I want to talk about culottes for a moment. I saw a family walk into a restaurant the other day and their two daughters were wearing culottes. Ugh. People are still wearing those!? I couldn’t help notice the mother was wearing a skirt instead. I also couldn’t help but notice the father and son were both wearing jeans…
I just got tagged on Facebook the other day. Major throwback. Going by the hair I would say this is from my junior year in high school. No, I’m not wearing a skirt. Those bad boys are culottes. Or cool-nots as they have been referred to over the years. I am a bit embarrassed by this pic (although it could have been way worse), but I’m not really sure who to blame. You see, this is mostly self-inflicted. I made the choice to stop wearing pants sometime in my high school years. There was a small time in my childhood where my father made us wear culottes, but it didn’t last. Nothing like having a terribly shy child try to interact with other kids and being asked, “What. Are. Those?!?” It did nothing for my self-esteem. Anyway, I went to a school that was run by a church. I went to that church as well. Pretty much every day of the week I heard my pastor, or my principal, or my teachers mention how important it was for girls to be MODEST and to look and act like ladies. Apparently pants are a bane on Christian existence. Pants on females must be stopped. Men wear pants. Women should not have anything like men. If women wear pants, then they must want to be like men. That’s not very ladylike now, is it precious?
I finally couldn’t take hearing it anymore. I felt like a heathen wearing my pants, going to the movies, listening to rock music…the list goes on. I was CONVICTED. So I stopped. All of it. The worst part is, I felt better than everybody else because I now had such high standards. Puke.
*It is important to mention that I felt worse than everybody about everything else, so just give me this one for a bit okay?
Thankfully, I went off to college and along the way, I met plenty of other awesome Christian girls who wore pants, and no one seemed to think they were heathens. After my freshman year in college, I never wore culottes again. I would still be put in plenty of circumstances where pants were not allowed, but from then on I would wear skirts. Never again with the culottes.
I would like to make a huge point here. The MODESTY thing. I played volleyball and basketball in high school. In culottes. Every single one of us wore biking shorts or whatever we could get our hands on to put underneath our culottes ( I was partial to a pair of Elvis boxers my mother made me). We did this because sometimes the culottes would go up if we fell or whatever and quite a bit of our leg would be shown. Then we would get into trouble as if it was our fault. That’s not modesty. Also, and I will NEVER forget this, my school went to a weekend Christian camp thing with a bunch of other schools where there would be tons of activities, games, singing, and of course preaching. Tons of preaching. There was an activity in the gym where everyone had to lay on the floor and put their legs up to try to kick this huge bouncy ball over a net in a twisted version of volleyball. My group of girls was not ALLOWED to play because our culottes would not have been modest in this game. That was one of the first times I got truly pissed about what was happening with this culotte situation. All of our boys went and played and had a good old time (notice these rules never actually affect the guys). What was worse, there were plenty of girls there in pants. It was so confusing. Why did I have to feel all of this guilt, and they all got to just go and play? Did I have some higher calling to be a good Godly Christian girl? I thought that must be it.
My other point would be this: Having women dress in culottes and keep their neck lines high and their hem lines low does not protect men from being lustful or whatever – BECAUSE IT’S OUR JOB TO KEEP MEN IN CHECK OF THEIR LUSTY PROBLEMS!?! As if. All this does is keep the men (and teenage boys too) from looking at us. Ever. There are plenty of other women and teenage girls for the guys to look at. And they did. I can’t say that I blame them. There is nothing attractive about culottes. I think this was the real point. To keep their women from being looked at by other men. That goes more along the lines of the teaching in the church I grew up in. We are possessions or some such shit. We do what makes the men happy. We meet their needs. Double puke.
There is nothing wrong with modesty. There is nothing wrong with being ladylike. Or vise versa. The problem is this obsession with something so unnecessary. A trivial thing is turned into a major one. Women and girls can have a terrible attitude (and why wouldn’t they, they’re wearing culottes), but as long as they are wearing culottes that must mean they are Godly women. It’s status. Nothing more. There are a lot of things I learned in college that I don’t agree with, but this one thing stuck with me for a long time. Don’t teach standards. Teach principles. This can make all the difference in the world to the next girl just trying to grow up and become somebody.