Hi, I was just your typical 19 year old Seminary girl in South Jersey (if you don't know where I mean, you are probably on the wrong blog). We all have nisoynos, challenges, and experiences, both positive and negative. Here is where I have decided to share some of them.

Location: Lakewood, New Jersey, United States

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Inside Out

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.


Blogger yeshivaguy said...

I'm sorry, but I just can't buy what you're selling. I have a wife; I have lots of sisters and sisters-in-law (a number of them living in Lakewood, but all married to now or former kollel yungerleit), and they are not treated in the way you describe. If that was your upbringing, I sympathize, but I don't believe it exemplifies the way most women are treated in our society.

12/31/2006 7:23 PM  
Blogger littlejerseygirl said...

I disagree with you as far as the treatment of husbands towards their wives is concerned. I live further north in Jersey, so maybe I am out of the loop, but I hope that is not the accepted attitude.

I do agree with you about asking dress size information. It is completely rediculous, although I once heard of a boy who specifically wanted a girl with big boobs (and told the Shadchan as much) Yes it makes women feel like sex objects.

However, I will tell you that any time our teachers in school spoke about Tzniut and threw in terms like "Bas Melech" and the purity of my Neshama etc., it made me want to puke. I just rolled my eyes and shut off the light.

Girls have to understand that there is a certain "look" that is not appropriate. I always wear short sox and most of my skirts have small slits, and I think I am way more tznius then some of my Flatbush and BP frummy counterparts. I just never look like a slut. And if someone can explain to me why sheer stockings are more tznius than short sox I'd appreciate it.

12/31/2006 10:08 PM  
Blogger tuesdaywishes said...

The problem, in my opinion, is partly that girls get contradictory messages. They are not supposed to call attention to themselves in any way, especially not to try to attract men. Yet a girl who is still unmarried at the ripe old age of 22 is a failure, the despair of her parents. The moms of eligible girls are supposed to be chasing the eligible guys, begging them to do them the honor of allowing their daughters to go out with them. I really think that the further we get from the idea that a wife is a REWARD for a man who has made something of himself, and the more we say that a guy is entitled not only to have a wife but to have her support him, the more distorted things are going to be.

I've got two teenage daughters who are paragons of modesty and virtue. They are well known in our community for their devotion to tefillah and to learning. (They both daven b'tzibbur three times a day and are making a siyum on Tanach in a month or so, be'ezrat Hashem.)(not my idea, but I'm not going to stop them either.)

Their grandmother, my MIL, is terribly worried that they will not get shiduchim because they don't wear makeup and refuse to dress to "show off their wares". Maybe they will and maybe they won't, but they are certainly not going out with any guy who asks about dress sizes. I have my standards as to who will be allowed into my family. (PS My girls are actually pretty skinny, so this isn't sour grapes.)

If all moms would band together and agree not to allow our daughters to be objectified with these kind of questions, the men would stop asking them. Why are so many of us so desperate to get our girls married off? The conventional answer is "so they will be happy?" but will a true Bas Melech be happy with a guy shallow enough to ask if she is thin?

12/31/2006 11:15 PM  
Blogger Lakewood Venter said...

Right on!!!!!

1/01/2007 12:32 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

tuesday wishes, there are boys out there who would actualy not go on a second date with someone who had so little self respect as to "show their wares".

some boys, actually have respect for women.

My thoughts on this matter however, I will not share. There are enough people here who really hate my ideas about this matter because they desire that boys be allowed to make excuses for themselves. Let it be enough to say that a boy who has never had much to do with women and has never actualy heard that a woman has feelings, thoughts, needs, desires and dreams other than to support him and help him spend the rest of his life learning, is bound to be pretty ego centric about these issues.

they've made their bed, and now, I think, they are laying in it. They ran away from the middle road and their daughters are paying the consequences. It's rather disgusting.

1/01/2007 10:28 AM  
Blogger Elisheva said...

No time to comment at length and read the other comments. But I will say that wherever SG is talking about, it surely is not Lakewood or any other place I know of.

I am real, I have family, I have friends, and if there are husbands who treat women as described in the post, they are extremely rare. To me it is the same myth that is perpetuated by those who have agendas like other blogs who would obviously think this post is right on, but which are so far from reality, it's scary. I'm sorry, but it almost reminds me of the protocols of the elders thing. Like this myth which people use to knock others and perpetuates itself but is simply that: a myth.

Sorry, but I live here, I am very much part of this world, so I feel I had to say that. Let me tell you, the way the average kollel man and even former yeshiva guy now working treats his wife can be envied by many, many others. Actually, maybe it is the envy which leads them to spread this myth...

About the rest of the post, there were many good points. It is so true that too much emphasis just takes away, it is true that there should be more emphasis on the spirit of being a bas melech and not on like hemlines.

Okay, gotta go. Will comment more maybe tomorrow.


1/01/2007 7:19 PM  
Blogger TruthSpeaker said...

too bad you not hot enough to be treated as a sex object other girls that are hot are very happy to be sex objects

1/01/2007 7:54 PM  
Blogger ms. shtark said...

i don't know. this doesn't ring true with anything that i know about any place in the world. yes, women do have to behave with modesty and a lot of women these days work to support their husbands in kollel but they are not degraded in the process and looked upon as a sex object. they are looked upon with respect and when dressed modestly but put together, they engender even more respect not only from Jews but gentiles as well. i don't think that we have stooped to this level

1/01/2007 8:32 PM  
Blogger chav said...

This "women are inferior" complex of yours is seriously inaccurate and unhealthy. Get off the high horse, it's ready for the glue factory.

We are not brainwashed, fickle losers as you are so fond of telling the world. The so called "lack of shiurim" you bemoan are only for your lack of actually looking. There are plenty. I live in lakewood too.

So what if we revel in a bit of fun at teas in the dead of winter? Sure beats a boring night at home playing spider solitaire. You're just bitter cuz you never actually won that fancy sheitel at the raffle.

I don't know what kind of school you went to in lakewood, but what you gleaned from your lessons there are certainly not what they are teaching today, nor are the shadchonim asking dress sizes as part of the checking-out protocol.

I pity you and your significant other.

1/02/2007 12:00 AM  
Blogger Semgirl said...

YG....Consider yourself very fortunate then. My immediate circle of friends would tell a different story

LJGirl..Welcome to the blog. I wear little socks too, especially in the summer. It seems to me like its the same thing as the mens hats. If it is a humid, 95 degree Shabbos afternoon, its acceptable to simply not wear a hat, but to wear a straw hat is like wearing a Yankee cap to a edsox playofs game. I'm still trying to figure out why a very form-fitting suit that shows every curve is more socially acceptable in my n-hood then a long denim skirt, but I am not going to lose any sleep over it.

Tuesday...I am very happy to see that there are some women that actually have grey matter under their hat (excuse me, snood). Your daughters are role models for their peers, you shuold be bursting with pride. Have a lot of Nachas.

HNC...I always feel priviledged to have your comments on my blog. Asthute and correct as usual. Thank you. Dont let anyone intimidate you from expressing your thoughts. Youll make some girl a wonderful husband one day.

Dearest Elisheva....All I can say is that you should constantly thank Hashem that you are priviledged to travel in the circles you did, and have had only positive experiences. May you be zocheh to never have the negative experiences sopme of us had.

TS....Im sure your many boyfriends must tell you that all the time..

MS...Welcome back...I am very happy to "see" you..

1/02/2007 8:18 AM  
Blogger Semgirl said...

Chav-last but not least....
There, there sweetie, there's no need for personal attacks. Nobody is threatening your idylic Lakewood way of life. Take a deep breath, calm down and write a little poem about how lucky you are to live in such a special place. I'm sure the other ladies in your tznius shiur would love to see it...

1/02/2007 8:31 AM  
Blogger jewish philosopher said...

Ladies, if you are trying to turn other men on, you know it, and don't do it. That's tznius.

And also, keep in mind: How many men are treated by their wives as nothing more than sperm banks, ATMs and general slaves? And how easy is it then for a man to ignore other women who seem to really appreciate him?

We all have our temptations and excuses.

1/02/2007 9:38 AM  
Blogger Y.Y. said...

very well said

1/02/2007 12:11 PM  
Blogger Independent Frum Thinker said...

Semgirl -
It may not be all about rules, but just teaching girls to be a Bas Melech is very vague and will not lead to full compliance in Tznius, as each Bas Melech may decide for herself what is refined and what is not.

A two-pronged approach is needed. Yes, more emphasis on the Gadlus of the Jewish women, but also the nitty-gritty laws and details.

I too agree that events for women seem to put to much emphasis on externals and to little on spirituality.

By the way, someone who inquiring regarding a Shidduch first asks the girl’s dress size above all else, is unfortunately a very shallow human being. However, I believe that such extremes are the exception and not the norm.

1/02/2007 11:41 PM  
Blogger jewish philosopher said...

Are girls allowed to ask how tall a boy is? Is that also shallow?

1/03/2007 8:49 AM  
Blogger yingerman said...

ya know I agree the dress size is shallow, but in the long run it really means nothing at all.
In fact a guy I know who insisted on a size 4 max married his size 2.5 girl who is currently a size 14
'cause they married had had a kid, since he loves her anyway the dress size no longer matters.

A girl I worked with a few years back is a rolly polly, I dont know her dress size nor do i want to. She complained to me that a shadchan asked why she doesn't diet, and little ms co-worker was offended, sha asked me if I thought she was fat.
I got out of it by saying That she should ask her doctor for a wieght chart, and that i'm not really one to judge,
She says that if the guy is going to love, he will love her at any size.
I said true but you cant expect love at first sight, it just doesn't exist.
you gotta put your self in a good light and only then will the propective spouse look for more

I will agree that if a shadchan asks regarding my daughters (when I get to that stage in life) dress size I will IY"H hang up on them

1/04/2007 5:04 PM  
Blogger the_laamb said...

holy moly leave lakewook semgirl if thats what you and your friends say about men your in the wrong country. Go get a job in israel and marry someone english at least they treat you right! good luck missy

1/06/2007 11:36 AM  
Blogger Independent Frum Thinker said...

Jewish philosopher,
Not necessarily. But for the FIRST question to be about dress size, that certainly is quite shallow.

1/06/2007 8:12 PM  
Blogger jewish philosopher said...

I personally believe that couples should not be allowed to meet until they have seen a recent photo of each other and exchanged height, weight and date of birth information. This would eliminate about 75% of unsuccessful meetings while probably cancelling no successful ones. But, of course, who listens to me...

1/08/2007 9:19 AM  
Blogger bucher said...

come vist me

1/08/2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger D'varim P'shutim said...

Great Post ! Tznius nowadays is another example of people concentrating on the details and totally missing the boat. People totally ignore or are ignorant about the spirit of the law. Our children aren't tought the emotional side of mitzvos. Just Learn..Learn..Learn...

1/09/2007 1:11 AM  
Blogger Sara with NO H said...

All the Lakewood blogs have seriously gone down the toilet. I've been to lakewood, stayed there and had no problems. I guess I can't understand why if it's just so dramatically terrible to live there, maybe it's time to move. This blog used to be fun and entertaining and it's become another whiny blog that isn't fun to read anymore. I think you're "both" talented writers, but can't we have a little less of the kvetching?

1/09/2007 2:14 AM  
Blogger Sara with NO H said...

and I have to say elishevas comment was right on the mark.

1/09/2007 2:17 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

"what is mikshul males"
"not be mikshul men."

mihshol is a noun. You mean not be machsil men.

1/10/2007 5:15 AM  
Blogger Limey2001 said...

'Bleach Underground' campaigns against immodest clothing in Bnei Brak
By Yair Ettinger

Monday afternoon, and the traffic on Rabbi Akiva Street comes to a halt. Thousands of men, including several Torah sages and their entourages, advance slowly down the main Bnei Brak traffic artery in the funeral procession of the spiritual leader of the Tsanz Zmigrad Hasidic sect. Passersby watch the procession, but after it moves on, the street returns to its usual fast pace.

The Avivit Weizman boutique is hopping. It seems like nothing can distract the shoppers from the end-of-season sale - not the rabbis who did not include this "fashion house" on the new approved list and not the Bleach Underground, which recently started operating in Bnei Brak and harms women who deviate from the ultra-Orthodox dress code.

In the last week, apparently for the first time in the history of rabbinical supervision, Bnei Brak rabbis distributed a list of 30 stores with a stamp of approval, as places where ultra-Orthodox women are allowed to shop. The list was distributed to all the teachers and students at the ultra-Orthodox school system for girls, Beit Yaakov, and was plastered on poster boards across town.


The rabbis also took the opportunity to emphasize the prohibition against women and girls wearing "immodest dress." They don't mean tight-fitting shirts or pants, but long shirts, skirts and dresses the rabbis feel deviate from the permissible. No sanctions will be imposed on the "unkosher" stores, but the message is clear: The ultra-Orthodox woman should not enter.

Ezra Weizman, who manages the Avivit Weizman boutique with his wife, said representatives of the rabbis offered him supervision, but their demands were too extreme. "Had it been realistic, we might have compromised, but they excluded almost everything we sell. There was no room to negotiate," Weizman explained.

What does the stamp of approval include?

Miri, the owner of an eponymous clothing store, earned approval, but only after she removed a substantial portion of her goods from the shelves. "Anything made from jersey, spandex and denim is prohibited," she explains. The rabbis' inspectors granted her their stamp of approval after making sure all the skirts and dresses fell well below the knee, too.

However, a visit to some of the unapproved stores reveals that the rabbis' instructions didn't make much of an impression on shoppers. Weizman said he hasn't seen anything that hurt sales. "Everyone knows the truth: Those who don't buy from me will buy at the Ayalon Mall."

Modesty has always been a serious subject among the ultra-Orthodox public, but the latest holy war focuses not just on the immodesty of secular women in Haredi population concentrations, but on the Haredi women themselves.

In an ever-growing ultra-Orthodox community (in part due to immigration from Europe and North America), designer clothes are a common dream. The Bnei Brak and Jerusalem wealthy are not about to be left behind and in recent years, boutique clothing stores have sprung up in both locales. The sleeves may be the right length, but the cuts and fabrics give the conservatives the jitters.

Violence in Mea She'arim

In Jerusalem, the response went further than just the Mea She'arim poster warning against "the Parisian designer getting his nails into us," to acts of violence. A clothing store near Shabbat Square was recently set on fire, while Geula neighborhood patrols are armed with containers of bleach to damage the clothing of women who break the dress code.

It is not clear how organized the patrols are, but an elected Haredi official in Jerusalem recently complained to the police of an "atmosphere of terror in the streets." He called on the police to intervene.

Bnei Brak also has a local Bleach Underground. The desire to be fashionable exacted a price from Bnei Brak resident D.: "At the end of a day around town I discovered three large bleach stains on my new skirt," she reconstructed. "The next day I heard from friends that women with syringes and baby bottles are spraying bleach on clothing they don't like for some reason." According to D., her sin was that her "skirt was pretty, not particularly short."

Several respected rabbis weighed in on the matter last week, writing, "Recently a variety of foreign garb has spread among the women and girls; this is immodest clothing. Knitted fabrics are not appropriate for daughters of Israel." At that time, the list of dozens of approved stores was published.

Miri reports an increase in sales. "Mothers thank me for the seal of approval. In the past few years, our girls have tried to imitate secular girls. They started wearing low-waisted skirts with short-waisted sweaters. It was not modest or appropriate for our society."

"They want to turn Bnei Brak into Mea She'arim," complained one shopper in line to pay at Avivit Weizman. "I don't understand why rabbis have to intervene in everything."

D., the Bleach Underground victim who considers herself "modern ultra-Orthodox," won't be deterred from fashionable clothing. "I don't think most of the public will listen."

1/11/2007 12:17 PM  
Blogger yeshivaguy said...

I think some of the mod women should carry their own bottles of bleach and shpritz it on the frumie women and men. I'm a big believer in freedom of bleach.

1/11/2007 1:46 PM  
Blogger wearywife said...

Members of the bleach squads ought to be arrested for assault and made to pay for the clothing they damage. What is this, the Taliban? Not only are these fanatics only making matters worse, but they're creating a Chilul Hashem as well..

1/11/2007 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rabbi matiyohu in his internet speech said 1. kol kvuda bas MELECH... 2. I'M LIKE A SUICIDE BOMBER CUZ I MAKE YOU LOOK. But thats what you guys REALLY want anyways, so BOMBS AWAY. I AM HOT AND I AM PROUD OF IT.

1/12/2007 12:44 PM  
Blogger Tamara said...

Haven't read your blog in a bit, but wanted to simply say hello :)

1/12/2007 12:51 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

well 2 things-
1. the whole mass kollel/brooklyn culture is pretty twisted if you think about it. the roles of man being breadwinner and protecter of family and woman teaching and raising jewish children is basically reveresed. the woman and her father are expected to support her family while the husband sits and learns. (is he producing anything, giving back to the so that whole thing is just weird. women providing for the family? its weird!

2. the society is based on superficial externals. think about it. the only way in such a society to measure tznius, is by hemlines.

3. i dont think its weird for a guy to want to marry a girl with boobs. thats normal. saying that a guy should only like a girl for her "ruchnius" is B.S. guys are guys. stop trying to make them into something they are not. and its okay! there is a reason why guys like girls. so they have babies! evolution at its best.

i am a frum girl to, and i grew up in brooklyn. i know how it goes. when you get out of brooklyn you'll see how backwards it is, and how its not truth and torah.

11/28/2010 12:25 AM  
Blogger SemGirl said...

I dont even remember writing this about four years ago,

Thanks for the comment Rochel. Im happy to see someone is actually still reading my blog, lol...

11/29/2010 4:22 PM  

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