Monday, November 10, 2014

Modest Monday Discussion: Modesty and Discrimination

Modest Monday Post

Good morning,

Today discussion on modesty will be about discrimination that women may face because of how they dress. Most discussions I see online is how those who believe in modesty discriminate against others. But there are few discussions or exposure of instances about how women who dress modestly because of their faith are discriminated against. I have first hand experience with that issue and have discussed that in my earlier posts. But there is one experience that changed me profoundly.

I revealed in last Liebster award nomination post that I was once a culinary arts major. I majored in Pastry Arts because I loved to bake desserts and breads. What I thought would be a positive experience that would change my life at that university, was more of a negative experience instead. 

When I first started school I was informed that I would have to wear pants since I was working in the kitchen. There were no if ands or buts about it. Either drop out of that program or put the pants on. Regardless of my religious beliefs I had to change in order to fit their beliefs and rules. No accommodation was made for me or any other female with the same beliefs. 

So I got two pairs of pants that were supposed to fit me perfectly because I was measured for them. They did fit me because they were too big and awkward for me. So I often walked awkwardly because of I was uncomfortable wearing something so big. I also was not use to wearing pants  But my awkwardness was mocked by my instructor.  He showed how I walked in front of the class. I was humiliated by his display. I explained my issues with the pants being too big and lack of experience with wearing pants. 

What amazed me the most was that I was not the only one that issues with the too wide of pants. A lot of students would accidentally expose themselves when bending over. But none were made a public display like I was. If wearing pants did not protect people from showing themselves, then why could not I wear my skirt and work in the kitchen, was an question often on my mind

When attending a career fair me and another young lady that only wore skirts went to a presentation of one of the premier places chefs wanted to work at. That same young lady asked could she wear her skirt and work in the kitchen? The presenter said no because she may expose herself while standing on a ladder or bending over. I was amazed by his statement because I have seen more people exposing themselves wearing those big chef pants than any woman wearing a skirt. He also told her she could work in the service area serving guests instead of cooking. What was the point of her or me being in culinary school if they were only going to let us be servers? 

I left that school at first brokenhearted by the negative experience. I later overcame it by prayer and forgiveness of what happened and those involved. If any one has experienced this kind of discrimination because of their faith or any discrimination you do not have to be bitter about it. To me my experience though it was intentionally negative it became a positive one.   I found a school that was open to all types of people. My professors treated me like a human being and not an outsider. I learned that not all non Christians behave in such biased manner.I since found a career that I am more passionate about and that freely allows me to wear my skirts and dresses.

 I also learned not to let the ignorance of others cause me to abandon my beliefs. A lot of times we may  be face with pressure to conform or change to suit others belief system. Don't allow that pressure or mistreatment to change your beliefs. The Bible warns us that we may be prosecuted for our beliefs. But do not give up because we have a God in us that is more powerful than the world. 

1 John 4:4King James Version (KJV)

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

I also wanted to show and explain is why discrimination occurs. What occurred with me happens in most cases of discrimination.  Pure ignorance about a particular group or their beliefs is a main starter or catalyst for discrimination.People assume things about a woman who wears only dresses. They assume she cannot function in manual labor  because of her dress or shirt. A lot of people do not realize that there are numerous ways that women wearing skirts can keep from exposing themselves. Wearing leggings or shorts under skirts and undershirts under tops should prevent most wardrobe malfunctions.  That what this blog is about to not only show women who dress modestly how easy it is but to educate others about our beliefs. I want to dispel the stereotype that a woman in a skirt cannot function at their job,profession, or task. 

Has anyone every experienced discrimination because of the way you dress? Feel free to share!


  1. Oh my, this is such a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing! I'm sorry for your experience, but I am glad you had the heart to forgive. Yes, there is discrimination. From the perspective of an educator, shame on the instructor and educational institution. As you know, I wear only skirts and dresses. While I've never encountered the level of discrimination you did, I do know it exists as a form of exclusion. Namely, you cannot participate if... I mainly get asked questions about my style of dress, but I answer with joy and not with shame.

    When I taught college, our medical students had to wear scrubs. Fortunately, the school had an optional scrub uniform with a skirt. During my time teaching there, I only saw 1 or 2 students in the skirt uniform. Also, the school was really big on students having proper fitting scrubs. In addition to other courses, I also taught professionalism, and one of the areas we went over was dress guidelines, from interviewing to landing the job.

    You are right that pants don't eliminate indecent exposure. I encouraged students to do a modesty check. Does your uniform rise when you reach or bend? Can I see your skin? How would your patient feel about that? Do you need a shirt extender? Can I see your back, sides of your stomach, or underwear when you sit? Is the uniform too tight or too loose, which are both potential exposure issues? Are your undergarments proper and sufficient? On and on.

    With regards to what you went through, perhaps someone in a similar situation can think about going to Student Services about their religious dress requirements. If faced with an instructor who will openly mock a student, report that instructor to his or her dean. That is unprofessional and a poor example to the students. One can easily wear leggings under their uniform, if the institution thinks you can see up the skirt. Problem solved. But the institutions need to be educated about the needs of female students, clients and workers who are "skirt girls." I, however, believe the discrimination we experience for wearing skirts and dresses is a type of persecution for being and looking set apart. Count it all joy, pray for them, love, and skirt on!

    Always enjoy your posts! Iron sharpens iron!!

    1. I hope no one ever experiences what I went through. But if so I hope they would report anyone that discriminates against their religious rights. At the time I was so young and naive. I really did not know that I had rights to dress in only skirts. I hope that anyone that has experienced discrimination like this would forgive the person as well. Forgiveness is a major step in moving on from a negative experience. Also thanks for the encouraging words and comments!


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