Thursday, December 27, 2012

I am the BallaBuster

Today over at Jewcy is the latest installment of my column, which finally has a name--The BallaBuster-- a play on both "ball buster" (you all know I'm that) and balabusta. I wish had come up with this brilliance but it was the work of my editor, Stephanie Butnick.

I'm especially excited about this installment, the final one of 2012, which is about modesty blogging. Or as I like to call it--modesty apologia. That is, the type of blog post or essay in which an Orthodox woman talks about how good modest dress makes them feel and then impugns the dignity and respect of those women who choose to wear less. It attempts to use the language of feminism and liberation but ends up trotting out the language of the patriarchy, linking "ownership" of one's own body to how much of it is covered. The whole "my body is mine" if I cover it sort of thing.

Newsflash--your body is always yours no matter what you're wearing. These ideas, while not explicitly condoning sexual violence, help reinforce a rape culture in which it's okay to ask about a woman's clothing at the time of attack, strongly insinuating that her short skirt or past sexual behavior says something about her "consent." Because if wearing something short and tight means that your body belongs less to you then it perversely and logically follows that it belongs to someone else, right?

An tidbit from the column:

Anyone who has been educated in the Orthodox community—at practically every level—knows that the rules of tznius, or modesty, are not bound up in liberation, no matter what sort of modern-day apologetics are used to explain the strictures, but in patriarchal control. Women are taught to cover up what rabbis, over generations, have deemed sexually titillating.

You can read the rest here.

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