Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This Campaign Needs an Inspiring Name, any ideas?

"The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender.
There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind.
There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined.
We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith;
We have enough greed; we need more goodness;
we have enough vanity; we need more virtue.
We have enough popularity, we need more purity." --Margaret D. Nadauld

Over the weekend our little family attended something delightful called the Farm Animal Frolic at Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm. Baby Elena, who currently seems really interested in animals, especially sheep, got to pet all sorts of baby farm animals. It was an afternoon of good memories and sweet scenes as I watched my husband hold my daughter, surrounded by early summer sunshine.

The afternoon was briefly interrupted by a scene that I won't go into in depth: I will just say that near the bunnies, a mother kneeling near her child was being greatly betrayed by her incredibly low-rise jeans. I was appalled, and was haunted by the rude display of flesh for hours afterward.

During that moment or two when I noticed the problem, I really didn't know what to do. Should I let her know? How should I phrase it to her? Surely she could sense all that exposed skin, couldn't she? Other than this fashion faux pas she didn't appear to be the usual candidate for trying to shock anyone, she was otherwise very average in her mid-thirties motherly appearance. I was very frustrated. All I ended up actually doing about it was warning my dear husband to look in the other direction, and our family left the scene calmly to visit the lambs instead.

Throughout the remainder of the day I struggled from time to time with that question - - what should our response as ladies be to the women in our midst who are immodest, whether by their own honest mistake or their own intention? I've been in that situation before and also did not know what to do, and ended up doing nothing.

What is the compassionate response? What is the ladylike response?

I have no idea, still, about what the conversation should look like. Something tells me it needs to be non-judgemental and kind if it is to make any kind of positive impact, however, beyond that I'm not getting any ideas.

The next day, we were at the grocery store as a family, and in the produce department my husband quietly pointed out to me a young lady about my age who was wearing a very pretty, modest, casual day-dress. It was one of those everyday kind of dresses that is super cute, yet knit jersey and probably not dressy/respectful enough for church, but perfect for looking cute at home or out and about. Oh, dear, I need to learn to post photos so I can find an example on the web and pin it up here. "See? that's your kind of dress, Heather, and it is modest!" he whispered. (He knew how down I was feeling about the widespread immodesty in our culture.)

Anyway, I had noticed her, too, and had been relieved and heartened to see this.

Then, I had an idea!!!

What if, instead of dwelling on my unanswerable question of what to say to the immodest, I help promote modesty by finding some quiet, polite, positive way to compliment those ladies among us who are dressing modestly? To me, that sounds like a plan!

So, the next lady I saw in an outfit that filled that bill (and I must say, it was only about 2 minutes later in the bread department, hooray), I just naturally told,

"Oh, what a great skirt," with a polite smile. I was careful not to be overzealous. She beamed back and gave me a big "Thanks!"

Phew. That felt like such an easy exchange when compared to the scary low rise jeans incident of the day before.

Will you join me in my campaign to promote modest dress? My intention in this article is not to gossip or cast judgement, it is to launch something positive.

Could that something positive be a new habit or two?
1. a habit of dressing in a ladylike (i.e. feminine and skin-covering) manner, and of
2.providing quiet compliments to others who do so too,

thus positively reinforcing ladylike dress.

This leaves us back at the title: this campaign requires an inspiring and non-war-like name. Any ideas?

1 comment:

  1. I think focusing on praising the positive is a *wonderful* way to go about it. I think many modest-dressing ladies wonder if they look frumpy because they are so counter-cultural. So a kind compliment might go a long way in encouraging modest, lady-like dress.

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a lovely comment. The blog you visited is not my main one and I don't post very often there. I post much more often at A Quiet, Gracious Life