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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 

Even Haredi women can lose themselves in the "modesty" insanity

Frimet Goldberger, once a resident of Kiryas Joel, that slummy Satmar neighborhood in upstate New York, spoke about Haredi women who lack self-esteem and try to act as modesty gatekeepers:
A common misperception is that rabbis and male community leaders are fueling the radical surge. But are Haredi women indeed victims of a patriarchal culture that puts extreme and outsized emphasis on tznius? Are Hasidic and Yeshivish women merely oppressed by fanatical males fervently trying to control their flock of subservient women?

Yes and no.

Yes, many ultra-Orthodox leaders do have an extreme and fairly new obsession with tznius – one that has no solid basis in the Torah or Jewish history.

And no, ultra-Orthodox women are not the gullible and oppressed creatures we sometimes purport them to be. (I have been guilty of making this claim, too.) In fact, they are often the most fanatical devotees to the cause. They are the ones who recognize the nuances of the way women dress; they are the ones who inform the appropriate authorities when other women step out of line; they are the ones who call and harass store owners when they sell an item deemed “un-tznius.” [...]
Oh, I'm not surprised. I realize they too can do things that are detrimental to women's rights and overall make total jerks of themselves. I suppose we could assume it was male influence that led to this, but it's also possible for some women to develop that kind of mentality out of poor self-esteem too. And it's very sad, because nowadays, all they're doing is demonstrating why the Satmar are in the gutter.

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