Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More On Garments

Let's start with obvious. Female garments are made to fit the .oooo1 %? I am short, so when I initially went through the temple I bought the "petite" in the size that was listed to fit my measurements. I could literally tuck the waistband of the bottoms into my bra. I ordered smaller sizes right away so that they might actually function as underwear, but the waistbands were then so tight that I would have stomach cramps after about an hour of wear. Can't they outsource the construction of these to Soma and Victoria's Secret? Who's with me?!

Also, it always bothered me when I could see women's garments at church and swore that I would take the time to find the right fit and wear appropriate clothing so that would not be an issue. It was impossible, and the worst offender was always the shoulder seam. I tried every shape and size and finally settled on the cotton tops so that it would at least look like a regular t-shirt when it showed. I  bought bottoms to fit my legs and would cut out the waistband to avoid cramping. Even then when I had found the best possible solution my husband, just because he was looking out for me, would always notify me when they showed. It became so infuriating that at one point I went to Goodwill and bought all long sleeve/ turtleneck, to the floor dresses I could find - no separates because you can't lean over without them showing at the waist, no regular neck lines because they show around the neck, and the length needs no explaining. I bought only black because I also wanted to look slim (another issue.) For weeks that's all I wore. I felt so oppressed by my garments. There was the added pain that they were a constant reminder of the  temple with its painful gender discrimination. I wanted so badly to go back to the pre-temple me. I thought that might begin to repair my damaged relationship with God.

The weeks of wearing all black chin to ankle filled me with enough determination to say "NO." If I was going to have to wear them for the rest of my life God would understand if I did what I had to to make them work for me. I chose to never wear them when I slept. Then I decided at home was a safe space where I could be in control of my body and wear whatever I want. I only put them on to go out somewhere or if I knew someone was coming over.  Then I started wearing just the top or just the bottoms as made sense for me to still be comfortable being seen in public. A thick cotton, ill-fitting t-shirt under a dress? There is no way to make that look good. The body-conciousness was exhausting.

After this time I went through a faith transition. This made me see them in a whole new light. It now made sense why I loathed them so much, and it wasn't a betrayal of the precious gifts of God. God was not behind them. This made logically and emotional sense to me. There was great peace in knowing that God did not care wether I had them on or not. I still wore them for a long time after this for my friends and family, but I didn't take the care that I had in the past to make sure I could answer the TR question that I was wearing them day and night. I am so happy to have my mind back and that it is no longer dwelling on what I'm wearing and how I feel in what I'm wearing. I'm just my body functioning for me the way I need it to.

Although I have my body back for me, I hate that I will never have it back from the Mormon community. The garment that is supposed to be so personal, so scared, never shared or seen is the most public "sneetch" symbol of all. One can still regularly attend church, serve in a calling, say public prayers, bear public testimony, follow the word of wisdom, pay tithing, but choose not to wear their garments and everyone will know they are really an outsider. I can't prevent this and it's very painful. The Mormon community, especially my family and friends will always look for my "garment lines."
The second half of this podcast is a discussion on garments and I related to every word.


  1. Ridding myself of garments was the best thing for me and my body image. I can totally relate. And it's not because I wanted to wear skimpy underwear all the time, I just began to feel human again.

    I found it disturbing how "underwear obsessed" the church is one I stopped wearing them. Being in Utah near BYU campus complete strangers would even make comments. While trying on a sheer top at Old Navy the fitting room attendant asked me, "don't you think this will show your garments?" Family and friends would awkwardly try to peek to see if I had them on. I felt like the white band that peeked over your pants when you bent over was a requirement at library story time and that I would make more friends of I had one too.

    I know it kills my parents to know I don't wear them. I feel like I have to hide laundry when my mom comes to help with the kids so I can spare her the reminder/pain.

    I know what you're feeling and it's no fun. Hang in there and know you've got friends who will gladly go shopping at Victoria's Secret with you ;)


  2. I remember when H.A. first stopped going to church, the garments were so quick to go. I had gone like over a year and was still wearing them out of fear (or, perhaps, laziness, because the same issues don't quite exist for men as they do for women, due to Western cultural dress standards for men vs women, unless you work at a place where shorts are common). It was quite apparent that a "testimony of garments" is not something that is easy to gain for women in the Church. Not hard to see why...


  3. H.A. Right? Can't be friends now because that white line means I can trust you or I cant. So hurtful I am sorry for your pain. Thank you for sharing. Vicky's date?