men to be careful all the time. We shout at them from birth to not hit girls. We ask them to be careful when roughhousing with their sisters.... Anyway, it's all in my article.

I realize that some of you may be disappointed that I have joined the ranks of the finger-waggers. But, hey, at least I have not joined the women-should-never-wear-trousers-dirndls-are-best brigade. And to cheer you up, here's my once-famous Modest Proposal.

Incidentally, if we're fighting about women's clothing again, it must be spring.


  1. I have to admit, I rolled my eyes when I saw the headline of the LifeSite piece "Mom with sons is right to tell Catholic girls to stop wearing skin-tight leggings"--not because I think it's ok to run around in public with only leggings on the nether regions, but because it led me to think the "tone" would be the sort that enrages and alienates people. That is, not just my lapsed Catholic friends who proclaim that women can run around topless and it's nobody's business, but also those formerly homeschooled and just fed up with finger-wagging approach.
    However, when I saw you were the author, I thought "this might be good after all"--and wasn't disappointed.
    One thing I really appreciate is the mutual restraint and courtesy approach, the idea that just as women rightly expect consideration from men, we have a duty of consideration towards them.
    It's a subtle thing, but I'd maybe even go a bit farther and say that as important as it is to be considerate to men, the deeper and more important consideration is a woman's duty towards her own dignity. It makes me think of that story about a man who got up to give his seat to a woman on the bus. "You don't need to do that just because I'm a woman" she said, "I'm not a lady." "Oh, I didn't," he replied, "I did it because I'm a gentleman".
    I also read the mom's piece, and was really impressed by its kindess, balance, and common sense.
    A short perusal of the comments gave the distinct impression that many people did NOT read it; even if their eyes travelled over the words their remarks showed absolutely no comprehension of anything the woman actually said.

  2. Another thing: the idea that women wield a lot of sexual power.
    This is true. As a woman in my thirties, I know it now. But I think it's interesting that this truth is something that many good moms (I'm talking about in traditionalist circles) try to shield their daughters from this knowledge, while nevertheless trying to get them to act as if they understood it.
    For example, it's quite common that they will not explain the dynamics of male/female attraction, yet will always be nagging at their daughters to cover up more, to "be careful", etc.
    The result is a mixture of ignorance and timidity, such that a young woman is seriously disadvantaged in being able to wield that power with courage, grace, and gentleness. She may be barely aware that it exists. She could also be embarrassed by it, and clueless what to do with it.
    Anyway, that's a whole different can of worms..... It's an important subject though, and one on which I'm sure I'm not the only one who would be interested in hearing your thoughts!

    1. Thank you, Amused. How lovely to start the day with your kind remarks. And, yes, I don't think many people actually read the Notre Dame mom's comments with any attention. Her remark about Leia was brilliant, although I do wonder how many people under 40 would have shared in my shock when I saw the mighty robed warrior in that slave costume.

      I think you are right and parents need to be bold and explain how sexual attraction works. Boys see body parts without even meaning to, and girls dream up sexy scenarios with conversations. Boys should be asked not to stare, and girls should be asked not to give them something to stare at.

      It's hypocritical to say girls can wear anything they want but boys can't look anywhere they want. And the whole "they need to learn to control their thoughts" is a very female response because it assumes that thoughts are actively involved.

      Another thing to do is to emphasize to boys and girls that they have different strengths, and they can help each other in different ways. The "Anything boys can do girls can do better" attitude is poison. ANYTHING? Really? Bringing up children to believe in such a lie is not a route to happiness: not for boys, and not for girls!

      And I repeat my point about gentleness. We ask boys to harness their physical strength and not hurt girls. We can therefore also ask girls harness their sexual strength and not hurt boys. Of course, many people don't think it hurts boys to have butts or breasts to look at, but if they "get caught" there are unpleasant scenes.

      The idea of women using sexual power in beneficial ways is an difficult one these days although we see it all the time in old films. I wish I could inspire men to be better men just by floating about in a pretty dress. Oh, B.A. says I do inspire him to be a better man, so that's one.

    2. Oh, I have looked at your comments again, and it occurs to me that girls think they are told to cover up because they are comparatively physically WEAK. But girls should be told to cover up because they are comparatively sexually STRONG. It's chivalrous!

  3. I forgot how good that Modest Proposal was, thank you!

    ~Long-time Lurker :)