Are you ever discouraged at the mall? Does it sometimes feel like in order to honor God with the way that you dress you’re going to have to throw fashion out the window? Wouldn’t you love to see modest clothes featured at next year’s fashion week?
And my friend, Dannah Gresh has developed a great plan to make it happen. As most of you know Dannah is the co-author of Lies Young Women Believe. She is also the author of Secret Keeper, a book dedicated to exploring the delicate power of modesty. Secret Keeper is accompanied by a slew of products (including a brand new fiction series) and events designed to teach pre-teens about beauty, modesty, and friendship.
And, she recently launched a petition aimed at showing the beauty and fashion industries that modesty matters.
I knew you’d be interested in this effort, so I interviewed Dannah about the petition. Here’s what she told me.
Erin: You’ve recently added a petition to your Secret Keeper Girl site. What’s the goal?
Dannah: “Our goal is to raise awareness about the harmful effects of some of the fashion industry’s products and methods of advertising. A lot of teens and woman think that fashion is just fashion, but it is wreaking havoc emotionally and the results are measurable. You don’t have to be a Christian to be offended by immodesty. This is every woman’s issue. The American Psychological Association developed a task force to survey the sexualization of girls. Unfortunately, this starts very young. The APA task force report states clearly that little girls who are exposed to make-up (there are now make-up lines and parties for five year olds), wear sensual clothing (in 2003 parents of 7-12 year olds spent $1.6 million on thong underwear), are expressing their boy-craziness and reading fashion magazines too early…well, they tend to be depressed and struggle with eating orders as teens, are more likely to be sexually active early and…ironically tend to then be sexually repressed as adult women. Why? Because they have significant body issues and scars from early sexual activity. It’s not just fashion!
Erin: Why do you think so many people feel so strongly about this issue that they are willing to take this kind of stand?
Dannah: “ I think a lot of women have felt the depression and self-loathing about their beauty. They don’t necessarily link these things to fashion or early sexualization, but there is a link. Take for example that 70% of women tend to feel depressed after they view a fashion magazine. That’s because the images they see are UNATTAINABLE! Period. The models don’t even look like that because they are airbrushed to perfection in Photoshop. And…to begin with, they aren’t healthy! A healthy body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5
and 25. Spain has banned models with less than an 18 (considered dangerously underweight) from their runways. The US hasn’t followed their lead! Here’s how today’s US beauty symbols score.
Heidi Klum 18
Elle MacPherson 17.3
Paris Hilton 16
Nicole Richie 17
Kate Moss 15.7
Cindy Crawford 19.2 (Go, Cindy!)
Glisel Bundchen 17.4
Lily Cole 15.6”
Erin: Beyond changing fashion, what’s at stake here?
Dannah: “Every girl and woman deserves a fantastic, healthy marriage relationship. God designed her for that. Most women will be married one day. But in taking too much of the fashion world in, we increase the risk of experiencing things only meant to be within marriage…from a sense of power from our beauty to actual sexual sin. This diminishes the power of what we can know in our marriage and creates scars that can take years to heal. The best plan is to save the deepest secrets of your beauty for just one man and to wait for God’s plan”
Dannah’s goal is to have the petition signed by 50,000 moms and daughters (that’s where you come in) who are willing to take a stand on this issue. And she’s succeeding! In the three weeks since the petition was released, just over 3,000 signatures have been added.
And what’s Dannah’s plan once she’s reached her goal? Here’s the vision she unveiled through her website:
“In 2009, Dannah Gresh and The Bod Squad (that’s you) will present a petition to both the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the Apparel and Footwear Manufacturer’s Association. We hope that as a result Women’s Wear Daily, the global “bible” of the fashion industry, will cover the petition and tell the entire fashion world. Dannah has been interviewed twice by the magazine to discuss the industries marketing of sensual clothing to tweens. She has their ear, but she needs your support to send them a clear message.”
And after flagging the attention of the fashion industry, Dannah plans to seal the deal by doing something really exciting—shopping! She acknowledges that some fashion is great and has plans to facilitate a Positive Spending Day after she garners 50,000 signatures. All 50,000 of us will make plans to shop at a store that consistently sells clothes that are tasteful and modest but fun and fashionable.
“We just want to tell the industry that we want to spend our money on tasteful clothes,” Dannah said. “And we want little girls to be little girls. The way teens model modesty is so important to these little girls!”
If you’re looking for a way to stand for modesty for your generation and for the little girls who are growing up behind you, this is an important step to take. You can sign Dannah’s petition by following this link, http://www.secretkeepergirl.com/Bod_Squad_Petition.aspx.