I could have waited. Simcha Fisher did a much funnier--and right on target--job of discussing the matter:
Er...um...AMEN HECK YES EXACTLY!!
I think I’ve gotten beyond this phase, but the issue of skirts was a red herring that did a lot of genuine damage to my marriage, my self-respect, and my attitude toward other women. That’s why messages like this anti-pants one make me so furious. Yeah, lots of women dress immodestly — but lots of other women are treated like retarded pets by their Good Catholic Husbands, and I’m sick to death of it.
I’m sick to death of messages like the one I linked to gaining any kind of legitimacy among otherwise intelligent men and women. Some women like to wear pants, and some don’t. It’s not a moral issue. If it’s a moral issue in your marriage, than your marriage has serious problems that a change in wardrobe will not heal.
Skirts won’t change the world. I’ll tell you what will change the world: men loving their wives — their actual wives, not some bizarre, imaginary amalgam of the Blessed Virgin and Grace Kelly. [Emphasis in original.]
Sorry for shouting. But I get emotional when somebody puts her finger on exactly what's going on with so many of the modesty messages that go beyond the rational and blindingly obvious, "Hey, ladies, if you want to take your Catholic faith seriously don't dress like a slutty tart, especially at Mass!" and into the realm of the bizarre, such as "Hey, ladies, we, the unofficial spokesmen for Catholic men everywhere, have decided that all of our problems in regard to all sins against the sixth commandment from the occasional impure thought to Internet porn to the full-blown torrid affair we had with our son's third-grade teacher were your fault because you selfishly insist on wearing trousers instead of wearing those demurely seductive vintage dresses we always put on our fantasy women and would insist that our wives wore, except dresses like that are hard to find and they're too expensive and, let's face it, the old ball-n-chain lost her figure a long time ago..." It's not unlike the sort of rationalization that goes on with any other sin, such as the person trying to lose weight--okay, me--who clings for a long time to the belief that her metabolism is just really, really sluggish instead of actually counting calories for a couple of days and fainting in horror at the total, or the person who believes that he's really a nice, mild-mannered sort who would never take the Lord's name in vain, were it not for all those frustratingly bad drivers selfishly getting in front of him and actually stopping at stop signs instead of doing the "1.5 second slow-down" maneuver that civilized people prefer.
Because, if there's one thing we're really, really good at, it's rationalizing our own sins and scouring the world for other sins, sins we can't possibly be personally guilty of, that we can expend all of our guilt-energy on--by chastising all those other sinners for being a near occasion of sin by their words, deeds, actions, conduct, and dress. That there is a subset of Catholic men who really do believe, in their heart of hearts, that all of their sixth-commandment issues as well as all of the various troubles and dissatisfaction they experience in their marriages is really the fault of women wearing outfits like this one is undeniable. That this is pathetically sad, potentially harmful to their wives and daughters, and not particularly good for their own spiritual growth is undeniable as well.
It's not that the issue of modesty doesn't need to be addressed from time to time, especially from the pulpit--modesty in dress, in conduct, in our choice of entertainments, and so forth. But the people (and not all of them are men, of course) who insist that all pants, slacks, trousers etc. are immodest on all women all of the time are not really talking about modesty any more; they are, as Simcha writes, talking about control.
And St. Paul did not exhort husbands to control their wives; he exhorted them to love them--and not just in a mild, more-than-my-dog-but-less-than-my-truck way: they are to love their wives as radically and sacrificially as Christ loves the Church. Even if their wives wear pants, and couldn't pull off a Grace Kelly heels and pearls look if their lives depended on it.