I feel compelled to write a second letter. I was the anonymous letter-writer with a fait accompli toward the shifting attitude of women’s pictures in our newspapers. But, after reading Mr. Horowitz’s borderline tirade, thinking about it some more, and recent events, I would like to rethink my opinion.
The modesty topic, the original article, and my rebuttal was a discussion all Shabbos with our family. So it was on my mind when I went to shul.
In shul this past Shabbos, I saw my daughter’s friend who got married last fall. I have not seen her since she got married, and, to be honest, from across the room I almost did not recognize her. This sweet girl now donned a sheitel down to her stomach and a tight dress. As I looked around the room, I saw a pattern. The unmarried girls wore no makeup, had their hair up, and wore loose-fitting clothes. It was the married women who were more attracting in their manner, with makeup and long flowing hair.
I was on Central Avenue and noticed the same pattern. The mothers and daughters were shopping. The daughters were dressed simply. No makeup, hair up. The mothers were wearing these high-heeled shoes, form-fitting clothing, and long sheitels. And this is not just the young mothers. The older women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s are dressed the same, just donning expensive sunglasses to hide their wrinkles.
Am I missing something? Shouldn’t it be the opposite? Girls before marriage making themselves beautiful (maybe not as alluring as their mothers, but a little more attractive), with their crowning hair and figure, while after marriage, the look should be a little more toned down, as to resemble a woman who is not looking for a man’s attention.
Then there is the backlash. Women who are against long sheitels so they throw the wig away and “go turban.” And there are parents who tell their over-bat-mitzvah-age daughters to put their hair in a ponytail, so as not to “attract attention.”
Before I get a truckload of hate mail, I am sure there are some real honest people who live modestly, and their daughters absorb their kedushah. I’m not talking about them.
I’m talking about the hypocrisy of what I mentioned above. Be honest with yourselves: which category are your wife and daughters in?
I have an idea. Why don’t women look at their rebbetzin, and how she dresses? Does she have a sheitel running down her backside? Is she wearing a turban? Is she comfortable with her picture in the local paper? Why not try to emulate the role models of our community rather than start our own chumrah parade.
Go to the local mall. See how they are dressed. Yes, they may be wearing jeans and a tank top, but are they wearing their hair down the way you are wearing it? How about those shoes? I’m sure most are wearing sneakers or comfortable shoes. Are you sticking out? Are you grabbing attention?
Back to the women’s photos. You know, if I ran a “right-wing” school, and the wife of an honoree was dressed as mentioned above, I would also hesitate before putting a photo of her in my ad. And if I was this woman’s husband, not only would I have a flower in the ad instead of her face, I would put a flower pot in front and in back of her as she walked down Central Avenue.
I’m thinking maybe, just maybe, if we let our daughters express their femininity and beauty before marriage, the urge to be so “fapitzed” after marriage would be less. Maybe? Maybe if they were able to wear their hair the way they wanted before marriage, they wouldn’t have such an urge to wear such alluring sheitels after marriage? Maybe?
Something is cock-eyed here. Help me figure this out.
I’ll end on a comical note: Years ago the comic strip “For Better or For Worse” ran a comic I will not forget. The mother was with her daughter at the mall. They passed by a real gothic character, with a mohawk, piercings, and tattoos. The little girl stared at the gothic character and the mother reprimanded her child, “It’s not nice to stare.” To which the child replied, “Isn’t that what she wants you to do?’