Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Polygamist Fashion-- The Next Big Thing?

Yesterday, the Waco Trib did a great job of breaking down polygamist fashion. Here's the really informative part:

The puff-sleeved, pastel dresses worn by the women in the sect are a combination of original 19th-century wear and 1950s clothing that was adopted when the church took a conservative turn, according to Janet Bennion, an anthropologist who studies polygamist women.

The dresses are meant to show modesty and conformity: They go down to the ankles and wrists, and are often worn over garments or pants, making sure every possibly provocative inch of skin is covered.

John Llewellyn, a polygamy expert and retired Salt Lake County sheriff's lieutenant, says the women cover themselves "so that they're unattractive to the outside world or other men."

The appearance of unity through uniform dress, however, can belie the jealousy that often arises when the women — who might all look alike to an outsider — find themselves in competition with one another over the affections of the same man, Llewellyn says.

The clothing is also stitched with special markings "to protect the body and to remind you of you commitment," Bennion says. She declined to go into detail about the stitchings because she said it would be an infraction against the community — a fundamentalist sect that broke from the mainline Mormon church, which disavows polygamy — to talk about their sacred symbols.

Pastel colors evoke femininity and don't come across as bold or strong, says Bennion, a professor at Lyndon State College in Vermont.

Then there's the question of the elaborate hairdos.

The women never cut their hair because they believe they will use it to wash Christ's feet during the Second Coming, Bennion says. A Biblical quote says a woman's hair should be her crowning glory.

The bangs are grown out and rolled (but usually not using a curling iron, because that would be too modern). There are sausage curls on the sides and often braids down the back.

The exact history of the hairstyle is unclear, but it is reminiscent of the Gibson Girl image of the 1800s. It's a pre-World War II look, exaggerated with the pompadour, Llewellyn says. Chloe Sevigny's character in the HBO show "Big Love," about modern polygamists in Utah, has mastered the 'do.

I dress like this every day. I do not know what the big deal is....


A. Why would you wash someone's feet, let alone Jesus's feet, with your hair? Would that even work? Is it sanitary? I would think that Jesus would be at least you know be polite about it... " Uhmmm Yeah... so uh THANKS.. you can stop that now..." I think they would mean well but Jesus would secretly be thinking.. "Uhmm you are kind of freaking me out here...."

B. Jesus wore sandals, so his feet might be pretty dirty. I would think a brush, soap, maybe a loofah would be more effective. Maybe a pumice stone, or a good exfoliant. maybe Clinique... if they had that back then. Which I doubt. Pretty sure God make the Universe in 6 days, but did not get around to skin care until much, much later.

I also find the FLDS culture strange, but I found their desire to use their hair to wash Jesus' feet quite touching. I'm pretty sure their belief stems from two passages of scripture:
Luke 7:36-50 and John 12:3, 7.

Ditto to Craig's comment...
How could I have known this? I am Unitarian. My mother in law referred to UUs as "The Elks Club of Religions." Harder to understand for me was if that was actually an insult, as I also had no idea what an ELKS CLUB was. I still do not know.

Seriously I do not care so much about their hair, their clothes.. all this stuff. If they are abusing their kids that is bad. If they are being wrongly accused that is also bad. Its hard to know what to think about these people... it is hard to be different, to constantly brush against the world, and they choose to live this way. I HOPE that the government is not punishing them for being different.

I also hope those kids are okay. If they have been abused or whatever, that is AWFUL, but they have to be terrified to be away from their parents now, too. people have all kinds of different ways of raising their children. Should the govt be allowed to come in and take them away because their parents are weird?

You have to know all of the facts, but it is clear to me that there has been extreme behavior on both sides.
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