Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Tzniut and Yirat Hashem

The, "but-she-has-middos" argument is not doing it for me anymore. People have used that a defense for girls who are dressed inappropriately. I do not mean to belittle their Middos, because I have met people who wear pants (gasp) and have fine Middos. Therefore, the people who simply have not been taught better are not included in this discussion. They simply do not know better and cannot be blamed. I'm talking girls who have had Bais Yaakov educations and still dress gross-looking.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the way women dress. Whether it's fair or not, here is my conclusion: It's all in the way you carry yourself. "You mean, She and I can wear the same thing, and I can look slutty, and she won't?" You bet. Girls with Bais Yaakov educations have three things in mind: Elbows, knees, and collarbone. Unfortunately, those are frequently ignored as well, so I guess it's down to wearing skirts, and not showing cleavage. My point is that I know people who wear short skirts with high boots, and look like whores. Their knees are barely covered when they stand, and the skirt is so skin tight, they must have been buttered into it. It's not like they were once a certain size, and they gained a few pounds, (like me) so their behinds stick out of everything they wear. It's like, "I'm gonna buy an extra tight skirt so i can look sexy." Not like they stop there, becuase their shirts probably used a whole other tub of butter, and they must have forgotten that their collarbone is like 5 inches ABOVE where their shirt begins. Now people are going to tell me, "Yeah, but she is the sweetest person!" Great. At least she has one thing going for her.

I've made an observation, however. Most, not all, girls that are dressed appropriately, like really, that their elbows, knees, and collarbones are always covered, and their clothing fits into the ramifications of Tzniut, both in spirit and letter of the law, demonstrate a level of Yirat Hashem. These girls are more prone to have good Middos because their Yirat Hashem has helped them strive to improve their Middos.

I must stress that I am not saying that people who dress inappropriately are not as nice as the ones who do. In addition, I do know that some people dress the part, but certainly do not act it.
This goes both ways. Back to the "how you carry yourself" argument.
Some people dress all Bais Yaakovy, and walk into a movie theater like that. Others walk around in a long denim skirt with a slit in the front, short socks and sneakers, or even-gasp-sandals, but davened well that morning, and has great middos. (But chances are she's headed to a movie too) But there are other girls who dress that way, slit and all (and MORE) but did not bother to daven that morning, and are only living the Jewish life because that's how they were brought up.

Okay, see this is the problems when I write things that are a little deep. I get sidetracked, and I get afraid I might forget to say something, so it's kinda hard to understand. But if you took it to mean, you misunderstood. K?


At 12/01/2004 11:29 AM, Blogger Ashley said...

Before I became religious I used to wear outfits just like that. Now that I am starting to get religious I don’t understand how married Jewish women especially can dress like that. Who are they trying to impress and show off for? If the husbands want them to dress like that then they should be ashamed of themselves as well.

At 12/06/2004 6:55 PM, Blogger TRW said...

On the other hand, it's interesting to note that scarves are coming back in as head coverings-more and more people feel that a perfect gorgeous long custom shaitel does not necessarilly fit with the spirit of the law of covering one's hair.
But like you said, Michelle, the people you're talking about are not the majority (I hope). The ones who are really keeping Tznius as it should be kept don't usually stand out, so it's much easier to see the "different" ones.

At 12/08/2004 11:03 AM, Blogger The Perfect Ema said...

To comment on this.....

I once read something that R' Orlofsky wrote, and i will try to remember it correctly to put it into words. Somebody asked him if she was allowed to dress stylish, and be tznius. And he answered with some very profound words. He said that somebody one time posed him a different question. In that how come BTs (baalei teshuvos for those who don't know) dress more modestly than FFBs? (frum from birth) And he gave a very good answer. He said that BTs want to be tznius...they have an innate understanding of tznius. While Bais yaakov girls often just do the letter of the law because that is what they "had to do" in high school/seminary or just well, that's the halacha.
There is someone i know whose husband is in kollel, and i am truly embarassed by the way she dresses. She is thin and is now expecting, and it's like grotesque!! Why are you showing off your stomach like that? I too i think i have a nice figure, but i save it for my husband. I have to say it all boils down to low self esteem. If you truly loved yourself, i really don't think you would have to show off your body like that!! The other day i saw on the bus, a lady who was to say the least, not dressed tzniusdikly (not religious). What i noticed was that she was very flirtatious too and i just felt so bad for her...what does she have to live for? She must have such a sad life. And, yet, when i see these meah shearim ladies or other chareidi ladies dressed b'tznuah and with modesty, i feel love and torah emanating from them.
I think i am just rambling....but you are right, Michelle. This is a very big problem. And i have to believe that it all comes down to a) low self esteem and b) rose colored glasses.

People just don't realize how ridiculous they really look.

the other day my husband asked me why women/girls would want to wear tight fitted clothing? And, i'm like, well it looks better. And, he's like, it's obvious the only reason they want to is to show off their body and call attraction to it. I'm like, "no, it looks better." And then i thought about it longer, and i'm like, uh, yeah, i guess you're right. Gotta go toss out all those tight fitted clothing, lol, just kidding, i think i already got rid of all of them!

Perhaps it comes down to their education. Why are we not educating the mehus of the person? Why are we only educating with laws? The mehus of the person should just not want Internet in our homes (which one of these days will be removed from my house, but i just found teh Jewish Observer online!!)! I think i am going on for too long....i really like your blog!! Gotta go read some more...

At 12/08/2004 11:05 AM, Blogger The Perfect Ema said...

I forgot to say you MUST read OUR BODIES OUR SOULS by Reb. Heller...she talks about this important topic

At 12/08/2004 11:07 AM, Blogger The Perfect Ema said...

and another thing....why do men want their wives to dress like that? I know of a few cases where if the wife had a different husband, she would most probably be dressing differently. Gotta blame it on secular society!!! Of course, we have to improve ourselves and can't blame it on others, but we have to recognize how secular society has wrecked havoc on us and change us accordingly...I very much believe the way the woman dresses makes a big statement about the quality of the yiras shamayim in the house. I see just in my kollel alone that the level of tznius by the wife does have a corrolation with the quality of the husband's learning, but NOT ALWAYS!

At 12/09/2004 7:27 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Perfect Ema- I like you.
I agree with what you're saying.
I actually remember a time recently, when i was wearing a tight shirt and felt, "I am so not leaving much to the imagination."
Once I had that feeling, I was so happy that the message finally got through to me. I wish I could send that message out to the girls who wear tighter shirts, and the skirts, and all that enraging stuff I see out there.

The whole Bais Yaakov thing, that's my point exaclty. I actually have a draft about the whole Bais Yaakov system. I starting writing in July, I believe, but I need to have a clear head when I write it and really perfect it. But in it, I discuss the fact that, especially in Brooklyn, we are told, "don't wear slits. They're Assur." "Why?" "Because the Rabbanim said so." They give restrictions without explaining themselves, and the girs who actually behave themselves (i.e. ME) end up with the raw end of the deal. They're giving us rules becuase of the whores, but what about the innocent girl who just wants to wear high boots, but not in a slutty way? ARGH.


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