April 16, 2024

Must Women Wear Skirts?

Young Girl in GrassFor this Christmas, my wife said that we were overdue on getting new clothes. I think that it’s easy to neglect this area (especially being a man) unless circulation between parts of your body is being cut off! So, we’ve been shopping online and at the mall together to try to get at least her wardrobe more up to date. In doing this, she has expressed the desire to add to her collection of feminine fashion in the way of skirts and blouses. That’s what brings me to today’s entry talking about the Biblical commands for apparel.

A lot of the discussion centers around a command in Deuteronomy 22:5 in which God through Moses states that it is an abomination to the Lord for a man to wear women’s clothing and for women to wear men’s clothing. In essence, God created them male and female and He wants them looking the part. (Contrast this to current society’s desire for genderless bathrooms, cross dressers, etc…)

I guess I should start with the men. This means that, guys, you’re going to have to take to liking skirts and stop your sisters in Christ from wearing that which pertains to a man, since further down in the same passage God commands: “A man shall not take his father’s wife, nor discover his father’s skirt.” (Deut 22:30) One web author goes on to say the following (I did the linking):

There are many more Bible verses for men wearing skirts than women wearing them! The Bible speaks of men’s skirts twelve times (Dt 22:30, Dt 27:20, Ru 3:9, 1 Sa 15:27, 1 Sa 24:4, 1 Sa 24:5, 1 Sa 24:11, 1 Sa 24:11, Eze 16:8, Hag 2:12, Hag 2:12, and Zec 8:23).

Now, obviously I’m attempting to shock you into thinking! I’m obviously not advocating that men should start a new fashion trend. What I am saying is that you can’t determine a specific article of clothing from this passage. This passage does not say that women have to wear a dress or a skirt and cannot wear pants.

There is a good principle in there, though, which I’ve alluded to before. There should be a difference in your dress than the opposite sex. Now, many people have different opinions of what this should be. An opinion is fine, but falls under what we talked about earlier in the Romans 14 passage about Christian Liberty. For sake of discussion, I’ll talk about some of the main ideas:

Mrs. Alta Jorgensen has some definite views about women’s clothing. She worked temporarily in fashion design and illustration and has some drawings on her site. Her argument is that the fashion designers are trying to make women look like men intentionally, and don’t flatter women’s lines. She encourages women not be sucked in by current fashion trends and to be feminine.

Having attended a conservative Christian University whose dress code was for women to wear skirts/dresses most of the time, I can attest to the fact that going to the mall was quite the adventure “women in jeans!” Does this have an effect on men? Sure.

M. Thaxter Dickey talks about modesty in his web article. He has five reasons for being modest in dress stating that when women dress provocatively:

  1. It is unfair to men
  2. It is a dangerous threat to Chastity
  3. It is unfair to women
  4. It is an indicator of uncertain character
  5. It reflects poorly on one’s vocation as a Christian

There are others, and I’ll give links of need be, but I think you’re seeing my point. God wants a difference, and he puts high value on modesty. Compared to the one passage about looking different, modesty is everywhere in Scripture. There are groups that are willing to make their members wear skirts, but don’t care how modest. We need to be concerned about modesty first and foremost.

* Correction made before the five points– spotted by Red State Rah Rah.

(Visited 89 times, 1 visits today)

31 thoughts on “Must Women Wear Skirts?

  1. Hey there. My mom (pjamz.blogdrive.com) and I discuss this a good bit. I think that woman should dress their part to look like a woman as the bible says but i think there is a point that some woman cross trying to show that they are a woman you know. The sad thing is this is even done going to church. There are some young girls out there that are imitating some of the worldly woman and they dress with such tight pants on and such low cut shirts. Thanks for writing this. I appreciate it. 🙂

  2. I’m with you there– It’s such a hard thing to try to get people to dress modestly when everything screams “SEX”. I appreciate your comment, and your opinion!

  3. Sometimes I think people use dress as a way to control the opposite sex. It doesn’t matter dresses, skirts,slacks, or jeans. It DOES matter HOW they are worn. Modesty is the key word for both men and women

  4. There is something to be said for keeping the sexes identifiable. I was in a restaurant the other day and I had a hard time telling whether the person was a guy or a girl!

    The other line I wanted in there was that society still links skirts with girls– just look at the signs for bathrooms!

  5. Interepting how some will twist the Word to their own beliefs to the extreme of women not wearing pants when taking a closer look at the meaning prior to translation:

    The phrase “that which pertaineth,” or simply the word pertaineth in the King James Version of the Bible, is translated from the Hebrew word keliy, which means “article, vessel, implement, or utensil.”1 Translators commonly render keliy as weapon, armor or instrument in the Old Testament. The word man, in both the first and last part of Deut 22:5, is the Hebrew word geber meaning “man, strong man, or warrior (emphasizing strength or ability to fight).”2 It is important to note that this is not the only word for man in Hebrew. Verse 13 of this very same chapter uses the Hebrew word ‘iysh, which is also translated man and means just that – “man, male (in contrast to woman, female).”3 It is apparent that Moses, when writing Deut 22:5, was quite intentionally not talking about a man in general, but a very specific kind of man – namely, a warrior or soldier. Considering this, perhaps a better translation of this verse would be as follows:

    “The woman shall not put on [the weapons/armor of a warrior], neither shall a [warrior] put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”

  6. Interesting insight, Tim. Would you then be saying that the reason for a warrior not wearing a woman’s garment has more to do with military tactics? Does the appeal to warriors bear out in context?

  7. I have to ask about the Deuteronomy 22:5. Isn’t that in the old testament? I thought we quit following the old testament when Jesus came around. I mean we no longer get the men of the village together to stone a woman who had sex before marriage and that was in the old testament.

  8. Paul says that we are not under the law but grace– so on the face you’re right. At the same time, he also says that the Law is a School Master, teaching us that we are sinners and what sin is. We might stone a women caught in fornication, but it’s still sin and will still be punished.

  9. Glad this archived post came back around…hadn’t seen it yet. 🙂

    You mentioned and linked to Mrs. Alta Jorgenson, saying that the fashion designers were making women’s clothing more masculine…well, I know you wrote this two years ago and take that into account…have things been changing in the last two years, because I’ve noticed women’s fashions are getting more and more feminine. At the same time, they’re staying too much on the sexy side–clinging to curves, low cut, etc. But it’s been easier to find decent skirts than it used to be. I’m sure it’s all part of the fluctuating trend. I’d be interested in Rebecca’s take on it.

    Are fashions in 2007 more feminine, or have I just been to several sites lately that seem to have plenty to choose from?

  10. I think the fashions for 2007 are definitely more feminine. As for the post written a couple years ago…I also think the general concept is that a woman dress in feminine attire and that doesn’t necessarily mean just skirts or dresses. People around you should be able to know that you’re a man or woman by your attire, hair and actions.

  11. So Deborah, by “hair” you’re opening a whole ‘nother can of worms…are you saying men shouldn’t have long hair and women shouldn’t have short hair? 😉

    I get what you mean though, out of those 3 things, surely one of them should evidence your gender accordingly.

  12. Nope men should not have long hair and women should (where possible, there are obvious exceptions, such as cancer, and when your hair wont grow “long”). If you doubt it go read 1 Cor. 11:13,14

    Its such an obvious thing that Paul makes a rhetorical statement about it.

    I have heard some solid arguments for women wearing skirts, too bad I didn’t pay enough attention or I would rehash them here.

    Personally I do not wear skirts, but I WOULD if I had enough to do so. (my sizes change dramatically throughout the year and I have not been able to get back into my pre-pregnancy skirts, and now I am preggo again! so, I’m in maternity jeans. My wonderful hubby bought me some great patterns though! I can’t wait to work on them!


  13. That was a good post on hair, MIn, thanks for sharing the link!

    Meg, I think the best thing about wearing skirts is that they can adapt to changing figures…unless they’re the straight kind…the other nice thing is they’re about the easiest of women’s clothing items to sew!

  14. It was A.W. Tozer that wrote on the Peter passage about dress and said that it was important how we reflect Christ on the outside. Letting mom go out in clothes that we wouldn’t want her being seen in public wearing simply because she took the godly woman is sober passage too seriously does not show a good testimony of Christ.

    Our outward appearance should be something that doesn’t get in the way of our testimony or get in the way of us giving the Gospel.

  15. No…I didn’t mean to bring up the hair discussion again. 😆 But I really enjoyed the link you gave, MIN and my conclusion has always been the same.

    Generally, we are accountable to God in our Christian walk. I know that if I’m wrong in a certain area of my life, the Holy Spirit will convict me of that and shed more light on it that I may learn. But, we have to be teachable and willing to learn! I think that so many times as Believers we try to get new Believers to just conform to our set of rules, whatever they may be and they may even be Biblical. But, the biggest issue is that they be taught so they can grow and then make their decisions about how to dress, wear their hair, jewelry, etc.

    Yes, I know what I believe the Bible says and I enjoy this forum where I can discuss that.

    What I would like to know is…why is it that when men grow their hair long it is just beautiful?! There have been so many times when I’ve seen a person from the back that has long, gorgeous hair, only to have them turn around and see a beard too! That’s just really not fair! 🙂

  16. To me the idea of modesty has nothing to do with how you dress but everything to do with control. Like all rules and regulations its used to keep the members in their proper place. To me God made the women beautiful for a reason and a womens figure shouldn’t be hidden under layers of drab clothing. My wife hasn’t worn a dress in many many years, and even though her job requres her to wear suits I would never mistake her suits for a guys. Pants (trowsers over in this part of the world) can just a femine.

    I guess living in Europe has liberated me from the idea that sex and nudity are somehow dirty and wrong shameful. Also reading Philip Yancey’s books (I’m sometimes surprised that he hasn’t been kicked out of Christianity Today) has liberated me from the idea that being a Christian means it’s all or nothing Legalism or worldliness, Your either the bible toting fanatic quote hell and brimstone or your completely backslidden.

    I mention this only because after a long sojourn in the wilderness we have come back to church. It wasn’t that we weren’t Christians its just church held no interest or appeal to us. We are also very very fortunate to have a pastor who thinks along the lines of Philip Yancey who believes its not black and white, choose God or the world. You can be a Christian and coexist quite comfortably in the world.

    I have no problem with the traditional marriage, we’ve been married 23 years and I couldn’t be happier.

  17. WoW, the problems in that comment abound….

    One cannot be comfortably of this world if one is a Christian. The Word of God says so “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.” John 15:18 and
    “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,” (2Cr6:14, 17). and…”For we [are] strangers before thee, and sojourners, as [were] all our fathers: our days on the earth [are] as a shadow, and [there is] none abiding.” (1 Chron. 29:15)

    To consider yourself “liberated from the idea that sex and nudity are somehow dirty and wrong and shameful” is a statement with only a hint of truth in it. These things are not wrong in a marriage, but to be put on show for all to see, they ARE shameful. The Lord calls it an abomination to be a fornicator, (one who has sex outside of marriage).

    And to not be on fire for God, is a dangerous position to take for the Lord says he will spew out of His mouth those who are found to be lukewarm. (Revelation 3- to the church at Laodecia).

    I am very sad to hear your impression of Philip Yancey. Perhaps I have too limited of an understanding of his writings… I just finished “Whats So Amazing about Grace” and I sure didn’t think Yancey was standing for being like the world. Contrarily I thought he was calling Christians to a radical following of Christ, that called us to give up our own rights, that we might display true grace to the world.

    Perhaps I need to read more of his stuff to get a better understanding.
    Guess I’m one of those bible quoting fanatics….
    Mrs. Meg Logan

  18. As a Christian who grew up in a Southern Baptist Church my first goal is not to look at wether a person is wearing a dress or a skirt.

    First, a woman should dress plain. When we meet Jesus in the sky our most beautiful dress or our coolest pair of jeans is not going to matter to him. What matters to him is the heart. When I go to church I make sure that I do not wear shirts with name brand clothing. I make sure that my slacks are modest and arn’t revealing. I make sure I don’t wear anything that will draw other people to look at me because they should be looking at Christ. As a christian, I have no time to waste worrying wether someone is wearing a skirt or a pair of pants, because first thing is first that I love God with my life my actions and what I do, and I show others love. I show others what it means to have a relationship with Jesus and how he can become your best friend. I do not have time to worry about peoples clothes when I am telling people how Jesus was a friend to sinners or explaining his miracles.

    Another thing is, I don’t believe that a girl has to wear a skirt to be distinguished from a guy. Believe it or not, there is a girls section (misses) and (jrs) in the departmnet stores and a guy section where each of the clothes (thank God) are made differently. The only time I see girls whering mens clothes is when they have to wear a pair of jeans that reaches below their knees.

    Guys should be able to easily distinguish between girls and mens clothing.

    The others ( the cross dressers) the girls who dress imodestly where they reveal body parts that is sin to God.

    It is wrong for a Christian to say that they have no sin, when they are too busy worrying about other peoples clothing. (Pride Comes Before a Fall). And intill that point where we look at our own selfs and not others is when we realize that we need Jesus in our lives.

  19. I think Rob in Madrid is not trying to be particularly liberal in his thinking, and actually I think the whole point of his post was precisely, Meghan, what you fell into.

    I’m thinking that Rob’s probably one of those people who were scared away from the Church because of judgement and condemnation lauded on them by the church. It’s easy for us to forget to tell someone the Gospel and instead focus on all the things they are doing wrong. But it’s not right to hold people to the standards of the Law, which even our fathers were unable to keep (let alone ourselves.)

    Rob, you are right, God made the woman beautiful for a reason. God created man first, and he created woman to be man’s help mate (or meet in the KJV). He created her to be everything that man would need. That’s what’s so beautiful about her. But remember, it’s for her husband, not for the world.

    I hope my wife will never have a job that will require her to wear a suit. If she does and we feel that it’s a necessity that she work (and it would have to be a large necessity) then it would be acceptable. Alternatively I would not try to force my wife to dress a certain way, but I will do my best to encourage her in the right way to go. Her dress has to come out of her heart attitude or she is merely satisfying the eyes of men instead of the eyes of God, and that’s not the best that I want for my wife.

    Kay writes:
    “The others ( the cross dressers) the girls who dress imodestly where they reveal body parts that is sin to God.”

    My challenge remains that modesty is not in the clothes or what they do or do not cover, it is in the heart. I have challenged many members of the Church on this and will continue to do so because I beleive it is part of a fundamental principle of righteousness. That righteousness does not come from the outward appearances or adornments but from one’s inner heart.

    Our witness is not found in our garments but in the Word of God and by proclaiming the Gospel until His return.

  20. What do you believe is the heart of God on this matter? What will most help build up the kingdom of God? How should you dress so that unbelievers will not look at you and think, “THAT person is a Christian? Yeah, sure?”

  21. I always believed that if the occasion called for men to wear a necktie, then the women should be in a skirt or a dress. Neither is practical, but both are more dressed up. Pretty simple rule actually.

  22. All cultures have strongly believed things later demonstrated to be wrong. Nothing can be clearly understood unless the individual can transcend the level of mere associative reasoning. Deut 22:5 forbids opposite sex impersonation, it does not make skirts the province of women only, or pants of men. Rome exiled men in pants in AD 393 and in AD 867 the Bulgarians asked the Pope if they could be Christians, even though they wore trousers! The word pants comes from Pantalone, the top clown of the medieval Italian Comedy of the Arts. Pants were regarded as ridiculous in cultured societies. Greeks and Romans saw pants as “barbarian.” 95% of the causation of pants is as a garment for use in horseback riding, spread by Mongols. On a horse the legs are “divided” by the horse, a garment was devised to protect each leg separately from the course hair of the horse. As horses were the best transportation for countless generations and armies could not compete without mounted troops, men gradually renounced skirts/robes. However, judicial and choir robes and graduation gowns are remnants of the skirt age for men, as are certain religious vestments, as Catholic cardinals and the pope. Alleging skirts to be female is based on mere association—the individual is habituated to seeing them only on women, so concludes they are female. Nonsense, only anatomical differences make for sex differences—bras and athletic supporters alone qualify. Facial hair is the garment of male identification, not pants which women mostly also now wear (due ONLY to factory work in World War 2), and certainly not suits and ties, which are so unhealthy in warmer weather. Whether the legs are in one tube of fabric or two tubes, as a sex difference? Sorry, but this is rank drivel. Naturally endowed distinctions of voice, facial hair, and of figure are adequate for differentiation. The modern Greeks, Scots, Albanians, Polynesians etc. are not going to “a devil’s hell” because they traditionally wear a skirt in their culture. Also, a majority need not be doing something before the individual may justifiably do it, because no change ever came but by nonconformity. In Luke 7 the centurion is said to have had the greatest faith, and those soldiers wore skirts; did Jesus not comprehend Deut 22:5? Sure he did, and it has nothing to say about men not wearing skirts because people by associative “reasoning,” “think” that “skirts are female.” Short hair on men is another matter of mere habit—it became prevalent due to medieval European military regulations mandating it. Head lice were a problem; soldiers could not afford distractions; it was easier to control with short hair. As with horses causing trousers, though the reason for it is gone, we’re stuck with it, because conformists and traditionalists deeply resent any refutation by history of their ridiculous notions.

    1. I’m not sure anyone here is making the argument that one will be destined for Hell for having long hair or wearing a skirt. I think that the Deuteronomy passage references keeping a distinction between the sexes, and in Western Culture (as evidenced by the signs on most bathrooms!) women typically wear the skirts.

      As for long/short hair, 1 Cor 11 seems to state that it’s natural for men to have shorter hair than women.

  23. Interesting insight especially the part about men’s skirts in Bible! As you might be aware Scottish men do wear skirts, they call it Kilt and they wore it not because of religion but due to convenience during wars, they can run faster and comfortably wearing Kilts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge