11 Aug 2011

Double Standard on Modesty: Fashionable for Muslims, Frumpy for Christians

When Christian’s dress modestly it’s frumpy and oppressive. When Muslims dress modestly, it’s admirable.

Writer Ken Shepherd takes a look at the double standard regarding modesty.


Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan scoffed at the notion of modest swimwear in her column “Ultimate Coverup.”  But the Post’s Alison Lake gave Style section readers a gushy look at how “Muslim women shop for ways to bare little.”

Overall, the tone of Lake’s piece was clear: Muslims can be fashionable while being modest and faithful to religious tradition, but it’s a shame that mainstream retail shops don’t carry clothing that caters to them.

By contrast, the 2006 column by then-Post fashion critic Robin Givhan derided the notion of women choosing modest swimwear, singling out the Wholesome Wear line:


The makers of WholesomeWear swimsuits would like women to cover up their tummies. And their backs. And their arms. And half their legs. The Oregon company, based outside Portland, sells a collection of swimwear online that consists of a wet suit topped by a dress. The spandex underpinning is not sufficient on its own because bystanders would still be able to make out the curves of the woman’s body. The nylon overdress takes care of any audacious display of an hourglass shape.

Givhan noted that Wholesome Wear “is not aimed at practitioners of any religion” but went on to scoff the Christian sensibilities that inform the company’s founders.

Read the rest here.


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15 responses to “Double Standard on Modesty: Fashionable for Muslims, Frumpy for Christians”

  1. avatar

    I think the author has a point about being “shrouded” in a loose fitting, unattractive housedress type thing. There is something to be said about NOT drawing attention to yourself like that. My daughter and I wear a one piece bathing suit with board shorts and a rash guard shirt over the top. Modest, yes, but still “normal” looking and with the ability to actually move and swim comfortably. Modesty is more than just being covered up … it’s about not drawing attention to oneself as well.

  2. avatar

    Note: the board shorts are just slightly above the knee and are loose fitting.

  3. avatar

    Robin Givhan is a mean woman but I have to say that the Wholesome Wear suits are hideous. I’d never wear that.

    1. avatar

      I’ve never heard of Robin Givhan. Who is she? Also, I’d like to know more about Wholesome Wear.

  4. avatar

    To me Mohammedan, etc… is to be modest, to be Catholic, never. There are a lot of cute and modest swimwear available…via online.. Here is a great site my family ordered from this summer. http://teresitasewcreative.vpweb.com/Swimwear.html

    1. avatar

      Sorry, I meant to say.. To be Mohammedan..ect.

  5. avatar

    From a guy’s perspective once you allow the Hourglass shape to be dictated, THE IMAGINATION WAR begins. Christ to the rescue.

  6. avatar

    “Double Standard On Modesty: Fashionable For Muslims, Frumpy For Christians” is another winner. Its title, however, proves how anti-Christian society tries to be. Islam is pharasee-like, but gets a free pass, while Christiany is not but gets undeserved criticism.

  7. avatar

    I find it odd how people can speak as if people are trying to bash Muslims at every turn when, in fact, so much as a valid criticism of Islam has the whole country(if not the world) up in arms!

  8. avatar

    I’m surprised it just hit me, but I find it ironic how, it doesn’t take an advocate of “women’s lib” to acknowledge(and be bothered by) a good chunk of how Muslim countries treat their women, yet I noticed even the most “rigid” of Muslims won’t bat an eye lash if a female wears pants.

  9. avatar

    I just looked at “Modesty Gone Awry”, and it proves that non-Christians get away with everything under the sun if they try to get females to “frump it up”, but Christians get “taken to the woodshed” for simply asking females to not dress masculine or immodest. What gives?!

  10. avatar

    Christians aren’t, and don’t have to be, frumpy, but some people who all but require the females to “frump it up” are the Amish. So do the Muslims.

  11. avatar

    Recently, if where alludes me, I read in either a magazine or a newspaper, about a fashion show that would have Muslim “Hijab” among what models would be wearing. If this doesn’t prove Islam is getting a free pass(and undeserved at that), what does?!

  12. avatar

    Muslim swimwear is much like the swimwear shown in this article, yet I bet they won’t get as much flak.

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