What does PURE mean? Something that is pure is 100% what it is. Meaning, it is made of nothing else but it’s own essence – bottled water is “pure water” when there are no added flavorings, no artificial sweeteners, no contamination – it’s just pure water. Likewise, being a woman who is pure has nothing to do with that image of a stiff, porcelain, don’t-touch-me image that we are fed sometimes. A woman who is pure is fully herself, 100% her own essence.
I would like spot-light an amazing youth ministry initiative getting started right now in ATX that speaks the real message of what being pure as a woman is all about! If you have young teenage girls, or if you are one yourself, take a moment to read this article and – perhaps – get involved in something new and exciting – something that helps build-up women – something that exalts beauty as it exalts the Creator who fashioned it – something that speaks about the dignity of womanhood in a contentious time – Pure Fashion!
I interviewed Katie Martin, an amazing woman who has truly inspired me through her dedication in helping to launch the Austin chapter of Pure Fashion.
Rachel: Why did you decide to get involved in Pure Fashion? What makes you the most excited about it?
Katie: Good question, Rachel! There are so many reasons that I am involved in and passionate about Pure Fashion, but the thing that ties everything together is beauty. Beauty—internal and external—has a way of speaking to our souls that is unlike anything else. It is a more direct and intuitive language. It is a language that God uses to reveal Himself to us.
We live in a world where loneliness and a longing to be loved are so very prevalent. We, as women, are vulnerable to an insecurity that can lead us to seek validation and attention in a way that says, “I am an object, not a person.” This search for validation can express itself in the clothing that we wear, the way that we speak and carry ourselves, the emotional boundaries that we may or may not maintain…[etc].
Many of us—young and old—are not strangers to the struggle to see that we are worth more than that; that we are of infinite worth; that we are created in the image and likeness of God. Pure Fashion is all about re-educating and reminding us of this truth! It wants to teach high school girls that their infinite worth is worth protecting; that they are loved truly, deeply, passionately by God. And Pure Fashion shows them that they can bring Christ to others through their commitment to honoring their beauty.
Rachel: How relevant do you think the program is for young women in our times?
Katie: Now, more than ever before, I see the world sending messages that say, “You can get the validation you want if you wear these clothes and sell your body.” These messages reinforce the idea that we may never be valued for who we are, only for what we do or what we can give. And, more importantly, these messages fuel a utilitarian culture where both men and women are comfortable using each other. [In this] type of culture, sacrifice for the good of the other is marginalized.
What I can say is: certainly we see these utilitarian messages in advertising, but we also see them in an unprecedented way in the clothing available in stores. And this is where I get excited about Pure Fashion’s role in changing the culture: Pure Fashion gives girls two types of business cards that they can bring with them when they shop. One card praises the retailer for providing clothing that is pretty without being provocative. The other card respectfully requests the designers and buyers to provide more “pretty-not-provocative” options.
I see these business cards as one of the keys to changing this utilitarian trend. Retailers need to know that there are girls out there who want tasteful, but not provocative clothing. When there is only provocative clothing out there, its really challenging to find something appropriate to wear! How many times have you or I been tempted to alter our standards, simply because we were weary from the search to find something suitable? It is not easy! But Pure Fashion wants girls to know that it is worth it!
In this way, Pure Fashion really is responding to both the needs of the girls—to find something beautiful and appropriate—and the need of the times—to change the utilitarian trend.
Rachel: That’s a bold effort Katie! I know I’ve been frustrated before in my own search for clothes that are gorgeous without being too provocative. Give us an inside look! Could you describe one of your favorite Pure Fashion events?
Katie: […] We have monthly sessions […] Our first session introduced 40 high school girls to what we are about through talks, activities, modeling tips and a Men’s Panel. Hands down, my favorite part was the Men’s Panel (and no, it wasn’t my favorite part just because they were attractive men—although they are that as well!).
It was my favorite part because they were attractive men who have such an amazing message for these girls!My good friend, Joe Lawlor, who was one of the panel members, suggested that we start the panel discussion with the following meme (see photo to left). The men reminded the girls that even though immodesty gets men’s attention, it’s the kind of attention they don’t want. In fact, men who are worth keeping see modesty and self-respect as infinitely more attractive than extra skin.
The panel was asked questions such as, “When you were in high school, what would you have wanted the girlsto know about themselves and the way they dress?” Nicholas Hearn responded beautifully saying that he would want them to know how much they are worth and that they don’t need to seek attention in inappropriate ways. He emphasized that Our Lord loves them with an infinite love and wants them to see themselves as he sees them. Clearly I could go on and on! I hear that we might soon have some video footage of the panel – keep an eye out for it on our FaceBook page (below).
Rachel: How might others get involved?
Katie: By contacting our Austin Coordinator, Mary Johnson: firstname.lastname@example.org
or, Contacting me, Volunteer Coordinator: email@example.com
One last thought from Katie: I have such a heart for all the young women out there who are struggling, who are working so hard to know themselves and respect themselves. And indeed, I am one of them! My prayer for each of the girls that I work with in Pure Fashion, and all women who may read this today, is that they might see and know their beauty in God’s eyes, that they are, “fearfully, wonderfully made” (PS 139). Thanks so much! May Our Lady guide and protect all of you!
Thanks to Katie and all the women who make this happen and who participate! Your efforts will be in our prayers – and I hope our readers will take a moment to check out this beautiful ministry – we are all about of this culture, and as such we have a say in it! Let us strive to be all that our Father designed for us – women of purity and of dignity.