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I’m a skater, but many of the graphic T’s marketed by retailers in the sport depict variants of a skulls or skateboarding skeletons which I am apprehensive about wearing over my garments. Does that sound like a rational concern?





Dear Anthony,

First off I’d like to say I’m proud of you that you care so much about your appearance and the clothing you wear. Like it or not, how we dress and how we present ourselves matters. If we dress in inappropriate clothing or immodestly, it shows poorly upon us and upon our organizations and yes, on our church. While I am proud of you for that, I’d like to caution you by saying that just because an article of clothing has skulls or skeletons on it certainly doesn’t mean it is offensive, sacrilegious or in poor taste.

What is and isn’t offensive is notoriously subjective. A lot of it depends on our age, upbringing and personal views. It’s nearly impossible to give you a black and white answer of what will and won’t offend someone.

Before I go any further I’d like to remind you, Anthony, that Ask Gramps is a team of writers and we all have different personal styles, likes, and interests. Some of us may have dry senses of humor, some of us might have a more zany sense of humor, and some of us might have no sense of humor. There is nothing wrong with that, it just shows how diverse people can be-including people who have the same basic views on religion. The same thing I said about senses of humor can also be said about fashion taste.

Just liking t-shirts with skulls or skeletons on them is not offensive in any way, shape, or form. In fact, some of those designs are incredibly innovative and beautiful to look at it. Many people of Mexican heritage celebrate a day called “Dia de Muertos”-or Day of the Dead. During that celebration they create skulls and skeletons in gorgeous colors and amazing design. No one could be taken seriously if they look at those skulls and say they look anything less than beautiful.

Sadly, some people in our culture today misunderstand the word “offensive” and decide that something is offensive just because it isn’t what they personally enjoy. That’s wrong of course-just because you don’t like this style of music or clothing doesn’t mean it is offensive or in poor taste. Someone might not like country or classical music but to say that those styles of music are “offensive” or “rude” is absurd.

Anthony, perhaps the best thing to do is ask yourself-would I be comfortable wearing this or that shirt in front of my religious leaders? If not, why? While even that answer isn’t fool proof, it’s probably the best way to answer a notoriously difficult question. Once again, I admire you for caring so much about how you present yourself. You are already on the right track.






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