Friday, September 24, 2010

Lustworthy Clothing

If trustworthy means being worthy of, or warranting trust, I think I can coin a new word:

Lustworthy: worthy of, warranting, or inviting lust.

Why, oh why, is it so very difficult to find dressy clothing for teenage girls that is even reasonably modest or worthy of the dignity to which a young girl is entitled? Why is nearly all of it "lustworthy?"

For some time I have blamed the fashion industry. Last night I had a different idea.

I went to the mall to look for homecoming dresses for my girls. I am not exaggerating when I say that nearly 100% of the dresses we looked at did not express the dignity I want my daughters to have. It was very difficult to keep saying no and to put them in the position of being able to find NOTHING that I thought was suitable for a young girl to wear. Well, OK, there was one dress that was OK and maybe one other. That's it.

I sat next to another mother outside the dressing room, waiting for our daughters to model dresses. Her daughter came out in a dress that, I don't know how else to say it, but years ago only a streetwalker would wear something like that. In fact, I don't know how much more provocative you could get. It was skin tight, stretched over her torso, barely covering the very young breasts, and as short as a dress could possible be and still be called a dress. I'm sure she could not bend over in it.

I nearly gasped. The child's own mother said, "Oh. that's really pretty. I really like that." I had to keep my jaw from dropping I was so shocked. The child herself, probably no more than 14 or 15 years old, looked very uncomfortable, almost embarrassed. It was clear that the poor thing felt very awkward. The mother continued to tell her how much she liked "the blue one" and how pretty it was.

When did pretty come to mean sexually provocative? Was it around the same time that a pretty woman came to be called "hot?" I felt terrible. Terrible for the young girl and terrible for the confused mother.

Is it the fashion industry's fault that junior departments are filled with dresses that would once have been called "sleazy?" Maybe we bear some responsibility. Maybe we mothers need to speak up more. Ask for different styles. Complain (respectfully) about the poor selection. I have rarely done this myself. But if these styles weren't selling they would not be on the racks. Hmmm. I think maybe we need to make our voices heard.

11 comments:

Suzanne said...

Rosemary,
I am sure you are referring to the things that look like a piece of material wrapped around as tightly as it can be and coming almost up to the bottom of the girl's buttocks...literally and then the top low and so that there, of course, is good cleavage (if they have any yet) showing..and the way the thing is made, there will be squeezed up cleavage showing for sure!
Yes, JUST today, I was at my sister's house. Her granddaughter was showing pics from last night's homecoming. There was a picture with 7 girls...6 had this almost identical outfit on..with two having some a little and I mean a little bit longer than the others! My grand niece had one of the longer..and it was NOT longer ones and my poor sister..her grandmother, says..I want a copy of this picture.."Oh, so in so..yours is more ladylike than any of the others! I'm proud of you!" AH!!! Rosemary...it was NOT ladylike...not at all! It USED to be the industry's fault..it is NOW the mom's and the grandmother's fault ever so much..you are so right...women must speak up! Lord have mercy! THIS is what my son, who give me one test after another, is up against and I am somehow hoping he will learn to be a gentleman??? Once again, Lord, have mercy..help us!
Amen

Suzanne said...

Oh, forgive me..I don't mean to blame it all on mother's and women..NO indeed..Fathers need to lovingly tell their daughters.."No..no precious daughter of mine, is walking out of our home tonight "undressed" like that. I love you and you may go, but you will go only dressed like a real lady..my daughter who is my precious young lady."
No, she may go and hit the bathroom and change into something more "uncomfortable," but at least the effort is made...because I do know that unfortunately, many girls do that. More parents need to be chaperones...oh there is so much that we need to do, but if we only realized our spiritual power and would connect together, things could turn around...keep talking to these young people and keep praying that just like anything else, they want something different..some actually do..perhaps more and more will...pie in the sky? I don't know..let me have my hopes and dreams, eh? :) Love you, Rosemary.

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Suzanne, thank you. I'm glad I'm not alone. You know, after a while you start to think well, maybe I'm just a prude. Here's a question for you. If you don't notice it here, maybe I'll email it to you. One of the better dresses one of my daughters tried had one strap that was wide and had a cute large bow on it. The other strap was a spaghetti strap. The neckline did drop diagonally toward the spaghetti strap but did not show any cleavage or top of breast or anything. (I used to not allow any spaghetti straps at all, but now you literally can't buy anything if you keep that requirement.) The dress was long enough and was not tight. Still, I thought the diagonal slope and the huge difference between the thick strap and the thin one was rather provocative. But....it did cover everything. I hate being in this position. It's like a have to compromise a little or make my daughters feel isolated. You know what I mean?

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Good news....the daughter who wanted the above described dress just came downstairs with a dress she had forgotten about that her older sister had passed on to her. It's totally fine and she's happy and that's what what she'll wear to homecoming. Pheww.

Salome Ellen said...

We went through this a few years ago. I very much recommend shopping online. There are sites that cater to Mormons and Orthodox Jews, which carry beautiful things. (our second daughter's wedding dress came from a store in Allen Park that carries some of the brands. The owner started the shop after struggling to find a dress modest enough to qualify for Pope JPII's newlywed blessing audience.)

Or if you (or a friend) can sew, we've added jackets and added or widened straps to gorgeous effect. I feel your pain, because it's only gotten worse...

Suzanne said...

WHEW! You are blessed..I keep tellin ya that! Yes, I know exactly what you mean..it has been so hard, but my two middle girls during the high school years didn't argue with me and never even wore a two piece suit to swim in, but if they had come up when I did..they would have had a hard time even coming up with a one piece...there was a time in my area..nothing but two piece or bikini. Still, what is hard for me..is this boy I have here..oh my word!

Rosemary Bogdan said...

So far, I have been able to hold the line on the swim suit thing primarily because my kids all swim on our neighborhood swim team. The team suit is, of course, a one piece and they want the team suit. When they ask for another I tell them they already have the team suit and I don't want them wearing a two piece anyway. And since we live right by the pool and that's where they usually swim most of the kids are wearing the team suit.

Suzanne said...

Blessed! :)
I went to a Women's Conference (Catholic). Its hard to go, although I love to. You wanna know why? I bet you can figure it out.
Two reasons..one being mostly older women and younger ones with little ones (a few of those) attend..even though young teens love their grandmas, few have alot of influence other than prayers..WHICH are good..don't get me wrong. The other reason is we all come out ...fired up...to do what? I come home, suggest to a friend or two...let's do something. We need to be doing more and you get some lip service..like yeah, I've been wanting to learn more about the Faith and what we women can do..lets think about that. Nothing ever happens...some excuse comes up and no meeting or gathering ever goes farther than complaining about this kind of stuff and nothing changes...OR the few that are there at the conferences that look the age of mothering teens, are the ones thinking..well..their just young..they (referring to the teens) they are just gonna do stuff..Ah!!!
I will keep trying..I will..yet, I feel like we could do so much more if only we'd have the guts...not speaking of you Rosemary!

Sarah Oldham said...

I could not agree more about the industry putting out less than decent clothing for our girls. Or us! Geez Louise!

Nancy Carabio Belanger said...

Rosemary, you have hit the nail on the head! I am sooo glad you wrote this. As a fiction writer for Catholic pre-teens, my mission is to promote modesty in our youth. Recently I wrote a blog about a necklace I found at Claire's not too long ago...you'd be shocked at what the necklace says:


http://nancybelanger.blogspot.com/2010/08/letter-to-claires.html

Roz said...

I don't know what this might signify, but when I read the title of your post, I immediately thought you yourself were lusting after a lovely skirt from Coldwater Creek or something.

It may indicate a growth in my personal purity. It's more likely that it reveals that it's been a full 10 years since I had teenage daughters living at home.