taking the words of Jesus seriously

During the Golden Globes on Sunday, history was made.

Women draped themselves in black to protest the culture of sexual harassment that has long defined Hollywood. Women and men spoke out to negate the culture of silence that has allowed sexual harassment to continue unchallenged.

And women also kicked ass in winning awards for their writing, acting, and lifetime achievements.

And this morning, LDS Living magazine responded by posting a roundup of which gowns at the Golden Globes could be safely considered Mormon-approved. Here is the text from the story:

This year’s Golden Globes saw an unprecedented number of celebrities sporting modest dresses. While we understand modesty encompasses so much more than merely what you wear, we wanted to compile a list of some of the stunning, modest dresses from the red carpet to provide inspiration and demonstrate that style does not have to jeopardize modesty to be fashionable.

OK, let’s just parse that opening sentence. “This year’s Golden Globes saw an unprecedented number of celebrities sporting modest dresses.”

You think? Did it occur to anyone working on this story that there was a reason for that?

Celebrities were “sporting modest dresses” as a form of protest. The fact that they were almost all wearing black — which is not even mentioned in the LDS Living roundup — could be regarded as a clue. Because they’re sick of women’s bodies being objectified, judged, and treated as property. Because #MeToo is true of too many women.

So Mormons respond by dishing out more of the same, objectifying and judging women’s bodies and perpetuating the lie that women exist for purposes of ornamentation.

As if critiquing women’s attire is a Mormon right. As if we are divinely appointed to praise women whose fashion choices conform with our own narrow and culturally conditioned standards.

These were not “stunning, modest dresses from the red carpet.” They were intentionally somber dresses that were selected to make a point — a point that LDS Living could not have been thicker about missing.

Listen, instead, to what The New York Times had to say about the night’s funeral aesthetic:

The Globes were draped in black, quite literally, with actresses and some actors vowing to use their attire to make a statement about sexual harassment in Hollywood and other spheres. Winners were expected to use their moments of glory to rail against the systemic sexism and silence that allowed the behavior of men like Mr. Weinstein, James Toback, Louis C.K. and Mr. Spacey to fester for decades.

On the red carpet, eight actresses walked hand in hand with activists who focus on sexual harassment and gender inequality.

So here’s a challenge for LDS Living. How about next year, we focus on the praiseworthy things that women write, do and accomplish, rather than the clothes they choose or the bodies they have? How about we stop contributing to a culture of sexual harassment and start celebrating women as creators and subjects in their own right, rather than objects for our viewing pleasure?

Would that be so hard?

This article originally appeared at RNS.

About The Author


Jana Riess is the author of "The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less . . . Now with 68% More Humor!" and "Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor." She has a Ph.D. in American religious history from Columbia University.

Related Posts

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
    Check which Newsletter(s) you'd like to receive:    

You have Successfully Subscribed!