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THESE AIN’T YO GRANSMA’S CLOTHES

"Girls Gone Mild(er)" is a Newsweek article by Jennie Yabroff (7/23/07) describing a new "modesty movement" which aims to teach young women they don't have to be bad or semi-clad. The article lists websites advocating a return to clothing styles that "leave almost everything to the imagination." Yabroff references Wendy Shalit (A Return to Modesty) who claims the modesty-promoting websites cater to a growing movement of teens and young women who are rejecting promiscuous "bad girl" roles embodied by people like Britney Spears, Bratz Doll and the nameless, topless thousands in "Girls Gone Wild" videos. Instead of taking more clothing off, these young women are covering up and committing themselves to sexual purity until marriage. We applaud this movement toward modesty and purity. But is it too little too late? Most Americans over 45 years old remember a more modest America. You know, when undergarments were actually worn under other garments and not left hanging out for everybody to see. Remember when it was a big deal if a young woman's bra strap showed? Now a girl's bra straps (if she wears a bra) and boys' underwear are hung out for all to see and nobody's supposed to say a word. Low-rider jeans have spawned the era of belly-button rings. Tops are lower at the top and higher at the bottom, baring bellies along with other parts of the body we won't talk about. What's up with these plunging neck lines, rising hem lines, low-riding/hip-hugging jeans, belly-button rings, short skirts, and tight shirts that flash flesh, overexpose the body, and shout that skin is in? One thing is certain — these ain't yo' grandma's clothes!

But they may be your mom's! Why have girls (and in some cases, boys) gone wild? The media, misguided radical feminists, the likes of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton all share in the blame. But Brenda Sharman (director of Pure Fashion — a modeling and etiquette program for teen girls whose goal is "to show the public that it is possible to be cute, stylish and modest") points the finger of blame for girls gone wild more on moms gone wild! In the aforementioned article she is quoted as saying, "It used to be that moms would control the way their daughters dressed. But now we have this 'Desperate Housewives' culture, and the moms are as influenced by the media as the kids. They've lost the sense of encouraging their daughters to be ladylike" (why didn't she mention dads?). Unbelievable. Teens attempting to slam the brakes on the "skin is in" style of dress even as adults push boundaries and tear down long-placed cultural and moral fences. Shame on an older generation that not only has failed to teach high moral values and modesty to the young, but has actually encouraged moral decline by means of a bad, immodest example. Kudos to godly young women (and men) aspiring to high moral values in a low-living society that places more value on skin than the soul. "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight (1 Peter 3:3-4).

This guidance will make you, your mom, and your grandma's clothes pleasing and beautiful to God.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ