When I first started attending church with my baby, and I remember this clearly, I wore a sage-green linen dress in which I felt very pretty. It was comfortable enough to make chasing a crawling baby practical, yet still nice enough that it felt special. It was also sleeveless. On my second Sunday at church, it was quietly whispered to me by a sister that I might want to wear a t-shirt under my dress. Sitting in the folding chairs in the back of the stake center holding my squirmy infant, I looked around and realized, suddenly slightly embarrassed, that I was in fact the only woman with shoulders showing.
That whisper– meant, I suppose, as a favor– was the beginning of a shifting change that I have felt powerless to stop. The following Sunday, I switched to a blouse and skirt, and never wore that dress again. But something had changed besides my clothes. I was now aware that there was a “standard” to what I wore, and that others were watching me. It wasn’t about what I felt good in anymore- there were rules and even if I didn’t understand them, I was expected to follow them. And despite myself, I was watching suddenly, too.
Read all of this excellent post at By Commen Concent.