Tank tops, hoochie mamas and friends

So tonight, Dancing Daughter, hereinafter called DD, was hanging with her best friend from junior high. BFF is a cute girl, and we really like her. We would like to encourage this friendship, because, as I mentioned, BFF is a cute girl. Nice. Friendly. Honest. But, of course, we are not of the Mormon ilk, and BFF is. This, people, is Utah, and Mormons are in every other house. Sometimes in every house. Okay, fine. Pretty much in every house, you will find Mormons, Jack-Mormons, or ex-Mormons. This is probably a tenuous friendship, no matter what we do. As soon as BFF’s mom figures out DD is not conversion material, the alienation period will start.

While BFF’s parents are divorced, the mother is still very religious, and Mormon, and she has a thing about tank tops. In her world, girls who are not sluts do not wear them. She has bought some of the said HORRENDOUS and EVIL tank tops for her daughter, but they are to be worn under shirts with sleeves.

This is an indignity of tremendous proportions. I, myself, was forced to put shirts both UNDER and OVER tank tops. There was no tank-toppage going on in our household. And a two piece swimsuit? BLASPHEMY! I grew up dressed from head to toe, and I’m telling you, it wasn’t something I enjoyed. I come home, the bra comes off. Sorry, folks, I know, too much information, but PLEASE.

God forbid a man might have to control himself when he sees a 13-year-old girl and not immediately ravage her. No, no, we must blame the girl, and put her in shirts over tank tops. Or long shorts.

Back to the story, which, by the way, is true. Just so you know. BFF was going to a local store with my two daughters, who were both in tank tops. These are not hoochie mama tank tops. First of all, neither one has much cleavage, and second, I’m not much for the hoochie mama look. I think that children should dress like children, and tank tops are pretty much harmless. Especially the ones that have very thick straps, maybe two to four inches. Are shoulders nasty? Apparently.

So, BFF went to the store with DD, and CC, and she decided to ditch her shirt–worn over the tank top–behind a plant at her house, because my two were in tank tops, and it’s freaking 6000 degrees Farenheit in Utah right now, and so she didn’t want to wear the shirt OVER her tank top.

The consequences, as you might have guessed, were severe. Mother found the shirt hidden behind the plant. BFF was ordered to go home. DD is devastated, worried that her friend may become a “no more” kind of friend. Now, where do I stand here?

First of all, I do not dress my children in hoochie mama attire. Neither do I drape them in burkhas. If a skirt is too short, or a top too low, the children don’t leave the house wearing it. This has caused some discontent in our house, but we have standards here people. I know that if children learn hoochie mama behavior early, they will continue it throughout their lives. And if they learn good, upstanding, Mormon morals, they will also continue that… Oh wait.

The truth is, if you are a deep thinker, you will question Mormonism. And if you are a follower, you will accept and embrace it. If life scares you, and men are seen as abusers who cannot control their evil impulses, and women are seen as seducers, you will ban tank tops in your house. Mormonism, with its dictates on morality makes life easy. Or so it would seem. And yet Mormon women are raped all the time. Why?

A woman should be able to walk down the streets BUTT ASS NAKED and not be raped or molested.


I have seen naked men before, and I have never been tempted to jump on them and rape and pillage them. Why do we make these excuses for men? I love you guys, but COME ON. The only reason TANK TOPS are a problem is because some MAN decided that the best way to control their sex drive was to dress women from head to toe, and blame women if they had to rape, because she was wearing a short skirt or a TANK TOP. Or maybe create polygamy and say God ordered them to do it, so they could multiply and replenish the earth (which needs ABSOLUTELY no replenishing), and thereby satisfy their desire to have lots and lots of sex with lots and lots of women.

I feel terrible that BFF got in trouble, but I did not encourage this behavior. Furthermore, I would say to her, or my children if asked, that she must live by her mother’s rules. No one ever died from being forced to wear shirts over tank tops, as far as I know. It sucks, kids, but it is life. I don’t take a child into my home, ever, and tell her to flaunt the rules set down by her parents.

Now, I am left wondering what the outcome will be. Does she regard MY CHILDREN as sluts, like she called her own daughter upon learning she was walking around in a tank top?

I am torn. I want to respect this mother. And I will. But, where does this end? When do we stop blaming girls for all the evils of the world, and put the blame where it belongs? On the heads of the offenders, When will the world be safe for my daughters, who will endure all types of indignities, in the name of religion, for men who cannot control their sex drives? Or who simply want to control and force submission? When will we realize polygamy has EVERYTHING to do with sex, and absolutely nothing to do with religion?

I speak to you fathers now. Does the little girl sleeping in her bed tonight DESERVE this? Does she deserve to be taught that her body is immoral, and that if she does not hide behind masses of clothing and cover, that she will tempt the devil? Does she deserve to be raped, or attacked, simply because she is female? Giving a 14-year-old child to a man in marriage is MOLESTATION. Stop excusing Joseph Smith’s crimes. Stop telling Mormon women that something is wrong with THEM because YOU cannot control yourselves. When you excuse this, you are also excusing the Taliban for their treatment of women, or the tribes in Africa that mutilate women so they cannot feel pleasure from sex.

Do you want this for your daughters? Do myth, and fallacy, and prayer mean more to you than seeing a young woman grow up, fall in love, cry, give birth, and feel heartache?

This is a crazy world. BFF had on a tank top. Somehow, it upset the order of the universe. I will never understand.


About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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27 Responses to Tank tops, hoochie mamas and friends

  1. clint says:

    Well put. No one–no one deserves to be systematized in such ways.


  2. Cele says:

    Tank tops in America. For the love of gus. I will never get it. Why are parents – all religions – so darn quick to label their daughters sluts. I was trying hard to be a good girl. But being raped and well endowed gave me the label. I wore the label it for long enough I finally thought, “wtf, if I wear the label I might as well play the game.”

    Being a slut is a lonely game.

    There are so many other ways to deal with flaunting the rules than labeling your child. I hope things go well with BFF and her mom gets a clue (I”m sure that second part won’t happen but I’m hoping.)


  3. Elaine says:

    Excuse me? That mother called her daughter a slut because she was wearing a tank top?

    I’m sorry, but that woman needs a reality check and she needs it now. That sort of name-calling at least borders on, if not actually qualifies as, verbal abuse.

    This culture of “men can’t control themselves, so women (and even girls) must cover everything up so as not to tempt them” has really got to stop. Because men can control themselves. Millions…maybe billions…of them do so every day. Too bad that some of them would rather control women than man up and control themselves.


  4. INTJ_Mom says:

    I love how you write Natalie. You’re entertaining, yet still get very good points across. Your story reminds me of my aunt and uncle, we’ll call them John and Mary (not their real names), who are TBM. Mary’s sister, Nora (also my aunt), is Mary’s half sister, and not Mormon. Nora happens to be my favorite aunt. Mary and John have been trying hard to convert Nora, but Nora is not a follower and is very intelligent and she sees what a load of garbage it all is. They both live back east in neighboring towns and Nora likes to send me interesting stories about Mary and John’s behavior and we discuss why Mormons do and believe like they do in an attempt for her to try and better understand and get along with Mary.

    Anyhow, a couple of years ago Nora was living a few states away from Mary. John and Mary went to visit Nora and her family. Nora’s daughter Emily who was I think either 18 or 19 at the time was wearing shorts and a tank top when John and Mary arrived. Nothing “hoochie mamaish”. Well, John got very upset about being subjected to this moral indecency and he and Mary basically told Nora and her husband off and accused their niece Emily of being a slut for wearing shorts and a tank top. Nora and her hubby were flabbergasted. John made a comment to Nora’s hubby about his own daughter turning him on and neither Nora or her hubby could believe the comment or insinuation. They said “no, it doesn’t “bother” him – he’s her father!” John and Mary were so offended by Emily’s shorts and tank top and Nora and Jack’s refusal to admit they were encouraging immorality in their house that they left and went home. My aunt Nora and uncle Jack thought the whole incident was incredibly strange.

    That said, I do know and observe plenty of seemingly TBM’s in my area that don’t seem to have a problem with their daughters’ wearing tank tops and mid thigh shorts in public. Do you know what broke up BFF’s parents’ marriage? If it was infidelity, maybe that is why the mom is so hyper sensitive about tank tops. There could actually be other reasons beyond Mormonism that she is allowing to affect her in a way that she becomes such an extremist. Though Mormonism is possibly, even likely, a factor. This is not meant to be taken as an excuse for her, jsut an attempt to analyze from other angles.

    I do think it’s wrong to put blame for men’s misconduct on the victims – regardless of whether they are female or male, adult or children. I’ve read more than a few accounts about teenage boys being blamed for their bishops sexually abusing them.


  5. miye says:

    I’m so glad you posted this. I couldn’t have said it better. Good job. I remember growing up and being made to feeel that way as well. It took a lot of years to undue the brainwashing that was done. I will send you a private email and say more.


  6. Hey, Mom and Miye, I love your comments. Please keep commenting.


  7. Natalie,

    I have two daughters. I completely agree that they should not automatically be labeled the “sinners” if they choose to wear a tank top. Men are the problem. I’m a man, and I can control my actions. But there are enough of them out there that can’t keep it in their pants and THEY are the problem, not the girls. Now, there is a reality that some women like the attention that revealing clothing provides, but that still doesn’t mean that they should be raped.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if BFF’s mother instructs her to stay away from your daughters. You’ve been around TBM’s enough to know that many TBM’s think the only reason anyone should be friends with a non-TBM is so that they can befriend them and convert them. Its just the way things are here in Utah.

    Great post. Its a very honest view of life in Utah.



  8. Shaun says:

    Isn’t it great to live in a free country where both you and BFF’s mother can raise your daughters the way you believe is best. I find it interesting that you place a standard on your children’s dress; “If a skirt is too short, or a top too low, the children don’t leave the house wearing it”. Yet when another mother places a little more strict standard on her child you degrade her; “If life scares you, and men are seen as abusers who cannot control their evil impulses, and women are seen as seducers, you will ban tank tops in your house.”
    It sounds like BFF’s mom doesn’t have a chance with you. You start this entry with the statement ” As soon as BFF’s mom figures out DD is not conversion material, the alienation period will start.” Judged and convicted before she even has a chance to prove herself. I guess us Mormons aren’t the only prejudice, self-righteous and judgemental people around are we?


  9. azteclady says:

    The way I read Natalie’s post, it’s not the ‘standards’ the BFF’s mother is holding her child to as much as the “you are a slut (for not following said standards)” line.

    Or perhaps that’s just me.

    Regarding the limited shelf life of a friendship between a Mormon child and a once-but-not-anymore-Mormon’s child… Of course Natalie cannot be speaking from past experience, can she? No, no, no, never! She *must* be talking out bitterness against the church. There cannot be any other reason, can there?



  10. Shaun,

    Are you saying it was OK for the mother of that girl to call her a SLUT because she dared to show her shoulders? Really? What kills me is that Mormon men are allowed to be seen in a swimsuit that only covers their penis and bottom, yet they are allowed to show their bellies and nipples. But a girl? If she dares wear a two-piece tankini where just her belly-button shows, she’s being promiscuous.

    And, taking this one step further, why are Mormon girls not SLUTS when they wear a one-piece swimsuit that leaves their shoulders bare? Shaun, do you make your wife and daughters wear t-shirts to cover their shoulders while they swim, as you do when they wear their tank tops?

    Can you see why this whole issue is totally ridiculous all around?

    Damn my overly-righteous dad for giving me issues with my body and my beauty at a young age. I was called a slut too for wearing shorts that went above my knee. I kind of wish I HAD been a slut so he’d finally know the damn difference.


  11. Shaun says:

    I absolutely do not agree with calling anyone, especially a child, a slut. This was not about her form of discipline, but about standards.
    I agree that dress standards in our country are not equal between men and women. Any public beach you go to allows men to show their bellies and nipples but does not allow women to show as much. Like it or not, that is our societies doing, not the Mormons. I have seen some huge bellies and hairy nipples that I really wished someone had required to be covered up! haha
    I allow my wife to wear any kind of swimsuit she is comfortable wearing. Most of the time that is a modest one piece, but sometimes, in certain places, it is a great bikini. As long as first, she is comfortable with it and second, I am comfortable with it then no one including the Church can tell us any different.

    If you base all your future friendships on past experiences or the limited “shelf-life” of some friendships, you are going to miss out on some great friends along the way.


  12. INTJ_Mom says:

    You “allow” your wife to do certain things, Shaun? Ah, so she isn’t her own independent person – you think you own her and have control over her it sounds like. Otherwise, why else would you use that term “allow”? Folks, that’s a bonafide example of the 2nd class citizen attitude Mormon men have toward women.


  13. azteclady says:

    I don’t know about others but I find people who judge a child’s morals based on her manner of dress to be a very sad commentary on the state of *their* souls–and that, meanie that I am, includes a mother calling her own daughter a slut just because she’s baring her shoulders *gasp* in public.

    What is scary to me is the blame that is often placed on the victim for the actions of the victimizer. No, that is not exclusive to Mormons–I’m sure there are plenty of us around the world who can point at sexual and emotional abusers of all religions and persuasions. Why do societies insist on blaming the victims? Why do we (humanity as a whole) continue to instill shame and fear of their bodies into our little girls? Why are we so afraid of holding up men to a higher standard?

    As a mother, I want to protect my daughter from any and all dangers and fear and pain. I can’t–fact. She’ll grow up, and have her own life to live. A life in which she’ll have to make decisions and face choices, and take responsibility for those.

    I refuse to make her burden heavier by making her responsible for the actions of an emotionally stunted asshat who can’t control himself if a 14 year old walks by wearing a tank top and shorts.


  14. Natalie says:

    Shaun, You said:

    “It sounds like BFF’s mom doesn’t have a chance with you. You start this entry with the statement ” As soon as BFF’s mom figures out DD is not conversion material, the alienation period will start.” Judged and convicted before she even has a chance to prove herself. I guess us Mormons aren’t the only prejudice, self-righteous and judgemental people around are we?”

    Actually, that’s really not true at all. While I don’t really agree with her philosophy on life, I totally respect her right to make decisions for her daughter, and I would NEVER allow her daughter, while with us, to do something that flaunts her wishes. I take issue with her calling her daughter a slut because her shoulders were showing. That’s a problem for me. And I do believe that this type of Mormon behavior teaches women that their bodies are bad, and evil, and it creates repression and all kinds of problems.

    However, she has the right to raise her daughter the way she sees fit, and she’s done a fine job so far, because, as I mentioned, we really LIKE BFF. This particular incident will PROBABLY result in HER keeping her daughter away from US, not the other way around, and that was my point.


  15. George says:

    Wow! Where I come from women at the swimming pool ONLY wear a thong… Men are more “modest”… To me what’s happening in UTAH sounds ridiculous! What do Mormons do on a hot day??? Everybody should move to Vermont and walk naked on the street so everybody could be called a slut or not and not give a dang….
    Covering your shoulders, belly button and legs during summer should only be allowed when you go to church. Slut comes out of the attitude not the clothing!


  16. Shaun says:

    I really respect your policy that you won’t allow a visitor in your home to flaunt the directions of her parents. BFF’s mom will learn soon enough that if she is too strict or continues to be verbally abusive that her daughter will rebel and make her own choices anyway. Hopefully this mom will see that you supported her and she will accept the blame herself for the result of her actions. There are way too many people who try to blame someone else or an organization for their own bad choices or failures.

    Way to take one word and twist it to fit your needs. You should work for the media. My wife and I work as a team. We make decisions together. Her opinion on any matter is just as important as mine. Just like the Church teaches. I am not some macho control freak and she is not a raging feminist. We work together equally as a team and we both allow each other the freedom and security to express our opinions.


  17. Cele says:

    OH MI GOSH Shaun YOU ALLOW YOU WIFE? And before you say I should work for the media….I DO!

    You are the one who used the words “I allow my wife.” Shaun there is only one meaning to that phrase. People use the words they mean. Especially when they are writing in a blog where they can go back and read what they wrote and reconsider the intent and measure of each and every word. You can’t accuse INTJ of twisting “one word” when it took a whole phrase, written by you, to create and state that intent.

    And so you are clear on what feminism means. It means the right to make a choice for yourself. To not be dictated to. To be an equal. If she works with you in a concerted effort, hurray for both of you, that is how a marriage should be. Unfortunately, in ALL walks of life there are illustrations of all three sides to that fence.

    Shaun, it is your choice to be Mormon, good for you. But instead of doing “just like the church teaches” why don’t you do what is right in the heart that God gave you. When the church and a “prophet” are more important that God and His Word, there is trouble in River City.


  18. Shaun says:

    As a representative of the media, you of all people should know the rule of checking and double-checking your information before printing. According to my dictionary, “allow” has 5 definitions. Several of you have chosen the most negative definition when obviously that is not how it was meant. My wife is my equal and at my side when making decisions. I ALLOW her freedom and consideration in all things. Just like God, the prophet, the church and my heart tell me is right.


  19. Cele says:

    1) make possible
    2) let
    3) consent
    4) give or consign
    5) make possible or provide opportunity
    6) afford possibility
    7) plan for the certainty
    8) grant
    9) not oppose

    Excuse me Shaun of the nine definitions of Allow cited above which did I misrepresent or not understand?


  20. INTJ_Mom says:

    The problem is you saying you “allow” your wife to do anything, Shaun. It’s using the word “allow”. It shows your true thoughts loud and clear dude. If you really and truly considered your wife an equal person, you wouldn’t even consider using the word allow. The word “allow” connotes that you have authority over someone else. Only people who think they have some type of authority over someone would choose to use the word “allow.” Thanks for making and illustrating my points for me, Shaun. Saved me a lot of time and wear and tear on my old finger tips. 🙂


  21. Shaun says:

    I guess the confusing part is where earlier you said there was one meaning and then after a little research you find 9 definitions for “allow”. I find it hard to believe that some of you find all nine definitions to be negative. You should try to look at the posative side of things. It makes life much more enjoyable. Natalie “allows” you to come to her web site and read her blog. Does she take control or force you to read it? Nope. The owner of your favorite store “allows” you to enter her store. Does she force you to come and shop? Nope. In my more posative world, “allow” is closely related to “freedom”. I believe freedom is a good thing.


  22. Rhonda says:

    This Shaun person is doing what most mormon’s do. Backtrack and try to twist your words to sound normal much? Um Yeah. Anyone who thinks a TANK TOP is inappropriate is a PERVERT. Most strict dress codes stem from PERVERTED thinking.
    And it’s nice you feel you need to be the one to give your wife “Freedom”. She was born with “Freedom” Shaun. She didn’t need you to come along and give it to her. Just like she doesn’t need you to whisper some bogus “secret name” to God in order for her to get in heaven while you get a free pass. Nothing separates your religion and way of thinking from the Talliban Shaun. Nothing. And you can pater on with your dictionary for days. Your wrong. Mormon’s are wrong. And when busted about being wrong (remember the whole “black people are going to hell” theory?) they quickly backtrack. Cowards and idiots all.


  23. Cele says:

    Shaun have you ever thought about being a spin doctor because dude you have got the pattern totally down? And I’m sure you understand the term, “plausible deniablity.”


  24. Shaun says:

    If I knew what a spin doctor was, I might consider it. Probably get paid more with that doctor title.
    Just for fun, last night I asked my wife if I could go buy a tiny Speedo and walk through the mall wearing it. Thankfully she had some strong objections to that (people getting sick, me getting a painfull sunburn, etc.) I asked her if she would stop me and her reply was. “If that is something you really feel like you need to do, I would let you.”
    She would LET me? That is one of those definitions for “allow”. Now I am the repressed husband. She must think she owns me and controls me. I am a victim now and had better stand up for my rights!
    Oh wait, I guess I could use common sense and know that she didn


  25. Shaun says:

    If I knew what a spin doctor was, I might consider it. Probably get paid more with that doctor title.
    Just for fun, last night I asked my wife if I could go buy a tiny Speedo and walk through the mall wearing it. Thankfully she had some strong objections to that (people getting sick, me getting a painfull sunburn, etc.) I asked her if she would stop me and her reply was. “If that is something you really feel like you need to do, I will let you.”
    She would LET me? That is one of those definitions for “allow”. Now I am the repressed husband. She must think she owns me and controls me. I hope she didn’t just go join the Talliban! I am a victim now and had better stand up for my rights!
    Oh wait, I guess I could use common sense and know that she wasn’t doing any of those things. She was trying to protect me. When you are in a secure and loving relationship, that is one of those things you do.


  26. Cele says:

    Shaun her saying she would “let” you is just as repugnant to me as you “allowing”. That doesn’t make you equal. And while you wearing a speedo in public is your own personal choice and maybe not the…hmmm…err…best one it is still your right to make that choice. I am not one sided on this arguement. It is a right to chose for yourself.

    And to further the thought process. Her saying or you saying,,,let…allow…consent means the other isn’t smart enough to make the right choice for themselves.


  27. Bree says:

    I must comment here, I know this post is very old but I believe that the reason mormon women are told to dress the way they do is not because they fear the men will rape the women but more for fear of them raping themselves! Heaven forbid they masturbate and get those frustrations out! Maybe if all the mormon men would masturbate they wouldn’t be so hell bent on controlling their women!


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