Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tzniyus Fetish

Apparently, Rabbi Yair Hoffman has too much time on his hands.

In an article in the 5 Towns Jewish Times, he calls attention to a serious problem, that of women dressed inappropriately when dropping off their sons at Yeshiva, because they are heading for the gym and are dressed for exercising.

Among other things, he writes:

"What further complicates the issue is that many women are entirely unaware of the problem. They do not know that it is the nature of a pencil skirt worn with leggings to rise above the knee."

The problem, actually, is that Rabbi Yair Hoffman spends enough time thinking about this so that he knows what a pencil skirt is (I don't) and is familiar with the details of leggings "a nylon-lycra blend" and that pencil skirts are apparently made of spandex. He also apparently thinks deeply about the necessity of "a skirt that entirely conceals the shape and form of the thigh"

When do we start telling the truth, that rabbis who are obsessed with women's clothing seem like fetishists?


  1. Actually I wikipedia-ed the information and never saw the issue of non-tzniyus drop-ffs myself. The information was brought to me by a number of women, a few of them. I wrote the correct halacha and do not appreciate the attacks on my character for simply writing halacha. I have been called a sexual pervert, a fetishist, and worse for this article - for simply writing halacha. I am not sure why people think that it is okay to do this. I am very disappointed.

    1. I think there is something deeply wrong with the contemporary charedi obsession with and focus on tzniyus, which sexualizes women just as much as contemporary secular society. The way you and others elevate this to the main thing that girls and women should focus on, has, in my opinion, the unspoken purpose of shutting them up, hiding them, and stifling them.

      The attention paid by rabbanim such as yourself to the minutae of women's clothing DOES appear to be highly disturbing to most people not in the charedi culture, and seems like the OPPOSITE of tzniyus, if anything.

      And it is that obsession with the way women dress that makes men sensitive to every single accidental glimpse of a woman's leg, when more modern people would never even notice. The more that needs to be covered up, and the more focus on every single collarbone or knee is what sexualizes these parts. I have no doubt that Taliban men find women's faces arousing,. That is what you are doing here.

      All that being said, it's easy to write a blog post impulsively, and to insult people. I deliberately chose the last words of my post to be "seem like fetishists", but not "are fetishists". I should not have attacked you personally, and I apologize for that. I am deeply disturbed by the way the Charedi community as a whole deals with this issue, but I should not have implied fetishism to you personally. You are obviously also greater than this one issue, as your defense of R Dov Lipman in July indicates.

      I will update my post pointing people to this apology in the comments.

      Shabbat Shalom.

    2. Actually, I will put up a new post.