Monday, December 31, 2007

Does Clothing Make the Man\Woman? PART II

I ended my last post with the following question, which I am going to respond to now:

But there are plenty of other things that G-d commands that I have questions about. The very fact that I wonder if I'm a feminist in the frum world is based on questions that I have about a woman's place in the Orthodox community. So why didn't I question the dress code?

So why don't I question the Orthodox women's dress-code if I have other problems with "Orthodox women" issues? I'd have to say that it's because I know without question, as a Jew who believes in G-d and in the divinity of the Torah (i.e. Bible), that it comes directly from G-d. And while I might take issue with some of the attitudes within the Orthodox community, I don't take issue with G-d.

One of the struggles that I have over being a feminist in the frum world is that I know that living life according to the Torah - in other words, being Orthodox, - is the right thing to do but at the same time I question a number of the community's attitudes towards women.

[In other words, I want to be frum, but there's a part of me that has very feminist-tendencies and having those tendencies conflicts with things in the frum world - conflicts with being frum, thereby causing a problem if I want to be frum. Which I do. ]

So when I know that the Torah says something, such as,
"A woman must not put on a man's apparel, nor shall a man wear woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord, your God." (Deuteronomy 22:5) I don't argue with it. If the Torah says that I shouldn't wear men's clothing - i.e. pants - then I won't, and I won't question it.

But when the community has, what I see as, a sexist attitude toward women, I question it a lot more easily than I question something written in the Torah.

And that's why I don't have a problem with following the frum dress-code: because I see it as something divinely inspired, rather than less-than-flattering-towards-women inspired.

I hope that this makes sense. It does to me. If you disagree, feel free to post a comment letting me know.

Caio for now.


  1. a few considerations:
    a)jeans that women wear to day are distinct from mens jeans in many ways. Do women's jeans constitute "beged ish"? Perhaps there is reason to believe they dont.

    b) Do you really think that the current "black and white" clothing style of the frum community is divinely inspired? Didn't yakkov make his son a colored cloak?

    c) Do you seriously think Moshe Rabbeinu and the shivim zkeynim wore black fedoras at sinai?

    draw your own conclusions.


  2. Sure it makes sense. But perhaps you'd like to specify where you resent the frum community's attitude toward women.

  3. Kishke -

    I assume that you're referring to my latest post, since this post doesn't discuss any resentment I might have about the frum community's attitude towards women. In any case, this blog is full of references to attitudes in the frum community that I resent, such as expecting girls to marry very young and considering them tragic if they don't, or not approving of them having ambitions outside of the "four cubits" of their communities etc.


  4. I got here from the later post, but in this post you say you question a number of the community's attitudes toward women.

    The things you mention - early marriage, constrained ambitions - are not limited to women; they are imposed upon men too.