Feminine Dress/Behavior


I am a young college student and I was wondering about something that actually hasn’t really bothered me…but I guess what I am wondering if my position is reasonable?

I have never been really into feminine anything. I could care less about my nails (which are actually super short…I bite them…:o) and my hair is always only in a very simple ponytail. I wear very modest dresses or skirts and a veil to Mass. I will not wear dresses/skirts otherwise, except for very formal things like job interviews and awards receptions. Never wore makeup.

Outside of church, I wear modest, full-cut women’s jeans and again, very modest shirts, like polos, etc. I wear steel-toed leather ankle-high livestock-work boots normally…or rubber chore boots if I am mucking…:slight_smile:

Never ever did tea parties or played with dolls. I actually don’t like the color pink. Not really a flowery person either.

The thing is, even if I loved these things, they’d be very impractical for my position in life. I am a prevet student and work with livestock and large animal vets regularly. I have always felt a calling to be a livestock vet and I deeply enjoy every minute of it (even when it isn’t so pleasant). This is some of what I do or help with- there is absolutely no way anything but pants would work: [warning a bit graphic] palpating cows (involves sticking your whole arm into the cow’s rectum to feel for her uterus and ovaries below, in order to determine pregnancy and sometimes stages in estrus), surgically castrating bulls and lambs, doing lameness exams on horses, artifically inseminating sheep, going inside a ewe or cow or mare in labor to reposition a dystocia baby so it can be delivered safely, replacing vaginal and uterine prolapses, etc. All very messy, potentially dangerous work, and more often than not, you are holding an animal’s head or leg in between your legs (ever watched a farrier work on horses?).

Not to mention, most of the vets I am working with are guys, and so are many of the farmers. They are wonderful and very respectful. I act ladylike but certainly tough enough to do what needs to be done, and I can easily establish rapport and respect.

Is it wrong to questionable to feel no desire whatsoever for feminine this and that? Don’t get me wrong- I am glad to be female, and I personally think it is very possible to be a true Catholic lady and imitate our Lady- and still wear Carrhart’s and wrestle cattle (kindly, of course).

Or am I getting it all wrong?

Pax et bonum.

You are just fine. You do not have to wear skirts and dresses and lacy bows to be feminine.

“Sola Skirtura” is not a Catholic belief, no matter what some misguided people may think.

The following is a very wise quote from Brother JR, who shares his vast knowledge and wisdom frequently with us here on the Traditional Catholicism sub-forum:

*"As someone who does a lot of pastoral care, I would make several suggestions.

  1. If you wish to wear a veil or hat or other head covering at either form of the mass, that is your right. Ignore what other people wear or what they think. Most of the time, people won’t even comment on it. Those who do are busy bodies. Unless they’re paying you a compliment. In that case, they’re being kind.

  2. It is true that Our Lady is the model of virtues and the role model for all Christians. However, taking her out of her historical context has created a lot of anxiety for many people. Let’s put her back into her historical context and leave her there. It’s impossible for us to know if Our Lady would wear slacks or not, were she in another culture or another time. Let’s say that she had been from the far East. She probably would have worn pants, because it was the common way of dress for peasant women. Miriam of Nazareth was part of the lower economic class. Had she been from China or Viet Nam or Korea, she would have dressed like the poor people of those nations. Had she been a poor working girl from Europe or the Americas, that’s how she would have dressed. A wonderful example of this is Our Lady’s appearance in Mexico. She did not look like a Jewish woman or a European woman. She looked like a Aztec, even wearing the typical black band that pregnant Aztec women wore. We want to imitate her virtues, but not take her out of her historical context. To say that Catholic women in America should not wear slacks, because Our Lady did not wear slacks does not work. She was not a 20th century American woman. Had she been, she probably would have been a factory worker or a migrant worker or a farmer’s wife. Who knows? Then we would have to get all tangled up in what do migrant workers wear in the field? What do women working in factories wear? What do rural poor women wear? Can you see how this gets very complicated?

  3. The best way to imitate Our Lady is a theological approach. What does she stand for? What are her virtues? What is her relationship to her son and to his Church. Then we try to improve our life of virtue, work on our relationship to Jesus and our relationship with the Church.

Keep this in mind. When you attend mass, the focus is Christ. Train yourself to focus on him alone. Let the world around you cease to exist during that time in which you’re praying the mass. It takes practice, but it works.*

I loved his words of wisdom so much I forwarded his post to a friend since I couldn’t get it to link from the CAF thread after it was posted a few months ago. As I stated earlier, sadly enough the post was gone when the thread was removed due to uncharitable posts by others.

Of course it is. Women male dominated roles can still be feminine outside working hours and certainly it sounds like you wear feminine and modest clothing to Mass. I wouldn’t get too wrapped up about it. No-one expects you to be wearing skirts/dresses while you are wrestling a calf or any other animal, in fact it would probably be unladylike if you did. Sounds like you wear modest clothing most of the time, keep on doing it.:thumbsup:

I don’t see any problem here. I myself am a far cry from feminine behavior.

And bless you for caring for God’s creatures.

Funny you mention it, you sound just like my wife of 24 years :slight_smile:

It was one of the things that attracted me to her. I can’t stand it when women wear makeup unless very, very minimal. We’re both sporty and love cycling, hiking, etc. When we’re on the mountain or on the road we pretty much dress the same. In fact a couple of years ago we did a 200-mile charity ride to raise funds for cancer research. We got identical cycling jerseys that we usually wear when we ride to encourage participation, so we are dressed exactly identical.

My wife is a family doctor incidentally. She feels it’s necessary to de-emphasize her sexuality given the intimate contact she has with patients both male and female, but without disguising her gender.

Plus, given the circumstances like you a pre-vet, fancy fingernails and whatnot would be an impediment to her work.

So relax. I think you’re just fine.

Has something specific caused you to second guess yourself?


I enjoyed reading your post and I agree with sentiments of the poster that noted
Thank you for caring for God’s creatures.

I love seeing people in veils at Mass and that seems feminine to me.
I am no expert on dress at Mass however.
Peace in Christ,

Sweetlambs - I only know what you’re talking about because I’ve seen every episode of “The Incredible Dr. Pol.”
Regarding your post, I agree with OraLabora that sometimes it is prudent to de-emphasize our femininity. When I was a nurse’s aide, I often had to be in physically close positions with male and female patients. During that time, I always made sure to present myself modestly and simply.

If I owned a cattle ranch, I would much rather hire a vet who is more concerned about my animals, than how her hair looks as she’s delivering babies.


I don’t like to dress in girl’s clothes either.
:D:D:D:D couldn’t resist

Thank you all for your responses. Your sentiments are essentially what I have always felt, but I thought it prudent to get a “second opinion”. I guess I have not been too aware of what I have been wearing and doing, because it’s just my nature, but I have always felt a desire to dress simply and modestly and not get noticed for how I dress or fix my hair.

Oddly enough, I do love the veil and sometimes I wear a scarf or something outside of Mass. I don’t feel that I have to- but maybe it’s a way to be by myself a little bit on a busy campus. I do enjoy moments of peace and quiet and sometimes that is hard to get in our world.

Hannajomar- if you like Dr. Pol, you should read James Herriot’s books (All Creatures Great and Small, etc.).

St. Francis is one of my favorite patron saints- I guess I spent a bit of time thinking about how he’d react to this, and honestly I think he’d tell me to roll up my sleeves and get to work! :slight_smile:

Pax et bonum!


Come to my part of the world, where the routine dress of modest, unmarried (or even married) women of all ages is often a long tunic and long, loose trousers. Men often wear something similar, but believe me, even a child can tell the difference.

“Sola Skirtura” (you ought to copyright this) is a cultural phenomenon, and has nothing to do with being feminine. (If it had, then what’s a kilt? No true Scotsman is feminine!) :smiley:

Well said. I think this answers the OP’s question very well. :thumbsup: I have also known woman surgeons who dress this way, for much the same reason that you mention.

And St. Gianna, of blessed memory, who was also a doctor, was also known to dress the same way. :slight_smile:

Actually I borrowed that phrase from a blog that was dealing with extreme trads who insisted women must wear skirts all the time. I think it was from Simcha Fisher, who writes for National Catholic Register…

I love that we have pictures of St Gianna in women’s pants!!

Much that is considered feminine now is quite new - makeup, hair styles that need professional care every 4 weeks, fancy, time-consuming fingernails, etc. There is no mention of these in the model of womanly behavior in Proverbs 31.

While I do wear skirts most the time, I dress appropriately for the job. If I’m shoveling manure I’m not going to wear a skirt & nice shoes. And if you as a vet showed up in my barn dressed to the nines with high-heels (which are bad for the feet) & other modern accoutrements, I wouldn’t trust you with my animals! :smiley:

I, too, think it’s great that you want to work with animals. Those of us who have animals have a high regard for vets. But I’ll admit that the first time I saw my vet outside the office at a wedding reception, I didn’t recognize her. She cleans up real pretty. :smiley:

True femininity comes just as much from behavior as it does from dress. Sure, depending on your job, whatever is appropriate but not revealing is fine.

Too many Catholic women have been brainwashed into believing that being feminine in any way is a dirty word. That skirts and dresses are to be shunned. And makeup? Forget it.

In the meantime, those who think they should be more like men should understand that their God-given femininity is given for a reason. You are not a man. Men and women should complement each other.

The fiction that feminine beauty products are recent should be called a fiction every time anybody sees it. The 1950s were filled with beehive hairdos and teen girls wanting their hair cut to look like their favorite singer or actress. Nail polish, mascara? My sister had that. Skirts? Yeah. So what? Pearl necklaces. The list goes on.

No matter how good looking a young lady is, if her behavior is bad, that kills my attraction immediately. What are standards of proper behavior? We had them at one time but people began to be exposed to more and more immodest and indecent behavior in the media. Prior to 1970, you saw ZERO of that sort of behavior in the media.

Women today should understand that the loud, vicious, tear apart the family Women’s Libbers had only one goal in mind during the 1970s - to turn women into men, that all men were the enemy and all women the victims, or potential victims, of all men. So as the 1970s faded, some women believed the lies. In the 1980s, enough scared and brainwashed women took part in the No-Fault Divorce scandal that tore apart families. If you had no kids, you paid the lawyer $75 and you were out. That gradually mutated into you deciding when and with who you would have sex “thanks” to The Pill. Oh yeah, it would free you from all “feminine/wifely” duties and put a roadblock between you and what God’s plan was for you in married life.

So, we’ve got a lot of confused women that run the spectrum. There are those who will spend hundreds of dollars on weaves, natural human hair, get their nails done, buy ridiculous outfits that were often expensive, designer sunglasses or glasses that were often expensive down to “I don’t care how I look.” And behavior? Pick almost any TV show or movie with a woman in it. Drunk, disorderly, fornication, adultery, cohabitation, serial sex partners - anything that is not moral. Or authentically feminine.

This book sums up the path that led to today and what should be done.



People have a tendency to define femininity according to a stereotype.

Girls/Women are supposed to

be obsessed with their looks
Like makeup and nail polish
like the color pink
giggle a lot
be ditzy (intelligence intimidates men after all)
have no opinion of their own

etc. etc.


I have Aspergers and find it very difficult to make small talk especially talk about relationships. I have no patience for it. Does that make me less feminine?

By the way, I also like makeup, nail polish and the color pink. I don’t giggle a lot though.

By “recent,” I meant in the last century or so. I like to take the long view. :slight_smile: Women (& men) did wear makeup & fancy dress long before that, but that was generally the moneyed classes & upper class prostitutes.

Women of what could be called the middle class usually did not wear makeup (depending on the era). However, the styles of dress could get pretty outrageous at times! And poor working women didn’t have the time or money to spend on fripperies like makeup, jewelry, or pretty clothes.

Isn’t there a writing from an early saint about women dying their hair & looking like prostitutes? And St. Paul had plenty to say on the subject of fancy hairstyles & ostentatious dress.

Speaking for myself, I’ve got better ways to use (or waste) my time & limited budget than having my hair & nails done & getting a bikini wax. Nor do I have the money to spend on modern clothes that don’t suit me. I’m a geezerette & would look pretty silly if I tried to dress like the girls I see. :smiley:

I agree. I do spend some money on make up and nail polish but I don’t go overboard.

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