|Is this modest?|
To the basic lesson, Jewelboxcreek proposed some additions. First, she created a story to explain the origin of the modesty standard. She traces it all the way back to Adam and Eve, and notes that the clothing supplied to them by the Lord had sleeves, shirts and that the pants/skirts go to their knees -- or, at least that's the way it is in the representations of them.
Second, Jewelboxcreek proposed to play a game with the Primary class entitled "Modest or Immodest". She would hold up various pictures of kids dressed in various ways, and ask the class to make their best guess. She presents a number of examples in her post. I'll admit that I do not agree with all of her characterizations of immodesty; I don't find the picture of Peter Pan to be immodest. But Jewelboxcreek's heart is in the right place, and maybe a bit of overkill won't hurt.
One would think that Mormon feminists would be amongst her most ardent supporters. After all, feminists constantly chide men for sexually objectivizing women and minimizing their other characteristics. Yes, in some respects, feminists have played a useful role in getting men to take women more seriously. But in a post on Feminist Mormon Housewives entitled "An Open Response Re: Modesty Lessons For Children", Rune expresses some serious misgivings about Jewelboxcreek's method and unintended messages. Like other extremists, feminists are frequently plumbing for "hidden" and "unintended" messages; they often assume the worst about the greater society and project their bad experiences upon everyone else. Here are three interesting points that Rune brings out:
"Teaching concepts of clothing modesty to very young children is problematic for quite a few reasons, especially when our own cultural discourse on modesty is so heavily skewed to mean coverage in order to obscure sexual characteristics and prevent others from viewing us sexually..."
But I thought the objective of feminists was to convince men to view women LESS sexually and pay more attention to other attributes. Which is it -- make up your mind.
"There is a lot of danger in putting pressure and responsibility on children to keep from being inadvertently sexual".
There is also a lot of danger of pedophiles exploiting kids who are inadvertently sexual. The pedophile doesn't really care whether or not it's inadvertent.
"There are lots of ways to teach a child to truly love and respect their bodies without inadvertently giving the impression that parts of it are bad, and need to be hidden away".
I agree with this in part; we shouldn't teach kids that their sacred parts are "naughty bits". But they do need to be "hidden away" so that they don't become the central issue. After all, I always thought that feminists opposed a woman's sexuality being viewed as the central issue.
A comment appended to the post also deserves to be addressed. Type A wrote, in part, "...My (almost) 7 year old was getting dressed on Monday and told me that if you wear a tank top you’re not allowed to go to church. I’m so sad that was the message SHE got, whether or not it was intended. I of course, corrected her and told her that she could wear any clothing that she feels comfortable in and that her father and I feel is appropriate for church". A seven-year-old is old enough to be asked to dress in more traditional worship clothing for church. Although a tank top may be O.K. for a Monday, is would not be appropriate for Sunday services. When we attend church to worship the Lord, we owe Him the best we have. It doesn't have to be a Brooks Brothers suit -- it can be a cheap Mr. Mac missionary suit. But whatever your wardrobe contains, wear the best you have for Sunday services. This is in the tradition of the ancient Israelites, who, when they brought an animal to the priests for sacrifice, brought the best of their herds -- without blemish.
Modesty can also be attractive for adults as well.
There's also another reason why we need to maintain and enforce high standards of modesty for our kids. The media-driven campaign to sexualize our youth is unprecedented. Remember Miley Cyrus? She made a rather abrupt transition from Hannah Montana to a half-dressed pole-dancing pop tart after the manner of Lady Gaga, Christine Aguilera, Rihanna, and Britney Spears. We need to continue offering a clear-cut alternative to those poor role models.
But Jewelboxcreek got a very effective last word at her blog, writing "To the New Order Mormons: the wheat and tares are bundled together for a short season prior to the separation. Enjoy our company while you can". I strongly suspect the father of JonBenet Ramsey might be more sympathetic with Jewelboxcreek than with Feminist Mormon Housewives.