« A "sand monkey's" grief | Main | Tempest in a teapot? »

Comments

Benedicta

I also know that Thomas Aquinas was in favor of make-up, jewelry, etc for Catholic ladies. Of course all in good taste!

marie

I wrote something similiar in my blog. Why are Catholic women dressing like the Amish or quakers?

I believe in modesty but noone should ever be ashamed of the human form.

Here is a link to the piece I wrote.

http://viewfromthepews.blogspot.com/2007/06/pride-prudery-question-of-modesty.html

I dont understand this need to become plain as if to dress with style is a sin?

Excellent piece,

Marie

Frumpy Catholic

Here's a voice from the other side of the tracks. I'm the woman you're judging on the basis of my clothes--the frumpy, style-less Catholic mother with no make-up and no particular hairstyle.

I dress like this because I'm just not good at clothes, make-up, and hair, and I don't have the time, money, and energy to fake it.

My husband looks awful to you. He needs a haircut. He wears whatever people give him. You think we're a bad witness to the Faith because of our appearance, but you're only half right: we're a bad witness to people of a certain social class. To our redneck neighbors, on the other hand, our appearance makes us approachable. They don't read "I'm too good for you" in our appearance like they do in yours.

It's not your fault that you come across that way, but you do, and I bet you didn't even realize--you were only thinking about how you come across to people of your own social class.

MelanieB

i have to admit I'm probably a frump most of the time; but not out of any Calvinist disdain for physical beauty.

I admire women who dress snappily and wear makeup well and I agree that there's nothing wrong, certainly nothing sinful, with taking care to look one's best. On the other hand, I resent those who seem to imply that those of us who are not snappily dressed are somehow morally deficient.

On most days I wear jeans and a t-shirt because it's comfortable. Yes, I have some skirts in my closet. I always wear a skirt to mass and take care to dress up when I go to places that require it. But when I stand in front of the closet on the average weekday morning I pass over the cute blouses and pretty skirts in favor of what feels comfortable. I'm still searching for the outfit that is comfortable but not frumpy.

There's nothing immoral or improper about makeup and hairspray; but I hate the feel of stuff on my face and in my hair. I wore makeup during a brief period in high school and not again until my wedding day. I like the face God gave me and think I look fine without makeup. Fortunately for me my husband concurs.

In fact the gallant man thinks I look fabulous no matter what I wear. He even likes the way I look first thing in the morning.

So is my refusal to take time to look my best every day some kind of moral failing? According to some people most of my wardrobe is immodest or unattractive or somehow flawed. My philosophy is that it works for me and I'm not going to get too bent out of shape by how other people perceive me.

Frumpy Catholic

Re: my comment above: never mind. I posted anonymously, but one of my sisters saw it and immediately figured it must be me. To me, that indicates that I'm the weirdo, and the problem is with me and not with the rest of the world.

If someone wants to take me out to Filene's or something for a makeover, you probably know who I am and where to find me.

Alexa

Personally, I think clothes should be utilitarian and personal. Cleanlinesss is more important.

Megan

I think the ladies that have posted so far have missed the point. The author is referring to the growing trend among Catholics to reject personal beauty, to intentionally dress down in order to not draw the eye of others. My teen daughters have a friend who is intentional in her pursuit to be unattractive, as if it were an act to offer up. While raising my girls, I have tried to teach them that it is important to look your best. You can look your best and be trendy and modest at the same time.
In any case, I don't think the author was talking about mommies who spend their days folding laundry and wiping up babyspit, he was referring to the trend in Catholic women to dress in a dour, frumpy, Holly Hobby way at 30 and 40 and so on.

Kristen

I'm so glad you said something about the teens, because that is exactly what jumped to my mind. My daughter is now 16, and occasionally she dresses up, but I have taken a lot more care with my appearance since she started puberty (she's my eldest) because I noted that she was mostly wearing jeans and T-shirts, and seemed uncomfortable in her appearance a few years ago, which I guess is normal when you are changing so fast, but still, I felt like I needed to model for her that it is ok to be a woman... I worried that I wasn't setting a good example. (And, really, for the record, when you're standing in front of the closet and your day is mostly going to be chasing kids and driving kids and cleaning messes for kids and cooking and cleaning for the kids, and you know that toddler is going to smoosh his dirty face on your shoulder at least five times, what idiot would NOT wear jeans?)

Now, I just try to find different colors of jeans, and permapress things I can easily wash, and swipe a little lipstick on every so often. (Doncha know the toddler finds that tube in a jiffy for his own artistic endeavors) She does wear more flattering outfits now, and enjoys the attention she gets when she wears makeup. So, I guess all is well.

Of course, now the opposite problem is starting to happen. Some old codger at the grocery stopped her yesterday and told her she was the most beautiful girl in the store. She handled it well, but the shewolf in me was starting to bare her teeth....

The comments to this entry are closed.

Speaking Engagements

  • Contact info
    Kindly email me at gskineke [at] gmail.com for me to speak to your parish or women's group.

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Comments

    • From Benedict XVI
      “People have realized that the complete removal of the feminine element from the Christian message is a shortcoming from an anthropological viewpoint. It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity."
    • Anger and Patrimony (from Donna)
      This is just another of the unintended consequences of the cultural acceptance of contraception and abortion! Men's sexuality has been robbed of its creative essence. It is now viewed as something that imposes a burden on women (when conception happens to occur), something used to control women or something that is purely recreational. Why would men bother?? In taking away their responsibility, we've also robbed them of their significance! In the big picture of humanity, men have been made into nothing more than a nuisance women have to figure out how to control in order to bring about the next generation. Men don't see it as their task to protect the vulnerable because they see themselves as the vulnerable ones. A few well preserved vials of sperm would make men entirely obsolete in the world's ethos today!!
    • Excellent, Dom! (from Teresa)
      That is astounding Robin, and good for you for standing up. At the heart of that matter, I think, is even worse than a gender mixing message. There is an increased sharper and sharper focus on the "self." Solid Catholic teaching returns our focus away from ourselves to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The original sin, Eve denied her womanhood when she desired to be like "gods." Since the only god she knew was the Father. Where was Adam? He stood impotent... in other words, they were divorced. There's a young girl at Robin's son's high school who was just told that she is the center of the universe and it's a tragic disservice to her.
    • Find the logic (from "me")
      Ditto what Mary said! A lot of high schools have very poor math and science depts, for boys and girls. I also am educated as a chemical engineer, but chose to teach the two years before we had children because its hours were more suited to spending time with children. (I was looking ahead). When it came time and I was pregnant with our first, I realized that I did not want to leave him with someone else, and was able to stay home full time. I am not sure it would have been that easy if we were used to another engineering income and not just a private school teacher income. Also some of my first job offers were out on oil rigs - I had no interest in that at all even though I enjoyed my engineering classes and did well in them. No one discouraged me from an engineering job, on the contrary I got a lot of flack for my decision not to pursue an engineering career.
    • Find the logic (from Mary)
      I've been lurking, but this is one that irritates me. Beats the heck out of me what these "barriers" are. I was educated as a chemical engineer, where 1/3 of our class was women. However, in electrical engineering, only 1 or 2 out of 30 were women. Is it possible that women are Just Not Interested in some areas? Nah, it must be The Man keeping us down so we must legislate (and, I agree -- when they say "legistlate", I hear "quota"). And actually, I have a friend that was also a chemical engineer. When she lost her job, she decided not to go back into engineering and started working from home so she could spend more time with her 3 kids. Also, if nothing else, there are all kinds of incentives for women to enter science and engineering -- scholarships not available to men, guaranteed housing on campuses that do not guarantee housing to the general population, etc. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that schools in general are not preparing students for the hard sciences. It is truly a sad state of affairs, the lack of science education these days.

    Subscribe here

    • My Catholic Homepage