Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Pants v. Skirt or Dress Controversy

I read the post over at AWTY with great interest and curiosity (Pants v. Skirt or Dress Controversy). Coming from a dance background I have to admit I NEVER thought about this kind of thing. Quite honestly, I did not know it was even a concern . . . of any one's. I definitely saw the difference between provocative and modest attire. I figured you dressed for the task at hand and you kept modesty in mind (or not - depending on your values). I would never have thought that pants precluded modesty.

In the modern dance world the body is treated like a precious thing -- keeping it healthy and strong is paramount.
We could not do that in dresses. I lived in leotard and sweats unless I was performing and then perhaps some attire was chosen to add meaning or an interpretive element but NEVER to distract form the dance. (Think Graham and Pilobolus). When I had to go out into the real world I donned a sweatshirt and sweat pants or threw a skirt & shirt over my dance attire. When you dance literally 6 hours a day, have a baby daughter and teach 4 classes a day there IS NOT time to change into anything else. You attach baby to hip and GO!

Now that I teach at a conservative Catholic school all the female teachers are required to wear dresses. . . uhhm, except me. You see, I teach all the movement classes like, PE, Dance, Music and Movement, Music Garden and Kindermusic. Just before I sat down to write this I taught 3rd grade boys outside and we had a rousing game of kickball. I am on my way to teach Music and Movement to 3 year olds. . . .actually, I'd better go now.

WOW _ I am back & I got observed- that was a surprise. I think I did a stellar job considering there are 18 - count 'em 18! three year olds in that class and the aide was a sub who had not a clue how to help.
The learned routine did its magic even though

  • this is the little ones's first day back to M&M after vacation
  • there are 2 new students AND
  • we added a new verse to a movement song
Whew! OK --as I was saying, or trying to say -- I could not have gotten up and down, caught kids on the balance beam, stopped the new little ones from straying and moved around like I have this morning in a dress. No way -- and if I had tried, it would NOT have seemed very modest.

I am currently wearing silky (roomy) running pants, an Izod style shirt and sneakers. I do not think you can make out any exclusively girl-like body parts (except for the breasts-- even with a bra and jog top they are still there). Next I teach technology class and will have a computer lab full of 6th graders ready to practice formatting and posting poetry on their blog. I do not have time to change -- and you know what? Kids would look at me funny if I did.

I guess I just don't get it. And, I think it is downright ridiculous for our PreK & elementary teachers to have to wear dresses or skirts. Every time they stoop down there is lots of fabric billowing around. If they move their foot they trip trying to stand up because they have just stepped on their hem. A couple of teachers wear, shorter closer fitting skirts and that looks downright sexy. That really defeats the idea of "modesty."

I think it is whole lot easier to see a man's physique through pants than a woman's. I just think it is rather silly -- the whole opinion that pants on a woman are inappropriate. Modesty can be attained in either form of clothing. I believe that pants on a woman do not preclude modesty. In fact, sometimes they just make better sense!


Sister Mary Martha said...

It depends entirely on the pants. And the woman.

Happy New Year!

Soutenus said...

Happy New Year to you, also! I appreciate your comment, Sister. You have become a bit of a moral compass for me (and for many others, I suspect). It has been wonderful to find a role model in cyberspace!

Lisa said...

I'm with Sister, Peggy! &:o)

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