I’ve heard lots of people complaining lately that “it’s impossible to find a modest* prom dress” these days. This is generally taken to be an indictment of how horrible “the world” has gotten lately.
Well, two problems.
First, i remember hearing precisely the same complaint back when i was in high school (the mid-80s, for what it’s worth), and i’ve seen such complaints in print from the early 60s, and much of me thinks that Ardis over at Keepapitchinin** could probably dig the same thing up from the mid- to late nineteenth century. And even if i’m wrong on that last one, it’s not like this is a new complaint—so exactly why is this surprising anyone these days?
Second, i take issue with the entire proposition. There’s lots of modest (see the first footnote) clothing out there, including formalwear for teenage girls—though i will readily allow that the “prom” section of any semi-randomly selected department store is unlikely to provide many (if any) prom dresses that would be allowed in the door at a church dance. Move to other sections of the same store, and you’ll find a lot of prom-suitable dresses and sets with covered shoulders, knee-length or longer skirts, and so on.
Really, as i see it, the real problem is that people actually believe the branding at their local department stores.*** So please, stop trying to use it to indict people who aren’t you.
* This is using the usual Mormon meaning for the word modesty, which i still think is wrong. Given the context for the discussion, though, it makes sense to use it here.
** An amazing and wonderful blog on, for lack of a better description, the cultural history of the Mormon church. You should add it to your list of regular reads.
*** Well, and that they actually think prom is worth blowing that much money on for a single-use piece of clothing. But that’s a whole nother issue, and beyond the scope of this blog.
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