by Mary Van Nattan
Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
First of all, let it be stated very clearly that this is Old Testament law. That is true, and we are not under the "schoolmaster" any longer (Galatians 3:24-25). But, the Old Testament law still tells us how God expects holy people to live, and since our culture today is tending so much topiano coversd mixing up the sexes, we must take all the more interest in it. We are under grace, but God forbid that we should sin that grace may abound! (Romans 6:1-2) These things are for our admonition as the New Testament tells us, so that we might learn what is right and wrong. 1Corinthians 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. (And remember, this was the very event mentioned earlier in which Aaron made the people naked to their shame. Exodus 32.) 1Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for eblipmples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Secondly, when God chooses to use a woman that is wearing pants to get His work done, that does not justify her apparel. Saul prophesied with the prophets at Naioth in Ramah (1 Samuel 19:23-24), but he went there to murder David! When God uses a woman wearing pants that is mercy, not approval! Sometimes it is even to her own shame, as with Saul. There was an ublipved drunk in Florida that took several different people to a KJV church where they heard the Gospel preached and got saved. That does not prove that it is O.K. to be a drunk! The point is that we cannot mess with God's plan. If He chooses to use someone that is not where they should be with Him, that is His business. He is allowed to do that and not have us assume that He is approving of everything in that person's life, or on their person. Let's face it, if God waited to use any us of till we were "worthy", none of us would ever get to do anything for Him. Psalm 8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Having said that, let's move on to the actual study
Now, as mentioned before, this verse is commonly used to the exclusion of all others in the discussion of women's dress. But, it is true that in many cultures the "normal" standard of apparel for hundreds of years has been robes or dresses for the women and leggings or pants of some sort for the men. Hence, the expression, "She wears the pants in the family," for a woman that has usurped the authority in her home. Even to this hour, the symbol for a women's bathroom is that a stick figure wearing a skirt while that for the men's is simply a stick figure (presumably wearing pants).
It is also true that there are cultures where women wear a garment that in our culture would be called "pants." If it is woman's apparel in their culture and they are not immodest - fine. That does not excuse women in a culture that historically views pants as men's clothing. What's more, if you are going to use that excuse to wear pants, then you better wear ones just like theirs, and wear the whole outfit. It would be interesting to see a woman in Texas wearing the breeches and hooded, skirted coat - all fur-lined - like some native women in Alaska wear. :-) You would look stranger than if you just wore a nice modest dress and you would be miserable too.
On the other hand, we have the fact that in many cultures it is historically normal and still accepted for a man to wear a robe. It is interesting that even the people that dress so, often seem to make a distinction. For example, I studied one photo in a magazine of ours of a Middle Eastern culture. One thing that came to my attention was that the men were all wearing stripes and the women were wearing other prints. I can pretty much guess what they would think if a woman came out in a striped robe!
Some cultures do not have the distinctions that they should between men's and women's clothes. That is just plain wrong according to Biblical standard regardless of history or culture. Culture must submit to the Book!
None of these facts gives excuse for women wearing pants in a culture that views pants as men's clothes (which many now do or have historically).
One thing that is not emphasized much when this verse is dealt with is that men are not to wear a woman's garment either. This has not been as much of a problem in Western culture for many years except in the Sodomite depravity and when "Hellywood" is trying to be "cute." Hundreds of years ago men wore womanish clothing with many ribbons and ruffles, lace and bows. Even then, godly men were against extremity in this matter. King James I even piano coversned his son and others against being effeminate and wearing long hair - a real problem in their day. 1Corinthians 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
One of the biggest problems of our day has been the uni-sexing of apparel and hair styles. This has largely been made possible by woman dressing like men and having men's hair cuts. We will discuss this further later on.
Some of you may know or have guessed how women came to wear pants. That's right, it was the whorish women and decadents of the society that started it. The legal "prostitutes" of the movie industry (women who sell their bodies for men to lust after) flaunted the women's pants idea both on and off the big screen. The worldlings who were barely better than whores themselves naturally followed this example and over time it worked its' way through society. Of course, to take in the decent and even Christian women, the devil could not start out with women dressing like they do now, so, initially women's pant suits and slacks were distinctly "feminine." Some of these were "so attractive" that "naturally" more and more women found them irresistible.
More manish styles were introduced in the sportswear department and became "necessary" to participate in many activities since the skirts were steadily becoming shorter and tighter. As "Rosie the Riveter" and her pals lined up for factory jobs in WWII, women became even more convinced of their need of pants. These work clothes entirely lacked any pretense of "femininity," and rightly so, for if a woman was going to compete in "a man's world" she had to "be a man" and dress like one.
This swept over into the Christian women, and churches were finally forced to make laws that women were not allowed to wear pants to church, something that would have been unheard of just a few years before. But, sadly at the same time, hemlines were becoming so short that they eventually were difficult to even sit in. Christian woman followed the trend to their shame, some willingly and some foolishly thinking that they "had to" to look "stylish." (1Corinthians 7:31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.) More than one godly man thus confronted with so much nakedness at church must have wished that the women were allowed to wear the "feminine" pant suits! My mother's uncle, being an honest man and recognizing his own weak flesh, went so far as to tell the young women in the class he taught at a Bible college that they had to use a lap rug if they were going to sit in the front of the class! The devil was having great success.
Pants had also gone through several changes during this time. Eventually the typical blue jeans with the man-style fly in the front became "the norm." From time to time fuller more "feminine" pants make a come back, but blue jeans are by far the garment of choice in the U.S. at least. As my Grandpa has a habit of asking, "Why do woman need pants with a fly anyway?" Why indeed? If this is a symbol of women's liberation, God keep us from it. Is it so amazing that fornication and sexual impurity have accompanied this devilution? Surely not considering the vile women that have been the leaders of it on the behalf of their father the devil! They have only been doing what was in their wicked hearts all along. Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Here is a graphic example of the purpose of pants:
The following is from What in the World Should I Wear? by Mrs. Cathy Corle:
"A friend of mine told me that her decision to restrict her piano coversdrobe to dresses and skirts came as a result of a ladies; class. All the arguments and reasons that could be given were unheeded until the lady who was speaking said, 'Let me just demonstrate something to you.' She asked the ladies in the audience to close their eyes momentarily. She held up a large picture of a woman in an attractive, modest feminine skirt and blouse. She asked the ladies to open their eyes. Then she inquired, 'What is the primary focal point to this picture? Where did your eyes first fall naturally?' The audience agreed that their eyes were first drawn to the face of the woman in the picture.
"She once again asked the ladies to close their eyes. When they opened their eyes they were looking at a large poster of a woman in a sport shirt and blue jeans. She asked, 'Now, be honest with yourselves, and tell me where your eyes first fell naturally when you looked at this picture?' Many of the ladies in the crowd were surprised to find that most people's eyes first focused upon the hips and crotch area that were so vividly emphasized before they ever noticed the woman's face."
"If this happened in a crowd of ladies, how much more would it be true of men? For my friend, Joetta, this was all the 'evidence' that was needed." (from http://www.angelfire.com/mi/kingsdaughter/modesty.html)
Don't think that this plunge into wicked dressing was not by design. Remember that the devil has great delight in causing Christians to fall since he cannot have their souls! 1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith...
That Which Pertaineth To the Man
Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Now, while many people have taken exception to the harlotizing of Christian women in the area of pants, it seems that there are other items of dress and appearance that need to be dealt with also.
Before women started wearing pants they began to pick up other manish styles. Some women wore manish ties and hats. Some were obviously trying to look as masculine as possible within the context of accepted women's dress.
Today we see this taken even further with women wearing manish shirts and suit coats. Some women's dress shirts can only be told from men's by the way they button (right to left). This kind of dress for girls is a real problem in some boarding schools and academies. This is espebliplly true of British schools and those that have been influenced by this imagined scholastic look.
Square shouldered suit coats and shoulder pads are nothing short of an attempt to look masculine. God didn't make women to look like an American football player, but that is what many women look like with their monster shoulder pads. Whoever said a woman has to have square shoulders anyway? I don't know for sure, but I can make an educated guess! Hellywood has dressed women like men for years and made it look "cute." (Shoulder pads are questionable anyway as there is a reference to them in the Bible in a pagan context: Ezekiel 13:18 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you? 19 And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies? 20 Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly.)
Now, if it is wrong for women to wear pants because they are men's apparel, then shouldn't it follow that women should not wear suit coats and shirts that are manish? If the one is true, the other is too. Sadly, this is often looked over or never even considered. I have seen a photograph of a family in which the woman's suit looked very little different than her husband's except for the color and the skirt. Why? Is it a coincident that when you go into certain kinds of businesses the women working there are dressed in manish suits, dresses and shirts? In certain businesses women seem to have a need to look like a man.
Another thing is that some folks will make a big to-do over the necessity of skirts and dresses, and then when you see a family picture where the skirts don't show, you have to sometimes guess which are the girls! I have seen this. Apparently, the girls' hair was pulled back and they were wearing shirts that looked like boys' shirts. Now, I'm not going to forbid T-shirts or sweat shirts, but, dear Christian sisters, let's make more of an effort to look like ladies! Shirts can be can be bought in colors or decorated to look feminine. A detached lace or crocheted collar does wonders. Sure those girls probably had long hair in back, but it would have helped if they had worn it in a way that showed they were girls or if they had worn lady-like tops. It doesn't become girls professing godliness (1 Timothy2:10) to look like boys or men.
Now in some certain cases it is necessary for a woman to wear more leg covering under her skirt, whether it be some kind of pants or other leg coverings. Some places are cold beyond even wool stockings. Some places are infested with biting or stinging bugs or with shrubury that is treacherous. We know of one girl that slipped on a gravel hill and scraped the backs of her legs up badly. If it is necessary to walk on a surface like this it would be good to get some kind of leg covering to prevent injuries. There is also the matter of having to go somewhere that has open-work stairs. It is good to have some leg covering on for that too. You may think of others, but there is no reason why decent leg coverings can't be worn under a dress or skirt.
As a matter of fact, there are some things that it is just not necessary for us womenfolk to do. On the other hand, there are plenty of things that can be done in long, heavy, full skirts; contrary to what "liberated" women will believe or have us believe. Gardening, housework, hiking, bike-riding, even riding a horse can be done decently if the skirt is long enough, heavy enough and full enough! A decent spilt skirt will work for these things too.
This is probably as good a time as any to deal with the "freedom of movement" issue. There are women that will declare that they have to wear pants because they need "freedom of movement" for the things they have to do. Having worn skirts almost exclusively for years now, I find this excuse somewhat comical. Once you become "aclimated" to skirts, you will know that a long, full skirt allows more "freedom of movement" than most pants. Blue jeans and pants tend to be worn tight, espebliplly around the crotch. They "ride" up, they bind, they cut into your stomach. Some pants pull down in back when you squat to do something. Besides all of that, they make you look awful unless you maintain a fashion plate figure. Unless you want to put your legs up in the air or something, skirts just make better sense for comfort and movement, and loose jumpers and dresses eliminate binding at the waste. If your excuse is that a skirt doesn't give you enough leg room to do what you have to do, then you need to get yourself some fuller skirts and dresses!
In our day, when the Western mode of dress has spread around the world, it is easy to excuse ourselves no matter where we are and find reasons for dressing like the world. I even heard one woman go so far as to say she would never wear a dress or skirt because her Roman Catholic mother told her she should wear them "to be like Mary." The Catholics believe Jesus died on the cross too, so does that mean we should not believe that?!
Whatever your excuse may be, it is time to start measuring your standards by the high calling of God instead of by your own ideas or what other "godly" women justify. Besides Deuteronomy 22:5's clear admonition against that which pertaineth to the man, we are also told clearly in 1Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. That means abstain - don't do it - just like the King James Bible says! That means appearance - looks like it - just like the King James Bible says! This is not to "avoid all kinds of evil" as Bible perverters would have us believe. It is - do not do what even looks wrong! Like it or not people notice appearances! When we see a family in which the men a dressed decently and the women and girls are all dressed in long, modest skirts; have long hair and aren't "made up" nor acting brazenly; we begin to wonder if they might be Christians. Why? Because they do not have the appearance of the average Philistine! They do not look like whores.
Contemporary "Christianity" goes with contemporary "Christian" dress, which is founded on contemporary "fundamentalism," which ultimately is and was based upon questioning the word of God. Compromise and the rights of the people moved into the church with bobbed hair, pant suits and mini-skirts, followed shortly by blue-jean clad women and shorts at church picnics. Today you can go into some "liberated" churches and find people attending church in shorts and even some "pastors" getting up in shorts to "preach!" It is Laodicea - lao - people, dicea - rights - a church that "has its' liberty" but is ...wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked... (Revelation 3:17) but does not know it! Inch by inch, bit by bit they have willingly given up the attire of a virtuous woman for that of an harlot, and yet have convinced themselves that they are doing "right." They are not standing ...fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free... but are being ...entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 They are using their ...liberty for an occasion to the flesh... Galatians 5:13 They have donned, as it were pants of maliciousness. 1Peter 2:15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. How can we expect to put to silence the foolish men if we are dressed like foolish women (whorish women, see Proverbs)? Not all, but many filthy-minded men will treat a woman that is dressed modestly with more respect than they will one that looks like an harlot. Why? Because she is advertising herself! Proverbs 7:10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
graphics by mary vannattan