Sunday, December 24, 2006


What is it with Tznius?

This is something that has bothered me for quite a while.

So much emphasis is placed on Tznius. Dress codes, rules, speeches, write-ups, etc. From the youngest ages Tznius is taught and encouraged. Yet it is quite painfully clear that the message is not getting through the way it should.

Allow me to be candid and frank. It is quite common to see very Frum ladies wearing clothing that are too tight or too flashy, too clingy or too short. Not to mention the even greater, and considerably more severe, breaches of Tznius which unfortunately are increasing.

And I wonder, why?

How can it be that with so much Tznius education taking place, so many women feel the need to break or bend the rules a bit.

Now, the truth is that there is another relatively widespread problem, albeit a lot less known. Many women have trouble acclimating and adjusting to married life, and all that goes along with it. Many women just can’t bring themselves to take part in perfectly legitimate and Halachikly allowed (or sometimes even encouraged) behavior between themselves and their husbands. Without going into detail, I’ll suffice with saying that this is the cause of much frustration in the private lives of many people.

And again I wonder, why?

After much thought I think I have the answer.

Generally speaking, women have a natural desire to look attractive and pretty, something I will classify as their femininity. Tznius education seems to be directed precisely at this femininity. Girls are taught to crush their femininity in the name of Tznius. In place of learning how to properly channel their femininity, they are being taught to subdue it.

The result of such education is that many girls, once out of school and given the opportunity to express their femininity, will go too far. All along they were fighting a natural part of their personality, so when it comes to making their own decisions or using their own judgment, that repressed part of their personality roars forth.

The other obvious effect of this is that many girls successfully absorb the idea that expressing their femininity is bad, and therefore have considerable trouble in marriage which can lead to much tension and frustration.

I’d like to be very clear in stating that I am not an expert on teaching Tznius. I also have the greatest respect for those who do take upon themselves the important and delicate work of trying to impart the significance and beauty of Tznius to the next generation.

However, with that being said, it appears to me that Tznius education is improperly focused on fighting girls’ natural femininity in place of guiding them on how to properly channel it.


Leah said...

I must say, for the second time only since I've found these blogs, I've been struck speachless.
Thank you.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Leah -
You’re welcome.
Thank you for the compliment. It is much appreciated.

Chaim said...

Very interesting post, much agreeable, with the exception of some seemingly lack of clarity.

"Without going into detail, I’ll suffice with saying that this is the cause of much frustration in the private lives of many people."

Perhaps you shouldn't be bashful, and actually go into detail.

"learning how to properly channel their femininity"

Please elucidate what you mean. (How do you believe it ought to be channeled.)

anonym00kie said...

"Many women have trouble acclimating and adjusting to their husband’s needs after they get married. "

i think this kind of thinking is part of the problem. women are not there to adjust to fulfilling their husbands needs. its a relationship, these are the needs of both spouses. once the husbands realize that no one is there to satisfy needs, but that they are both there to develop a connection via physical intimacy, women wont feel objectified, used, and will stop supressing their needs.

Chaim said...

anonym00kie, stop buying the feminazi cotton candy. IFM didn't say needs are not 2-ways. All he indicated was that some woman have trouble acclimating and adjusting to their husband’s needs.

chaverah said...

great post! well said! where do I start?

First and foremost I completely agree about the way girls are taught in school. We hear all day long,tznius tznius tznius, that by the time we are out of school our REBELLION is a bit of a tighter shirt. When I look around, including myself, I see most women try to be tznius with a feminine touch. I wish you can show a picture of what you mean by not tznius. Do you really want your wife to wear baggy clothes and double layers on her head? It just seems so unattractive!

About issues with ones spouse. YES, it takes a long time to get out of "sex is bad" mode. Unfortunalty schools do not go into detail about this subject. INFACT when talking about a sexual subject in the torah all of a sudden they use hebrew words, like its not kosher to even talk about it! very frustrating!

My opinion is as long as the husband can make his wife completely comfortable and except little by little eventually the wife will shine through. It just takes more time. why dont you go into more detail of what you mean. we would all love to hear.

Y.Y. said...

yes right on but sadly things will never change

anonym00kie said...

chaim - you and chaverah and i said the same thing, no need to get upset over the way i expressed it.
yes, i do think its important to verbalize things corerctly, and talking about men's needs, and women needing to adjust sends a very different message than calling it a couple's needs.
im not talking about a man's needs as opposed to a woman's needs. im talking about selfish needs as opposed to couple's needs. when you talk about satisfying one's needs youre talknig about assisted masterbation and i dont think thats what torah wants. sex should be a way for a couple to get closer, to bond, to connect on a physical level - and not jus a way to satisfy physical needs.

when a woman feels, or is told, she needs to adjust to her hsubands needs, she is basically being a tool to be used. why is it surprising that she resists? who wouldnt?! but as chaverah said, once a woman realizes she can be a willing participant in a mututal activity, then its a lot more appealing and with a little time she can open up and be comfortable, cuz she feels wanted - not needed.

chaverah said...

mookie - excatly. Its a give and take, NOT one sided. Well said.

Anonymous said...

Oy zoogstee git. The fact is that those who preach tznius, do not look like anything anyone in their right mind would want to emulate (i.e. unflattering clothing, straw sheitel, etc..). The trick is to behave and dress tzniusdig while still not letting go of the put-together factor that is very important to a person's (male OR female) self esteem.
As for the husband/wife issue, I agree that some of the fault lies in the way we are educated, but I think that a large part of the issue is also that the needs of men and women are vastly different. Like the quote I saw once, "Men give love to get sex, while women give sex to get love"

Anonymous said...

Great post!

It is refreshing to finally hear someone acknowledge that women too have temptations. Yes, the very strong temptation of being attractive. Your post brings that point out VERY well. Kudos to you.

However, you fail to suggest a workable solution for a woman to satisfy her desire. Although channeling it to the husband seems like the ultimate answer, it’s really a very faulty fix. A. many men do not come through appreciative. They often either do not understand much about womanly things or are just so used to their wives they don’t see her sexuality as clearly as they do other women’s. B. Women want to feel attractive in general. One man, one lifetime, one bedroom is sometimes not good enough. C. Some women dress up for their women friends. There’s style competition, the feeling of looking good in a completely non-sexual way.

Looking forward to your response.

anonym00kie said...

i just posted an extension to my comment in my blog if youre interested.

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

It is hard to define. I guess the women that feel the need to break through feel too much restriction in their lives and don't feel the beauty and the real meaning behind tznius.

Anonymous said...

Something tells me this discussion will be around for a while…
Tznius is a complicated idea. One that is not readily defined in clear concise terms. That having been said, there are many who feign ignorance and cloak themselves in the ambiguity of it all. That is unacceptable and will be dealt with after 120 or so years.
Education (or attempts at education) will continue to fall far short so long as they stay in the nitpicky details of it all. This is not to say that there aren’t some well meaning individuals out there. Its just that when one wants to break the rules there will always be a way to do it “Kosher-ly”.
The current climate of the genders’ “needs” has more to do with their educations via TV, movies, internet, and advertising than anything else. We have notions of the way things “ought to be”. I have many of them myself. And I think that’s what is at the crux of the issue. FOR BOTH GENDERS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!
We tend to take the easy way out of things. That’s what is called the path of least resistance. Relationships take monumental amounts of effort (unless you are starring in a movie).
Another biggie (and this is going to offend some people) is that many “write checks” via their dress, speech, and general attitude, that they simply “can’t cash”. They give over the impression that they are certain types of people when all they do is wear a nicer pair of pants or lipstick (different genders).

To be continued perhaps….

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Chaim –
I’d prefer not to go into much detail. I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss in public. Either way such a problem exists.
In terms of properly channeling their femininity, I honestly don’t know how. As I wrote in my post, I’m no expert on teaching Tznius. I’m just making an observation that apparently something may wrong with the way that Tznius is being taught.

Anonym00kie –
You are 100% right. Marriage is a relationship, and a wife should not be viewed merely as an avenue for the husband to satisfy himself. However, that was not at all my intention. I even changed the wording of my post to avoid your misunderstanding. My point was, and still is, that many women are simply not ready for the intimate parts of marriage in whatever form that may take. And this is the cause of much frustration.

Chaim –

Chaverah –
Thanks for the compliment.
As for your question; absolutely not. A good Frum woman should dress tastefully and nicely, but without bending the laws of Tznius. The fact remains that many women do bend the rules, and the underlying cause is what I’m trying to explain.
I think you’re right that most women will shine through eventually, but unfortunately there can be some frustration in the process.
As for going into more detail, I’m not sure it’s appropriate, but you can use your imagination.

Y.Y. –
You never know. Some things do change eventually.

It’s all good now –
Good point. Men and women are definitely different in this regard, and that can help explain this phenomenon. Perhaps both men and women should be more properly prepared about the opposite gender’s thought process and that would go along way to help things.

Anonymous –
Thank you for the compliment.
You do raise very valid points. A, B, & C.
A - If men are not as appreciative as they should be, that is a huge problem on their part. Men should absolutely appreciate their wives to the utmost. As I wrote above perhaps men should be better prepared for marriage. It would definitely help things.
B – Dangerous concept. According to the Torah, “one man, one lifetime, one bedroom” is the way to live. If a woman feels she needs more, it is her Yetzer Harah convincing her. Now, I obviously understand that people may feel that way, but they must learn to suppress that urge.
C – It could be that she is dressing up for her friends. But she still shouldn’t be bending the rules. And if peer pressure forces one into it, it shows a fundamental lack of Tznius understanding on the part of her friends, which can possibly be traced back to the root cause that I wrote about in my post.

Social worker / frustrated mom –
Absolutely. Women should be ingrained with the beauty of Tznius, and should not be viewing it as a bunch of oppressive rules.

Anonymous –
Your points are well taken. Very interesting. Thanks for weighing in, and we are waiting for part 2.

Sara with NO H said...

Quick comment and I hope I followed the post correctly because I'm half asleep. But I think dressing tznius is extremely feminine. Even more so when you're not wearing the tight clingy stuff.
Point two..My point of view on the tight clothes issue is women try to show off their figures. And to be honest most of the time it's more "showy" to girls than guys. There's a constant shape competition in the frum community. Who's really skinny, who's too heavy, who's got big boobs, who's got big calves, who got a nose job, who got a mole removed. It's constant constant constant competition. I don't think the focus is tznius at all, but more on she who can dress to impress.

I happen to think women were born to test boundaries.

kollelmama said...

Excellent post.
I definitely agree with the above comment by sara.
Women dress to impress other women.
You are right in saying that girls are taught to "squash" anything with the word sex in or around it, causing them to feel uncomfortable once they get married. This is generally only in BY schools. When I was engaged my kallah teacher kept on saying "tashmish". I had no clue WHAT she was talking about and figured I'd understand eventually.
Eventually I did, but c'mon, she could have just spoken ENGLISH.
Anyway, great post.

Anonymous said...

I can give you an example of tznius dress and not tznius. I went to a local eatery in Lakewood yesterday and saw 2 women wearing maternity clothes. One wore a tasteful maternity shirt that gave a little room, her skirt was below the knees, but nice. The other wore a VERY tight top so her belly bulged and her skirt just skimmed her knees. Is that a good enough example? They were both covered, but one was more provocative while the other was still dressed classy.

thekvetcher said...

rabbi heinaman gave a speech several years ago to the women of his community. he basically said that all you women get all dressed up to show off when you go shopping, and when your husband comes home he sees you in a house coat.
now there has to be and equilibrium here somewhere no?

chaverah said...

thekvetcher - good point! I dont understand that either. but remember there dhould effort in the husband as well. If the woman dresses up the husband should achknowledge.

sbt said...

Hey IFT,
I think that tznius is an individual way of being. for example, I wanted to start a blog because I felt it was a way for me to express my thoughts, sexuality, frustrations, aspirations in a completely anonymous way. I know that choosing a religious life is very limiting when it comes to the way one presents oneself. In this day and age, it is difficult unless you live in a purposely sheltered environment.(which some people go out of there way to do) and I have come to realize that we do categorize. that is how we are. but there is more to surface tznius, and there is more to someone then the whole issue to begin with. What I think the frum community has lost sight of, is that someone can be a perfectly wonderful, charitble, sweet, and humble person, even while exposing their body.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Sara with no H –
Thank you for your input.
As for your comment about competition; it’s a real shame if that’s the way things are.

Kollelmama –
Welcome and thanks for the compliment.
You raise an entirely new issue. In my opinion, Kallah or Chosson classes are the proper time to introduce and/or explain these concepts to people. Being super delicate then is doing a disservice to the Kallah or Chosson. There are times to be silent and times to talk. If the Kallah or Chosson teacher isn’t clear enough, he/she is simply not keeping to their duty.

Anonymous Dec 26, 8:55 –
Exactly. Tznius but tastefull.

Kvetcher –
That too is a quite a widespread problem. Dressing up to go shopping, meet friends, etc., but not for the husband is unfair and a recipe for disaster. This is something many women seem not to realize, and I fail to understand why.

Chaverah –
Absolutely. Every decent husband should, and probably does, acknowledge his wife’s efforts to look attractive for him.

Sbt (S*** Ba’alas Tshuva?) –
You may be right that a person can be a wonderful person and still expose their body, but from a Torah perspective it’s a problem. Exposing oneself is a prohibition like any other.
I’m glad you find blogging therapeutic, if I may.

Rafi G said...

when tznius is overstressed for "tznius"s sake and subsequently forced on the women, we end up with the breeches we constantly see, especially among the yeshivishe crowd.
If we would teach how to be a bas yisroel rather than create all sorts of rules that women have to adhere to so men wont be nichshal, I think women would be more attuned to dressing as a bas yisroel.

anonym00kie said...

sbt, i fail to see what one has to do with the other. a person can be perfectly wonderful, charitble, sweet, and humble while eating shrimp or driving their car on shabbos or whatever..
either you beleive the torah guidelines or you dont. if you do, then being tznius is a part of it.
on the other hand, i dont think its just a matter of following another "rule" cuz then like rafig said it becomes annoying and suffocating. tznius is about so much more than that. not that the temptations to break away from it go away,but i think if the right perspective was better understood, more poeple would do it gladly, if women realized how much it HELPS them, less woman would rebel. like i said in my post, the more you feel youre expected to do something, the less you want to doit. when you realize its your choice and youre doing it for your own good, the more willing you are to do it right.

Anonymous said...

How do you know that "Many women just can’t bring themselves to take part in perfectly legitimate and Halachicly allowed (or sometimes even encouraged) behavior between themselves and their husbands"? said...

ok i like your site also i hers of a new site out there called
maybe you would like to post it thank you

goygirl said...

great post IFT!!!

I would like to comment on Y.Y.'s comment on "sadly things will never change". I used to live with a Lubavitch Family and the 2 teenage daughter's that lived there are evolving in postive ways. They are very frum but they do understand that there is a time and place for "everything". Even this blog proves that things are changing not toward Hash-m and the rules of Torah but towards being a human and knowing what needs are natural. It's a slow process but it is moving towards a healthier attitude.
Anyway, I don't know if any of you will bother listening to a "non-jew" but I hope you know, a lot of non-jews understand the challenges of your lifestyle and we appreciate the heavy responsibility that Jews have.

Anonymous said...

i read this before on a different blog and i wish i could put it into words as well as i saw it - basically women are taught to be submissive, quiet, give to their husbands, respect their husbands, basically they have no "say" or "power" and maybe subconciously this is their only way of "feeling respected" or "good about themselves". something to think about.
and many men use "tznius" as a way to trash women or an excuse to look down at them, make them sit at the back of the bus, exclude them from life and disregard their opinions etc etc.

Anonymous said...

Really well said
From personal experience as an obervant woman, we all- men and women- have sexual needs and a sexual energy. If this is not being channeled to the correct place, ie: the bedroom (yours and our spouses) the result is always disasterous. You end up with a women flaunting in all the wrong places to the wrong people, or a woman completely unexpressed...
I am no-one to judge, but when I see these really depressing snooded women.. i must admit, it makes me wonder wether they and their husbands are sexualy fulfilled.
A balanced Tznius- attractive yet not attracting- is the natural result of a woman using all her sexual energy for her husband exclusively. She no longer has a need to show off to other men.
And yes I must add that I do think traditionally its part of a woman's responsibility as an eishes chayil. Part of taking care of your family and your husband is being able to turn it up in the bedroom.
Also, women and men who have been taught and raised PROPERLY, which is uncommon, dont neccessarily need explicit sex-education per se. If they have been brought up in a healthy frum family environmemt, their attitude towards sex will naturally be a healthy one.

Fotheringay-Phipps said...

I'm frankly somewhat curious as to how everyone knows what's doing in all these bedrooms. Sounds like either a lot of seriously inappropriate yentering going on or people are just speculating (aka "making it up") based on their theories.

Re tznius, I'm generally sympathetic to the notion that there is too much carrying on about it. But it appears to me that (at least part of) the problem is that styles have become more provocative than they used to be (and possibly that frum women are more aware of styles than they were). As a result you have to regulate a lot of things that might have been taken for granted way back when. (The impression I get is that the main driver of the tznius problems is that woman want to dress chic and fashionable, not that they want to be provocative - it just happens that these tend to be correlated these days.) If everyone had the proper attitudes about dressing, all this constant hocking about tznius would not be necessary, but unfortunately this is not the case. Of course there is a downside to it as well - where to draw the line is a difficult question.

My wife once went to some tznius speech/gathering and observed that the real problem with such efforts is that the people who the efforts are really aimed at don't attend altogether.

megapixel said...

last comment 100% true. the people who show up at the tznius gatherings are not the people who need it. i have noticed this many a time.

David_on_the_Lake said...

I'll be quite honest with you..I really dont get this issue at all. I guess I'd really have to be a woman..because to me..the laws of attraction are so far removed the placement of a hemline..
I've been left open-mouthed at beautiful meah she'arim women and have almost vomited from women dressed in almost nothing.
I dont see it as being a femininity issue at all. On the contrary the less tznius society goes the less feminine it gets as well The olden days of petticoats and corsets were feminine and tznius whole todays hotpants and exposed midriff are so not.
To me it's all about attention...people look for attention..whether its a new car..a tantrum...and clothes that will make heads turn.

Moshe Y. said...

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Rafi G –
Good point. Regarding rules, please see what I wrote to anonym00kie.

Anonym00kie –
True. Tznius is a clear-cut Halacha. Even if someone is a wonderful person but doesn’t adhere to the laws of Tznius, she is lacking considerably in her Avodas Hashem.
I’m not sure what you mean when you write that rules can be annoying and suffocating. Either way it is a rule. My only point is that this rule should be taught somewhat differently than it apparently is.

Anonymous Dec 27, 6:48 –
Those who know, know.

Goygirl –
We certainly will “bother” to listen to a non-Jew.
I actually find it intriguing that you care about religious Jewish issues.
However, I must take issue with your comment “even this blog proves that things are changing not toward Hash-m and the rules of Torah but towards being a human and knowing what needs are natural.” This blog IS completely loyal to Hashem and his Torah. Please read the header to the blog. “Any perceived criticism of any aspect of the Frum community that may appear on this blog, should not be viewed as such in any way whatsoever. It is simply a plea and call for our community’s self- improvement and self-betterment.”

Anonymous Dec 28, 10:34 –
I hear your point, but I don’t see it that way. I don’t think men abuse the rules of Tznius to “trash women”. There be bad apples in any bunch, but generally speaking most men respect women and certainly don’t “exclude them from life and disregard their opinion”.

Anonymous Dec 28, 1:12 –
Good point.
I especially appreciate you acknowledging that it is a difficult balance. Those women who succeed in “walking the tightrope” should be commended.

Fotheringay-Phipps –
If it’s “yentering” it’s wrong. Others may know for other reasons.
Your point about styles and the pressure to follow them is very true.
Your wife’s observation is one that many other people have said too. Those that attend are usually the ones less in need of the Chizuk than those that don’t attend.

Megapixel –
That’s right.

David_on_the_lake –
I guess enough men, and women, think exposing is beautiful. If only more people thought like you. The world would be a better place.

Moshe Y. –
Thanks for the note.

Fotheringay-Phipps said...

IFT: "Others may know for other reasons."

You never know, but I'm sticking with my two previous suggestions.

I don't see why the "world would be a better place" if there were more people like "david_on_the_lake". One of the main purposes of the tznius laws to begin with is to have fewer people going around ogling women, and if there were more people like him goggling at women in Meah Shearim this would be a lot more difficult. No, I think we're better off the way it is, and a woman who dresses modestly can attract less of this type of attention, (supposed) exceptions like David notwithstanding.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Obviously, I'm not condoning ogling at women in Me'ah Shearim.
I meant the attitude that exposing is not attracting.

David_on_the_Lake said...

Hey. You make it sound like I sit there ogling at women. I was just trying to make a point. Beauty is beauty. I'm sure you've seen beautiful women and thought wow she's beautiful.
You dont have to stare or take it to the next level in your mind.
I've noticed handsome men as well without thinking anything more than that.
is that so hard to understand?

Anonymous said...

a comment if i may...

when the vast majority of us have, (at one time or another), looked at the fashion section in a newspaper or magazine, watched movies (some more than others), and purchased clothing or acted (even subtley) like what we have observed, we are in a sense falsely advertising ourselves. we are essentially saying (TO SOME EXTENT) that we represent (or would like to represent) those we are modeling. !!!THIS GOES FOR BOTH MALES AND FEMALES!!!. we are in some way representing the idea that we are as_________ (fill in the blank with: a. sexy, b. rich, c.sensitive,, e. carefree, f. available, g.different, h. other, i. all of the above). before all the females in this forum start yelling, please think about it for 15 seconds or so. i know this isnt the entire intent but it does have some truth to it. we want to portray ourselves a certain way, but the life we live has some parameters, guides, and limitations attached, whether we like it or not. so in a sense one is often advertising something that they really arent. hence my comment above about writing the proverbial "check that cant be cashed". and most importantly, when relatinships are entered into under these (anywhere from somewhat to severely) false pretenses, it can cause anywhere from a little to a lot of heartache.

i said 15 seconds
you can wait that long

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Interesting thought.

Semgirl said...

ok, sorry for the delay in commenting. As for the first part of your post as to why women tend to dress inappropriately at times, I basically outlined it all in my post yesterday.

The second part about intimacy in marriage is itself very un Tzniusdik to discuss on a public forum such as this.

Anonymous said...

with all due respect:

if you are in fact a sem girl, perhaps you ought not to join this conversation. particularly if you find it offensive.
this seems to be a forum where things are moderated quite carefully, and certainly kept on top of to ensure that nothing goes beyond the line.
at least it seems that way to this reader.
this (blog in particualr) is perhaps one of the more "Kosher" ways of discussing something that deperately needs to be discussed, as evidenced by the intelligent and thought-provoking comments you see.
some (i said some, not all) things need to be exposed to the scrutiny of the public forum for any number of reasons which i dont have the time (and patience) to get into in depth right now. they do include honesty, correctness, validity, and many others. lies like the darker places. truths like the light. i said some, not all. i do understand that all has its time and place. i do suggest that this may well be the time and place, particularly considering the level of moderation and checks on appropriateness enforced by the person writing this blog.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Semgirl -
Thanks for your input.
The second part is a delicate subject, and was therefore only alluded to in my post without any details. Various comments tried to lead the conversation down that road, but I didn’t allow it.

Anonymous Jan 1 –
Thank you for the kind words about this blog. And yes, I try to moderate and keep things “Kosher”.

shmaya gestetner said...

hi ift!
i'm a bit late on this one, but i have to add my 2 cents.
i'll just make a few points, everyone can take what they want from it;;
1: why is it, that when a very frum man sees a bummy looking guy, his first instinct is to be mekarev him and get him to learn. while a very frum woman who sees a not-so-tznius woman, she gives her the most evil looks and curses imaginable?
2: why is it, that the more modern girls and women (yu, stern etc.) do not make the same effort to look attractive as the women in lakewood/bp/monroe?
3: why don't frum men realize that most frum women get dressed up to attract the attention of other women, not kollel men?
4: sexual impurity is probably the greatest plague/disease affecting the average man today. why would they rather beat up the girls for fifteen years of school, rather then speak to boys for 1 hour in yeshiva or kollel?

the issue of tznius for men is an issue of sexual misbehavior, sexual frustration, and a poor sex education. for women it is usually an issue of needing attention, rebeling or just a natural feminine desire to look beautiful.
they just missed the boat and are attacking the weaker of the two genders.
god bless,
hugs and love,

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Shmaya –
First of all, it’s never too late.
As for your comment; you do raise some interesting questions and some food for thought.

emilia said...

it's like anonymookie says... but a much bigger problem than most people realize and chaim.. you should try to refrain from jumping on women who express opinions... women with ideas aren't lesbians by default... anyways so yeah. the whole tsnius thing, the whole kol isha krap.. it's all for the men... women, when channeling holiness can be trusted to represent feminine power without rabbis telling us what to do...
it's a scam

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Emilia –
Welcome to my blog.
Perhaps Chaim was a bit to harsh in his language, but his point was true. He was trying to explain that I never meant what anonym00kie insinuated, rather that some women have trouble adjusting. Nothing more and nothing less.
As a matter of principle, I must take strong exception to the way you refer to the Halacha of Kol Isha. This blog is all about seeking to improve ourselves, our community, and our society. We are totally committed to the Torah and our Mesorah. I can not allow for your Kol Isha reference to remain unchallenged.
Please continue to visit, read, and comment, but please respect our guidelines.

shmaya gestetner said...

emilia- relax. no rabbi is telling you what to do. if you feel over-pressured from all the guidelines and stringencies made by some rabbis, you just have to find a rabbi who you respect, one who you feel truely understands you, and follow him. but understand, that even if you choose to follow a more open-minded rabbi, it does not give you a right to throw the crap word at another rabbis' opinion. you must be open-minded even to those who are more closed-minded.
g-d bless us all,
p.s. IFT is classic in how he responds to every poster. i respect you, man.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Shmaya –
And how should I respond to that? :)

Bas~Melech said...

By the time I stopped reading the comments, nobody had yet posted my opinion, which I found somewhat surprising and very disappointing. I'm not sure if anyone came up with it later, but just for the record here's my view:

Instead of focusing on creating tsnius guidelines that are updated with each new trend that comes out, educators of Jewish girls need to take up the issue from two angles, both but no more:
1. Clearly defining the halachot of tsnius. The girls need to know where the line is drawn between rebelling from the school rules and breaking Jewish law. As it is in all BY schools that I know of, this line is very fuzzy as a zillion rules are thrown at the girls from all directions. Give them the laws clearly. You can make your own suggestions or school dress code as well, but there should be a clear differentiation, we must empower our nishei Yisrael to make informed choices.
2. Infuse them with the pride of a Jewish woman. There are levels of meaning behind the laws of tsnius that would make anyone proud to wear them. Give them a sense of purpose, mission, (I do mean besides supporting a kollel boy! This is way overemphasized, nice though it may be, a Jewish woman needs to have her own identity independent of her husband. Especially since at the time when these concepts are being drummed into the girls most of them will not be getting married for quite a while. But I digress.) We need to give our girls the strength to stand tall in the face of their challenges, and this won't happen by telling them a long litany of what they shouldn't and aren't.

Through a combination of those two curricular goals, along with plenty of siyata diShmaya, perhaps we will be able to prepare our girls to make appropriate tsnius choices without suppressing their feminity.

Personally, I find it difficult to fathom that after about a decade of failure in this area, which came on the heels of stricter rules and guidelines, many major, respected mechanchim continue to stuff more and more rules down their students' throats, even as these rules are repeatedly defied. Don't they understand that their system isn't doing it?

I've posted this op on my own blog--
If you have any comments about it, I'd love to see you there!

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Bas Melech -
Thank you for sharing your feelings so eloquently on the issue.
Both of your points are very true. Clearly defining the rules, and giving women a sense of pride in Tznius, would go along way towards improving the situation - with plenty of Siyata D’Shmaya of course, as you mention.

Anonymous said...

There are some differences in sleeve length, exposure of the neckline and clinginess of shirts and sweaters both within groups and between groups. My wife says that she is uncomfortable judging other women by how they are dressed given that they may only be dressing within the standards accepted by others in their shul. However, it is clear that it is fairly common to see a woman from our community whose way of dressing makes people take notice of her body.

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