Friday, 16 January 2009


For those not from Lancashire or the US, I’m referring to a divided outer garment covering the legs. Trousers are just posh pants. Under his pants a gentleman would wear underpants, so the garment is rightly referred to as pants. Those who think they are always called trousers are wrong. Whoever heard of jogging trousers?

The purpose of this post is that I’m finally coming out and saying I don’t think women should wear pants in public (they don’t wear underpants so why should they wear pants).

I have no objection to these.

And I have nothing against a boiler suit for really mucky work, but I’ve spent too long in the company of men at their most unguarded (women in male dominated environments are often ignored as women, you are an other, an ungenedered thing) to think that garments like the one shown below should be worn outside of the home.

I’m not suggesting for one minute all men react in an inappropriate manner towards this garment, it is just a few, many of them university educated. At this point I was going to post some of the inappropriate comments I have heard. However, it may encourage someone somewhere to start looking at women in pants in an inappropriate manner so I have desisted.

Now you may be indignant because of my passivity in all this, why didn’t I stop the men from talking in such a manner? I haven’t really got an excuse. I’d just let men keep talking like this in my presence because I wanted to know what they were thinking, rather than hiding it from me. I found their objectification of women staggering and I’m afraid the wearing of pants by women only makes it worse.

Apparently (though I'm dubious of any story relating to a person's confession- people really shouldn't talk about their confessional experiences) Padre Pio refused absolution to a woman who kept a shop selling womens’ trousers until she stopped selling them. See here.

We women ought to be aware of the thoughts we can induce in some men by the way we dress.

In school, teenage girls are far more vulnerable in trousers that they may feel, they are revealing much more to a clued-up male than they realise. Admittedly it is better than the alternative of the above-the-knee skirt that rides up to above the crotch of the tights (pantyhose) when they sit at the computer. It is not easy for a teenage girl to concentrate on her work and where her clothes are going simultaneously. Heads in schools should have the guts to stick to loose below-the-knee length skirts for girls or how about bringing back ghastly coulottes? At a pinch 1940s land army girls do look modest in pants, but I’m not sure about anything you could buy off the peg today.

Why drag a man’s eyes so far away from the face of a woman that he just starts to respond to her as a series of curvy body parts.

OK, not all men are like this but what is going on inside our heads and the heads of those around us is important. We should care that a generation on boys reared on NUTS magazine are unlikely to treat women any more sensitively than my highly educated contemporaries. As women we should strive to perfect our modesty and femininity, we should not be hidden under a burkah or be selectively displaying bits of our anatomy, both of these alternatives are equally damaging.


Ttony said...

The point, however, is how you persuade 15 year old girls that below the knee skirts or culottes are not only fashionable but also break the school dress code, in fact the latter more than the former.

Kirk said...

Hi Rita,
A very interesting post yet again!
Your posts always get me thinking.
My grandmothers always wore dresses. My maternal Grandmother (whose nickname was, on occasions, Queen Maud) would never dream to wear anything other than a dress or skirt. Her sister on the other hand usually wore 'slacks' but then, even in her 80s, she smoked, was often to be found reclining on the floor instead of a chair, and drank Cinzano (all three of which shocked my grandmother a lot) My Great aunt told me she started wearing slacks in the 1930s because she rode a bicycle and didn't want her dress blowing up in the wind...
I think that when it comes to modes of dress it is a question of modesty. Dresses can be just as immodest these days as any body hugging/revealing garment. As in all things, it depends on the intention. C S Lewis once wrote a very thought provoking piece on this subject - if I could just remember where...

I agree. I never take too much stock in the pious 'legends' of what Saints and others said during Confession.
Your intro made me laugh and as a home counties boy I am rather chuffed to be wearing 'posh pants' . . .

Anonymous said...

Umm. Interesting. I don't often wear trousers or pants or whatever they are called because I don't like them. I prefer a comfortable long skirt. I'll never be fashionable.
My daughter (the oldest one) does wear jeans quite a bit. I never thought of them as immodest really-but then she often wears long tops over them.
Some of those long tops were sold as DRESSES!
I love the attire of the Asian lady in your post and have often wondered how we could wear clothes like that but make them more English (or Anglo-Scottish for my family).
Aha! I feel a homeschool design project coming on...

AutumnRose said...

I wear trousers almost all the time, skirts very rarely...but I don't wear skin tight trusers, and I do wear long/tunic tops, so I have no problem with modesty issues!

I think I encountered such a lot of legalism on the "not wearing trousers" issue as a former protestant that I decided it was *not* a point of law, and a matter of individual discretion, so feel quite comfortable abut the matter :)

AR xx

Irene said...

Perhaps it's because I am an American, but I've never been able to understand this fuss.

In the first place, I've alway understood the female (human) body to be the epitome of beauty -- and note that VII had much to say about the virtue of beauty. I can't say I can comprehend any reason for concealing any part of it.

Now, the masculine response is another issue. But that is the man's moral responsibility and the consequence of his formation. If he has had the proper formation, then he will show the proper response. If not, then his confessor is going to have to listen to a lot of repetitive and boring stuff.

By the same token, the man's response is his responsibility -- it is not your job to police his morals, nor will you have to answer for them.

Actually, pants of whatever length can be both beautiful and moral if erected on beautiful scaffolding. Even bare skin is not always out of order.