Read part one first.
Yesterday I wrote about a few incidents of dress code injustices.
The whole point of dress codes is to maintain a certain level of appearance for all involved within a certain activity at a certain venue. Examples are professional dress codes which many people have to follow at their jobs. Some jobs go as far as to have uniforms for all staff which doesn’t allow for any variation and keeps dress code simple. Hubby’s dress code is suit-and-tie, but is not uniform as he can wear an orange shirt on a day where his coworkers wear blue and green. My dress code is professional casual. Some men wear ties, but not suit jackets. Some men wear polos all year. Some ladies wear dress slacks while others wear khakis. At my Pagan group, dress code is “No Sky Clad”. Makes sense, it’s a gathering place for all and the leaders don’t want anyone to be left uncomfortable by others being Sky Clad. It has been established that our rituals are not the time nor place for it.
So…where do we stand?
Dress in general, whether it’s for a masquerade or not, are costumes. The clothes we wear to work are not the clothes we wear to a family cook-out. The clothes we wear to the beach are not what we would wear to a wedding. The clothes for a party are not the ones we would wear to a funeral. During each time and place, people have different tastes and match clothes appropriate to their venue/activity accordingly.
In some cultures, it is “not appropriate” for women to show the “V” of their legs, so they wear dresses and long tunics. The formality of the tunic will match the occasion, but it’s still follows their cultural norms. Some families in my neighborhood strictly follow these norms to the point of swimming: the women will swim with their clothes on, rather than a bathing suit, as to not be seen as inappropriate. This goes with women who veil, by choice or by force.
A co-worker of mine stated not too long ago that she was starting to feel very “unChristian-like” because she was wearing pants and felt that good Christian women should wear dresses and skirts. Many of her friends tried to supportively tell her she should dress as she is comfortable, not as she “should.” She has since worn dresses or long tunics with leggings underneath. It makes her comfortable and it appeases her wantings to be a “good Christian woman.”
I have struggled with this some myself. How should I dress as a Pagan? Is there a Pagan way to dress? Well…no. Most people are shocked when they first see my Pentacle or first realize that I am Pagan because I dress so “normally and with so much color.” I like peasant skirts. I find them very comfortable. In the winter, I wear wool leggings under my longer skirts. Cotton leggings go underneath in the coolness of the spring and fall. Typical summers see me bouncing between shorts and skirts, depending on my mood. I don’t have a “Pagan way” to dress. The Pagan way, in my opinion, is to be comfortable in your own skin. That, of course, starts with Sky Clad. And Sky Clad, of course, would land me in jail. So, while I am comfortable Sky Clad, I am also respectful of my environment and I am comfortable enough in my own skin to dress for my activity/venue.
I asked Hubby, before I started writing these posts, what he would think about Witchlette doing some protesting? He didn’t respond to me. After a minute, I elaborated, “I’ve seen girls who are going against the dress code in their school and about how it’s sexist. What would you think if Witchlette took up this battle when it’s her time?” He responded, “Something innocuous that is made sexualized…yeah, I’d support that.”
Taking these small stances is only the first step. It’s a very big step, but it’s still just the first one. Girls, one by one, taking back their bodies and claiming those who are sexualizing them are the problem…that’s huge. Small changes from the bottom can penetrate and influence the top. Girls taking back their bodies is only a minor fraction of the problem. Changes need to happen in society at large as well.
Yes, I know. Sex sells.
I am not trying to say that it doesn’t. I am not trying to say that we need to shut down Hooters, Twisted Kilt, or any of those spin-offs. I am not trying to say all women need to cover up. In fact, I am saying just the opposite. Women don’t “ask for it” by wearing a tank top and a skirt. If a woman’s body turns you on so much that you can’t look at her…then you have a problem.
Right now, we have dress codes that are based heavily on what girls and women should and shouldn’t wear. Because boys will be distracted. Because boys can’t control themselves.
Maybe because I have been teaching “Persepolis” for the last two years.
But I see the United States as a country that is forward thinking, advanced with science, math, and technology. And I see this country being slowly chipped away by fundamental radicals who choose to disbelieve this science, math, and technology. I see the chipping happening a bit more and more each year.
How long until American women are veiled?
Don’t say it will never happen. Never say never. Once upon a time, people said no one would ever bring a gun into a classroom and kill a room full of innocent children. At least not in America.
How long until we’re veiled?