Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I saw this story a week ago when it was originally published in the BYU-I student newspaper, and I thought, There's an Outrageous News story right there. However, I was in the middle of studying for finals and writing papers and finishing up assignments at the University of Utah. Today, the story jumped back into the forefront of my mind when a picture started circulating on Facebook.
Let's look at the picture now, shall we?
Originally posted on Facebook by Shaila Keck, it had been shared nearly 200 times by the time I clicked the share button. This is a picture of Shaila's friend, Rachel Vermillion. Cute girl, right? Nicely dressed in a pretty but casual outfit. Typical college attire in the cold winter months.
You'd think that...because you're a reasonable human being.
Unfortunately for Rachel, she was not dealing with a reasonable human like you when she entered the testing center at Brigham Young University-Idaho to take an exam. She was asked to leave because the outfit you see above was deemed immodest by a male testing center employee who felt her "skinny jeans" were a violation of the school's dress code which frowns on "form fitting" attire.
You just scrolled back up to take another look at the picture, and you're wondering if you're in the Twilight Zone right now, aren't you? It's okay. You're really not. I know how unsettling that feeling can be.
First of all, those are not skinny jeans. I know this because I own a pair. I had no idea I was buying something so fashionable when I yanked them off the rack at the local thrift store, but own them I do, however accidentally. I promise you, my skinny jeans do not bunch at the bottom like Rachel's. They don't flair like those. They don't allow for appropriate circulation like those.
When Rachel tried to plead her case in light of the fact that the testing center would be closed before she could return in something sufficiently frumpy, the apparently blind eyes of her judge/jury/executioner were accompanied by a pair of deaf ears. When she pointed out that other girls (thinner, less curvaceous girls) were being admitted with tighter jeans than hers, she was told that the question of modesty or lack thereof was left to the "ridiculously shortsighted, offensive, and objectifying discretion" of testing center employees (incredibly accurate italics mine).
This is probably the point in this column that I should make something abundantly clear: I have no problem with a private, church run school having and enforcing a dress code. I have no problem that my religion preaches the virtue of modesty. I preach it in my home. My girls and boys wear modest clothing or they don't leave the house.
I'm a devout Mormon who would never willingly attend any of the BYU campuses, but it's not because the Honor Code exists. It's because there are dufuses on campus who misinterpret the Honor Code and feel it's their God given duty to tell everyone else what they're doing wrong. I'm a fan of modest dress. I'm not a fan of dufuses.
The dufuses in this case had actually posted a sign in the testing center saying that if a student was dressed inappropriately (as determined by the aformentioned italicized discretion of the employees), they should go home and pray about how to be a "true disciple" of the Lord. The manager of the testing center was also quoted as saying that if someone prayed and felt their clothing was appropriate anyway, they "...have not asked, or have not asked the right question, or they have chosen an answer for their own gratification."
Because all the best dufuses speak for God, you know.
Scrolling up again to look at the picture, I think the problem here is less Rachel Vermillion's actual clothing and more the way it enhances and beautifies her gorgeous curves. I think the staff member who failed to see tight jeans on stick thin students and only saw them on the curvy girl needs a lesson in what women actually look like.
Hey, Dufus. Women are not men. Our bodies are not straight. We have hips. We have breasts (gasp!). We have voluptuous bottoms and curvaceous thighs. And you know who gave those to us? Yep...it was God. The Man Upstairs himself. And disciple or not, I don't think He intends for us to equate modesty with shapeless frumpiness. Women can wear clothes that fit and be modest. I promise.
To the school's credit, BYU-I issued a statement saying that there is no official ban on skinny jeans and that they were dealing with the problem in the testing center. To their detriment (at least in my opinion), they have not issued an official apology to Rachel. I think I'll rectify that by doing it for them.
Dear Rachel Vermillion,
I wish to express my deepest apologies to you for your poor treatment at the BYU-I testing center. Your outfit was in no way inappropriate, and anyone with half a brain and eyes that work would have known that. I'm sorry you had to deal with a dufus, and I hope you were able to take your test without any further problems. Also? SHOUT OUT for psych majors! Neuropsych was crazy, am I right?
Rachel, don't let the dufuses get your down. Be proud of your beautiful, curvy body and know that you are my hero. My girls will be reading this blog post, and your picture is going up in their rooms as an example of modesty and strength in the face of adversity and judgment. My girls may well inherit my curves, and I never, ever want them to feel ashamed that they have them. There's no sin in bootiliciousness. Always remember that.
I may or may not also be taping your picture to my treadmill for motivation.
Labels: Outrageous News