A young woman posts a picture of herself and her husband on her blog. They have just come back from vacation and she's sharing a few photos. She and her husband happen to be wearing shirts with name brands on them. Hers is from a company that has been criticized for racy advertising.
Oh, did I mention that she runs a Christian Bible study website and has written extensively on modesty?
A few hours later I see via facebook that she has removed the photo and is apologizing for offending people. Someone, somewhere, was upset by seeing the brand name on her shirt.
The photo wasn't inappropriate in any way. She wasn't wearing skimpy beach clothing. She and her husband weren't engaging in private behavior. It was a beautiful photo of a happy couple on the beach.
Don't you just love people who have to complain about petty things?
I don't wear brand-emblazoned clothing, and I don't buy it for my kids. The idea of spending money to advertise a company seems ludicrous to me. I also don't shop in certain stores, including that one. (I hardly shop at all, anyway.) But there's no reason for me to be offended by someone else wearing it. I guess I might tsk-tsk at a kid wearing a shirt advertising beer or something like that. But, why even that? What do I know about it?
Do I know that the shirt isn't a hand-me-down or a gift? Do I know if the person has limited money for clothing and this is what was available at the thrift store? Do I know that the wearer didn't borrow the shirt because she was cold? Do I know that the person didn't buy the shirt years before the questionable advertising started? Could it be that she just liked the shirt when she saw it in a store?
Do I know anything about the person's motivation for wearing a particular article of clothing?
If a person writing about modesty continually posted pictures of herself in inappropriate clothing*, I might question the value of her teaching. I might decide she was a hypocrite who, for some reason, writes about a way of life she doesn't even agree with. (Must be for the big money Christian bloggers make.) But one photo in a shirt consisting of block letters shouting out a name brand that is available in every mall in America?
People, take care of your own families. Watch what your children are wearing. Teach them to be discerning about the message they send with their clothing and the money they spend. Don't follow leaders who espouse a lifestyle that is wrong.
But don't go picking on someone for a single photo in a shirt from a store you don't like.
*This would include revealing clothing but also clothing designed to call undue attention to the wearer. A woman can be perfectly covered with her clothing but if it is too tight or has inappropriate wording on it (such as "modest is hottest"), she is not dressing modestly.
What do you think? I know this is an area where there are strong opinions. Am I too easy-going?