I was recently reading a friend's blog and she has been taking part in a challenge issued by something (a blog, probably) called "Fearlessly Feminine." The challenge is to wear modest, feminine clothes for 7 days (skirts and dresses--no pants), take pictures of what she's wearing, and blog about her experience. While I don't find it at all necessary for me to take part in this particular challenge (I wore skirts and dresses every day for 19 months) it still got me thinking.
Anyone who knows me is aware that I am not a "girly girl." I have never been good at doing my hair (actually, I think I am really bad at doing my hair), and as far as fashion goes I have always opted for comfortable, quick and easy. My parents, bless their hearts, tried in vain my whole life to get me do do my hair and make-up more often. Don't get me wrong--I don't hate looking nice and getting "gussied up." I just don't like the time it takes out of my day to do it.
Recently my niece posted this picture of me on the Lauritzen family website for my birthday (thanks, Nickell!)Terrible picture, right? I think it's a good example of how I am not good at taking care of how I look. My hair is in the typical ponytail, no make-up, no contact lenses. While it has been easy for me to just think I don't care what others think about me, it actually does matter. I have always known this, I have just never had enough desire to make the effort.
Here is why it matters:Assuming that the prices were exactly the same and the stores were equidistant to your home, at which store would you rather shop? The vast majority of people would feel much more comfortable with the second one. The fact of the matter is, what's on the outside does count.
How you dress and present yourself affects how people treat you and how you feel about yourself. I distinctly remember the first time I got my hair and make-up done really well (thanks to my sister, Amy) and when we went out to the store there were guys actually looking at me. It may have been my imagination, but it doesn't matter, because I FELT different. I have a friend who dressed up like a "biker chick" for Halloween and she said she couldn't believe how much it affected how she acted. She was much more aggressive and rude. When we look nice, we feel good and that makes us act happier. I'm sure this isn't news for anyone out there.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are instructed to look a certain way. In the first version of the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet published in 1965, our church leaders wrote, "'Grubby' clothes are inappropriate in public for everyone. A 'real lady' doesn't go out in public, to the market, or to shops with her hair in curlers." While I found that very amusing the first time I heard it, the council has not ceased to be wise. That pamphlet, now updated and made more applicable to the problems that specifically face us these days, still contains great advice on modesty and decorum. We are not simply asked to be modest, but to look nice! Again, this is not news, but it's something of which I need to be reminded.
There is a scene in my favorite TV show, The Golden Girls, where Blanche is discussing chivalry with Dorothy. I don't remember it exactly, but it goes something like this:
Blanche: "I miss the days when men opened doors for women and paid for the date."
Dorothy: "So, exactly how far back do you want to go, Blanche? I mean, do you still want to be able to vote?"
I think a lot of us miss those days. Even those of us who are not old enough to remember them!
There was a time when women were respected simply because they were women. Not because we're the "weaker sex" or because men wanted to be in charge, but because femininity was gentle and sacred, and something not to take lightly.
Ever since the "sexual revolution" and the E.R.A. women have all but lost that respect. Women started acting more like men and dressing like men. Leaders of our church prophesied about what would happen if the E.R.A. passed, and they were dead on. Since the 60s, abortion, teenage pregnancy, divorce and single parenthood have skyrocketed. Granted, most of that isn't due to the change in our appearance, but I think it does have a lot to do with it. We are daughters of God, and we need to look the part. What we look like reflects who we are and how we are treated by others.
So, what is the point of all of my rambling? Simply that I would like to do better. There is no time like the present, as I have two young daughters who I would like to see grow into beautiful young women, and they are going to learn a lot from my example. I want them to have respect for their bodies and their divine nature. President Spencer W. Kimball said, "There is nothing so sacred as true womanhood." Femininity is an important part of that sacred womanhood.