Before anyone gets a chance to say it, I'll say it myself. I'm going to be touching on things I've written about before.In fact I'm going to take what many readers see as my favorite topics, add a new slant and show how they are connected.Yup, it's another post on tznius and it was inspired by a post on Megapixel's Blog and a comment I made in response to this post.
Nowadays everyone in cyberland and real life is going on and on about tznius. What's tzniusdik and whats not, what is mikshul males and why, various rabonim and rebitzens speaking out on tznius, the view that tznius is for women what learning is for men, the lack of tznius,women wearing flashy clothing and more. It's all been discussed here either in my posts or in various comments.
I hope you, my readers, will indulge me a bit while I once again reiterate my extreme distaste for the overemphasis on tznius. It causes some young girls to rebel either in obvious or not so obvious ways and it makes even more of us just plain sick and tired of hearing about it. What it doesn't do is increase the overall level of tznius and wholesomeness. Here's why.
There's much more to tznius than covering one's knees, elbows, collarbone and hair. We all know ladies who do all of the aforementioned and still somehow fall short of the mark. Yeah, I'm sure we've discussed that too but here's where I go into new territory. Here's where the title of this post comes in and I sugest that we've got things backwards. I submit that if we raise the level of pride and dignity of the Jewish woman, the rest will follow. If we teach her that the term bas melech is more than a figure of speech, we wont need to harp on hemlines ad nauseum. If we teach her how truly holy and special the Jewish woman is and make her truly feel that way, she might not be tempted to follow some gay designers vision of beauty. Here's the catch: it has to be more than lip service.
Actions speak louder than words.Here's the tie in with other previously discussed topics. If an eligible girl is looking for a husband and the first question that's asked of her is her dress size, what does that tell her? She's a sex object. So why shouldn't she try to dress like some pop singer who's also a sex object? (with collarbone, arms and knees covered, of course) If there's pitifly few shuirm of substance for a woman, what does that tell her? That her intellect and ruchnius don't matter. So why not go for gashmius in the form of flashy clothing? Afterall, her husbands and sons have the black siuts and hats. If all the events for her are all about fancy decor, even fancier buffets and fluffy speeches, can anyone blame her for wanting to win the fancy sheitel at the chinese auction? Most things geared towards her are about superficiality. She's told that the more ruchniusdik things are for her husbands and sons.How does she elevate herself spiritually? She's further told that her most important mitzvah is to not be mikshul men. That makes her just a dangerous but necessary object of temption. She's told to support her husbands learning: so she's an overworked ATM. Thats a far cry from the holy and special bas melech she really is.
Lastly if her own husband treats her as a maid, sex object and ATM what does that tell her? How many husbands really treat their wives with the kovod they deserve? Is it any wonder, then, that so many Jewish women do not feel important and special in and of themselves? So what motivation do they have to dress in a dignified proper manner as befits an important person? Thus we need to start building the Jewish woman from within instead of harping on hemlines.