By Maryam Qarehgozlou

Why Catholic mom implores girls to ditch leggings?

April 9, 2019 - 9:17

TEHRAN — In a letter published in the University of Notre Dame’s student newspaper “The Observer” on March 25 a catholic mom, Maryann White, begged female students to stop wearing leggings which sparked inevitable backlash, but why the concept of modest dressing is lost on so many in recent decades?

In her letter White writes: “I’ve thought about writing this letter for a long time. I waited, hoping that fashions would change and such a letter would be unnecessary — but that doesn’t seem to be happening.”

She continues: “I’m just a Catholic mother of four sons with a problem that only girls can solve: leggings.”

She called the garment “unforgiving” regretting that in such a world it is hard on Catholic mothers to teach their sons that women are someone’s daughters and sisters. That women should be viewed first as people — and all people should be considered with respect.

She wondered why women would want to voluntarily expose their “nether regions” by wearing leggings, and asked how difficult it would be for young guys to ignore them.

White also argued that “the human body is a beautiful thing” but if one wants to be seen as a person and not a body and respect oneself and the other people they shouldn’t dress like this.

She concludes her letter saying that “leggings are so naked, so form fitting, so exposing. Could you think of the mothers of sons the next time you go shopping and consider choosing jeans instead? You have every right to wear them. But you have every right to choose not to.”

It is clearly apparent that social immorality has urged parents and families in West, to step up and act to defend the moral laws, norms and standards.

However, the letter provoked protests as according to The Observer, students wore leggings in objection to the letter on March 26 and 27.

Some believe that everyone deserves to dress in a way that makes them feel comfortable and that women are not responsible for men’s behavior, so that they cannot be told what to wear or not to control men’s behaviors.

How is modest dressing viewed in Islam? 

But what White has rightly pointed out, is the basic idea of modest dressing not just in Islam but also in all other religions such as Christianity and Judaism.

Modesty does not only apply to attire but all aspects of life in Islam. Wearing hijab or dressing modestly is the manifestation of one’s commitment to God.

Muslims believe that the true purpose of life is to worship God and follow his instructions and modest clothing is one of the key components of being a true servant of God.

In the meantime, as many believe that human beings should be allowed to act freely, Islam does not force anyone to be a Muslim as God says in the Quran, “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (2:256). According to Islam, a woman willfully chooses to commit to this act of worship.

Muslim women wear hijab to seek the pleasure of God and to uphold Islam’s code of modesty. The majority of women who wear hijab consider it a constant reminder that they do not adorn their bodies for men.

There are women who feel they have to sexualize themselves to gain attention, but we don’t see as many men wearing short bottoms and tighter tops. That’s due to the fact that we have always given men a pass on their looks, demanding from them success and intellect instead, and that’s what women can achieve if they try to look past the external and focus on the internal.

Women should not be valued for their looks and whether or not they are thin or pretty enough. And that’s why Hijab would elevate women in the society viewing them as individuals who should be recognized for their amazing achievements in various arenas. A woman who wears hijab liberates herself from the desire to show off her beauty and to compete with other women around her.

And what’s more, as Islam is the religion of moderation it does not solely expect women to uphold standards of morality. Men are also required to cover parts of their body out of modesty, so that both men and women are required to strive to create a healthy social environment.

Modesty a norm throughout history  

Another point is that modesty had been a norm in the history as one can find covering of women in almost every society in the past. Modest dressing is not limited to Islam, even in other religions revealed before Islam traces of Hijab can be detected.

For one, Mary, mother of Jesus, is rarely depicted without a traditional head-covering as one would assume her to be Muslim.

What White has asked women to protect sons by stopping wearing leggings is not selfish or unreasonable, it’s just an attempt to make us see what we have been and how modesty can play a role in making each and every community a healthy place for all of us to thrive in.


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