In today’s way-to-make-women-feel-bad-about-themselves news, a female student at Brigham Young University-Idaho was booted from an exam for wearing jeans that were considered too tight by her Mormon teacher’s standards. The problem is, skinny girls are allowed to wear the exact same thing.
Apparently, young women in some local congregations have been told by local leaders that the way they dress constitutes “a sexual temptation to young men, or that their dress choices constitute a walking form of pornography,” according to one Mormon blogger, Joanna Brooks.
The student, Rachel Vermillion, had already taken one exam at the university’s testing center and had a meeting with her bishop in the so-called offensive jeans, but they were never mentioned–until she returned to the testing center later that day for a second exam and was told by an employee that she couldn’t take the test because her pants were too form-fitting.
Ridiculous dress code aside, perhaps the bigger issue here is that the student feels like she was discriminated against because of her weight. Vermillion stated:
It was really frustrating because there were skinny girls who were wearing tight pants who were getting admitted, but I’m curvy so my regular-fitting pants were a little bit tighter on me and he wouldn’t let me in. It was offensive and humiliating.
She also says that the school’s dress code isn’t clear. A sign at the testing center states, “Skin tight clothing is NOT appropriate attire. If you don’t understand the Dress and Grooming standards, we invite you to go to the Lord ‘and ask in faith, nothing wavering’ for approval of the clothing you wear. The Spirit will tell you whether what you are wearing is appropriate or not.”
But at least one Mormon, Brooks, is coming to her defense of curvy women:
Some Mormons emphasize the importance of obedience for obedience’s sake as a key principle. Others ask whether disproportionate attention to dress standards sends the right message about the relationship between appearance and spirituality to LDS youth, especially when the brunt of conservative dress standards enforcement falls on young women, and particularly on curvy young women or young women of size. Curvy girls bear a burden of attention — negative and positive — to their bodies anyways. Faith-based “modesty” enforcement compound those body issues among young women.
Excellent point, Ms. Brooks. It’s about time that someone calls attention to the plight of curvy women who can be negatively judged simply because of the shape of their body. Modesty is one thing, but discrimination like this is just offensive and ignorant. What if it were a guy wearing the tight jeans? And what if he was curvy? I have to wonder if he would have been banned from taking his exam. Probably not.