“Jesus still loves us in our sweatpants”

September 30, 2013 | 4 p.m.

“Jesus still loves us in our sweatpants”

Opinion | Sarah Boadwine

For a student at Bethel University, wearing dresses, skirts, dress pants and polos might be a common occurrence, but to students at other universities, this is not always the case. While sitting and observing the student body in the Brushaber Commons, an outsider might say that Bethel students dress up on a more regular basis than other college students.

This phenomenon has become an everyday normality for students. Lately, I have realized how conscious students are to this truth. Dressing up is not always an act of self-confidence or necessity but more of a plea to fit in or an effort to blend in with the rest of the crowd.

Over a year ago, during my first week at Bethel, I was introduced to the term “Bethel Barbie”. As a freshman I was confused as to what this could possibly mean. The students here are real and down to earth, the exact opposite of a stereotypical Barbie girl or boy. I later realized that instead of relating to the way the students acted, the term “Bethel Barbie” referred to the trend of highly dressed up students. The reality of the term itself shows that this tendency is an existent materialistic movement among Bethel students. We are aware of our appearance, and we are aware of our choices, but sometimes we are not aware of why we dress the way we do.

Bright and early in the mornings I find myself having the recurring battle with myself of do I take the time to dress up today and look my best, or do I throw on some sweatpants. Some days my choice is altered because of my desire to fit in with the rest of the crowd.

As college students our lives are full of responsibilities. We are responsible for our schoolwork, our faith, our work and our relationships. On top of all of this, we are also responsible for our appearance. At Bethel I feel as though we take this to the next level. The reason I feel that students dress up more at this institution is because of our need to be the perfect face of a Christian adult.

Materialism is a problem in many different areas, but one of the prime materialism issues at Bethel comes down to clothing. The lies that society feeds to its young adults lead us to believe that everyone should dress perfectly. This is intensified in our need to be flawless Christians and our desire to feel like professional adults.

The pressure to dress a certain way at Bethel has become an issue in many students’ lives. Students should feel comfortable dressing in what some may call “church attire” to class when he or she wants, and sweats when he or she feels the need.

“People at Bethel in general do dress up more and it’s definitely not necessary,” student Marshal Lortie said about the topic.

“It’s not a problem to dress nice, and I have definitely been part of this trend, but I do think it becomes a bad thing when a student starts to feel uncomfortable wearing sweats and feeling scrubby,” Student Andi Tauer said about the real-life situation.

Part of the problem comes down to our need to feel content in our own bodies. We have been fearfully and wonderfully made. We are the image of Christ. This means that we need to resemble His love, and that comes only through our actions, not through what we wear.

One student, Liz Cole, stated it perfectly, saying, “Jesus still loves us in our sweatpants."

Confidence is key when living in a society where the nicer always seems to be the better. Be proud of your dress clothes, but also be proud of your not-so-dressy clothes. The student body as a whole needs to stick together and make one another feel comfortable in his or her body and choice of attire. Then we can focus on more important aspects of life, like loving each other to the fullest.


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