Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bikinis, Beards, and Leggings

Since I am a teacher and leader of the youth in my church and a middle school teacher by profession, questions of modesty probably pop up in my head more often than most people.

At school, as teachers, we are required to enforce a dress code.  I am not the best at this, not because I don't think it's important but because my mind if usually occupied by the behavior and learning of the students.  Also, my science tables are long and tall and have solid fronts so I can't really see what kids are wearing below the waist when they're sitting in my class. I need to be better at catching these things.  I also wonder sometimes how parents let their children come to school dressed the way they are.  John thinks that some parents don't understand the line between dressing their middle school aged student as a child and a tween/teen. 

At church on the other hand, I have often been in charge of lessons on modesty and reminding the girls of the standards our church has in place.  From a young age, youth in our church are given pretty specific guidelines.

At BYU, which is a private school owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there is also a dress code.  It includes similar dress and appearance standards to those I have linked to above, but there are some others.  Bikinis are prohibited as well as facial hair for men. Last winter, when John and I were visiting the campus with family, they also had a new rule emblazoned on a 52" flat screen TV hanging from the ceiling of the Wilkinson center: "Leggings are NOT pants!" I think this means that if the top you're wearing wouldn't be OK (long enough) without the leggings then it's not alright? I'm not sure.

As I am no longer a student, I hadn't thought about the college dress code in awhile.  I've compared it to the other two modestly guidelines and it occasionally creates questions in my mind when the topic comes up in church lessons.

If you went to BYU, how important do you feel the dress standards of the honor code are for you now that you've graduated? Were they only for that specific time and place of college? Do you still follow them? Should these same standards apply to the youth of the church?

If you didn't go to BYU, what do you think about dress and appearance rules?

7 comments:

Emily said...

It's kind of funny that sometimes I forget BYU's standards aren't universally applicable throughout the church. I had forgotten about the dress code until last June when we were at BYU Idaho and were laughing about a sign with a picture of jeans with holes in the knees that said it was inappropriate. ha. I think Shade shirts and figuring out that I look way better in knee length skirts than knee length shorts have made my life significantly better since freshman year at BYU. PS I've never been a beard fan and probably never will be.

Kristen said...

I get the need to have a dress code - but I used to wear leggings with long sweaters and tunics all the time in high school and college. LEGGINGS though, not tights. I guess I think there are bigger fish to fry than worry about beards, leggings, etc. (Rules sometimes bother me....) :)

Melinda said...

My brother-in-law Andre wanted to add his comment, but doesn't have a google account. So, here it is
"I don't think colleges should have dress codes because you are grown up and should be able to wear what you want. But for middle school it makes me sick that parents either let their kids walk out of the house dressed like this or the kids change later. I know they can change later while at school because a certain someone used to do that when she would go to school or the mall. But you can as a parent control so much when the kid is around you. Sometimes it is even hard to see what they have to wear because they borrow clothes and all that. Anyway that's all.

holtkamp said...

i agree with andre. as an 'adult' i did feel the dress code at byu was restricting, but then again it was a private school that i 'chose' and got used to it. i would say i stick to the dress code still (mostly because of Gs!)except for leggings i guess. they have been a lifesaver during this pregnancy.

Melinda said...

I wanted to mention that I didn't mean for this to condemn or champion bikinis, leggings, beards or anything else, but more to discuss different dress codes coming from the same church principles (e.g. BYU Idaho and Hawaii have stricter dress codes than BYU) as well as the purpose or justification for dress codes in general.
A lot of people have mentioned leggings . . . I found that this is kind of a big Provo fashion debate right now:

Anti: http://ldsliving.com/story/65939-lifestyle-leggings-modest-or-not-poll

Pro: http://universe2.byu.edu/node/15387

Sympathetic: http://ldsliving.com/story/64105-byu-viewpoint-the-great-leggings-debate

Crazy: http://universe2.byu.edu/node/15030

Also, sometimes BYU editorials are crazy.

beckie said...

As an adult, I have just come to go with my gut on these things. I guess you could call it "dressing by the spirit" but I know when something isn't modest. I know that if I buy it, I'll wear it once, be uncomfortable and then deal with the consequences. At this level of maturity I feel I can just choose for myself and not worry about what others think. But in the case of students at BYU, they chose, as did I, to attend and they have to deal with those rules.

For youth and tweens, I think those things need to be enforced in the home. When you are young, you just want to fit in, you don't understand that clothing speaks a lot louder than words, especially trashy or immodest clothing.

Melinda said...

Beckie, I love your point-of-view here.