skirts vs. pants

Discussion in 'Former Discussion and Debate' started by daniella, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. daniella

    daniella New Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    So, I was curious if any of you all on here believe that girls shouldn't wear pants or go to a church that belives that. To some people this might seem to be a foreign thing, but in a lot of very conservative churches they encourage the ladies to only wear skirts. The verse that is used most often for this is Deuteronomy 22:5-
    The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
    Since only in the last several decades have women begun wearing pants regularly, that is pointed to as an example of a man's garment. Now for the record, I do not think that it is bad for girls to wear pants. However, I do think that girls should wear skirts to church out of respect for God in His house. I also think that those in the ministry should be careful what they wear outside of their home because they set a big example for their church. This is definitely not a white and black question because a lot of it has to do with personal conviction. What all are some of your opinions on this issue?
  2. Zipster

    Zipster Captain Controversy Staff Member AY! Supporter

    Jun 20, 2007
    I think the New Testament makes it clear that women - and subsequently -everyone should dress "modestly" (1 Timothy 2:9)

    Anytime someone has to pull something from the Torah/ The Old Testament Law in order to support their view, I am immediately suspect of their tactics, since Christians are free from the Law since Christ has fulfilled and abolished the Law.

    This leads me into thinking that diving things into "conservative" and "liberal" hugely misses the point and generally seems to be reading preconceived notions into the Biblical text which were foreign to the world in which it was written.

    As you said, this isn't a black and white issue, though - in my opinion - Scripture does give clear teaching for those who are willing to let it be an authority. Paul writes in Romans 14 about personal convictions, with the catch being that the person with stronger faith should ensure their actions do not cause someone else to stumble. The example's - with purpose - that Paul uses are sabbath observances, food laws, and alcohol. Paul writes that the Kingdom of God is more than eating and drinking - and, if so, it logically follows that the Kingdom is much more than wardrobe.

    However, I am also under the opinion that some people hold on to their convictions far too tightly despite what the Bible may actually say on the topic. I knew of some people who would go as far as to call anyone who did not follow Sabbath laws and observation wicked, lawless, unsaved, and damned to hell. There is a point where convictions simply go against the Biblical text, and any attempt of correction - gentle or rebuking - go unheeded, and I must personally wonder whether or not Paul had such in mind when writing Romans 14, and whether or not such a faith that is stubborn with it's ignorance should be honored in such a way.

    The point, however, is that if someone is honest to goodness really tempted by you when you wear pants, then it would be wise for you to possibly wear skirts around them. However, you cannot be expected to live your life around the convictions of anyone other than your own, and I believe a balance must be made. Some people can turn their convictions into a new form of legalism - "I'm convinced that this is wrong - so don't do it!"

    Personally, I believe God looks at our heart above what we wear. I don't believe in "dressing up out of respect for God." No matter what I clothe myself in, it is absolutely rubbish before him. The nice clothes of this world do not compare to what He will clothe us with at our transformation;

    in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible,
    and we will be changed.
    Because this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility,
    and this mortal must be clothed with immortality.
    Now when this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility,
    and this mortal is clothed with immortality
    - 1 Cor 15:52-54; HCSB

    So, it lies with where our heart is. I often wear nothing more than jeans and a t-shirt to church, because in such clothes I often feel like myself, I feel real. I know that my "sunday best" won't impress God; he may think it nice that I've decided to wear such out of respect for him, but that is a heart-issue, and not a clothing issue.

    So, I say, wear what you want - within reason to modesty. Be comfortable, and be yourself. God has created humans in his image, and clothing is - for now - a way by which we can express who we are. Dress codes often negate this unique aspect of our personalities in favor of a rigid structure of conformity. The only thing we are to be conformed to is Christ, through his death and resurrection. And, let us not forget that Jesus was very much human - I'm willing to bet that he was more human than all of us, even.
    redbranch, Locke, Taserah and 7 others like this.
  3. I'llBeYourFeet

    I'llBeYourFeet Active Member

    Aug 18, 2010
    Echoing Zip's part about modesty, I once knew a young man who claimed that long skirts made him stumble. He was homeschooled all of his life, and once he started college and saw girls walking around wearing only long skirts, he began to find himself having impure thoughts around women who only wore long skirts. To this day, he feels that he is spiritually closer to women who wear pants. He views skirts as immodest, regardless of length, because of the feelings they evoke.

    I have to agree with you, Zip, regarding dressing in a manner that will reflect a Christ-driven heart. Personally, I don't find anything wrong with wearing dress pants to church, but that's not to say that I have anything against skirts. I am by no means a "burn-the-bra" feminist, but given the state of my wardrobe, coming to God wearing my best will typically include pants.
    BrightEyes11 and (deleted user) like this.
  4. mikofox

    mikofox New Member

    Mar 5, 2011
    i heared somebody say that in the days of the bible there was no such thing as panths or skirts. what they could have meant is maybe for men and women not to switch robes or something but this is just my take on it.
  5. gullivers_travels

    gullivers_travels Well-Known Member Mentor

    Nov 27, 2004
    I agree with the idea that the old law was abolished; however, I do not think that means we have to stop doing those things (nor that we have to continue). For instance, God said not to eat pork, right? I have not done any research on this, but it's the thought. I know someone who no longer eats pork simply because she learned it takes a ridiculous amount of time to digest and leave your system (again, haven't done my own research here).

    As far as this goes, I think that particular verse referred to the clothing of the time, when there was a distinct difference between men's and women's, and it seems to me that them wearing the opposite would refer more to a moral choice of who/what they were instead of simply what they are comfortable in (yes, I'm referring to sexuality, but I am not starting a debate on that). Now, however, I think the clothing is too similar for the verse to have much power if any. A man wearing a dress is obvious, but I do not apply this to pants. They are made for both men and women.
  6. TehPanda

    TehPanda SuperManda Mentor

    Apr 10, 2007
    I think I view church a little differently than most. Church isn't a building at all. It isn't something we "go to". It is something we are. We are the Church. We are the Bride of Christ -- the feet of Christ on this earth doing HIS work. No one sitting in a church is at the same place in their faith as the person sitting next to them. We are all at different points on the path, but we are all walking the same path.

    We come to Christ as we are right now. We may walk through the church doors that first time in a midriff top and a mini-skirt, and think absolutely nothing of it. But, wait -- God will deal with it. We slowly but surely get convicted of the things in our lives that we need to change. Think about this -- there are some young girls that are never taught modesty at all. And, really, that's what the core of this discussion is. Modesty.

    I have a cousin that when she was 12 years old was allowed to date. When she arrived with her date outfit on, her mother (my aunt) told her that she wasn't allowed to wear that on the date. She said (and I am quoting), "I KNOW you have a skirt that is shorter than that and a top that is more low cut. Go back to the house and change. You cannot go out on a date like that. Gosh!" I was horrified that she was teaching her daughter these things. Some people never get the lesson of "cover it up" from their parents. I will admit, when I am alone or it is just me and my husband -- things are a little different. But, I believe that there is nothing wrong with that personally. And, if God lets me know differently -- I will change. :)

    I know that some churches encourage (or even require) girls to wear only skirts, but I do not believe this is something that is supported in scripture. I realize that some do this because of personal conviction. I have no problem with that. If others wish to do this, that is fine. But, and that is a huge but, I do not think there is anything wrong with a woman choosing to wear pants to church. Again, the issue here really isn't pants or no pants -- it is modesty.

    But, to make this a little easier -- look closely at the verse in scripture.

    This verse is tucked in an odd chapter of miscellaneous laws like how to deal with a stray sheep or donkey and some other things. In the midst of this ...

    Deuteronomy 22:5, "A woman shall not wear a man's apparel, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whoever does such things is abhorrent to the Lord your God.

    To be honest, this is really addressing something a little deeper than clothes. If you think about it, even from the very beginning when we get that pink or blue blanket -- our clothing is one of the things used as an identification of our gender. No one would think that someone wearing a dress is a male. Granted, sometimes people do wonder in some cases. In the Hebrew, the words for "apparel" or "garment" are not the same word. When you look at the original language, this verse turns into something much, much deeper.

    First, there are three parts of this verse. 1) what a woman cannot do 2) what a man cannot do and 3) what it means if someone does do those things. The Hebrew word in the first part is 'kli gever' which translates roughly to item. The Hebrew word in the second part is 'simlat' which is "dress" or "garment". It seems like the two phrases in the verse are actually talking about two entirely different things but they are related for sure.

    The 'kli gever' has been interpreted to mean everything from a man's sword (because women cannot join the military at this time and it was considered unladylike for a woman to carry a weapon) to a man's prayer shawl (which is something required by Jewish law to be worn by men but NOT by women). Remember, being that this verse was FIRST written to the Jews, we MUST note the way that they view it because we consider how it does or IF it does apply to us as Christians.

    The idea of cross-dressing implied a great deal more than just a guy wearing a dress and looking ridiculous. A woman wearing men's clothing could sneak into a men's social gathering in a time when the gender division in social settings were important as well.

    In today's society, there is little division in social settings. No one thinks anything ill of a group of men and women sitting together in church or a group of men and women going out together to eat. But, there are still some division that are an absolute must due to privacy. Example -- men do NOT belong in a woman's restroom or locker room --and vice versa.

    Besides that -- I don't wear men's pants to church. I wear women's pants. I don't buy them in the men's section of the clothing store, so they cannot be categorized as "men's clothing". :)

    In short -- no I don't think it is disrespectful to wear pants to church. I do it often because it is what I am comfortable in. I am not comfortable in dresses or skirts that often because they make me feel very odd. I feel like everyone is staring. I feel more put together in pants. It helps me to take the focus off what I am wearing and making sure things are in the right place and this and that isn't showing.

  7. Locke

    Locke Reformed Racoon!

    Jan 12, 2011
    Personally I'd like to think that this verse is refering to people who often dress as the opposite sex. Doing that would be a way of rejecting your physichal body which God gave you =)

    Same as being interested in the opposite sex; it's not gods plan! Men and women were -beleive it or not- made to compliment eachother, and I'll level with ya, I'd feel weird having fellowship with a guy dressed as a girl or vica versa.

    lastly, if people ARE dressing as the opposite sex, I think that could sew emotions of homosexuality or it's counterpart, so you know, it's like it's encouraging sexual feelings to the same sex and we know that God hates THAT.

    just my two cents, I'd like to add that I whole heartidly support the bits about modesty--you guys rock! :D
  8. mikofox

    mikofox New Member

    Mar 5, 2011
    lol i agree with you there. i see no problem wearing skirts though there are certain times of the month where i feel more comfortable in pants(sorry if thats too much info). i have been to a church where i seen girls dressed like they were going to a nightclub and i thought it was rediculous. i still believe that scripture was refering to the clothing at the time because i doubt skirts and pants even existed back then(though im prepared to be proven wrong).
    Locke and (deleted user) like this.
  9. Cetacea

    Cetacea Member

    Mar 7, 2011
    I also don't think that it matters how we dress unless its modest. I wouldn't wear a mini skirt to church or something that is deep cut. Its because I know that I will gain attention wearing something like that. In my option in chruch ones attention should be on God. Beside that I don't care what I'm wearing as long as its comfortable. In my chruch no one cares what the people are wearing as long as its modest. We even come to chruch in jeans.
  10. LauraNicole

    LauraNicole Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    I wear skirts to churches I've never been to before, where I don't know how they dress. But to my own churches, usually my jeans. The idea of wearing a skirt in the Wisconsin winter... brrrrr!
  11. BaldJesus

    BaldJesus New Member

    Oct 2, 2009
    Being transexual/transgender or whatever, i.e dressing as the opposite sex is not the same as being homosexual.
    They are too completely different things, and it's just narrow-minded and prejudiced to link the two.

    And this thread isn't about homosexuality, but I think it's a bit harsh to say that God hates a feeling... yes, thoughts should be pure and such.. but sexual orientation isn't a choice.

    But whatever.

    The idea that a girl shouldn't wear trousers is ridiculous. Drawing from laws of the Old Testament is stupid, becuase really, its impossible and unnecessary to live by them.

    I really, really doubt that God cares how we are dressed. I suppose you could say that dressing modestly is important, but other than that, I don't think it matters.

    I'm with Zipster with regards dressing up for Church and such, it all seems a bit pointless to me. If I want to worship God dressed in pyjamas, I doubt he cares. It's just vanity and social conventions that have people dressing up.

    Like the vast majority of females nowadays, I tend to wear trousers as opposed to skirts. And frequently guy's hoodies and t-shirts, I feels more comfortable in them.
    I really, really doubt that bothers God. It's the sins and stuff I do, and the times I don't believe in him, that bother God.
  12. Damaris

    Damaris Lovely Lady Staff Member

    Dec 22, 2004
    I've been all over the map with this one, and wanted to give this thread some time before I began adding my two cents.

    The first time I heard of the notion of skirts/dresses being more modest/God-honoring for women to wear instead of pants, it didn't really even register in my brain. I just couldn't fathom why it would make any difference at all. Each subsequent time I heard about it I started to think on it a little more until finally I decided to do a whole pile of research and figure out what all this was about. And I've continued to ponder and examine the issue ever since, tweaking my views as needed.

    I believe this passage is referring to cross-dressing with the intention of portraying oneself as the opposite gender. I do not think it could only refer to putting on clothing of the opposite gender, since there are many very clearly innocent and God-honoring examples of doing so, such as a man giving a woman his jacket if she is cold or, in my case, guy's jeans fit me more modestly and appropriately than girl's jeans. However if you intentionally try to portray yourself as the opposite gender, than that is where something is wrong.

    I must stop and note here that in being set free from the law, I do think that there can be instances where it is appropriate and God-honoring to portray oneself as the opposite gender, one example being if a young woman has to walk home alone at night through a bad part of town it isn't a bad idea to take some measures to appear male from a distance.

    But God made us who we are, and it is glorifying to him to be comfortable and happy in our own gender rather than trying to look like the other gender. Drag queens are one negative example. Yes, I understand that dressing like the opposite gender does not mean that person is homosexual or transsexual, but it is wrong for similar reasons. I learned that some pairs of jeans I wore looked more "male" than others, and I learned to try to make them more feminine and simply not wear the ones that caused me to appear that I might be cross-dressing.

    Another thing that must be said is that it varies by culture. I'm pretty sure Jesus did not wear pants. Similarly, a kilt is considered masculine apparel, traditionally in some cultures and now becoming more broadly accepted elsewhere as well. So we have to recognize that the very definition of men's and women's clothing is going to change, and thus we must be discerning as we pinpoint when it has changed to the point of accepting the difference as legit. For example, what if masculine dresses became the new popular fad that ended up sticking? We might be repulsed by it, but perhaps a century or two down the line it would be just as casually accepted as men's and women's pants, and to think otherwise would be considered strange. I use this example as a litmus test for my own thinking.

    A major argument by those who believe women should not wear pants is that it was only recently that it became culturally acceptable for them to do so. The rebuttal is that it may be less than a century, but it has become so fully embraced by western culture that it is now a non-issue--only the people raised in this manner or who think long and hard about it decide that pants are not a female garment.

    This is my opinion on the matter: men and women will always have culturally distinctive dress, and making sure the way you dress represents your gender is glorifying to God. In our current western culture, while I believe a woman can be feminine wearing pants, I think that skirts/dresses should be the "default", that is if there isn't a reason you need to wear pants then dresses/skirts are preferred. There are several reasons I feel this way. One, it sends a very clear message of a woman being comfortable in her femininity, which is a welcome message in a world where most women are clamoring to be treated like men. Anecdotal reports indicate that men are less hesitant to offer their assistance when a woman is wearing a dress or a skirt as opposed to pants.

    Another reason is that modest skirts are more modest than modest pants. I'm not saying that you can't be modest and wear pants, or that skirts are universally more modest than pants. There's a story that a group of people were asked to look at a picture of a woman in a dress, and to share where their eye was first drawn to. Answers generally referenced her face. They were asked to do the same with the next picture, a girl wearing pants, and the group was rather stunned to admit that the first place their eyes were drawn to was her crotch.

    For me personally, I'm at a place where I wear either dresses or skirts, though I would also be comfortable in pants if I had something that went past my hips on as well, such as a tunic-style shirt or a lengthy jacket or something like that. I'd also be comfortable wearing a knee-length skirt over a pair of jeans. My personal comfort levels changed to this after I started wearing dresses/skirts almost exclusively, and have been reinforced mainly through people-watching, as I observe other women's attire and notice what I feel looks feminine, beautiful, and modest, and which outfits do not give me that impression. Might I change my views again someday? It's possible. I guess we'll see. :)
  13. redbranch

    redbranch New Member

    Nov 16, 2010
    Clothes Call

    I concur with Nick that there's no such thing as your "Sunday best." Absolutely not. I never understood the concept of dressing up for church, really, though maybe I still do it. I don't own a pair of jeans so slacks are quite casual for me. Meet God in whatever attire you see comfortable, I suppose.

    As for the former question, I think it varies from person to person, honestly. Despite the fact that I feel I often think and react in a stereotypically feminine matter--i.e. I like talking about feelings and emotions!--I am uncomfortable with dressing in such clothing with no overt purpose, as Damaris implied. I also thought it interesting about where our eyes are drawn for someone wearing a skirt versus pants. My mother went to high school in the '60s when women had to wear skirts and, to me, that just seemed to be a way to keep them in line, some man-made decorum. I'm told men couldn't have mustaches or beards then so, normally, I'd be out on both accounts, haha.

    And I agree with Daniela that, yes, this will be painted in shades of gray for the individual person at hand. Though a couple other verses, one on that aforementioned "man-made decorum" and another that just seems fitting:

    Mark 7:8: "You ignore God's laws and substitute your own tradition."

    Romans 13:14 (love it): "Clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

    Locke and (deleted user) like this.
  14. PenguinGirl18

    PenguinGirl18 New Member

    Mar 11, 2011
    Modesty is the key to anything a man or woman wears the Bible is very clear on modesty, but as for women wearing pants I personally believe them to be more modest than a skirt (speaking of lose fitting pants.) As long as there is a distinction between a man or a woman I think it is fine to wear pants. As for at church I do think a person should look their best for the Lord and as tradition goes a skirt or nice dress is more of a formal nice way of dressing. I do realize God looks on the heart , but others are looking on the outside and if they see that you are respectful of what God has given you they might see you as serious for the Lord. This is just my opinion, but seriously it doesn't hurt to wear a skirt to church.
  15. 4EverTrusting

    4EverTrusting Member

    Apr 29, 2011
    I definately believe modesty is referring to the heart, and the way we dress is a reflection of what's going on in there! The way we dress, speek, act and hold ourselves are all part of the 'modesty package.'

    I have worn skirts to church ever since I can remember, I'm now 20. That's a lot of years in skirts to church... and for me, to start wearing pants would make me feel uncomfortable. I am the only girl my age who still dresses in skirts and looks feminine at church, and yes I admit I do feel a little silly sometimes, but I absolutely believe you can dress modestly & stylishly at the same time! :cool:
    I have a large group of friends who all prefer to wear skirts, so whenever I spend time with them I dress in skirts to honour them.

    Around home and over 50% of the time when I'm out, I'll wear pants and loose jeans. (Sorry, can't see myself in a skirt while riding horses and milking cows :tongue:) In general I feel more comfortable in pants because I don't feel such an eye-sore haha, but it's also nice to stand out from the crowd as 'different' and it definately makes you feel more girlie.

    The other day I went straight from church to a town event with some friends; I noticed almost all the girls wore blacks and dark colours, tight jeans and lowcut tops. I was dressed girlie in a red skirt. I chose to rejoice in my femininity! A little while later someone came along and offered me a Christian tract.... I was so glad to say I was a Christian, and that my clothes actually reflected that I wasn't trying to conform to the ways of the world! :2_thumbs_:

Share This Page