Pentecostal women not allowed to wear pants?

"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which filed the federal complaint on behalf of McShan, noted that some Pentecostal Christians believe the Bible teaches that women should wear only skirts and dresses, which goes against Burger King’s dress code.

Burger King will now have to pay $25,000 to Ashanti McShan, who was 17 years of age when she was let go by the fast food restaurant for wanting to wear a skirt to work for religious reasons. Five thousand dollars of that money will be paid for back wages, while another $20,000 will be paid for mental anguish and non-wage damages."

Yes, some Pentecostal churches teach that women should not wear pants. This comes from biblical instructions that women should not wear that which pertains to men and vice verse. Of course, what is appropriate for men and women to wear shifts according to time and place. Jesus never wore pants!

However, please note that most Pentecostals women are perfectly free to wear pants and are not forbidden by their churches. Today, the churches that require women to wear dresses and skirts are somewhat of a throwback.

Thank you for that clarification. I live in a town with many Pentacostal churches and see many women in their pants finery.

It really aggravates me that some people think that Pentecostalism is synonymous with women in tacky denim skirts and their hair all done up in a bun. And then that becomes “Pentecostals oppress women” even though we don’t. :shrug:

Does it help that I knew otherwise?!

In fact, I really like what I see here! Mostly very bright and joyous colors, pants and dresses alike! It’s as if they are expressing their joy in Christ in their attire. As well as other ways, of course. :thumbsup:


Well, the ideal is modesty in everything. But Pentecostals are not immune to an overemphasis on fashion.

Well again, what I see is fabulouslly and tastefully joyous. :thumbsup:

I used to work with a girl who was not allowed to wear pants for religious reasons. They just let her wear a black skirt that matched the uniform.

When I was working there was a female surgeon who was Mennonite, I believe, (not sure) and did not wear regular scrubs with pants. She wore a scrub dress. She wore a surgical cap in surgery and on rounds, but when she changed into her clothes she wore a prayer cap like the Mennonites do.

She also was absolutely one of the sweetest people I ever met and her patients loved her. But seeing a Mennonite woman as a surgeon was a bit unusual.

I had a Mennonite roommate in college, but she ditched the prayer cap and wore pants while at school. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the clarification. I was wondering what this article and court case was about because I have Pentecostal friends who wear pants.

I suppose no different to the older European ladies at my church who refuse to enter a Church without a mantilla (covering their hair).

Haha. You are also in Australia which is like the Vatican of trendy Pentecostalism. :smiley:

(I wrote my master’s thesis on Pentecostalism and American popular culture, so excuse me for the completely unnecessary detail. But since no one is ever going to read my thesis :smiley: I might as well share some of it with you guys!)

When Pentecostalism started in the first decade of the 20th century, Christian workers were actually encouraged to wear the latest fashions as a way to appear “relevant” or “incarnational” or “missional” as we would say today. Pretty quickly there was a strain of legalism that asserted itself and was inherited from the Wesleyan-holiness movement.

The big problem from the 1920s until the 1950s was the fact that Pentecostals couldn’t tell Holy Spirit filled people from carnal people because (by the standards of 1900) the morality of women’s fashion trends had declined so much. 1920s Pentecostal tracts on “dress reform” were filled with references to the fact that “flappers” dressed in clothes that only a decade earlier no one but prostitutes would have been caught wearing.

There was actually a tract written in the 1950s where a Pentecostal woman saw a very “worldly” looking woman on a train. She began to witness to the woman about “her need for Christ” and the “worldly” woman then took over and spoke about Jesus and the Bible for the rest of the train ride. It turned out that the “worldly” woman was a Bible teacher!

So, there definitely was a strain of legalism at work. The problem was that no one could ever agree on exactly what “worldly” fashions looked like. Also, people were always trying to challenge what seemed to many to be arbitrary holiness standards.

But it helps to understand that these types of attitudes were rooted in the fast pace of cultural change that occurred in America during the early 20th century. An entire generation of Pentecostals perhaps were too slow to adapt to things like harmless clothing styles. However, the charge can be made that many Christians today are too quick to embrace any cultural change no matter how damaging to the cause of Christ. :shrug:

How long is a “scrub dress”?

I would imagine down to the ankles. We had a US Letter Carrier who wore a specialty made long uniform skirts along with Sikhs who did not wear one of the many uniform caps and hats but their turban,

Thank you, that was a very interesting read.

Some of the hemlines of the young adults at my Church raises eyebrows but I am always happy to see them participating at Mass. They made a conscious choice to bring themselves there on a Sunday morning, made the effort for Christ so I welcome and make time for them.

Frankly I would not choose a surgeon who wore a nearly floor length “scrub dress” nor do I think they should be allowed in an OR. I also don’t think they are appropriate (safe and sanitary) in a fast food environment.

Having worked in ICU and worn scrubs, we had the option of a dress (slightly below knee length) and scrub pants and tops.
They are still made and occasionally you will see someone in the OR or ICU wearing a scrub dress.

In Ohio where I raised my kids, the family across the street didn’t believe in women cutting their hair nor women wearing slacks or pants. The mom and all 4 of her daughters wore dresses and skirts and such and had long beautiful glorious hair! The wife’s hair was down almost to the ground and I asked her once how she washed it and she told me it took both her and her husband to get it washed and rinsed!!

Where I live now there is a community of Holdeman Mennonites. They all wear dresses and once the girls are baptized they wear black prayer caps as do the women. I love these people, nicest people in the world and I’ve never seen anyone live their religion as these folks do. One of the gals rides a bike a lot and she wears a pair of sweat pants UNDER her dress when she does for modesty. The little girls wear tights or stretchy pants under their dresses for modesty.

Places of employment need to make allowances for religious dress. I know that hospitals do that for nuns who wear habits… I’ve worked at several Catholic hospitals.

If various Hospital surgical heads and Food Safety authorities deem them safe and hygienic I don’t see what the problem is.

Under what bizarre circumstances could a reasonable skirt be less safe or sanitary in an OR or fast food environment? I have a considerable career in fast food and I’ve never seen anyone prepare food using any part of their body below the waist. We’re not talking a “Gone With the Wind” style hoop skirt for crying out loud. What’s the difference between a skirt and an apron as far as sanitation goes? Are you sure you aren’t just a little bit prejudiced here?

Or trousers which cut off at the ankle as I described the long skirt worn by a co-worker? :shrug:

We have alot of Baptists in our are that require the women to wear skirts or dresses, so it isn’t limited to just the Pentacostal faith.

One woman that I worked with several years ago told a story of attending a Baptist service with her mother in a small church in Tennessee, and wore a conservative, stylish suit. (she always dressed flawlessly)

She became the subject of the sermon…lol

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