Why Kids’ Clothing Harms Women

Why? Well, I can’t claim it makes sense. My impression is that if you’re The Forward, everything oppresses (Orthodox) women.

As acknowledged by Footsteps, an organization helping people leave the “ultra-” Orthodox community, women are much less likely to leave Torah observance than men (in a TV interview, the head of Footsteps said only one-third of its clients are women). But as demonstrated by Deborah Feldman, Leah Vincent and Frimet Goldberger, they are much more likely to provide fictionalized depictions of their past lives and communities after they do.

Even so, this article is an amazing journey into the realm of illogic. Its basis is a single anonymous phone call to a store in Lakewood selling “trendy” clothing, berating them for advertising depicting a seven or eight-year-old boy dressed according to current fashion — which, in all honesty, outfits him as a Ringling Bros. employee. Be that as it may, the caller was outraged, not amused, and she threatens a boycott if the store won’t stop wasting their money trying to market clown costumes to the Orthodox Jews of Lakewood.

Which, to Frimet Goldberger, “continues a cycle in which women perpetuate their own victimhood.” I wish I were making this up.

To her, the fact that women seem even more concerned with tznius than men, despite her own acknowledgment that “ultra-Orthodox women are not the gullible and oppressed creatures we sometimes purport them to be” (an amazing admission, that, especially with her confession to having done this herself), just means that women are being more oppressed. It is women, not men or children, who are “outraged,” “unwilling,” yet “forced to conform.”

It’s good enough for Ripley — but given that it denigrates the Orthodox, its appearance in the Forward is little surprise.

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4 Responses

  1. Sharona says:

    It’s interesting. I was thinking the opposite a few weeks ago. “women perpetuate their own victimhood”
    It saddens me when girls in, for example, sororities tease people and then wonder why they are not respected.

    It also saddens me when people don’t receive the joy and beauty that our heritage has. We need to do a better job of helping our children to internalize the good values that heritage has

  2. Steve Brizel says:

    Frimet Goldberger’s comment to the effect that adherence to Tznius “continues a cycle in which women perpetuate their own victimhood” is yet another example of the cottage industry of formerly charedi women describe their evolution away from Charedi norms into secular society’s norms and values. The writings are universally boring in their depiction of questions unanswered, discarding of halacha and minhagim, and being “discovered” by the Forward and secular feminists, etc.

  3. shaul shapira says:

    I don’t think it’s fair to lump Frimet Goldebrger together with Deborah Feldman. Her expose of Feldman’s fictional autobiography seems to establish her as bit more reliable than that.

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    I think that the simple response to such a column is that the “less is more” standard of women’s dress objectifies women as sex objects, and that Tznius makes both genders to look beyond such an exterior -driven and physically limited sense of understanding the opposite gender.

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