BYU Banning Skinny Jeans On Curvy Girls Is Offensive

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.




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    • c mcrae

      BYU-Idaho is not the same as BYU. Yes they are affiliated but the folks up at the Idaho school are notoriously crazy. No where close to the same admission standards. Anyone can get into BYU-I but only the best of the best get into BYU. BYU-I is more like an extension of high school and they have all kind of crazy rules that do not exist at BYU.

      The article makes it sound like they are one in the same but they are not. Its a mistake by the LDS Church to name them the way they have because it cheapens the BYU image.

    • Sigh

      If you don’t want to conform to religious standards don’t go to a religiously affiliated school. Pretty f’in’ simple. Go to a State School.

      The rules are crazy because religion is crazy. You can’t expect it to make sense. These people wear magic underwear to keep them chaste.

      To be outraged by this is equally ridiculous.

    • elizabeth

      Do I agree? Yes and No. First of all, did anyone actually see a photo of what the young lady was wearing? I taught High School for many years and can tell you that clothing that does not fit is not attractive. Was she actually wearing clothing that fit? You mentioned modesty, without seeing an image… well, who can really say? I am curvy, and I can squeeze into jeans two sizes to small and my ‘muffin top’ would hang over- yuck! But, if she was appropriately dressed, then there is a bigger issue at hand.

      • Jana

        This: is the outfit she was wearing (it was being shared on FB, but it has her real name).

    • Susie

      This is wrong. BYU-Idaho sent out a press statement, or something along those lines, stating that skinny jeans are allowed. This one department of the testing center decided to interpret the dress code on their own and put up the sign, when the University found out, they made them take it down. Do you think you want to take this article down because it’s utterly poor reporting considering it’s COMPLETELY FALSE!

    • Derick Empey

      I’m confused by some oft he responses here. It doesn’t matter if her clothes were not attractive. There’s nothing in the LDS religion, or in the dress code that states “The clothes you wear must be appealing to the eyes.”

      Secondly, Susie, it’s not false, it’s that the church has dealt with it. Just because they’ve changed the policy, doesn’t mean the policy didn’t exist at some point, even if interpreted incorrectly. It’s good that they dealt with it, but that doesn’t make it false.

      Finally, the sign itself is ridiculous. This is the one thing that drove me crazy about the church. “Don’t just follow us blindly, pray and search your soul for the answer. However, if you get a different answer than the status quo, you’re probably doing it wrong.”