The Catch 22 of Tznius
Tznius is one big Catch 22, if you dress tzniusly people will judge you by it and if you don’t dress tzniusly – people will judge you by it as well. While I like my women to be covered from head to toe and rarely leave the house, I do admit that the laws of tznius seem like a clever way to excuse men of being pigs and put the burden of our animal tendencies onto the shoulders, knees and elbows of women. Imagine if halacha was written by men for a moment, do you think that men would ever be allowed to leave the house? Sadly for many women, halacha was written by men and continues to be paskened by men, rarely does halacha blame man, it tends to be against the ladies.
Luckily, in modern times, some women can speak out and tell the world about the blessings of tznius. Chaya from XO Jane, recently had an article that bragged about tznius and how it’s amazing not to be judged by your looks, but it seems that tznius may be perpetuating this very stereotype. Dressing modestly does allow for women to travel more freely without everyone scrutinizing them wherever they go, except for in the frum community, where tznius becomes the very way that everyone judges a woman.
If dress too tzniusly you must be oppressed, if you show elbows you may be modern or going off the derech, if you cover your hair with that tichel your kids can’t get into that school and the list goes on. So while tznius may work for those nasty men, the women in our frum society are probably judging the F out of you whether you’re tznius or not.
The other problem with those who tout the brilliance of tznius is that many of them like to point fingers at the sex crazed secular society, yet the frum community is basically telling women that men who learn Torah 24/7 are also sex crazed and can’t control their thoughts as well. What makes our society so much better than the secular if we’re also a bunch of animals? I also tend to dislike it when people put down others to justify their decisions, fine, you like covering every inch of your body – this doesn’t make others who don’t share your view, bad.