Tznius, Thoughts on Judaism and Sexism 

Tznius, the concept in Judaism most often translated as modesty, can best be conceived as an appropriate balance between internal cultivation of our own depths, and external expression of our selves and our social standing. In traditional Jewish law, or Halakhah, we err on the side of that interior development, not on the side of expression. This concept has potentially great spiritual depth that is available for all people, but the burden of its practices and frame of analysis most often falls on Jewish women. Why is this? Because Judaism is patriarchal, and misogynist.

Tznius, Thoughts on Judaism and Sexism 

I don't mean that in a dismissive way, I don't mean to write off what's being said by these patriarchal misogynist rabbis, I mean to examine it through that frame of reference. In a patriarchy, men write the rules, and when those men are misogynists, they can only relate to women as a spectacle, an object to be taken in. Women are for being seen by men, because men see women through the male gaze. Patriarchs' assumptions about women are that women know this, that they must have an experience of the world based on being looked at. Therefore, modesty must become stringent on them, because they have MORE externality, because they are "inherently" external.

Tznius, Thoughts on Judaism and Sexism 

Feminist analysis, Feminist Judaism allows us to see and challenge these assumptions about the inherentness of female externality, it allows us to see that externality as a product of Rabbinic men's male gaze. What would a feminist tznius look like? Who would take on the bulk of responsibility in that system? And how would it change what Jews wear?

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