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The tznius blame game

untzniusI’m not exactly sure where the idea that dressing tznius would somehow help men achieve this mythical non-objectivity status. I’m fairly certian, that despite the tznius rhetoric, frum women dressing tzniusly has not exactly elevated their status in the frum community. They still can’t do many things men can do and aren’t exactly treated with respect in many cases. You see, once a women dresses as tzniusly as possible, the leaders start making up other laws about what is tznius and not tznius, it’s a never ending game of repression in the name of God and helping men not be such pigs. I would argue that this “war on immodesty” makes men more piggish in their ways, because now they have the weapon of tznius to use against any woman they deem to making them fail, because we all know that men can’t do it on their own.

While I was off frolicking in the woods, everyone’s favorite BT Blogger Pop Chossid, wrote a post on the subject of tznius. It was straight out of kiruv 101, which basically says that in order to convince someone that something is true you need to add a little self depracation (or some hardcore Kelm-esque mussar) and convince those you are rebuking that you are wrong in your ways and the only way to change is for them to help you. Now Elad probably didn’t know about what kind of can of worms he was opening, but the tznius rhetoric has gotten way out of hand and women are always to blame. What his article tries to do is shift the blame to men, but still requiring the women to belittle themselves because we men are pigs and can’t control ourselves. I’m not sure when looking at beautiful women became a crime, but in my book we are just admiring the beauty of Hashems creations.

I haven’t really seen the hatred directed at the article, but I’m sure it ticked a lot of people off and for good reason. To give Elad credit, he does live in Crown Heights which is home to the most attractive frum women in the world and it’s tough to stay focused on Moshiach when there’s ass everywhere. Not only are there beautiful women everywhere, but they dress scantily by frum standards (these standards state that as long as your covered and not wearing pants, you are guaranteed a spot in heaven, most people hold that it’s better to wear a miniskirt than loose pants). The tznius issue in CH is an interesting one, because chabad is known as such elitist folks when it comes to their traditions and not to uphold the basic tznius of the rest of frum society is a bit shocking.

The truth is that telling women to cover up is not a solution, because they won’t be wearing bags (yet) and you will still look at them, maybe before asking women to help you in your quest you can do everything in your power to help yourself. I would request that you move out of Crown Heights or even New York for that matter, every time I come to New York I am shocked at the lack of modesty by everyone. Maybe you could move somewhere where the women are up to your standards of modesty, before you jump on the Yated/Matzav/Charedi bandwagon of tznius blame.

P.S. as far as I’m concerned the only reason so many folks visit Crown Heights in the first place is to get a glimpse of their women folk and if they actually started to cover up you would see the amount of folks visiting and living there dwindle. Think about it, there isn’t much talk from the chabad leaders about it, because they know this truth.

The only post I’ve seen as a response to this was from Fink and his post basically talks about modern day tznius as a social miztvah between people, rather between individuals and God.

Find more tznius rhetoric on 4torah.com

{ 47 comments… add one }
  • Ari Gold July 3, 2013, 1:02 PM

    “its tough to stay focused on Moshiach when theres ass everywhere.” Lmao.

    Tznuis topics always gets everybody riled up. Reading these comments about this recent article is proof.

  • Ari Gold July 3, 2013, 1:14 PM

    Is it possible for a religious demand for modesty to be about anything other than men controlling womens bodies? It seems, then, that a religious tenet that begins with mens sexual thoughts ends with men controlling womens bodies. This is not a problem unique to Judaism. But the Talmud, the basis for Jewish law, offers a perhaps surprising answer: It places the responsibility for controlling mens licentious thoughts about women squarely on the men. Put more plainly, the Talmud says: Its your problem, sir; not hers.

    Of course, once you judge a female human being only through a mans sexualized imagination, you can turn even a modest 8-year-old girl into a seductress and a prostitute. At heart, we are talking about a blame-the-victim mentality. It shifts the responsibility of managing a mans sexual urges from himself to every woman he may or may not encounter. It is a cousin to the mentality behind the claim, She was asking for it.

    The power to make sure men dont see women as objects of sexual gratification lies within mens and only mens control. But modesty is not defined by, or even primarily about, how much of ones body is covered. It is about comportment and behavior.

    • A. Nuran July 4, 2013, 9:46 AM

      Depends what you mean by modesty. If you mean a little bit of self-effacement, an air of personal dignity and avoiding provocation (not just the sort involving lust), then yes.

      If you mean ever more rigid control of what women wear, where they go, how they speak and all those other restrictions on their freedom and humanity, then no.

  • Ben July 3, 2013, 1:16 PM
    • Heshy Fried July 3, 2013, 3:50 PM

      I was off in the woods and had no idea about such things.

  • Eric July 3, 2013, 1:59 PM

    The power to make sure men dont see women as objects of sexual gratification lies within mens and only mens control.

  • critic July 3, 2013, 2:26 PM

    A somewhat different take on the whole tznius issue.


  • Eric July 3, 2013, 2:47 PM

    If you have a problem, you deal with it.

    • Heshy Fried July 3, 2013, 2:58 PM

      Damn straight, I wish I could have been as short winded and eloquent as you.

      • Shragi July 3, 2013, 8:17 PM

        Just steal it and post it on twitter.

  • Bear-of-Peace July 3, 2013, 2:58 PM

    I’m a long time reader, first time commenter.

    Heshy, you are slipping.

    I always enjoyed your stuff in the past despite the fact that i completely disagreed with you most of the time. You are obviously intelligent and you wrote with a kind of detached amusement. You seemed to be saying “This bothers me, that bothers me, i think this could be better; but don’t mind me, i’m just here for the giggles”. It was effective because it was clear headed and not mean-spirited. Your more recent stuff however seems to be coming from a much more personal place and has been more attack oriented. For example, you take an unprovoked potshot at Chabad and Crown Heights in this most recent piece.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong or right; i’m saying you’re less interesting.

    • dstaum July 3, 2013, 3:09 PM

      Disagree – Heshy is better when he tells it like it is. In his early blogging days, he was sharper, and then he decided he had to be nicer, and IMO, while his stuff was still entertaining, it didn’t reach the same level. This is a post that reminds me of classic Heshy. Please stick with it!

      • Bear-of-Peace July 3, 2013, 3:22 PM

        It may very well be more entertaining to read the rants of a clearly partisan blogger; my point was that Heshy had something different going, something better. Now he’s just like everyone else.

        • dstaum July 3, 2013, 3:31 PM

          Entertaining nonsense as a valid viewpoint isn’t nonpartisan, it’s just foolish.

      • Heshy Fried July 3, 2013, 3:30 PM

        Don’t worry I write whatever the hell I feel like.

    • Heshy Fried July 3, 2013, 3:29 PM

      These are by far my favorite comments, because they are so old and every time I write something that someone doesn’t agree with, they write the same old “you used to be better” bullshit. Sure I used to be different, but everyone changes and I have definitely changed. I live 3000 miles away from the full of shit social orthodoxy bastion of New York and can do whatever the Fuck I want without someone breathing down my throat and telling me that God cares about what color shirt I wear to shul, so yes I am here for the giggles because the bickering is pathetic and hilarious as well. On to my “attack” on chabad.

      It’s not an unprevoked potshot at all, it was distinctly placed. Crown Heights is known for having loads of “untznius hotties” I’ve been writing about it for years and Elad is writing specifically about chabad girls, implying that his place of residence has more to do with his lack of concentration than the actual ladies themselves. If he truly cared about objectifying women, he would move away, rather than to regurgitate this tznius rehtoric that is getting quite extreme. If someone lived in a place where they felt it was dangerous to their soul, one would think they would contemplate leaving. Before one asks others to help them, they need to think of all the possibilities of helping themselves.

      For instance, I used to live in Monsey, but the women were too tznius for my tastes and so instead of asking them to help me only look at Jewish ladies by removing some layers, I moved to Crown Heights where I could look all day without requesting that anyone do something to help me out.

      I am neither wrong or right, I am stating my opinion. Tznius is such a gray area and it’s mostly based on social norms, rather than law or what is right. Less interesting to you is fine, you talk from the cloak of anonymity so I couldn’t care less. If you were a huge fan who’s donated money, asked for my autograph and shown up at shows in the past, than that would be bad and I would try to force myself to be more interesting.

      • Bear-of-Peace July 3, 2013, 3:40 PM

        You completely missed the point. You did not just write something that i disagree with, i never agree with you. I am always entertained by you. My impression has been that you are less interested in changing the world than in making the world laugh.

        This stuff has been different. It seems like you are graduating from comedian with a point to mildly funny social commentator. Those assholes are a dime a dozen, you were unique.

        • Anonymous July 3, 2013, 3:41 PM

          Oh BTW, i assumed i was generating value for you by virtue of pageviews and such, thats the way most blogs work.

          • Heshy Fried July 3, 2013, 3:56 PM

            Send me a paypal donation so I can feed my family, that’s how it works.

        • Heshy Fried July 3, 2013, 3:55 PM

          I’ve been over page views and all that stuff for a couple of years now, I hit my 6 figure monthly readership a while ago and then started wondering about why I even cared about how many people read my stuff. If just one person was inspired by something I wrote or smiled while reading something – this should be good enough right? Exactly, so I stopped looking at my stats, stopped trying to write whenever I felt there was too much white space and focused on life rather than the net. It’s worked, I write when I feel inspired to write something, not when I haven’t written in 2 weeks. I did just go on a 2 week road trip.

          I have always been a social commentator, I didn’t start writing satire or comedy until recently. Go back to 06-08 and you’ll see 90% social commentary. In fact I consider myself a social critic of the frum community and always have. I’m interested in making folks laugh, but I think I’m more interested in being a unique voice.

          • Bear-of-Peace July 3, 2013, 4:28 PM

            I asked earnestly, i didn’t know how you monetize your blog. As for the “unique voice” thing, that’s precisely what my original comment was addressing. I very much enjoy your writing, i was trying to make that clear; my point is that your recent stuff was less unique, more run-of-the-mill snark and cynicism.

          • Shragi July 3, 2013, 8:28 PM

            Keep it up Heshy, I’m enjoying it, you’re enjoying it, everyone’s enjoying it and one guy thinks he has some deep insight and is a big critical reader. You know what Eminem said about that?
            “Yeah, ya know? Critics man
            Critics never got nothin’ nice to say, man
            You know the one thing I notice about critics, man?
            Is critics never ask me how my day went
            Well, I’mma tell ’em

            Yesterday my dog died, I hog tied a ho, tied her in a bow
            Said next time you blow up try to spit a flow
            You wanna criticize dog try a little mo’
            I’m so tired of this I could blow, fire in the hole
            I’m fired up so fire up the lighter and the ‘dro
            Better hold on a little tighter here I go
            etc. etc.”

      • Micah T July 3, 2013, 8:08 PM

        I am a long time follower of the blog, and find that Heshy is much better since he moved to California. A frum Jew who lives in Monsey or Crown Heights and pokes respectful fun at certain aspects of frum life is a rebel, defined by his environment. But a frum Jew who lives outside the usual frum orbit, and who redefines the new environment in frum terms, is an artist. (e.g. in Heshy’s post, his description of Chabad in Bozeman. It is light years away from Chaim Potok and Brooklyn.)

    • Put Yo $ Where Yo Mouf Iz July 3, 2013, 8:05 PM

      You get what you pay for. How much was your membership?

  • A. Nuran July 4, 2013, 9:48 AM

    As long as the men are obsessed with booty, drooling over it, dreaming about it and have to wear blinders so they don’t spill gallons of seed right there in the streets at the thought of it the women could be wearing bags. It wouldn’t matter.

    • Eric July 4, 2013, 10:16 AM


  • Gold Price July 8, 2013, 10:41 PM

    In my early stages of becoming frum, one of the most profound aspects of frum life was tznius. I was absolutely fascinated by the glamorous, silky, stylish sheitels of the rebbetzins I met. The swish-swish sound of the floor-skimming denim skirts the girls wore during the week was captivating. On Shabbos, all the women at the Chabad house looked like models. Their barely-covering-the-knee skirts, knee-high leather boots with heels and stunning jewelry were high-fashion. I started to change my style of dress slowly, and within a month or two, I had purged my closet of all the jeans, open-toed shoes, short-sleeved tops, and anything else immodest. All of these items were replaced with long skirts I purchased at Goodwill, crew-necked long-sleeved shirts and a collection of stockings and knee-high socks. I never quite mastered the Hot Chanie look, but I was pretty satisfied with my progress. I wanted acceptance, and the community seemed to be responding favorably (my barometer was all of the phone calls, Shabbos invitations and whatnot). All was well. I was adapting very nicely to the tznius rulesin my city, anyway.

  • moshiach now! June 26, 2014, 1:48 PM

    I don’t see why you’re al up & out against chabad! Tznius is a struggle for women all over… right now you can think of them as “off the derech”, they don’t portray Chabad in general & they’re not What Chabad stands for! Chabad Rabbi’s don’t make too big a deal about it, because it’ll just push them further away!

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