I have a confession to make – I am holiness. I support this, not in the legalistic manner in which some do, but in an effort to be modest, and to devoid myself of pride and the things of this world. Further, I believe that the life of a Christian is not bound in material goods, but in humility before God and man. We do not seek to please man in anything that we do – whether doctrine or dress. The less we spend on fashions, the more we can spend on the things that matter. If we devote ourselves wholly to God, then the prideful things of this world will no longer matter.
Some hold to the length of a skirt as a matter of heaven and hell – I do not. With that said, I believe that if certain standards are set, then those standards should be adhered to by the community which has agreed to those standards. This article is about defending holiness, but about taking to task the rampant sexism found so often among those who practice it.
The holiness movement is noted for their women who have long, uncut hair, no make-up, the rare piece of jewelry, usually limited to a wedding ring, long dresses, loosing fitting clothes, and a quite personality. If a woman wears brightly colored clothing, you can almost hear everyone in the building whisper ‘harlot.’ If the sleeves are above the elbows, well, she might as well be naked. If she wears jewelry beyond a wedding ring, well, she might be compared to a street walker, and heaven help us all if the style of a woman’s hear is anything but a bun on top of the head.
Can you smell the brimstone yet?
The men, on the other hand, well, they cannot wear shorts.
Do you see the disparity here?
Peacocks, like most waterfowl, have the females dulled in color while the males are given to bright patterns. The same is said for what has taken hold in the holiness movement as of late. The woman are kept docile. They are to dress in dark colors, very loosing fitting, with hair either left to hang on twirled into a bun. They are not to appear as if they care about their personal appearance beyond that of personal hygiene. They are the personal property of their husbands and are not to be seen with clothing that might attack a glance.
The men, well, they are allowed a full array of clothing. They can wear sharp three piece suits, zoot suits, loud ties, purple shoes, and put enough oil in their hair that the Exxon Valdez looks like a pinprick. They can wear purple, pink, bright blue, loud red, and generally any color in the rainbow and the hex coloring system. Snake skin is acceptable. Shoot, why not leopard print? They can wear t-shirts with short sleeves – who cares about the tattoos? The male of the holiness species is often highlighted if they standout.
And jewelry – watches, rings, tie pins, and the amount of silver and gold on their shoes! Peacocks, the lot of them.
Is it fair to require something of women that we do not of men? Is there a double standard in the eyes of God or is it in the eyes of man?
Women, our wives, are not our personal property which we hide from the world while we are allowed to strut around looking like peacocks. If our women are demanded to clothe themselves in modesty, then were is the same command for men?
We are told numerous times to watch our communication, our conduct, that it be worthy of the Gospel of Christ and that it be done in simplicity and godly sincerity. Further, we are told that God is a not a respecter of persons, and that there is neither male nor female before God. If this is so, then while we may hold different offices, we must not be treated in a different manner. What is good for the goose, is good for the gander.
You know what else gets my goat about this? Dancing, etc.. is preached against from the pulpit, but if pastor’s grandchildren want to dress up emo style, sing in Teen Idol, and go to prom, why, that’s just fine and dandy.