Tuesday, April 5, 2011


This whole leggings thing has gotten a lot of comments, on Facebook as well as the original post.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way, but I also hope nobody misinterprets my words either. I didn't meant to be harsh with the columnist, and I'm not trying to be rude or self-righteous either. I'm curious to see if my letter even gets published. My real motivation behind responding to the column is that there is danger in focusing on outward representations of personal/religious beliefs. If my studies in journalism have taught me one thing, it's that you don't know the whole story so sometimes it's better to just be quiet and listen. I used to be a lot quicker to judge as recently as last year. But after a lot of good reading, discussions and listening to people with very different lives, I'm learning to hesitate before expressing judgment or being stubborn in my opinions. There's always something I don't know about a person. I'm still working on that, mind you, but I'm trying.

The most dangerous thing about judging people's clothing, Jimmer-love, hair color, etc. is that we are pushing our personal interpretation of right and wrong on others. Growing up in France, I knew two types of Mormons: the ones like my family and all the other pagan ones. Ha! When I came to BYU, I started seeing a little bit more nuance: believe it or not, there are a lot of different ways of being Mormon. There are the hippie tree-hugging Mormons, there are ultra-feminist Mormons, there are Idaho boy Mormons, there are Book of Mormon-thumping Mormons, there are Coke-drinking Mormons, there are dyed-in-the-wool Republican Mormons, there are Liberal Mormons, there are Mormons who watch movies on Sunday, there are formerly southern-baptist Mormons... and the truth is they're all good Mormons as long as they are trying to be like Jesus and keeping their covenants. And even if they aren't, that's for their bishop to deal with, not me.

There's a reason the Gospel is simple, and that's because we have agency. We are given to chose how we will interpret the principles God has given us. We're not "giving a helping hand" to anybody when we pass judgment on their actions, even if those actions were specifically condemned in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet (which leggings are not, by the way).

You know what's really ironic: I wrote to the DU  about immodesty as a freshman (at the time though, people's early version of leggings was cropped tights, which definitely couldn't pass for pants...). My opinion hasn't really changed, I still believe if you're LDS you should stick to the standards of modesty you've agreed to--I try to. There are still things and attitudes and people that annoy me. But now I'm not afraid to change my mind or admit I'm wrong. It's ok to give people some time before passing judgment. (I have more to say about this by the way, but that requires a post of its own and I haven't had time to write it yet. Soon, I promise.)

And the biggest thing that bugs me in all of this is the sheer hypocrisy of it all. We're writing in and complaining about the whores of Babylon walking around on campus, but some of the complainers go home and neglect their families to play video games. Some of them haven't been to the temple in months. Some of them lie to their employers about their hours worked, but their choices aren't as obvious for the world to see, so they can still sit smugly in church and look down at the women in leggings. And of course, I'm slightly irked that some men think they get to dictate women's wardrobes, not to mention the perpetuation of the stereotype that men can't control themselves and therefore women are the sole guardians of chastity.

Incidentally, I talked to one of my teachers today about this in class, and he said when he was at BYU the big scandal was men not wearing socks. GASP! And before that, it was women wearing jeans, and before that it was women wearing pants at all... and these were all explicitly mentioned in the honor code too.

Leggings too will pass, and someday we'll look back at old editions of the DU and laugh that anybody ever cared enough to write about them. Leggings aren't even all that new to begin with, remember these?


And yes, Jen, I was talking about you in the letter. Thanks for the support :)

Anyway, this subject has been exhausted and has gotten far more coverage than it deserves, so I'm done now. Thanks for listening to the crazy that writes letters to the editor more than once a year.

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