The Bare-naked Truth on Self-Expression

News, Events and Second Glances


Pointing out that I’m nowhere near being a fashion guru is important at this stage of the blog, since I consider you, the very patient reader, to be my friend by now.

So my dear friend from the Interwebs, let me just get this out of the way: I do not know “what’s hot and what’s not”. I do not know what kind of dress that Twilight or Hunger Games person will be wearing to the Oscars. Don’t even get me started on couture, because I’m as confused as you are.

However, I took a short sabbatical from reading Halo – Fall of Reach because I do have something to say about dressing up.  And it is my sincerest hope that even with my non-existent credentials as a fashion authority, you’ll find it in your heart to give this a few scrolls down.

Clothes are necessary. For the majority of the human population who don’t live in nudist camps, clothes act as our washable (yes, do wash them from time to time) armor. They hide our curves and unmentionables, or lack thereof. They shield our bodies from freezing temperatures; they help us stay cool on warmer weathers. They also, as considered by some as its primary function, help us express our oh-so-vibrant personalities.

With our feathered hats and zebra-print knee-highs, most of us walk around our school halls and office corridors because we are free to do so wearing whatever we choose to wear.  We are given that right.

Here in America, that right is the First Amendment – the freedom of speech or freedom of expression. It is because of this piece that John Tinker, together with his friends, won a case against the Des Moines Independent Community School District.

Here’s how things went down (it’s short, I promise):

In 1965, high school student John Tinker together with his friends Mary Beth and Christopher decided to express their disapproval of the war in Vietnam by wearing black armbands to school.

Because the school did not allow this, they were suspended until they agreed to return to school without the armbands. They came back after New Year’s, which was when their protest was scheduled to end.

They lost in the in the District Court, but the case was tried in the Court of Appeals in 1968. Tinker and his friends won.  (That was short, as promised. The long one’s here, if you’d like to take a glance at it.)

In today’s world, the freedom of expression has gone from protesting against the war, to protesting for fashion.  Let’s consider this plea from Minnetonka High School principal Dave Adney, in an email he wrote published on the Star Tribune:

Hello Parents of Minnetonka High School students,

This is Dave Adney with an update on high school fashion trends and a request.

As the weather gets colder we have noticed a fashion trend with our young women. Many of them choose to wear leggings usually made of spandex or another form of tight fitting material. In past years this has not been a major problem since fashion norms called for a long sweatshirt, jersey or sweater to be worn in conjunction with the leggings. This fall another pattern has emerged and we are requesting parent support.

Some of our girls have chosen to wear t-shirts with the leggings, thus exposing more leg and backside area. This can be highly distracting for other students and I am asking your assistance. If your daughters choose to wear leggings or other tight fitting clothing please support our goal of keeping things covered up. We encourage students to dress modestly and this trend is definitely a move away from our general expectations.


Dave Adney

And disagreeing parties, in student form, rose to the surface. In an article written in the Huffington Post about this principal’s request for his students to cover up a bit, one female student said “If a girl feels comfortable in what they are wearing, then it should be accepted and not prohibited.”

The principal said that they wouldn’t ban leggings altogether, because they are comfortable and they do need it for colder weather. But his small request: wear something longer to hide what needs to be hidden.

It’s the same issue with a different facade: these young girls demand that they be given the right to express themselves, for it is their right, and they want to exercise that right. They want to wear leggings with shirts, which means exposing their behinds and whatever else would be seen, they feel that they should be allowed to do so – it is who they are, they feel. Would the school be robbing them of their right to express themselves if they ask that they wore something longer atop their spandex leggings?

In line with this, I think that the root of the issue is not freedom of expression per se. I am for freedom of expression, especially for religion. I think expressing ourselves is vital. So before we do some serious bouts of expression, we must first turn the attention on ourselves. The real issue lies on who we are. Who are we? And why must the world know who we are?

I believe that before we concern ourselves with what’s outside, we must learn to take a look at what’s inside. Strip away what’s on the surface and look at the bare-naked truth of what’s inside our very beings.  It won’t hurt, I promise.

Ask yourself a few questions. What do I believe in? What do I value? What am I about? What moves me? What motivates me? Why do I feel the way I do? What do I really know about myself?

We all have different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs that mold us into who we are. We have things that we hold dear in our hearts and keep track of in our minds constantly. These dictate who we are. If we believe that who we are is worth showing to the world, then it is our obligation to do just that. At this point in time, the world needs all the inspiration and awareness it can get.

In this video entitled What is the duty of a preacher of God in instilling God’s words to people, Bro. Eli Soriano talks about developing a deep love for God which opens people’s spiritual awareness. He mentioned that this is not present in everyone. And we can testify to this fact. Not everyone has developed spiritual awareness. We see it everyday – in the news, on our streets, and maybe even when we face the mirror.

So what do we do? What do we show the world?

I think that people, especially the youth, who decide to show the world that there is much more to their fresh faces than just fads and the next big boy band sensation from wherever are commendable. Instead of showing their skin, they show a part of themselves that has the potential to change the world – love. They are ready to show the world that charity is easy, with the help of God. That forbearance is a virtue. That being modest is to be brave.  That rights come with responsibilities. That dressing to impress others is nothing when compared to dressing to impress the One who matters.

In the Bible, Christians, or the followers of Christ, are ordained to be meek and modest in clothing. And I must say that to choose to be simple in the time of a very fashion-driven world is quite a statement to make. While the whole world busies itself with trends, Christians make a mark by wearing simple clothes. But on the inside, their hearts are heavily armored with God’s words, ready to fire wisdom at will, for any given situation. For these folks, Christ is the trendsetter, and His words are to be followed at all times. They find comfort in doing His will, which goes beyond the physical comfort the most expensive spandex money can buy will ever give.

So, whoever you are, are you bold enough to show everyone that you are more than what the eyes could see?