Tznius is one of the few things in orthodox Judaism that seems like a worthy stereotype, most stereotypes are not worthy of being useful, but tznius with regards to women seems like an ok tool for judging someone, but what happens when this tool is taken to the extreme?
I have all these conspiracy theories in my head about certain sects of orthodox or shall we say ultra Orthodox Judaism using the “laws” of tznius and I put it in quotes because it is one big gray area, as an excuse to treat women like crap. I am sure many of you have heard of the recent case in point about the women who wanted to sit on a Mehadrin bus of some sort and asked a soldier to sit next to her, all the sudden an angry mob of Charedim beat the crap out of her and the soldier- you can read about it on Jacobs Blog.
But then again tznius can be used as an advantage to women, after all, I as I am sure many of you out there look at disgust at scantly clad woman. I mean don’t get me wrong I like looking, but hey, I don’t give slutty women one iota of respect. By the way, I am not referring to slutty, as a women in jeans, untznius and slutty should be differentiated between. Just because a women is not supposed to wear begged ish or jeans, does not mean that those outfits are slutty. I thik too many people associate a lack of desire to dress tzniusly with a women who wears pants. This stinks in my mind, it bothers me immensely that a women is considered tznius regardless of what she wears as long as it is a skirt, and a women who wears pants is automatically put into this “modern” category which denotes a lack of respect for the laws of tznius.
Does anyone even know what the actual laws of tznius are? Does begged ish really apply to women’s specific pants anyway? Are we justified in judging a women based on her clothing?
I think the last one is interesting, because I know plenty of folks who will not eat at someone’s house in which the married women does not cover her hair, citing that if she is so lax on a blatant diaraysa halacha, whats to say she doesn’t cook on shabbos? Is this fair to assume, probably not since kasharus and shabbos tend to be the basis of considering oneself orthodox.
So someone just told me about a new book by some Rabbi out of the OU (right away based on that I know that: A- there will be no serious typos like in Charedi publications and B- it may actually be a normal non-extreme book) The book is called You Are What You Wear: An argument for tznius. Even though I am not a woman, I myself probably need to work on tznius, being that I do tend to wear just underwear whenever I want, change in the middle of the street into my cycling gear and hate wearing shirts in the summer. I of course have no idea if this book pertains to men at all, but I think it’s a great topic that should be discussed at length and hopefully get some philosophical discussion going about it.
Just one last point, I feel that tznius is the ultimate form of feminism; in that it allows women to actually achieve the goal of feminism and that is respect.