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IS IT A SIN FOR A WOMAN TO WEAR TROUSERS? By Magnus Oraka

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This topic has been one of many controversies amongst liberal Christians and their overzealous counterparts. This argument is born because of a scripture in the “A woman shall not wear a man's
garment, nor shall a man put on a woman's cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 22:5).  The verse is explicit in itself. It's just that overzealous Christians misinterpret it ignorantly. "A man's garment" or "a woman's cloak" as used in the verse is not referring to fashion but what clothing BELONGS to either the male or the female that he or USES apparently.

In the biblical era, there were great similarities between the female and male clothing hence it was discovered that men and women sometimes INTERCHANGE the cloths as the most common style of dressing was the gown. Unlike today, there were no proper sanitary inventions so it'll be improper for instance to find a man wearing his wife's gown that may have been used by the woman during her menstruation for instance. The basic idea behind this rule is to guard against exchange of body fluid which was not hygienic. It was NEVER about gender fashion.

No reason is provided for this rule in the bible, but it occurs within a series of rules about public behaviour of that time and respect for the hygiene of both parties, so it is probably a rule against breaking down accepted sexual barriers to the detriment of social attitudes about purity and respect between men and women. This is certainly a biblical principle.

The trouser, however, as a fashion dated many centuries after the biblical age. How then can the bible be talking about a fashion that was not common at the time? My guess is this "wearing trouser by female is a sin" was brought up by some overzealous men of God who want to demonstrate holiness and sanctity through appearance rather than through the heart.


This is not to say that this write up condones sexually perverted dress codes - No! The biblical principle is that, in whatever culture we may live, we should observe high standards of public decency and especially keep our dress standards free from any overt and tempting sexual message. There was a time in the early decades of the last century when western women wore crudely adapted men's trousers as a sign of cultural and moral rebellion. Now that trousers are designed both for men and women and are not sexual symbols in that previous way, most Christians would regard them as suitable for women.
However, there may be a number of ways in which clothing can send inappropriate sexual messages and both women and men should avoid doing so. Also, Christian teaching includes the belief that God made men and women complementary to each other - different in certain physical and psychological ways that should be respected and honoured.

Remember, the Bible also tells us that
“the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). God is much more interested in what is going on in our hearts, than He is about what we wear. So, in general, I would suggest that ‘modesty’ is the key word in our clothing and that that we all should seek God’s wisdom and use our common sense.

Thank you!
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