Friday, December 7, 2012

Mormon Girl's Modesty Club Campaign At South Pasadena High School In California Goes Viral: The Story Of Saige Hatch

A high-school freshman who was tired of seeing her classmates dress like tarts at school each day has started a Modesty Club in a bid to teach her peers a lesson, and it's now gone viral, reaching the pages of the Daily Mail. The courageous crusader is 15-year-old Saige Hatch (screenshot at left), who felt overwhelmed by the crop tops, exposed cleavage and unnervingly short shorts at South Pasadena High School in California, and is now crusading for a more traditional dress code. She told ABCNews "From elementary to middle school, and then to high school, I noticed immodesty. I really wanted to start a club to bring awareness to it and bring remembrance to what modesty is".

Saige defines immodesty is showing cleavage, stomach or shoulders, as well as shorts, dresses, and skirts that are too short or too tight. The existing dress code is liberal enough as it is, requiring students to only cover the range of skin from armpit to The Bottom Line, which is further defined as at least "a hand's width below the bottom of the buttocks", but Saige says that's not even being enforced. Her Modesty Club currently has 17 members, but her website,, reaches a wider audience, with more than 1,000 members from the United States and 14 other countries. And while it may appear she's preoccupied with female dress standards, she appeals to boys to help out. One way boys can help out is to respectfully decline dates with girls who dress too provocatively.

Saige also employs feminist arguments to persuade more people. On the home page of, she writes "...Our bright heroic women are being made the fool. A fool to think that to be loved they must be naked. To be noticed they must be sexualized. To be admired they must be objectified". Smart move, because some feminist Mormons have expressed concern about these modesty campaigns being disproportionately focused upon women. Any feminist woman who is truly concerned about women being overly sexualized and objectified should support modesty campaigns.

In the Los Angeles Times version of the story, it was revealed that Saige Hatch is the daughter of Brent Hatch, further identified as a cousin of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was also revealed that one of her siblings, McKay Hatch, made national headlines and appeared on The Tonight Show after founding a No Cussing Club at the same school in 2008, which subsequently led to a California resolution establishing Cuss Free Week in 2010. Since neither the Daily Mail nor the Times mentioned their religious affiliation, I immediately did some Googling to find out if they are Mormon. And sure enough, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported on September 19th, 2012 that McKay Hatch is now serving a mission in Salt Lake City and talks about Saige attending church. This LDS Church News article also confirms that the family is Mormon. There's your answer.

Saige's campaign has attracted variable reaction. While she receives considerable support, her father's van was egged and vandalized with graffiti, and some people called their house making threats. But South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti paid tribute to Saige's efforts by proclaiming December 3-7 as "Modesty Week" in South Pasadena. And Saige is just getting started; in the long term, she plans to put together an online petition to members of the film and magazine industries for more modest attire, and to write to clothing designers to urge them to make more modest clothing for women. In the short term, she wants to arrange a vote in school to either enforce the existing dress code or switch to uniforms.

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