To Be Fair…

It must be admitted that not every woman who suits up in yoga pants, tights, leggings, jeggings, pajama-like pants…(Gimme a sec’. I’m out of breath writing out the versions of inappropriate public clothes)…had the intention of men lusting over her body. Yet it cannot be denied that those same women found it acceptable for men to do so. The excuses of comfort, ease, workout needs are irrelevant.

You know what they say about excuses: They are like the only things you can’t see through yoga pants.

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30 thoughts on “To Be Fair…

  1. After literally years of trying, I just feel like it’s a hopeless battle to rail against it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally with you, but sports clothing for women and girls is hopelessly immodest.

    One of my girls is a fairly talented volleyball player; at almost 5’11, she gets recruited to play on club travel teams. I honestly don’t think the desire to have men lusting over her has crossed her mind. She wears volleyball shorts because that’s what they have to wear to play. It’s part of the uniform. I think they are immodest. I won’t link to any high schoolers wearing volleyball shorts, but here is the University of MIchigan women’s volleyball team:

    americajr.us/sports/IMG_4419.JPG

    They’re standing up, but you can imagine when they’re awaiting the serve, squatted down, swaying from foot to foot in anticipation, what that looks like from behind. And I am sure men are the last thing on their minds during a volleyball game, so it’s not really their “fault” that someone somewhere decided girls would play volleyball in their underpants.

    I think the shorts are immodest, but when I’ve tried mentioning this over the years (“Hey, maybe our young teen-agers shouldn’t be bent over in a squat awaiting the serve in what is essentially booty shorts in front of all these dads! Who’s with me?” *crickets and raised eyebrows*), I’ve gotten no agreement from any parents anywhere ever, Christian or non-Christian, so I just gave up. I felt like I was the pervert for even suggesting that the girls should consider whether the shorts might incite lust. My girl knows that she has to abide by one rule – those volleyball shorts get covered with sweat pants the minute she leaves the court. No parading around at tournaments all day in them. But most other girls are allowed to, so again I’m the weirdo who’s making it all about sex.

    Honestly, it has at times made me question if maybe it really is me who’s the weirdo, the one with a problem who’s making it all about sex, since no one else seems bothered by it.

    But I know that’s not true. And I know this because there is a meme about volleyball shorts:

    cdn.brobible.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/volleyball_shorts.jpg

    Should I include a NSFW warning on that link? No, and do you know why? Because that picture shows the exact volleyball shorts being worn during real volleyball games by thousands and thousands of girls, many of them under the age of 18, in high schools all across America. And no one bats an eye.

    Did the girls decide on these shorts? Are they okay with men lusting over them? Are they even thinking about that? I think no. So how did it come to pass that they have to wear these shorts? I have my thoughts on how that came to be, but I’ll hold my tongue about that for now.

    Whew. Sorry for the rant. You’ve touched a nerve with these last few posts that’s been irritated in me for years.

  2. OH NO WHY DID THE PICTURES SHOW UP, I DIDN’T INCLUDE THE IMAGE HTML!!!! I JUST POSTED THE LINKS!!

    Cane, can you make them not be images? I just wanted them to be links that people could click if they didn’t know what volleyball shorts are. I didn’t mean to past women’s butts all over your thread.

    Fail.

    Man, I flippin’ hate volleyball shorts.

  3. @ST

    The girls at my high school wore bloomers.

    Did the girls decide on these shorts?

    Of course they did. If it were otherwise they wouldn’t play.

    Are they okay with men lusting over them? Are they even thinking about that?

    Sure they are. Perhaps it is better said that they are feeling it. There’s no way one goes out in those clothes without considering how they are viewed. They are definitely hoping the boys they like think they look “super-cute!” in those boy-shorts…which no boy would be caught dead wearing.

    So how did it come to pass that they have to wear these shorts?

    Because the parents that came before bought into the lie that sports are more important that godliness (God’s rule in our lives), and they didn’t mind their daughters showing their asses.

  4. @ST

    I honestly don’t think the desire to have men lusting over her has crossed her mind.

    If she is a normal, healthy girl over the age of 11 then the desire of men has more than crossed her mind. That doesn’t mean she obsesses about it; it doesn’t mean that she’s fully aware of what lust is. It just means that she’s a human with a sinful heart who needs understanding and guidance just like all the rest of us.

    Honestly, it has at times made me question if maybe it really is me who’s the weirdo, the one with a problem who’s making it all about sex, since no one else seems bothered by it.

    You are right because it is about sex, and we should be honest about that. The other parents are double-minded because they don’t want to admit that they like their girls showing like harlots. Mens volleyball is bigger faster stronger, and they don’t need to wear booty-shorts to be at the top of their game.

  5. Many of the non-contact sports have similar apparel not just volleyball: cross country/track and field has super short shorts or basically the volleyball type shorts, swimming has skin tight swim suits, and gymnastics has leotards. With sports it seems to be it is what it is type of an approach and cover up afterward.

    However, lest we forget that ancient Greek olympics used to be in the nude. I think part of it is our culture that is warped with the hypersexualization.

  6. @DS

    The ancient Greeks were pagan, and all the athletes were men. Plato/Socrates remarks that perhaps women ought to be able to compete, but that they would look very silly indeed.

    I think part of it is our culture that is warped with the hyper sexualization.

    Yes, and the immodest clothing of female athletes is part of the that hyper-sexualization.

    [CC: Poor writing in this comment. Fixed now.]

  7. @ Sunshine

    Well, as someone whose memories of high school haven’t entirely faded (although its only a matter of time), perhaps I can offer an additional thought, or different perspective. In high school, the guys didn’t talk about watching volleyball games to watch the girls in short shorts. That was unnecessary, really. Women wore those all the time- no need to go watch a game for that kind of show. Rather, guys went to watch the game to watch those girls jump up and down. I’ll leave it to you to figure it out.

    Cane is on the right track here. Excuses are thrown around in plentiful supply when it comes to modesty and women’s clothing. Women will use any excuse they can get, just like men. Let’s not pretend that something else isn’t going on here.

  8. @SunshineT

    My girl knows that she has to abide by one rule – those volleyball shorts get covered with sweat pants the minute she leaves the court. No parading around at tournaments all day in them. But most other girls are allowed to, so again I’m the weirdo who’s making it all about sex.

    Honestly, it has at times made me question if maybe it really is me who’s the weirdo, the one with a problem who’s making it all about sex, since no one else seems bothered by it.

    This is the common tactic, and as you can imagine works even better on men. Custody of the eyes goes from a reminder to avoid sin, to a club used to cover up sin. No one is to notice the Empress is naked in her new clothes.

  9. Well, as someone whose memories of high school haven’t entirely faded (although its only a matter of time), perhaps I can offer an additional thought, or different perspective. In high school, the guys didn’t talk about watching volleyball games to watch the girls in short shorts. That was unnecessary, really. Women wore those all the time- no need to go watch a game for that kind of show. Rather, guys went to watch the game to watch those girls jump up and down. I’ll leave it to you to figure it out.

    We have a dress code in our school – didn’t you at yours? My girls have always had to wear school uniforms up until we moved this year to a small town where the public schools are good. Shorts have to be longer than your fingertips here. But that’s neither here nor there. The athletes in the high school here were required to come in at 6:00 a.m. all summer for conditioning and then broke up into their respective sports to practice later in the morning. Volleyball girls had to be on the court at 9:30, but football practice didn’t start until 10:00. Care to guess what constructive activity the boys used that half-hour for? If you said, “Lining up along the running track above the gym volleyball court to watch the girls,” you’d be right. My daughter found it mortifying and hid in the locker room until the boys went off to the football field. Some girls are like that, I guess.

    Cane is on the right track here. Excuses are thrown around in plentiful supply when it comes to modesty and women’s clothing. Women will use any excuse they can get, just like men. Let’s not pretend that something else isn’t going on here.

    But see, I think there is a lot of variation here. It’s more of a personality-type thing. I think some girls like that kind of attention and others are made uncomfortable by it. We all have sinful tendencies; some have this one and some have that one.

    Having said all that, I googled image’d the 2012 U.S. men’s Olympic volleyball team; sure enough, their shorts are nearly knee length. Then I google image’d the women’s team. Booty shorts, of course, but guess what else? As soon as they won the silver medal in London, they flew home to do a group nude picture shoot for ESPN. You read that right. A group nude picture shoot. Because the volleyball booty shorts weren’t revealing enough. Kinda supports Cane’s point after all. Can you imagine a male sports team all draped naked over one another in a sports magazine? It is to laugh.

  10. @ST

    I think some girls like that kind of attention and others are made uncomfortable by it.

    Most girls like that kind of attention, and are made uncomfortable by it.

    There is variation for each girl in how much exposure makes them uncomfortable to which degree, but that is just another good reason for parents to draw the lines back far enough for all of them. That is to say: To have standards.

  11. ST,
    I’m curious why you allow your daughter to play volleyball if you also value the virtue of modesty and want that for her life? You can’t change the culture, at least not overnight, but you can and always do have the choice of what you let your daughter participate in.
    I don’t even know the value of sports for young Christian women anyway. It doesn’t seem very feminine when they could better spend their time on homemaking skills. If its the exercise aspect you value, sports in private or fun games with friends is one thing, but when the young woman is on a professional sports teams its naturally going to attract attention and large crowds that playing sports in private will not.

  12. The movie “Mighty Macs” is in the 1970’s at a Catholic College and they wear skirt-basketball uniforms. It is G rated and entertaining.

    I think part of it is “oh, because men have to practice custody of the eyes. they will *never* be tempted and if they are, it’s their fault”.

    Is Lady Godiva next? Don’t laugh, I think 50SoG comes out next week. It is the New Womens (per)Version Bible.

    I will make one distinction, immodesty is different from wearing otherwise inappropriate clothing. And the standards differ, but Islam seems to practice modesty better.

    Archbishop Fulton Sheen, after Vatican II’s misinterpretation altered the religious garb, responded to a Nun who said “I bet you didn’t know I had red hair”. Without skipping a beat: “I didn’t know you had varicose veins either.”.

    Overall, I think some gentle “do you know you are trying to do to men what Eve did to Adam with your dress” would be helpful all around. I’m not sure if they realize the magnitude – they might just want to be popular and there aren’t a lot of modest choices. From what I’ve found, women don’t do such to specifically posture for men, but try to outdo other women. Hens must have their pecking order.

  13. @TZ

    From what I’ve found, women don’t do such to specifically posture for men, but try to outdo other women.

    Yes, but they’re trying to outdo them at attracting men. Men’s attention (and more) is what women want. It is inescapable for them. It is never not about getting men’s attention. Even their biology is phallocentric.

  14. I don’t even know the value of sports for young Christian women anyway. It doesn’t seem very feminine when they could better spend their time on homemaking skills.

    Actually Marc, girls can do both and modestly. Given the fact that even a full slate of housework and whatnot doesn’t offer the amount of physical activity that it did for women generations prior, I’m a proponent of girls in sports.Right now in addition to y teaching them homemaking skills at home, we’ve also partnered up with other homeschool families rotating teaching our daughters (and a couple of sons) those skills that we individual mothers have a deficit in.

    And our 6-year-old still shows a growing interest for running along with two of our girls and the other two enjoy basketball. We are encouraging rather than discouraging that, not discouraging it. They need the activity. And yes, I know they can exercise on their own, but there is nothing inherently wrong or immodest about playing a team sport with other girls.

  15. I agree Elspeth. I think what you learn from team sports can help you navigate the many dynamics involved in raising kids. Also, between a husband and wife. My time on the tennis team in high school did not turn me into a Gloria Steinem wannabe.

    Saying girls should only learn homemaking skills is ridiculous. That’s what I mean about all this going too far. Credibility is lost with such extremism.

  16. I forgot this. I am in charge of what my kids wear. The volleyball booty shorts wouldn’t be allowed. I would tell the coach that my kid would be wearing a different pair of shorts and that would be that. If the coach protested then I’d do whatever I needed to do including bringing in my husband to help. We would go to the school board over it. But I’ve found that if you are nice about these things, you get your way.

    I know some people will say that it’s not fair to the girl wearing the different shorts. I say that you face things like that in life. It’s a good learning experience.

  17. You’re right Liz. Muslim girls get special exceptions all the times from schools. I have absolutely no doubt that a mother and father could get an excpetion for their daughter on moral/religious grounds. It might take a couple of meetings, but it could be done.

    The issue is what Cane mentioned on one of these posts, maybe even this one. It’s that we choose what we love and too many Chrsitans choose conformity and acceptance over “making a fuss”. There is no reason for girls to have eschew sports to retain their femininity. I kow ow this is going to sound (sorry Cane) but I am a very feminine woman. I have been told as much by men and well as women, and I lace up my sneakers and run every morning. And I keep house. And (gasp!) I even went to college. These things are in no way mutually exclusive.

  18. Deep Strength says:
    February 3, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    “Many of the non-contact sports have similar apparel not just volleyball: cross country/track and field has super short shorts”

    As I mentioned in another post, my sister, younger brother and I ran track and cross country. Track shorts – for men and women – are tiny, but at least they’re loose. For modesty’s sake, we wore cycling shorts underneath.

    By the way, that was over 20 years ago for me. This is an old problem.

  19. I wonder if there is any point at which women would be modest without making a fuss.

    I don’t there will ever be a time when young women in school athletics will be able to get uniform modifications without their parents making an issue of it and asking for an exception. I do wonder though, if one parent’s state objection wouldn’t be just the thing to get other parents (particularly fathers) to stand up and admit that they are uncomfortable with their daughters playing (for instance volleyball) in what are essentially panty style shorts.

    I was curious enough about the girls’ school athletics to look up images from our girls’ Alma mater. Two of my girls played in band and the other was a student government type so this wasn’t an issue for us. They run for exercise but haven’t done team sports since middle school.

    It was interesting. The volley ball, track, and cross country uniforms were grossly immodest. The lacrosse, soccer and basketball uniforms were not. There doesn’t even seem to even be any rhyme or reason to it.

  20. I wonder if there is any point at which women would be modest without making a fuss.

    For our lifetime, I think the ship has sailed on modest dress. Our society is casual and sexual. There’s not enough people that care about it. The readers here clearly prefer modest. We are a small minority. The general attitude is that that women/girls can dress however they want and if you are offended or turned on by it, it’s your problem. Or if people do care, they don’t speak up because they don’t want to make a fuss or be perceived as a prude.

    Oscar – I would wear that skort running but wouldn’t feel comfortable without running tights or leggings underneath. For me, short skirts are immodest. I like my skirts to hit just above the knee.

  21. Liza says:
    February 10, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    “For me, short skirts are immodest. I like my skirts to hit just above the knee.”

    Agreed. I meant that those running skirts are more modest than track shorts, even with cycling shorts underneath.

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  23. At the local Catholic school (which we don’t use, we homeschool), the girls wear skorts for their volleyball team. The skorts are one inch below the knee, the shorts sewn in are very sturdy, the skirts wear like iron, and they are great. I was able to obtain some for my daughter, and she also wears skirlottes (culottes with a skirt over).

    On the subject of spending the time on homemaking skills as opposed to athletics — yes, I felt exactly that way years ago, until years of too much being sedentary came home to roost for me after the birth of my so-far youngest child. In former times, you could get away with that, but I think at the present time with most of us not living in a rural society, we simply aren’t getting enough exercise. I was only 36 and could not — I’m serious here — go up a simple flight of steps without huffing and puffing and having a racing pulse. It got that bad. My doctor, when I went for my postpartum appointment, minced no words about the condition of my heart and lungs and that I’d better get busy getting some aerobics and weight training in before I got myself in real trouble.

  24. @ Mom in the Shoe

    You have a great observation. With modern conveniences, a lot of activity has been reduced. Keeping house was much more physical and time consuming back in the day. I keep my house clean and picked up with very little effort. Maybe an hour a day. Add cooking it’s 2-3 hours that I’m on my feet. That isn’t very much. Even driving cars isn’t as physical as it was. If I didn’t make an effort to run most days, I’d be as big as a house. I want to be physically fit to run around with my kids and my future grandchildren. The only way to make that happen is to move often now.

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