Don’t get your panties in a bunch… this post is not an apologetic for girly men… God knows there are enough of them out there, too many of them appointed leaders in the Obama administration… this instead is a post about something sure to cause many a feminist to burst a vein… and quite frankly, feminists bursting veins is something I’ve come to enjoy seeing… so without further ado, I bring you Jennifer Fulwiler… may the vein bursting begin:
Though banning flowers was less common, many of the Communist movements of the 20th century specifically targeted pretty dresses and skirts as undesirable (most of the exceptions being calculated attempts to make their societies seem vibrant and happy). Such attire was seen as inefficient wasteful–think of how much more productive time a woman would have if she didn’t worry about her clothes, and how much harder she could work if she didn’t have to fuss around with silky skirt! Feminine dress also represented something that was anathema to Communist societies: the idea that women are different from men. Somehow in the pursuit of “equality” male behavior became the default, and all traditionally feminine behavior was seen as inferior. In order to claim their supposed freedom, women had to dress and act like men. In this worldview, skirts were a dangerously countercultural statement.
I’ve been thinking about this over the past few weeks as I walk around the house in my super-efficient jeans and t-shirts. It’s interesting that the feminist revolution here in America also shunned classically feminine garb. And all the women’s religious orders I can think of that are happily faithful to the Magesterium wear dresses or skirts for their habits, yet when religious sisters rebel against the Church, the donning of pants is often a symbolic part of that breach.
Could it be that there’s more to this issue than meets the eye?
For the record, my closet contains one skirt and one dress, and I can count on one hand the number of times I wear them in a year. I’m most comfortable in pants, and feel secure that I don’t look masculine while wearing them. It wasn’t even on my radar that anyone in the modern world still thought that there could be “shoulds” involved in women’s sartorial choices until I came across some pants vs. skirts debates in the Catholic blog world. And when I first saw these discussions, I dismissed all pro-skirts arguments without a thought beyond, Sheesh, people, are we in 2011 or 1811? But the issue has continued to nag at me, and, the more I think about it, I can’t quite get comfortable saying that skirts and pants are completely interchangeable.
A beautiful dress is a little inefficient. A colorful, flowy skirt is decidedly girly. Both draw a sharp line between the genders. Could we women proclaim some truths of the Faith in the public square with our wardrobe choices alone? Could we add something positive to the world by wearing pretty skirts? To someone with my background it sounds laughable at first, but this idea just might be more powerful than we think. To wear a skirt is to shout the messages that the Communists described in Jung Chang’s book once tried to suppress: that a full life isn’t all about efficiency and work; that men and women are different, and that’s okay; and that femininity is something to be celebrated, not squelched.
Go and read the whole piece… then pass it on to your nearest feminist, male or female, and watch the fireworks begin. Take popcorn and enjoy yourself. Their blood pressure will surely rise, color will fill them from the neckline up, and blood vessels will knot up in rage.
It’s nearly guaranteed.