Tuesday, October 7, 2008
On the wearing of skirts...
I love wearing skirts and dresses. Recently I've bumped into some prejudices from others against people who do wear long dresses and skirts, especially when it's a young woman wearing them. While I know there probably are prejudices in the other direction as well, as an avid dress and skirt wearer... I wanted to adress some misconceptions.
My mother tried half of her life to get me into pants. Seriously. Skirts were not at all fashionable when I grew up in the seventies and eighties and she liked for me to dress a bit modern. It's been a battle of epic proportions until the time I was old enough to determine my own wardrobe.
While sometimes I was forced to wear pants because there simply were no skirts to find in stores, at least not pretty or even decent ones, I tried to find dresses and skirts whenever they were available.
My skirts never restricted my activities,I can tell you that I have climbed mountains (not true rockclimbing, but definitely more than a nice walk) while wearing skirts and no, did not get myself injured.
While camping, an open fire can be a danger, though basically, it depends on the type of skirts. No one should wear a swishy skirt near a fire, of course, and preferably not even a wide type of skirt. But you have the same danger with any type of loose hanging clothing: wide blouses or shirts, etc. Or hair! Long hair is definitely, definitely a fire hazard if it isn't properly pinned up.
Bikes and skirts work fine (again depending on what type of skirt) no flapping here either, but if you've ever seen someone with a light fabric flappy pair of pants of which the pants have been caught in the chain, it's the same risk. Only thing that I would consider dangerous in a skirt is climbing trees or rockclimbing. You could avoid the danger of something getting caught between hands or feet with a very short jeans skirt, but then.. ehm well... you'ld display EVERYTHING to the world and that really would not be the intention. Besides, very short skirts are not very modest.
For me wearing a dress and skirt has nothing to do with fundamentalism and barely with faith, though many people will argue that wearing skirts and dresses is one way to answer the call towards living a life that embraces the femininity with which you have been endowed by your creator.
I doubt though that I drew any relation between that and my skirts at the age of five. I have just always been naturally inclined to wear skirts and dresses. I feel ten times more free in them than in a pair of pants and I can do much more in them. Yes... certain skirts exclude certain activites, but so do certain pants: Sitting on the back of a motor cycle with a flappy pair of pants? Danger!!! It's how my mother broke her ankle. Very highwaisted pants are not very easy to clean or bend over in, especially if they're tight. And has anyone ever tried to wear boots with a normal piped jeans? pipes are too wide to be tucked int he boots, and not wide enough for over the boots... you need bootcut jeans....
A lot of the misconceptions about the dangers of dresses and skirts are there because people who aren't used to wearing them anymore buy one or wear one and feel a. uncomfortable in it, or b. wear it for the wrong type of activity. And then accidents happen.
Have women in skirts had accidents in the past? Certainly! But think of this: in the past nearly all women wore skirts. So... if a woman in the past had an accident: she wore a skirt. I'm quite certain that there were men as well having accidents. Men who did not wear skirts.
There are of course a few things you have to take into account. For example... if you want to climb a ladder freely, make sure that the distance between your feet and the hem of the skirt when standing up is larger than the distance between one sport of the ladder and another, else you'll trip on your hem. That's a given. Anyone should know better than to go climbing ladders (or chairs, or anything), with floor length skirts. If you do that, you're ASKING for injuries. Do not go and mow the grass either with a floor length flappy skirt that could get caught in the lawmower blades, etc.
Floor length flappy skirts are nice for walking, for the lovely feel of them around your legs, but they're definitely not ideal for doing several chores. Although.. I wore one yesterday like this but a bit wider (http://www.tznius.com/cgi-bin/produ...310&groupid=26), for a whole day and haven't had trouble or anything that I planned to do that I couldn't do.
To have to think when you wear a skirt 'is it dangerous or uncomfortable for my activity' seems like an extra chore mainly because people aren't used to wearing skirts anymore. You don't need to think whether or not you're going to wear a highwaisted pair of spanish trousers for tree climbing, you just know better, you don't have to think about it at all. And no one is ever going to wear certain types of pants when you have to go through your knees or get under the bed to retrieve certain things while cleaning. We do all that subconsciously. If you wear skirts a lot, you get the same instinct about skirts, without the need to think. Plus you get much more apt at the way you move in skirts.
Even Jack Wolfskin (producer of outdoor gear) has a section on skirts and dresses. With the contents of my closet, there are very few activities I can't do safely in one of my skirts. And those are the activities in which I'll need to be very selective as well as to which pants I wear.
Last but certainly not least:
This post is not an attempt to get all women to wear skirts! What it is is an attempt to break through the bias that there is AGAINST skirts. Where it used to be unseemly for a woman not to wear a skirt, today... even the mention of preferring to wear a skirt seems to give you the image of a repressed and slightly backward human being who would love for women to go back to hoopskirts and corsets and is probably repressed by her husband or father.
Some girls simply LIKE to wear skirts or dresses. It makes them feel free. I can't understand how any woman feels free and comfortable in a jeans. But that's okay... I don't need to understand, because I accept that her jeans will probably give her the same feeling as my skirt does to me. What slightly annoys me is when people assume that I must be repressed or brainwashed to be liking skirts. If I was brainwashed any way, it would be against skirts. My mother has now accepted my skirt fetish and has actually started to like my wardrobe very much.