Re: Women wearing pants

Nechama Cox (nechama@borealis.com)
Tue, 31 Dec 1996 18:02:23 +0000

Tanya Scott wrote:
>I was misinterpreted - that's not my opinion at all. To ask why pants
>aren't considered modest, which was my question, is not the same thing as
>saying that "it's no big deal to show your body."

I am sorry I misinterpreted what you were saying.

Tanya continues:
>The point is that wearing
>certain tailored pants (I'm not talking about hip hugging jeans) is not
>showing your body. Many frum women wear pants that don't show their form
>at all.

But many frum women do not. To many, including myself, it is just not
modest to wear pants. Maybe part of the reason is that drawing the line at
pants is easier and more defined than saying that some forms of pants are
permissible, while others are not. Having lines, such as the knee, makes it
easier to keep within the bounds of modesty.

>The response seems to be one of taking my point to the extreme, i.e.
>nakedness,

I am sorry. That is not what I meant. I meant showing the form of the body,
not actual skin.

> My concern is that one could take
>Nechama's position and argue that women also be required to wear veils. At
>some point, a woman just looks like a woman and she's obviously different
>from a man.

I am not trying to argue that a woman should not look like a woman. In fact
the opposite. By always wearing skirts you are making a statement that you
are a woman. The point is not to hid femininity, but rather to expose it.
But to expose not the body, but the personality. The idea is to cover
your body so that what you say and do are noticed, not the shape of your
curves.

>I'm sure if the truth be told, more men would be aroused by a pretty face
>and a neckline than a pair of pants.

Most women who wear only skirts are also careful with the neckline of the
shirts they wear, and are careful to be covered up there as well.

>Also, many Pakistani women wear "pants" that don't show much of a split
>anyway because it's covered somewhat by a sari. Is the prohibition on
>showing a split rabbinic ruling or custom?

That is a good point. I am not sure which came first, but the fact that two
distinct cultures decided that in the name of modesty the split above the
knees should not be seen must say something about how men see women and
where difficulties start.

Nechama Cox
nechama@borealis.com