05 December 2008

Oppression

Once my husband told me that men would always be superior to women because of non-bipedal micturation or distractability by shiny objects or something like that. He is right that men will always be superior to women, but the actual reason is that women have to wear pantyhose.

First of all, they're called pantyhose. This is offensive in the extreme.

Have you seen them? What would possess any person to try to put their legs in them? As if the lower extremities of half the human race are bulk sausage.

What short of childbirth surpasses the humiliation of manuevering oneself into a pair? The humiliation is then magnified by the numerous children looking on and offering criticisms of both process and physique.

Buy the cheap ones and they're full of runs after one wearing. Buy the expensive ones and you bought the expensive ones, which still get runs.

I spend my whole Sunday morning dodging the kids. My two year old follows me around manhandling my weird feeling unskin. The baby cries as I dance about the kitchen, knife in hand, so he can't reach me to shimmy up my pantyhoed legs while I slice potatoes. I spend the sermon watching everyone's feet lest a prickly Velcro shoe fastener grab on and leave me looking like That Mom for the rest of the day.

Control tops.

Why not pants? Well . . . [she admits it grudgingly] men like dresses. Husbands want wives to wear dresses, and pastors think women should wear dresses to church. Some will come right out and say it, but most suspect they will be perceived as vaguely jerky so they drop hints and hope we'll notice. They think this is clever. In fact it is not clever because women communicate this way most of the time. Moreover, we do think it's vaguely jerky*. But Victor Hugo helpfully explains, "One of the magnanimities of woman is to yield." So in addition to all the other bad choices to which this magnanimity leads us (such as setting precedents for labor intensive Sunday meals), we who would otherwise never consider forfeiting our immeasurably more practical pants assume dresses, and therefore pantyhose, and therefore inferiority yet another day.
Because of the angels

(Pastors also want hats to come back, but seriously, dudes. Seriously.)

*Pam probably doesn't; however, she is a Nice Person and Good Wife.

UPDATE: Link corrected via elimination. It's in Les Miserables. Wasn't that a handy way to get to your inbox, though?

19 comments:

Gauntlets said...

Hats are haute, hot, and hwat. Dig it.

MooreMama said...

Callie was baptized last week and I wore my first pair of pantyhose in a LONG time. Control tops, even. Those things were magical. I was thinking that I'd start wearing them more often. :) Who needs to lost that last 5 pounds (or 15) when you've got control top pantyhose?

Joy said...

Or 50?

Sorry, ladies... being the Human Pacifier, I forfeit the right to wear a dress. I do, however, wear long skirts with knee-high boots. There's no exposed skin (or unskin to catch on Velcro), but I have to admit I'm with MooreMama. I can drop two sizes by sausaging my way into control tops that are two sizes too small. My digestion kinks are almost worked out from last Sunday....

Dakotapam said...

I just don't. Installations, weddings, funerals, and I suppose when Boy one is Confirmed next year. Otherwise, I say no to hose. My mother forced itchy, crotch sagging tights on my until I hit puberty (which was painfully late when you are the only eighth grader wearing tights instead of pantyhose to the choir concert.

Tights have come a long way, and I will occasionally wear them. Otherwise in Spring summer and fall, I am the hussy in church with bare legs and sandals. In winter I am in skirts with boots or slacks. They are feminine, but they are (gasp) pants.

I just cannot do panty hose. I cannot stand the feeling on my legs. I secretly am thankful that I had boys so I did not have to hear the sound of tights stretching onto a little girl (yes, tights make a sound!)

I'll be hitting forty sooner rather than later and I may have to re-think my bare legs at that point as my vanity may get the best of me...I may have to go with more slacks (I hate that word too!)

Joy said...

Rebekah, can I safely assume that's not your arm with the lovely wrist tattoo?

Monique said...

There are so many great things about living in the south, one of them being the casual dress code.

I have also never met a culture of people who embraced children as much as they do. I know the noises of my children during church are only bothering me.

My kids can also play outside all year long, and our high temps during the winter are usually in the 60's.

To give a southerner a handshake greeting is almost offensive, as everyone greets one another with a kiss on the cheek. I've always said I think southerners are just as warm as the climate.

We have ceiling fans in our santuary, which sounds tacky at first, but it really isn't. It's very tastefully done and is very appropriate for the climate. My husband even wears a white clerical collar during the summer (GASP!)

Considering the sweltering heat and humidity, southern women NEVER wear pantyhose. Most all women wear calf length, breathable cotton dresses with sandals. And most southern women always have their feet well manicured and polished. I suppose because they are always wearing sandals. The last time I wore pantyhose was for my husbands installation, and I was the ONLY one. So my philosophy now is, "When in Rome act as Romans!"

Blogversary said...

Maybe that is why I never got a call as a deaconess...I don't wear pantyhose, except on the rare occasion and then I usually like tights w/ a pretty pattern. I wear skirts, dresses, and pants. My daughter wears pants too to church. I was born a rebel. In grade school on Wed, we had to wear dresses for chapel and found that oppressive; so I protested everyone once in awhile and wore pants.

Rosie said...

I guess I'm the weird one then. I love dresses and don't mind hose at all. In fact, once (if?) I can fit back into my skirts and dresses I'll be happy to bid the pants farewell.

Maybe I'm so thoroughly oppressed I don't even notice?

Susan said...

What's wrong with a below-the-knee dress and dorky wool socks? I may look stupid and profoundly unfashionable, but I didn't fight my way into hose and my feet are not cold.

Pam said...

Goodness, what a discussion. For the record, Rebekah, I don't know that I've really ever thought about whether it's vaguely jerky to suggest women should wear dresses to church, because I'm the one who was so uptight and self-imposed that oppression.

Thankfully I have since been relieved of that neurosis, and honestly I would have a hard time pinpointing the last time I wore a dress or a skirt. Really, like Rosie, I would prefer to, but unfortunately my body doesn't agree with dresses anymore. I am what I guess is called apple-shaped, in that it's all right in the middle, and other proportional imbalances northward also make dresses difficult to fit into. ;)

As for hose, I abhor them for all the reasons you describe, and while I put up with it anyway, since it was scandalous to have bare legs with a dress and childish to wear socks. (Although even through college I wore a skirt with socks and lace-up shoes--yup, dorky and rebellious, but I swore off pumps and other torturous forms of high heels in high school. Anyone care to comment on THAT!?)

However, as Monique describes, we had the good fortune (if you believe such drivel) of moving to a place far enough south that is is odd TO wear hose, which by the way I've called nylons because I also hate the word pantyhose. Finally in the four years we've been here, I have become comfortable with bare legs and sandals with my skirts. And man is it ever more comfy, don't tell anyone but since we sit in the front, I don't think anyone can see that I am barefoot once we're in the pew. We have tile floors... ooooh, it's nice in the summer.

One annoying challenge, however, is that technically I am supposed to wear medical grade support stockings all the time. During pregancy I give in once the pain is worse NOT wearing them than with them on, but I abhor them as well. You think pantyhose are sausage casings? If you manage to be afflicted with varicose veins, just you wait. You'll think the hose are a piece of cake. The few times I wore them after having worn the stockings, I couldn't see the point of putting them on at all, they don't DO anything for me.

Oh, and you gals who like the control tops? Try Spanx footless hose. Really a cool idea. Lane Bryant sells them, as well of other awesome mom-sized undergarments. Email me if you want to know more, wouldn't want to embarrass anyone. :)

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

Nope, uh-uh. I only wear pantyhose for job interviews. Not in the Winter, not in the Summer, Spring, nor Fall.

I'll lotion my legs and throw on my Birkenstocks with whatever I am wearing, and as much as I like skirts, they are not worn in the Winter. Just doesn't happen.

Reb. Mary said...

I'm pretty anti-hose too. I stretch the limits of the un-hosed seasons by investing in interesting toenail polish and wearing longer skirts when it's chilly or my legs are appallingly white.

Last Sunday I wore the First Hose of the Season with a shorter skirt (Still below the knee, folks! Don't panic!) and ended up wrestling SOMEONE ELSE'S two-year-old for much of the service (?!?!?!?) and wishing desperately for pants the whole time. (I do wear pants to church too; folks hereabouts are pretty casual and I actually sometimes feel more conspicuous in a dress).

Liz said...

LOVE hats... as for PANTY hose, no way. Thigh highs for me.

MooreMama said...

Pam - I like heels. :) And I HATE socks. Nothing worse than hot feet.

And why oh why did no one tell me that breastfeeding makes one's feet hot?

Pam said...

Since when does bf make one's feet hot? Mine burn up during the pregnancy, as well as the rest of me! Not that I am not hot now, but that's really only in church or in the store. At home we average 65 degrees in the house.

I hate heels for good reasons. They are horrible for the back, feet, and knees, not to mention squished toes! I have gone to blunt-toed, low-heeled shoes. My athletic shoes, which I wear most of the time, are from a specialty store. They are men's, wide, and have a built up arch so that my flat feet don't wear them out so fast. And of course the orthotics to go inside. I cannot believe I went up yet one more shoe size in the last year. I wore a 9 in high school, and sometime after getting married it became a 10. Now I am an 11, and a wide 11 at that. I just tell myself I need a wider base of support for all the extra baby weight I carry around. My empty "baby house" is pretty well established these days.

Oops, I guess all that is not encouraging to moms who don't yet have this many kids. Sorry gals, some things do not get better with age. ;)


If I could just find the time/motivation to exercise-- that business of chasing toddlers is hogwash! I don't chase the toddlers, or anyone else... I watch them as they go past.

Joy said...

Pam,
You sound like my twin. No joke. I was a shoe size 9 in high school and am now at least a 10W--but that's only after 3 live births. By the time I catch up to you (IF I ever do) I'll be 11W. I'm more apple-shaped than I care to admit and love Spanx! Having babies has completely wrecked my figure. I keep a picture of my senior prom in my wallet, partly to make me feel pretty and partly to protect me against the vanity it would take to do the work to look like that again.

MooreMama said...

I buy men's nikes. On clearance. They run wide. But I only wear them in the winter, and with thin socks. :D

And I always know when Callie's almost done eating because my feet get ridiculously hot. Nice to know that I'm the only freak that happens to. ;)

Rebekah said...

Joy, not my tattoo. The sausage around here is all bulk. And thanks for the surprise! :D

Joy said...

thought you'd like that. ;)

PS: I wasn't judging anyone with a tat. I have a small butterfly on my hip (well, now it's more like a deformed moth thanks to stretch marks) and my DH has a heart with my name in it.