Oregon Live: Oregon wife and mom Veronica Partridge had no intention of causing a stir with her Jan. 5 blog post titled “Why I Chose to No Longer Wear Leggings.”
“I thought maybe 10 of my friends might read it,” she said.
Partridge, a 25-year-old Christian, felt conflicted about modesty, she writes in the post, and talked with her husband about whether or not leggings are appropriate as pants. He told her that it’s hard for him not to look at other women wearing the tight athletic wear. She wrote:
The attention has made Partridge uncomfortable. The Bend resident, burgeoning farmer and mother to one toddler said she is a “reserved” person that doesn’t like controversy. She didn’t write about her decision to stop wearing leggings in public to spark a debate, she said, but because she felt like God was calling her to share her story with friends. “If I had known it would get this much attention, I wouldn’t have posted it.”
Modesty and coverings are integral parts of many faiths. Many Muslim women cover their hair — as do some Orthodox Jews — and some Mormons wear sacred undergarments.
Nevertheless, critics have accused Partridge of “slut-shaming” and mocked her for prudishness.
“The type of faulty logic Partridge uses in her call for modesty is the exact same sort of faulty logic that places blame on the rape victim for dressing in a provocative manner,” Michael Stone wrote for Patheos, a website that hosts dozens of blogs about different religions.
But Bible scholars in the Portland area applaud Partridge’s thoughtfulness.
“I, personally, am always encouraged when both men and women make a conscious decision to reflect intentional outward modesty out of respect for others and for their own personal dignity,” said Rebekah Josberger, who teaches theology at Multnomah University.
Modesty isn’t a major theme in the Bible, said MaryKate Morse, a professor at George Fox Evangelical Seminary, but it is an important part of modern Christian life.
The Greek word translated today as “modesty” appears only twice in the Bible, Morse said. (The word appears in 1 Timothy 2:9 and 3:2.) The author of those passages was writing to the pastor at a new church where some women were displaying their wealth with gaudy hairstyles and extravagant jewelry, she said.
“It was disrupting worship and creating an environment where the wealthy were being elevated,” she said. “The writer was calling on them to all dress simply so worship could be done.”
Today, she said, modesty is about being an ambassador for God whether you’re a man or a woman. It’s about ensuring that your look communicates your values–whether that means covering cleavage or passing on a designer handbag. “It’s a larger conversation than just covering up your legs,” she said. “It isn’t our job to police the males, but it is our job to reflect God.”
There goes the tolerant types again…