SELF - ESTEEM
For example, take something as elementary as cosmetics. I had a date a few months ago. While the boy was sitting in my parent’s living room, my father called me into another room , handed me a baby-wife and told me to remove my eye-makeup, because it didn’t look eidl . In my high-school, many times girls were sent to the bathroom to wash their face, when something was deemed inappropriate. There were only girls present. Were they worried that we might turn the janitors on.
Quite often, my teachers would quote ad-infinitum and ad-nauseum, Rabbi Falk’s book on Tznius, the Bible in most seminaries. He cites an often quoted Gam’ that says that, before the destruction of the Holy Temple, women would wear mascara and eyeshadow to incite the men to sin with them and this was one of the causes of Hashem’s anger with the Jewish people and the ensuing Destruction.
With all due respect to Rabbi Falk, I went to Hirhurim, an excellent site , that I highly recommend and did a little research. It seems that according to Rashi, the Gam’ is only talking about married ladies, and even according to those authorities, that are of the opinion that it refers to single girls as well, it means wearing facial makeup, for the specific purpose of seducing the men. I find it hard to believe that this would apply to girls who merely want to feel good about themselves.
My point is that quite often a girl’s self esteem depends heavily on her looks, and how beautiful she feels, especially in the turbulent, emotional adolescent years.
Many girls in my class, looked like “death warmed over”, without foundation, rouge, or eyeliner. If their appearance was so depressing to me, one can only imagine how they felt when they looked in the mirror and the effect it had on their psyche, and emotional well-being.
Another example is nail polish. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to, I do not go to the mikva yet. Hence, there is no necessity, to remove it monthly. Now, I am not talking about something tacky and garish , or outlandishly provocative like neon green with white pokadots. However, I am often told by many well-meaning ladies that even something simple like pink or lite silver, “pasht nisht far a Yiddishe meidl” ( isn’t proper for a Jewish girl). Having my nails done in a salon is tremendously uplifting to my morale, and makes me feel good about myself. Whereas, bare nails is a painful reminder that I am not a Calla yet. Sometimes, all it takes is the right nail-polish and perfume to ward off depression. It is a lot cheaper monetarily and psychologically then anti-depressants or even eating the wrong things and gaining weight.
So I would implore and cajol all Bais Yacov high-school and Seminary principals and teachers to to realize the effect they are having in destroying the self-esteem of our precious and innocent young girls, when you write up and enforce your policies.
As always, I would appreciate all feedback..