Wednesday, July 2, 2014

You Can Do it In A Skirt

Check out the article I wrote for the Sisterhood Blog!

As someone who identifies as an Orthodox feminist but still (mostly) follows the dictates of tznius, or modesty, I often find myself feeling marginalized. Among the women who dress the way I do, I am judged for my progressive views; among those with views more like mine, I am judged for the way I dress.

Consequently, when someone in an Orthodox feminist forum linked to the website You Can Do It In A Skirt, I was one of its few supporters.

Continue reading here.

1 comment:

  1. "“Anything you can do, I can do it in a skirt,” the site’s tagline proclaims. It features photos of skirt wearing Orthodox girls and women doing physical activities that most would do in pants: riding a horse, swimming, cartwheeling, running a marathon, hanging upside down on monkey bars, and jet skiing."

    In my opinion, there's a clash between two venerable traditions regarding skirts vs. pants. On the one hand, there's the prohibition against anyone wearing the garments of the opposite gender. On the other hand (and leaving aside, for the moment, the question of whether pants designed for females still constitute men's garments), there's another equally venerable tradition: tzniut (modesty). Tights or leggings under a skirt may work for activities such as, for example, Israeli folk dancing--I see Orthodox women dressed this way at Israeli folk dance sessions quite often. But I don't see anything modest about either cartwheeling or hanging upside while wearing a skirt. Even if a girl or woman is wearing leggings or tights underneath, she's still exposing more than some would consider modest. I *always* wear pants when hiking, lest, in climbing hills or stairs on the trail, I give a person hiking behind me what Heshy of the Frum Satire blog so "delicately" describes as "the upskirt view."

    I'm a bit too under the weather to have the patience to set up a link, but I strongly recommend that you read "Olive Skirts, Khaki Pants, and Rifles: The Dress of Religious Women in the Israeli Army," by Shayna Weiss, found in the JOFA JOURNAL FALL 2009–TISHREI 5770 at

    Some of the chayalot ". . . spoke of functional (rather than legal) modesty –the tzniut associated with a pair of loose pants that would enable them to engage in more tasks while exposing much less of their body shape and skin to the outside world than a skirt would."

    Certainly, it's *possible* to wear a skirt (almost?) all the time. The question, in my opinion, is whether wearing a skirt always the most tz'nua (modest) way to dress.