October 12, 2009 4:33 pm at 4:33 pm #590558
In recent years, the deteriorating level of tznius in the frum oilam has really bothered and perplexed me. I am not the only one bothered by this, because when I bring it up amongst friends, they too express consternation, disappointment, and bewilderment at the style of dress now seen in frum neighborhoods.
Now, as my SN suggests, I live in NY, and the NY Tri-state area is my main point of reference, but I am not talking about those in MO circles. I am talking about Yeshivish, haimish communities. I am talking about girls or women that graduated from Bais Yaakovs dressing in questionable ways. Some specific descriptors of controversial modes of dress would be short, tight, and clingy.
I have my own ideas about why frum women are compromising in this important area, but I am curious to hear what other people have to say about this.
Just to let you know, I am not a Rebbitzen and I am not trying to put anyone down. I am trying to understand this trend and trying to be mechazek others in this inyan.October 12, 2009 5:05 pm at 5:05 pm #662300
NY Mom –
You are far, far, far from the only one bothered by what you accurately describe.October 12, 2009 5:17 pm at 5:17 pm #662301
I wouldn’t know why the young ladies in the NY area are lacking tznius, but I can speak about what I see here. I feel that the teachers and rabbis don’t praise the girls enough and they don’t make them feel like kol kevoda bat melech penimah, instead they put them down and enforce silly rules about eyeliner, lipliner, they talk about how the wigs have to be a certain way, etc. But that is what I see and hear in mexico, it really bothers me because I personally think (I could be wrong) that besides doing the halachah, a person should not be given a list a requirements (pages long) and be expected to keep it. Tznius is more than that, it comes from within and before you leave your house you know what type of reaction you are going to receive from the way you look.October 12, 2009 5:17 pm at 5:17 pm #662302
I am actually more bothered by the number of frum Jews going to jail for “shtick.” I think that does the community a lot worse.October 12, 2009 5:18 pm at 5:18 pm #662303
Thank you NY Mom. I’ve been wanting to discuss this topic for some time.
I think tznius is such a difficult area. Nobody can seem to agree on what is and what isn’t tznius. I’ve been told that some of my clothing is not so tznius. I happen to disagree. My rabbi has never told me there is a problem with how I dress, and he would tell me if there was a problem.
I have seen the knees of plenty of women, including rebbitzens.
There is a book on tznius that I was told NOT to read because it’s too frum. I read it anyway. While I am not at that level yet, I do aspire to it.
One day I was reading a tznius book (not the frummy one) which spoke about a particular color of stocking. As it happens, I was going to a wedding the next day, and planning on wearing that color stocking. I went out and bought new stockings to wear. When I got to the wedding I looked around, and found many women wearing the stockings the book said were assur. This included the wife of one of the dayanim in the community.
As for short, I was at a Chinese auction and the woman emcee was wearing a skirt that didn’t fully cover her knees. To make matters worse, she was standing on a stage. From that position, above the eye level of the women seated in the audience, one could see quite a distance up her thighs.October 12, 2009 5:20 pm at 5:20 pm #662304
I am also curious as to how people feel about v-neck tops with a contrasting color shell. I don’t wear it, primarily because I don’t like the layers. I have friends who are against it.October 12, 2009 5:32 pm at 5:32 pm #662305
When people keep adding on more and more chumros, people start rebelling against the basics also. Stop with the unnecessary chumros already, and you’ll see that things will get better.October 12, 2009 5:40 pm at 5:40 pm #662306
“My rabbi has never told me there is a problem with how I dress, and he would tell me if there was a problem. I have seen the knees of plenty of women, including rebbitzens.”
That may be the root of much of the problem. The woman assumes her Rabbi will correct her wrongdoing, while the Rabbi is afraid too. Especially with his rebbitzen (according to haifagirl) being part of the problem!October 12, 2009 5:46 pm at 5:46 pm #662307
This is one of my favorite topics – but I am unclear as to your reasoning to mention that you are not talking about those in MO circles – could it be that you don’t expect a MO woman/girl to be a tzanua? And also I don’t understand why the need to state that you are not a Rebbitzen, could it be that a Rebbitzen has a higher standard? HMMMMM………
Now, NY Mom, I hold your hand agree with you that WE as a collective people have made very unbecoming compromises. I believe that before we can address the why we must first acknowledge that the issue exists.
I see too many young ladies wearing very tight fitting clothes and their manner of speech that could make even a streetwalker look twice. Is it a phase??? I don’t have daughters, but can tell you that my sons do look at many of the girls and oy the comments that they and their friends make…If the girls could only eavesdrop for a little bit they would hear what I hear and that is that “EDITED“
Sorry to be so crass, but folks – we have a problem!
I do think that it might be an ok idea to let the girls eavesdrop even for a moment.October 12, 2009 5:46 pm at 5:46 pm #662308
1) I didn’t say it was HIS rebbitzen. I just said rebbitzens.
2) Believe me – this rabbi would not be afraid to tell me if there is a problem. I’ve heard him tell other people. I’m not sure he would tell just anybody, but he will tell people he is close to. And I’ve been practically a member of his family for over 20 years.October 12, 2009 5:47 pm at 5:47 pm #662309
A rabbi isn’t supposed to be checking how women are dressed. Isn’t that a lack of tznius?October 12, 2009 5:49 pm at 5:49 pm #662310
haifagirl: In NY, it is not just a V-neck with a shell underneath. It is sleeveless with a shell, spaghetti straps with a shell, anything you can imagine – but with a long sleeve shell underneath. I can not understand it myself and refuse to wear this very popular style.
Feif Un: There is something to what you say, but now that the gedarim have been broken, I don’t see things just “getting better” even if (so called) “unnecessary chumros” are dropped. It’s gone too far for that.October 12, 2009 5:59 pm at 5:59 pm #662311
“When I got to the wedding I looked around, and found many women wearing the stockings the book said were assur. This included the wife of one of the dayanim in the community.”
Which is perhaps why you were told not to read that book.October 12, 2009 6:08 pm at 6:08 pm #662312
People have lost common sense…. Spagetti straps with long sleeves underneath? Puleeze!October 12, 2009 6:20 pm at 6:20 pm #662313
I think that mybat has said something very worthy of note. The focus should be on praise and acknowledgement instead of criticism and scolding. Women and girls who make an effort and sacrifice to dress in a way that is tsanua should be given hearty praise and lavish approbation for their behavior. This should be done personally and the same idea should be reinforced in general when addressing a group. (The personal praise should be given by women to other women, or by husbands to their wives, or by fathers to their daughters. General praise can be given by anyone, as it is not necessary to notice minutae when speaking in general.) Praise the slightest improvement, and praise every improvement. By giving praise, and not by giving criticism, you will accomplish your goal of increasing tsnius observance.October 12, 2009 6:25 pm at 6:25 pm #662314
It wasn’t the book from I was told not to read. It was from a “less frum” book.October 12, 2009 6:41 pm at 6:41 pm #662315
besides dressing tzeniut a woman has to know how to behave. No talking too loud, no making too much noise, no speaking bad about others, no bragging about their material blessings, keeping a low key is very important in my opinion.October 12, 2009 7:01 pm at 7:01 pm #662316
mazca, I agree that those behavioral guidelines are appropriate ones for both men and women.October 12, 2009 8:15 pm at 8:15 pm #662317
Spagetti straps with long sleeves underneath? Puleeze!
Mybat, I am not kidding! Come to NY and you will see this! And the whole “shell” thing is very popular.
But that is nothing compared to the real problems. One of the things that really get me upset is when frum women wear shirts or tops that are not long enough. All they need to do is stretch, bend, or reach for something and…Whoops! This is all too common, as well!October 12, 2009 8:26 pm at 8:26 pm #662318
NY Mom, I didn’t read through this whole thread, but really, what’s wrong with wearing a jumper with spagetti straps with a shell underneith? Or any vest/capsleeve/jumper etc. for that matter either? I think we all get carried away a bit. I mean, whichever way you slice it, you’re covered and that’s what counts. I understand the argument of skirts being too short, but with everything else, come on.October 12, 2009 8:31 pm at 8:31 pm #662319
NY mom i knew the shells were very popular, but I didn’t know that people do that. It’s the whole attitude, trying not to look like it’s a wig, or being embarrased by dressing with tznius. I once saw a sheitel macher in NY and she said to me something like “we’ll make sure nobody realizes you’re covering your hair, and you can pull your hair out of the back of the wig” It made me sick!October 12, 2009 8:50 pm at 8:50 pm #662320
Mepal: If you look above, you will see that regarding this I said “that is nothing compared to the real problems”. When it comes to shells under everything, for me it just makes me feel uncomfortable.
Let me give you a real example. At a recent wedding, I saw a member of the wedding party wearing a sleeveless and strapless gown – with a white shell. To me that is just saying to the world, “I really would like to be wearing a sleeveless and strapless gown, but just to make it kosher I’ll put on the shell”. I just don’t like it. I think it sends the wrong message. And while the example I gave is an extreme one, even with a more moderate example the same message still applies.
Personal thing – I don’t like it.October 12, 2009 8:55 pm at 8:55 pm #662321
NYMom: I just thought that was the (lazy) way to “Kasher” the gown.
;October 12, 2009 9:00 pm at 9:00 pm #662322
Ok, we’ll leave it at that. Personal thing – I don’t like it. Nothing’s wrong.October 12, 2009 9:17 pm at 9:17 pm #662323
Mayan_Dvash: Well, if the shell were a matching color, then it may be as you say. But with a very contrasting color? That’s not how I read it.
And putting the whole shell issue aside, why is it that women are pushing the envelope when it comes to tznius? Everyone wants to “look good”, but why do they have to overdo it?
And what about our teenagers? When I speak to my friend with a teenage daughter, she is afraid that if she is not permissive enough when it comes to in-style fashions, her daughter will not listen to her at all! And teenagers are not completely aware of the consequences of dressing in an alluring style.October 12, 2009 9:37 pm at 9:37 pm #662324
“And what about our teenagers? When I speak to my friend with a teenage daughter, she is afraid that if she is not permissive enough when it comes to in-style fashions, her daughter will not listen to her at all! And teenagers are not completely aware of the consequences of dressing in an alluring style. “
Duh, if you assur the mattir, the kids will mattir the assur.October 12, 2009 9:42 pm at 9:42 pm #662325
I agree with mepal regarding shells under gowns. If I did saw someone wearing a sleeveless gown with a contrasting shell underneath, I’d probably think that she preferred not to invest the time/ money to have it altered, or actually preferred to wear it that way (though I’d prefer not to wear that myself because I don’t like the way it looks). And if I thought anything about the woman’s tznius, it would probably be, “it’s a kiddush haShem to see women who are eager to fulfill the mitzvah of tznius, even if it means they are perceived as compromising fashion”. Not to go all Reb Levi Yitzchok m’Berditchev on you.
NY Mom, I do agree that teenaged girls need to be careful of they way they dress both for tznius reasons and safety reasons.October 12, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm #662326
NYMom and Haifa girl, you should look up some of the other threads here on tznius.
BTW, socks are optional according to Reb Moshe and the Mishna Brura, so the color of the socks does not matter.
EDITEDOctober 12, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm #662327
NY Mom- Oz Vehadar Levusha allows for shells, and that book is known to be very machmir; also, there are some very legitimate reasons for it other than ‘just wanting to kasher the sleeveless’. For example, I didn’t always keep the rules of tznius, and when I started, I was faced with the problem of vetting my entire wardrobe. Nothing could be done about the skirts, and I spent a lot of money replacing my minis with proper, tznius skirts; to do the same with all my tops would have made the whole venture prohibitively expensive- and thanks to a few colored $10 shells, it was totally unnecessary. And don’t even get me started on how frum clothing stores are the world’s biggest rip-off. I still find myself buying sleeveless dresses from regular retailers and wearing shells underneath because for some reason that is beyond my comprehension, heimishe stores see fit to charge me $100 for what is, essentially, the sleeves.
I agree with you that there is a problem with people taking shortcuts with tznius that they wouldn’t dare take with, say, kashrus. I see plenty of skirts in shul that don’t quite make it to the knee, skintight dresses, and custom sheitals that look so natural as to make these women look single.
Custom sheitals are my big pet peeve; in addition to just totally ignoring the spirit of the law, many actually think they are keeping it better (at least when it comes to other issues, like tightness, most will acknowledge that they let fashion eclipse halacha). I wear only snoods and tichels, and someone with a fancy sheital once condescendingly told me that sheitals are really preferable because they cover all the hair while other head coverings do not. I asked her if she could locate a single hair protruding from my snood, which she could not.October 12, 2009 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm #662328
wow this thread is getting heated, my dad was in lkwd and he passed a girl and she was wearing a beige skin like shell under a vest. thinking that she wasnt frum and that it was her skin he walked with his head down and switched aisles. knowing that my dad wouldve done this i asked him if he saw this girl. he was like that girl was jewish? i thoughtshe was a goy!
look how we make others nichshal be carefulOctober 12, 2009 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm #662329
okay, I understand everyones point. I also like to dress nicely, wear nice clothes, put on makeup, wear a nice wig, etc. However it’s recomendable to use common sense( sorry if I repeat myself) for example, if I’m going somewhere with my husband and other couples will be there I will not perfume myself so that everyone will have to smell me. I don’t think there’s any halachah on that, use your brains people.October 12, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm #662330
Here we go again, another tznius thread. I wish they would print some of good points that some of you make about this problem in some jewish magazines & newspapers.
I have no choiach now to say what has to be said so i’ll just say
when is the taliban wifes outfit like hijab & burka, gonna be in style,
i would love to see if the fashion obsessed among us would wear it,
or not for lack of positive attention.
Ok i’ll summarize it in one sentence, in a nutshell..
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PARENTS!October 12, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm #662331
mybat, talking about perfume, i dont think that its tsnius to for a single girl to put on perfume. who are they putting it on for -guys? and i think that the point is u should smell good for ure husband and no one else.October 12, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm #662332
sunflower: No! one should smell good for everyone else,
at least if they plan on leaving their house & walking outside among us.
(I’m not taking about perfume though.):)October 12, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm #662333
sunflower I see what you’re saying, but sometimes girls put on perfume to feel good. Many times I wear perfume even if my husband is in work, just don’t empty the bottle and think about where you’ll be going.October 12, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm #662334
PY: Having gone to Bais Yaakov for almost my whole life, I have never heard that socks are optional. Ask any Bais Yaakov girl what she learned in school regarding this. What Bais Yaakov allows girls to go around with no socks?
In fact regarding bare feet, as far as I know, the halacha is “shok b’isha erva” and I just heard a psak from a very prominent Rav in Brooklyn who confirmed what I have just said. So this whole recent shtick with flip-flops in the frum community or bare legs is not halachically correct.
The only exception to this, that I have heard is for Sephardim, but you would have to ask one of our Sephardic friends to confirm that this is true.October 12, 2009 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm #662335October 13, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am #662336
Most of the finger pointing has been at the females of the community. What about the males? If husbands would stop their wives from dressing a certain way, if fathers would not pay for clothes that was not appropriate for their daughters, if the community as a whole would not shop in stores that sold clothing that was in clear violation of halacha, then things would change. Until then….
To illustrate just how far we have sunk as a community in this regard, a clothing store on a popular thoroughfare in flatbush displayed skirts in their window, that clearly did not cover the knees of the mannequin. The cynics will say, “well mannequins are not obligated to follows the laws of tznius”. Those who choose to keep their heards out of the sand, will realice the statement the store owner is making with the window display. Yet, people happily shop in the store further encouraging the store owner. its a mindset, and it has to change.
I worked for a non jewish company that strictly enforced its dress code. Granted, their standards were well short of halacha, but they were careful to enforce the standards they did have. To this day, i have not forgotten the scene, where a manager went with a tape measure over to one employee took out a tape measure and determined that her skirt violated company policy that skirts could not be more than one inch above the knee. They sent her home to change. Everyone else, got the message and didnt push the envelope.October 13, 2009 12:52 am at 12:52 am #662337
jphone: wow! That sound just like what they said some principals used to do in
frum girls schools. I agree with you that the parents like I said & the husband’s
like you pointed out, are to blame.
Who is supposed to be mechanech our kids? Di Gass? Vogue? or the Parents?
May I add that the magazines the “Yiddishe” Mother brings into the house also
influence her children, If she like it or not, & they notice!
children are very perceptive, only a fool would disagree.
While i’m on this topic let me state my opinion on another matter,
“The Shidduch Crises.” I firmly believe that the aforementioned
lack of values & behavior by parents is also responsible in part for the current “Shidduch Crises.”
Let us hope & pray, that we all start paying
attention to what we do, & dont do, for it has a direct effect on our
children, leaving positive or negative impressions upon them which can be
astoundingly helpful or detrimental in their growth as individuals.October 13, 2009 1:25 am at 1:25 am #662338
bh, wow u gave me a scare. of course e/o shld be hygenically smelling good but the perfume is NOT teh option i see for single girls. is that what a frum by girl is to do ? to seeek others attention?
and mybat, yes, u can perfume yourself i never said anything is wrong with putting perfume if youre married but to a certain extent. i dont think it has to be done by work so e/o should know u are there- get it? like when u come in adn leave for a sec, it shldnt be taht s/o shld say, oh mybat just came right?
i am not here to criticise u ya know no offenses here !October 13, 2009 4:19 am at 4:19 am #662339
Yes sunflower, I hear you. You don’t have to stink up a room with your perfume. 😉October 13, 2009 5:33 am at 5:33 am #662340
Re: Perfume. As a male, I do not wear perfume, but I do wear cologne. I like the way it smells. I personaly prefer to smell like Drakkar then Right Guard Sport. I dont bathe in it, but a small dab works just fine. I would imagine a female appreciates the nice smell of perfume. She doesnt have to bathe in it so that people for 400 yards around her gag on the smell, a small shpritz or dab doesnt seem inappropriate at any time.October 13, 2009 5:58 am at 5:58 am #662341
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was very sensitive to smells, and found that many of the smells I encountered during my workday triggered nausea. For some reason wearing a small amount of perfume helped me get through the day without succumbing to morning sickness. I’m sure the four co-workers who shared my cubicle (not to mention my colleagues in the surrounding cubes) appreciated this.October 13, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am #662342
Personally, I would rather see a shell than a sweatshirt that covers everything but has “CUNY,” or any other wording, emblazoned across the chest. (I once asked a friend’s daughter why she was wearing something with writing on the chest. My friend, who was also there, said, “Oh, I guess that isn’t so tznius, is it?” Meanwhile, she won’t let her daughters wear shells. They still wear the offensive sweatshirts.)October 13, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm #662343
We have to understand that women have to feel feminine. We just have to find the way to do so with tznius.October 13, 2009 1:11 pm at 1:11 pm #662344
smalltowngirl: You said, This is one of my favorite topics – but I am unclear as to your reasoning to mention that you are not talking about those in MO circles – could it be that you don’t expect a MO woman/girl to be a tzanua?
Um, in case you hadn’t noticed MO women have a completely different set of standards when it comes to mode of dress. Some wear pants, some don’t cover their hair at all, some will wear short sleeves and shorts in the summer, etc. I do not know how they decide what they can and cannot wear, so I don’t think I can speak to tznius as it relates to them.
You also asked: And also I don’t understand why the need to state that you are not a Rebbitzen, could it be that a Rebbitzen has a higher standard? HMMMMM………
My point in stating this was to convey the message that I am just a regular woman who is concerned about the level of tznius in our communities. I am not someone who gets up at a kinos or gives shiurim. I am your friend who you shmooze with on the phone, I am a mother in your child’s yeshiva, and I shop at the same stores that you do.
Hope that clears things up for ya’!October 13, 2009 2:03 pm at 2:03 pm #662345
Actually NY Mom – I am still unclear and I guess will remain so
See, I just can’t understand as a baalas teshuva what is up with the labels.
Oh how HATE them. The idea that one could be identified as a MO Jew seems to be automatically substandard.
And on the flip side the Yeshivish crowd far superior – so they think.
I am not labeled in fact I don’t really fit into any specific category totally other than Jewish. Its really nice.
I am educated, and work outside of the home not in the chinuch world so it may appear that I’m MO. I cover my hair and do not wear pants, am shomer shabbos, kashrus and taharas hamishpacha.
So as you stated some MO wear short sleeves and some wear pants and some ……….why the need to generalize? It really becomes not so tziusdik to speak in such ways, IMOOctober 13, 2009 2:30 pm at 2:30 pm #662346
It also occurs to me that the Rebbitzen is also a “regular” woman, who has children in the same yeshiva as my children and she also shops in the same stores I shop in. She puts her sheitel on the same way I do and she is human as I am. She is not more or less concerned about tzius than me or anyone else.October 13, 2009 4:25 pm at 4:25 pm #662347
smalltown – If a Rebetzin is just another Chanie Doe, what makes her a Rebetzin?
As far as the labeling, some of the people you refer to label themselves.October 13, 2009 4:50 pm at 4:50 pm #662348
In reality, only that she is married to the Rav –
I believe that we need to acknowledge that the rebbitzen is just as human as we are.
As far as the labeling…whether you label me or I label myself…it is very often improper, unkind, and maybe even inaccurate.
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