Mormon Values Take on the Brit Pack

Coming in on the train this morning I read a front page article in the Chicago Tribune, “Beauty Queen Targets Ugly Behavior.” It was about Amanda Rammell, Idaho’s representative to the Miss USA pageant going on this week in Los Angeles. Rammell is a Mormon and has been vocal about the need for more positive role models for tween girls than Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. According to the article, some are calling the influence of the Brit pack the “prostitot” trend–girls being sexualized prematurely.

In contrast, Rammell is pushing the values of her upbringing on an Idaho ranch near Yellowstone: the morals, the education, the down-to-earth traditions of that upbringing. Her role models are her grandmother’s life of endurance working a farm and her mother’s lessons of compassion towards others.

“A lot of people look at my lifestyle as strict,” she says. “For me, I’m always in control of my actions.”

The article also talks about the irony of a beauty pageant contestant making such a stand, as many view such pageants as inherently demeaning to women.

I also found it interesting that Rammell does not take the usual tack of abhorrence of the swimsuit competition:

Though she’s a Mormon who advocates strong family values, Rammell said the pageant’s swimsuit competition is “just fun. It takes a lot of guts to get out there with a string bikini and high heels.”

So what do you think? Is a heavy does of good old fashioned Idaho farm girl Mormonism the cure for our values-starved tweens and a replacement for their current questionable role models?

Comments

  1. I don’t know that it is fair to call them the “Brit Pack”. I think at least 2 of them are not British but American.

  2. I don’t know; but they should definitely keep the swimsuit competition. ;-)

    Ok, ok . . I think she is right about popular culture, especially among impressionable youth has run on the reality charts. More adherence to principles in “For The Strength of Youth” would be much better as a role model for our youth than the Spears, Lohan, and Hilton rehab reprobates.

    Rammell’s lifestyle is not strict. It is free. She has the freedom to do things with her life that making good choices brings. Look at where she is vs. where Spears, Lohan, and Hilton are and have been. There’s not even a close comparison.

    Thanks for this post and article link Kevin.

  3. Well, we’ve already been there, Kevin. Remember when Vanessa Williams was crowned Miss America and then stripped of the crown because provocative pictures of her were revealed in some magazine? The next Miss America was Charlene Wells, daughter of LDS GA Robert Wells. (AND she won the swimsuit competition.) Miss USA is scandal-ridden this year. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to have Miss Idaho take the crown the same way Wells did. But swimsuit competions? String bikinis? I remember that Robert Wells expressed some pretty strong reservations about his daughter competing in a one-piece.

  4. Tom (#1),

    I believe that’s “Brit” as in Britney Spears, not the nationality.

  5. For some reason I think that the honor code police would go Ms. Rammell if they saw her show up to a dance wearing this.

    Yes, tween girls need role models, ones whose outspoken mark of modesty excludes plunging necklines and skin-tight apparel. Most pageant girls, including Ms. Rammell, fall short of that standard.

  6. Though she’s a Mormon who advocates strong family values, Rammell said the pageant’s swimsuit competition is “just fun. It takes a lot of guts to get out there with a string bikini and high heels.”

    Just like it takes Paris, Brit, and Lindsay “gut” to strut around in skivvies? (or without them). I’m sure they think it’s “fun” too. I don’t see a huge difference in the exhibitionism.

  7. Amen, mami. Gotta love the hypocrisy. Reminds me of when Britney hit the scene several years ago and was the role model. Now look what a role model she is! Anybody who proclaims that “it takes guts” to display 95% of your body to the ogling public is not a hallmark of modesty and morality, in my book.

  8. Well. . . let’s put this into some context here Connor, and mami. Is wearing a two piece bathing suit during a beauty contest the moral equivalent of flashing one’s genitals to the Paparazzi for publication all over the world?

  9. Guy–certainly not. It’s the exhibitionism that is stunning to me.

  10. Guy,

    Clearly not. However, for a Mormon girl who is “using the Miss USA pageant to urge teens to look within their families or communities for positive models,” I would expect her to live the principle of modesty she intends to hold up as a light to the world. From a few pictures I’ve already seen of her, she looks much like any other pageant queen. I can’t speak of her morals and intentions, but judging by outward appearnce, I don’t see any difference between her and others.

    While Britney and her cohorts are on one end of the role model spectrum, shouldn’t we promote role models and the other end as well? Pageant “misses” don’t fit that bill, as I see them falling somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. Sadly, the media does not tell the stories of true role models —faithful women, struggling mothers, diligent teachers, etc.—that will do far more to instill values in our daughters than a pretty smile and bronzed flesh in a string bikini.

  11. promote role models on* the other end…

  12. Connor, maybe I’m reading too much into your comment (#7), but you seem to be conflating modesty and morality. Is it not possible to demonstrate the latter without strict adherence to the former?

  13. Dan,

    I think Elder Oaks said it best:

    Your destiny is to be a wife and a mother in Zion, not a model and a streetwalker in Babylon. You should dress and act accordingly.

    Can a woman who dresses immodestly maintain a standard of morality? Perhaps. But certainly one who flaunts their flesh to a drooling group of men is not advocating modesty nor engendering a strong sense of morality. So yes, I tend to conflate the two.

  14. I think y’all are missing the boat on the modesty thing. The problems with Brit/Linds/Paris isn’t only or even mostly what they wear. It’s irresponsibility in the form of excessive drinking and serial sex partners.

    She’s not only talking to LDS girls. If girls can look at this gorgeous, sexy young woman and think, “Hey, I can be hot without being a drunken tramp,” then more power to her! One step at a time.

    The problem is that Miss America is pretty much irrelevent.

  15. But why do women need to show off their flesh to be attractive/sexy? Yes, I am naive.

  16. When she becomes ‘Idaho’s Teacher of the Year’. I”ll look up to her.

  17. I realize I’m fighting an uphill battle and potentially opening a rather sizable can of worms in saying this, but I think that when it comes to the modesty spectrum, advocacy of the polar opposite of Britney and other young female celebrities isn’t entirely healthy either.

    I really don’t think we should be condemning Rammell’s as a hypocrite for wearing a sleeveless dress or competing in a two-piece bikini. Sure, you might act differently in her situation and you may disagree with her choice of attire, but it seems that she’s a very down-to-earth girl with some wonderful values and a real desire to be a good role model to young women. And I’d like to suggest that if her largest blemish is bearing her shoulders or stomach in public, then she’s light years ahead of the other “role models” out there.

    One of my problems with such fierce insistence on covering every square inch of a woman’s body is that it objectifies women and defines them by their bodies, just as pornography does. As Levi Peterson once wrote, “Ironically, prudery reinforces pornography” (Dialogue, Volume 20, Number 4, p. 124). Extreme prudery sends the same message that pornography does: that a woman’s body is inherently and thoroughly sexual, and that men can’t help but be aroused by the sight of skin. Both pornographers and prudes buy into this myth, but react to it in opposing ways.

    If you see a woman in a sleeveless dress with a low neckline and all you can think is shoulders and breasts, then something is wrong.

    I think there may be a comfortable middle ground when it comes to modesty. That is to say, modesty isn’t just about keeping your shoulders and legs covered. It’s an attitude and demeanor that does not allow oneself to be defined by his or her physical attributes alone. But it should also embrace the inherent beauty of the human form, rather than be ashamed of it.

  18. Teacher of what? :)

  19. That is to say, modesty isn’t just about keeping your shoulders and legs covered. It’s an attitude and demeanor that does not allow oneself to be defined by his or her physical attributes alone.

    Right, and strutting around on a stage in a bikini and heels is not allowing oneself to be defined by physical attributes?

  20. One of my problems with such fierce insistence on covering every square inch of a woman’s body is that it objectifies women and defines them by their bodies, just as pornography does.

    So back in the pioneer days of huge dresses, pornography ran rampant, eh? Society has only become sexualized as the body itself has become objectified. Being a prude doesn’t help, but covering up and respecting your body surely sends a message that you are to be loved for who you are, not the toned features of your body that only go downhill with age.

    That is to say, modesty isn’t just about keeping your shoulders and legs covered. It’s an attitude and demeanor that does not allow oneself to be defined by his or her physical attributes alone.

    Agreed.

    But it should also embrace the inherent beauty of the human form, rather than be ashamed of it.

    Nobody is talking about being ashamed, as far as I’m aware. Far from being ashamed, modesty fosters respect for your God-given body and a determination to let your spouse be the one who gets to see the goods, not the American public.

  21. I didn’t say I agreed with the swimsuit competition part of Miss USA. I agree that it places too much emphasis on the women’s bodies. But I don’t believe that wearing a bikini is an inherently sinful or immodest thing, nor do I think that it puts a woman on anywhere near the same plane as Britney or Paris.

  22. Modest (or not so modest) beauty queens and the ‘brit pack’ are two sides of the same coin. Both groups impart the message that girls will be judged first and foremost by what they look like and that they can become a good/moral person (or a bad/immoral person) simply by changing the clothes they wear. In this set up modesty and self-respect are simply a matter of dressing correctly- ultimately it’s just a facade.

    To me the best role models to counteract the brit pack are women who are successful for doing something other than looking nice– world leaders, authors, scientists, ceos, mothers, athletes, etc. Modest dress and moral behavior are by-products of self-respect and when girls are encouraged via role models to do substantial things that are worthy of respect then the modesty will follow naturally.

  23. It’s not just “sexy” that the negative role models have. It’s money, attention, and power.

    If Ms. Rammell can get girls thinking about how to get attention and power without passing out drunk or screwing Greek shipping heirs, that’s a GOOD thing. Y’all are letting the ideal be the enemy of the good.

    Mr. James, maybe you’d pay attention if she was Idaho Teacher of the Year, but most eleven year-old girls would not be one.tiny.bit.impressed. Probably not even if it was a relative or family friend.

  24. I am not ready to throw Sister Rammell under the bus yet. Juast like I am not writing off any of the YW in my ward who may occassionally dress immodestly or any of the YM with issues as well.

  25. But I don’t believe that wearing a bikini is an inherently sinful or immodest thing…

    In private company, sure. In front of millions? Hmmm…

  26. If Ms. Rammell can get girls thinking about how to get attention and power without passing out drunk or screwing Greek shipping heirs, that’s a GOOD thing.

    And why, pray tell, is Ms. Rammell getting any attention?

    Hint: It’s because she’s hot.

  27. But I don’t believe that wearing a bikini is an inherently sinful or immodest thing,
    Agreed.

    #26 Yep! and that’s it! Although, I don’t think getting attentin for being beautiful is inherently bad. But she is perpetuating the idea that it is ok to gain power if you are a women simply by being sexy.

  28. Conner,

    Elder Oaks tends to take a binary view on things. You either look like a mother in Zion or a whore. If you have a beard, you look like a drunken hippie. While I think some girls today dress like whores, I don’t think Miss Idaho looks like one.

  29. To me, it’s not much different than a basketball player wearing a tank top, or a volleyball player wearing those short spandex shorts. It’s part of the uniform. While the dress wouldn’t be appropriate for a church dance, it’s appropriate for the competition. The swim suit may not be appropriate for walking around the MTC, but it’s the uniform of the competition.

  30. Ann – I agree with your comments.

  31. Far from being ashamed, modesty fosters respect for your God-given body and a determination to let your spouse be the one who gets to see the goods, not the American public.

    So do shoulders, kneecaps, and navels count as “the goods”? Come on, wearing a sleeveless dress isn’t the same as parading around nude in public.

    So back in the pioneer days of huge dresses, pornography ran rampant, eh?

    Well, the state of photographic technology at the time would have complicated the production of what we would consider visual pornography, but that’s not to say that there weren’t heavily sexual undercurrents in former times. On the surface, the Victorians were extremely prudish and proper, but in private, many became obsessed with sex and sexuality. Prostitution and extramarital affairs were rampant in the city, for instance.

    Society has only become sexualized as the body itself has become objectified.

    People are inherently sexual, and so society will always have a sexual side. That’s not a problem. However, I do agree with you that the objectification of the body (particularly the female body) contributes to a societal obsession with sex. But I believe excessive prudery actually feeds the beast.

    For instance, as this US News article points out,

    More than a decade ago, Attorney General Edwin Meese III’s Commission on Pornography issued its controversial report, asserting that sexually explicit materials were harmful and calling for strict enforcement of the federal obscenity laws. The report prompted President Ronald Reagan to launch one of the most far-reaching assaults on porn in the nation’s history, a campaign that continued under President George Bush. Hundreds of producers, distributors, and retailers in the sex industry were indicted and convicted. Many were driven from the business and imprisoned.

    The Reagan-Bush war on pornography coincided, however, with a dramatic increase in America’s consumption of sexually explicit materials. According to Adult Video News, an industry trade publication, the number of hard-core-video rentals rose from 75 million in 1985 to 490 million in 1992. The total climbed to 665 million, an all-time high, in 1996.

    …In 1969, Denmark became the first nation in the world to rescind its obscenity laws, an act taken after much deliberation and study. According to Vagn Greve, director of the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Law at the University of Copenhagen, when the Danish obscenity law was overturned, there was a steep rise in the consumption of porn, followed by a long, steady decline. “Ever since then,” he says, “the market for pornography has been shrinking.” Porn sales remain high in Copenhagen mainly because of purchases by foreigners. Greve’s colleague at the institute, the late Berl Kutchinsky, studied the effects of legalized pornography in Denmark for more than 25 years. In a survey of Copenhagen residents a few years after the “porno wave” had peaked, Kutchinsky found that most Danes regarded porn as being “uninteresting” and “repulsive.” Less than a quarter of the population said they liked watching hard-core films. Subsequent research confirmed these findings. “The most common immediate reaction to a one-hour pornography stimulation,” Kutchinsky concluded, “was boredom.”

    By making a woman’s legs or shoulders or stomach so taboo, we’re sexualizing them. This type of taboo (and the guilt/shame associated with it) fuels the type of sexual misconceptions and unhealthy attitudes upon which pornographers prey.

    Without such a taboo, a leg becomes nothing more than a leg, a shoulder nothing more than a shoulder, and a breast becomes nothing more than a breast. The sexual connotations are removed, and people are less likely to be excited by a little skin.

    Well, as I’ll be flying cross country in a few hours, I’m going to let this be my (hopefully) final contribution to this discussion. Take it for what it’s worth.

  32. It’s part of the uniform.

    So pageantry is now a sport? Can nudity be written off as the uniform for stripping in clubs? Surely “it’s appropriate for the competition!”

    ::: rolls eyes :::

  33. Settle down, Connor.

  34. I am not a fan of beauty contests. Just another tool of the patriarchy designed to keep women in their places as members of the submissive sex class.

    But there she is. A member of the submissive sex class, flaunting her assets for attention. There are fifty other women doing the same thing. Who is being quoted in the Chicago Tribune? Ms. Rammell, the walking ironist. She is making the attention being paid to her for stupid and sexist and demeaning reasons (lemons) a platform for pointing out the virtues of hard work and compassion (lemonade). This is a nice contrast to the selfish, goof-off, self-absorbed lifestyle of the submissive sex class that currently pass for role models.

    I like what she’s saying. She’s right. Maybe some girls who don’t hear the these things in primary every Sunday will be inspired by what she’s saying. If she wasn’t on a stage, they wouldn’t be hearing what she’s saying.

    On the other hand, since Miss America is largely irrelevant, it probably won’t make much of a difference. But some people seem to like parading for the patriarchy, so they might as well say sensible things while doing so.

  35. Settle down, Connor.

    Um, what? Making a valid point in rebuttal to somebody’s comment indicates being unsettled? Care to elaborate?

  36. Steve,
    The Netherlands birth rate is also falling through the floor and their socialistic system will probably collapse due to it. I am not so sure events over there are a model for much good.

  37. Connor, it’s your recurring hyperbole and combative tone. That works well in a high school debate team but it’s not really welcome here.

  38. I’m not a fan of beauty pageants either. But unless I’m going to take the position that they’re inherently immoral (and it’s tempting), I’d have to agree with some of the comments of Steve M and Ann. Mandy is saying many of the right things, and (in my opinion) she’s dressing appropriately for the occasion.

    In fact, I’d almost go as far as to say that if she were to go on the stage wearing something that would pass the standards of the modesty police, she would be in fact immodest — if we think of modesty as meaning not calling undue attention to yourself.

    Unless we take the position that modesty is defined as wearing only garment-friendly clothing whenever in public, it seems to me that modesty is at least partly a cultural determination. Like KyleM above said, this is something like a uniform.

    I haven’t seen Mandy, and I had never even heard of her until I read this blog. If we’re going to judge her (and I’m not saying we should at all), it would make more sense to judge her for snubbing Idaho’s governor than for wearing the outfit of the competition.

    It’s attitudes like those here that soured my daughter on church (not permanently, thankfully) when she was a cheerleader in high school. She lived a by-the-standards life and had healthy, nonexploitive, chaste relationships with boys — with better attitudes toward the oppositive sex than the prospective missionaries in the ward had — and yet she was criticized for wearing the short skirts of the uniform. I must say I’m disappointed to see the same judgmentalism here, especially from people who know nothing about this contestant.

  39. Connor,

    I didn’t say it was a sport. Athletes aren’t the only people that wear uniforms.

    Your nudity argument is just silly. They aren’t nude, and their attire is appropriate for the event.

    Roll your eyes all you want if you think it makes your argument stronger, but if you want to compete in a beauty contest, you have to wear a swimsuit and a sexy dress. Modesty isn’t a coin where you’re either on the modesty side or not. I don’t think she looks like a whore, but if you hold people to a higher standard than I do, good for you.

  40. The Netherlands birth rate is also falling through the floor and their socialistic system will probably collapse due to it. I am not so sure events over there are a model for much good.

    Since my quote from the US News article had to do with Denmark’s obscenity laws and its citizens’ pornography consumption, I’m not sure how the Netherlands’ birth rate is relevant (if I’m not seeing a rather obvious connection, then please excuse my ignorance and enlighten me).

    While there are some things that our more liberal European neighbors do that we may not want to emulate, I would suggest that they aren’t wrong across the board.

  41. And I’m sorry if it seems like I’m trying to thread-jack.

    My point is that, while I personally am not a big fan of beauty pageants or the messages they send, I feel that Rammell is sincerely trying to do the right thing and be a good role model. And I don’t believe that wearing a bikini or a sleeveless dress disqualifies her as a role model (she seems far more worthy of that title than the vast majority of her competition), or that she deserves even a fraction of the condemnation that’s been thrown at her by some commenters here.

    I think there’s room for more moderation and reason in our assessment of what constitutes “modesty.”

    Anyway, this really is going to be my last post here.

  42. My last post on this thread, that is.

  43. gst, award-winning commenter says:

    #14:

    Hey, I can be hot without being a drunken tramp

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  44. jothegrill says:

    Re: #43 Somehow I managed.

    I also think that she is trying to do a good thing. I assume that she hasn’t made covenants in the temple about wearing garments. Therefore she is not to be held to the same standard as those who have.

  45. jothegrill says:

    I will be teaching my children (both boys and girls) about modesty at a young age. That is out of consideration for others as well as for their own safety. Those who will be watching the Miss America will not be shocked by one particular contestant’s bare midriff. That is what they expect. As for her personal safety, she’s a big girl, and she can make her own decisions.

  46. cj douglass says:

    She is making the attention being paid to her for stupid and sexist and demeaning reasons (lemons) a platform for pointing out the virtues of hard work and compassion (lemonade).

    Brilliant.

    And Steve E, are you really prepeared to be callng people combative?

  47. Steve Evans says:

    cj, I am indeed prepeared.

  48. Steve,

    By my count, that is three “last” comments in this thread.

    Several years ago, the daughter of some friends of mine was Miss New Mexico. When she was on stage in her swimsuit or evening gown, she was hot. When she changed back into her “civilian” clothes, she was just another bright, outgoing, pretty teenage girl.

    In real life, Rammell is probably just another pretty teenage girl herself. In that case, nobody outside her circle of family and friends cares much about what she thinks. But she is now in a position where, at least for her fifteen minutes of fame, people are paying attention to what she is saying. Rather than talking about some generic “save the world” platform like most beauty contestants do, she is talking about something that can make a positive difference in the lives of young girls who see something admirable in beauty contestants.

    I think that is a good thing.

  49. Women no matter what religion should be able to wear what ever they would like to wear, modest or not. There is nothing wrong with a string bikini it is part of the competition. If women are not aloud to wear bikinis then we better prevent body builders from wearing speedos.

  50. Hmmm. Ridding the world of speedos, one gym at a time. Not a bad idea.
    My husband’s favorite transitional phrase is, “You may say… [fill in the blank]. Let me explain.”
    SO…you may say, “What?? Have them compete in the nude like in the ancient Olympics? Have you gone mad?”
    And I would answer, “That’s three questions. The answer to one of them is YES.”

  51. Margaret–I’m with you–and speedos are so completely unattractive.

  52. Sorry, I know Steve has already addressed this, but I can’t resist piling on.

    Far from being ashamed, modesty fosters respect for your God-given body and a determination to let your spouse be the one who gets to see the goods, not the American public.

    For me, and I suspect many others, a beautiful face is part of “the goods.” Maybe burkas should have a place in Mormonism.

    So back in the pioneer days of huge dresses, pornography ran rampant, eh?

    But who needs pornography when you have polygamy?

  53. I keep feeling there’s something wrong with our modesty rhetoric in the church. There’s something that feels wrong. I think the wrongness was highlighted for me when I heard that there was some effort at BYU to ban girls wearing purses or packs with straps diagonally across their shoulders because they tended to highlight the shape of the breasts. That is exactly what is wrong with our modesty rhetoric. No matter how modestly you dress, someone is still going to think this or that about you is too attractive and doesn’t need to show. If you agree to wear long shorts and cover your shoulders and collar bones, next thing they will ask is that you wear your purse a different way. When you have a large bag and you have to walk a long way as girls do on campus, it’s far more comfortable to wear the strap crosswise. It centers the weight much better, and is healthier on muscles and joints. It’s just not right that girls should have to think of themselves as toxic, as walking porn, that has to be suppressed and covered at all costs. That’s just wrong.

    Men in Afghanistan really do feel just as affected by seeing a female wrist or chin as guys here do from something like rear cleavage. So you see there’s no good to be found on that road. Girls simply aren’t responsible for men’s thoughts about them. They just aren’t. That whole idea is wrongheaded. That girls are attractive to guys, and vice versa, is part of life. Noone should be forced to cover their attractiveness, to strive to give dull answers. It’s no good trusting the servile womb to breed free men.

  54. I heard that there was some effort at BYU to ban girls wearing purses or packs with straps diagonally across their shoulders because they tended to highlight the shape of the breasts.

    That discussion stemmed from a letter to the editor in the Daily Universe. That hardly qualifies as an “effort” to ban anything. And the letter was probably written as a joke. In my stint at BYU, you’d see a letter to the editor about something really stupid (perhaps a guy complaining that girls had white legs and should tan more) and then a few days later, you’d see a letter from the guy whose name was signed to the original letter protesting that someone else wrote that letter and signed his name as a prank.

    So imputing actions to BYU based on a (probably fabricated) letter to an editor in the Daily Universe is really a stretch. There’s enough to talk about in Church modesty issues without pulling in the imaginary things too.

  55. Viewing speedos as shameful is a weird hangup prevalent among Americans that makes for lots of unnecessary acrimony and posturing. The European readers like Ronan are probably laughing their heads off.

  56. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 51 Not always. ; )

  57. #51 I don’t find them shameful–just really unattractive

    but #56, to each his own.

  58. Steady on Mathew! I’m British, not German. Speedos are gross.

  59. Men in Afghanistan really do feel just as affected by seeing a female wrist or chin as guys here do from something like rear cleavage. So you see there’s no good to be found on that road. Girls simply aren’t responsible for men’s thoughts about them. They just aren’t. That whole idea is wrongheaded. That girls are attractive to guys, and vice versa, is part of life. Noone should be forced to cover their attractiveness, to strive to give dull answers. It’s no good trusting the servile womb to breed free men.

    Tatiana, you are inspired, that’s the most intelligent thing anyone has said on this thread, or any thread, for a while. There IS something wrong with the rhetoric and the wrong part is found with people like Connor who think if a little modesty is good, more is better. And if a pageant contestant wears a bikini in public, she is the same as a stripper. That kind of knee-jerk reaction is just sad. It’s logical conclusion is the burka. Isn’t that the best way to save the “goods” for your spouse?

    I don’t believe our more extreme ideas about modesty are a necessary part of the gospel at all. They seem to have their roots in puritanism, rather than the restoration.

  60. Jonathan Green says:

    Poacher.

  61. The fashion trend over the last 10 years or so seems to be all about “girl power”, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”, “don’t be ashamed of yourself, be bold, be beautiful”, etc. There also seems to be an increase in the number of girls with eating disorders, depression, dissatisfaction with their bodies, etc. Does anybody else think this could be related? Rather than focusing on the effect women’s clothes/styles have on men, why not take a look at their effect on women?

  62. 53:

    I heard that there was some effort at BYU to ban girls wearing purses or packs with straps diagonally across their shoulders because they tended to highlight the shape of the breasts.

    That episode was one of my fondest memories of the BYU. Even if you believe Melinda’s conspiracy theory about the source of the controversy, only at the BYU (ok, maybe BYUI or BYUH too) would it have gained traction.

    54:

    So imputing actions to BYU based on a (probably fabricated) letter to an editor in the Daily Universe is really a stretch.

    Surely not any more of a stretch than your own claims. As I’ve suggested above, the fact that the letter wasn’t ignored or immediately discounted by the student body suggests that the issue itself wasn’t imaginary.

  63. Peter (62),
    Except that freshman can meet one of their writing requirements for freshman English (or at least could when I worked at the Writing Center) by writing a letter to the editor. At the end of every semester, it seemed, the Daily Universe got flooded with judgmental, poorly-thought-out letters, which may or may not have had any basis in the writer’s own opinion.

    Nonethelesss, let me join with the voices who say that (a) she’s not doing anything wrong, (b) she’s probably doing some good, (c) I don’t get why anyone would want to do pagents (except that when my sister was considering a small local one, they would have given her a significant amount of scholarship money, so I take that back–I do understand at least one reason), and (d) deal with it.

  64. (um, my second paragraph wasn’t directed toward Peter, even though it comes across that way, so maybe I’m as poor a communicator of my thoughts as the freshman letter-writers)

  65. Sorry Jonathan, I couldn’t resist. I’m no more interested in seeing the proliferation of banana hammocks on our fair shores than anyone else.

  66. jab in comment #61 makes an excellent point.

  67. I do think it’s ironic that Ms. Rammell slams Britney, Paris, and Lindsey’s behavior and choice of dress while making statements like “[it’s just fun. It takes a lot of guts to get out there with a string bikini and high heels.” Why do you think Britney, Paris, and Lindsey do what they do and dress like they dress?!

    Amen to #22. Miss USA and Celebutantes like Paris and Britney are both examples of women being objectified for their bodies and looks. We’re on the same spectrum here. If we are really looking for positive female role models, there are many self respecting women who have done amazing things with their hearts, minds, and bodies. What about Maya Angelou or Billie Jean King?

    Finally, let’s not polarize women to a simple dichotomy of exalted wife or filthy prositute. We’re human after all and most of us fall somewhere in between, just like men.

  68. It seems that beauty pageants still have their fair share of knockers.

  69. Jon in Austin says:

    Purpose of beauty pagents? Glorification and objectification of the female body with a dash of, “Don’t judge me by my body, judge me by my brains as you stare at my lovely figure.”

    So it doesn’t surprise me that we here debating the merits and morals of an LDS participant when we should stop and ask ourselves if such an endeavor is even worthwhile. Oh yeah, its all about getting scholarship money… riiiiight.

  70. PK: Maya Angelou and Billie Jean King? Hmmm, not the two names I would have chosen, but as someone else said, to each his or her own.

  71. Kyle in Boise says:

    Good for miss Idaho! She is well on her way to attaining her Masters from BYU. Of course, she will never use it. She will be to busy being a trophy wife with ten children who is addicted to anti-depressants just like a growing number of LDS women.
    I wonder how long it will take her future husband to guilt her into getting breast implants?

  72. Kyle, that is what most people consider a trollish comment.

  73. I thought it was almost as funny as 68

  74. Kyle in Boise says:

    #72. Are insinuating that I live in a cave or that I am singing in a full voice?

  75. Steve Evans says:

    Kyle, I don’t know how they roll in Boise, but here in the City we don’t question Stapley.

  76. Eric Russell says:

    A few friends of mine would try to see how absurd a letter to the editor we could actually get published in the Daily Universe. I got one published insisting that the upstairs room of the testing center should play hard rock instead of classical music so that people would enjoy taking tests.

    My roommate wrote a letter arguing that guy’s pornography problems were entirely girls fault for not giving them enough attention. It never got published. I’ll tell you what though, the flurry of angry response letters to that one would have been a beautiful sight.

    I remember that one about the book bag straps. I don’t know if it was serious or in jest, but the funny part was that some girls actually became all self-conscious about it and stopped doing it.

  77. Kevin Barney says:

    Well, Miss Idaho didn’t make the cutdown to the final 15. But Utah is in the top ten. Apparently she went to Utah State and now lives in Sandy.

  78. I thought I posted another comment here, saying I love about that bloggernacle that people pick up on literary allusions. Did it get killed in moderation?

  79. Who is watching pageants? Just like Playboy, pageants are a petit bourgeois concession to the sex drive. Talk about hung ups.

    Just look at the combination of bikinis and heels. LOL!

  80. mistaben says:

    I think Tatiana really nailed it.

    Many in the Church seem to equate the principle of modesty with covering up one’s body. Personally, I think that’s the Law of Moses version of modesty, and I think it does some harm. Due to a similar dumbed-down version of the law of chastity, many LDS newlyweds (particularly the women) struggle to adjust to sexual intimacy once they’re married.

    Perhaps the higher law is something like how Eric defined modesty (#38). When our children understand and believe Godly principles such as modesty and virtue, maintaining “comely” appearances and their purity will follow naturally.

  81. I definitely think that Miss Idaho has sacrificed her standards. The bikini is one thing… she may not have had a choice there. But go to the Miss USA website, go to Miss Idaho, and then click on view all photos. All the contestants took photos outside the Hard Rock Cafe in a Hard Rock T-Shirt. Some contestants chose to tuck the t-shirt in so the mid section of their bodies did not show. Miss Idaho tied her shirt into a half shirt so she could show of her stomach and midsection. When given a choice she chose to me immodest. Sort of like Jessica Simpson before she got married…touting how she had standards and was waiting for marriage but then dressed very immodestly. I think it is hypocritical. But that is just my opinion… it it not for me to judge.

  82. I have a place where many of you posters would feel comfortable: Saudi Arabia. There. You don’t have to look at any part of a woman’s body. Not even her eyes. No temptation. Women are the problem. Women, of course, and the way their bodies cause men to act out and then society as a whole is the worse for it. Puhlease tell me this pious mindset is dead!!! Oh, apparently not. Connor and the like: I feel truly sorry for your wives and daughters (and sons, too). Talk about sexually oppressed! Get a life.

    I like going to the beach and looking at some beautiful bodies. I highly doubt that those bikini clad women are all a bunch of whores. Nope, I just don’t see it.

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