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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Vote or Die 6: Which Modest Is Hottest?

by Scott Heffernan (bio)

See all Vote or Die posts here.

Modesty is so hot right now. It's taking up my mind and my Facebook wall. You've no doubt heard about the recent incident at BYU involving Brittany Molina, a young woman who received a special note on Valentine's Day politely informing her that her clothing is harming God's children.

You may also remember Rachel Vermillion from a couple of months ago, a BYU-Idaho student who couldn't take a test because her pants were too tight for the taste of the testing center overlords.

So which outfit is saucier? Who would you write a condescending note to? I sincerely hope the answer is neither. (But I also hope for the sake of the vote, you'll pick one or the other.)

Some have pointed out that both of these outfits do, in fact, violate the honor code that these women agreed to. Rachel's clothes are somewhat "form-fitting" (whatever that means exactly). Brittany's dress cuts off above the knee, and even though she has thick, opaque winter tights on, this technically still violates the honor code. So why have the reactions to these incidents been so strong?

There are a few issues at play here. 1.) Although both outfits may violate the honor code, the general consensus appears to be that neither outfit is immodest. Both outfits are pretty tasteful. (Brittany even landed a modeling contract with Chris & Kate's, a clothing company specializing in modest fasion.) I doubt Mr. Valentine would have bothered to voice his concern had her violation been the wearing of flip flops. 2.) The underlying issues of sexism framing the policies and the unfair burden of responsibility women are made to have over men's sexuality. 3.) The apparent need that permeates our Mormon culture to police each other's every thought and action. This attribute seems to be intensified on the campuses in Provo and Rexburg. When did we start adopting the methods of the Spanish Inquisition? Perhaps it's time to return to the original Mormon creed of "Mind your own business."

Go Utes!

On a side note, I want to share this picture I took while visiting my hometown of Salt Lake. I told you modesty is hot.

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