Monday, February 8, 2010

Double standard

No, I'm not talking about male chauvinism. I'm talking about the double standard that there is one set of rules for the Jews from birth and another set of rules for the converts.

I passed by an Orthodox high school today and witnessed some of their girls leaving. There were two clusters of three friends that I saw. All six girls were wearing tight jean skirts above the knee. One was wearing a skirt with a slit that went way up the back. The most disgusting thing I saw, though, was that one of the groups of girls was flirting with each other. This included a girl grabbing onto the behind of another one of the girl.

So, I blink the wrong way and I have to listen comments about "bas yisrael" doesn't do this or that but, they grab each others touchas? Some guy asked me for my phone number at Kosher Delight a couple weeks ago. He called my phone incessantly while I was eating. After I ate, I met up with him, supposedly we were going to go for coffee but, he stood there on the street asking me the usual, who do you eat by? where do you daven? I told him I didn't think I was right for him. So, he tells me my skirt was too short. Well, how can that be, when all my skirts are longer than what the FFB girls are wearing?

I'm really sick and tired of this double standard. I saw these girls walk out of an Orthodox school, so the excuse people make that, "they must be BTs and this is where they are at," doesn't work.


  1. The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

    Actually, it's because they can't keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree, so to speak. And when they push too hard, the girls just go right off the derech anyway.

  2. You won't find nearly as much hypocrisy outside of the NYC area. When I learned in Eretz Yisroel, I was astounded by the number of frauds/fakers (not to mention downright jerks) who were all from NYC.

    D in Chicago

  3. How could there be a double standard coming from the guy if he didn't know you were a giyores? It is quite believable that he would have said this to anyone, or would have found something else to say to someone wearing a floor-length skirt. When some people get turned down, they feel the need to assert their own dominance in the situation, showing that they really weren't so interested in the first place. Had one of the girls from the school you walked by turned him down, he probably would've also said a comment regarding his dislike of their skirt length.

  4. There are different levels of frum, and the ones you saw are not necessarily the ones setting the standard.
    The set of rules is the same. Those girls were not following the rules.

  5. I don't think the apparently Yeshivish (or MO machmir) guy you were talking with can be compared with those girls, who seem to be from very modern MO homes. Even the presumably MO people with the 'bas yisroel' comments would see those girls negatively.

    I don't think this has to with geirus but rather with distinct groups of MO and Yeshivish people seeing things and behaving each in their own way. Yes there is skepticism applied more heavily to converts, but BT's also get skepticism. If you have a BT with intermarriage in the extended family, they're going to catch unpropitious comments too.

    What should be done with those girls? Send them to Solomon Schechter and thereby further destroy their neshamos? What about good girls who don't make admissions at their desired seminary and have to go to a seminary where they are embarrassed by the behavior of the other girls?

    The guy, if rude, was just trying to determine your priorities. I frankly do the same thing before going out with a girl, though in a more subtle fashion.

  6. Oh, and to someone else, the guy knew full well that I'm a gyoress.

  7. What should be done with those girls? I don't know, what would they do with them if they came to school in pants? Would they make them change into a skirt the school has? Would they call her parents and ask that appropriate clothing be brought to the school? Would they send her home? Would they give her detention? Would they simply send her home with a note?

    I actually think that Solomon Schecter girls probably dress more tznius than some of these hot chanies running around Orthodoxy.

    What do you mean the guy was trying to determine my priorities? Like I should bend over backwards trying to get married? Maybe I should pick up an eating disorder, too.

  8. OK, so he knew you were a gyoress. I think he would have quizzed either way, or at least I would have.

    By what shul/people one hangs out with, it's a quick way to estimate priorities with regard to chinuch especially. Some MO think public school is fine, others think public school is a death sentence for the neshama.

    He wants to know what his children will be like. The mother's shul choice says a lot about that, and says (to me) much more than yichus or lack thereof.

    Frankly yes I've seen Conservadox congregations where the women are significantly more tzniusdige than some Orthodox. I've been to very right-wing Yeshivish shuls where I was surprised what some wives were wearing in public. All black of course, but not modest.

    Those borderline OTD girls are going to push the boundary, maybe get a note sent home, and as they get older will be turned off by a guy with tzitzis etc. By then YCT will probably be in cherem and they'll join such a shul to get back at their parents.

    No, you shouldn't compromise too much to get married. Fortunately that doesn't seem like an issue :-) There are like-minded guys out there. I just don't know what to say about how to connect with them.

  9. Micha Mizr said... "The guy, if rude, was just trying to determine your priorities. I frankly do the same thing before going out with a girl, though in a more subtle fashion."

    Michaltastik said... "What do you mean the guy was trying to determine my priorities? Like I should bend over backwards trying to get married? Maybe I should pick up an eating disorder, too."

    Michaltastik, Micha wasn't suggesting you bend over backward or that you give the guy a break for being rude. It seemed to me, that Micha was trying to give you insight into why the guy was asking you questions.

    Whether that insight makes it easier for you to deal with the next rude guy you encounter, is another matter.

    There are a lot of rude people in the world. Too many of them get away with their rudeness because few people are willing to call them out on it. The fact that you did, is not a bad thing.

  10. I think it would be more appropriate to ask what kind of a school I see myself sending my kids to.

  11. I think it's more, someone tells them what to ask and they ask what others tell them to ask. I asked him what Frumster label he selected and when he said he was, "yeshivish modern" I said he wasn't right for me. I'm modern Orthodox.

  12. It's not a double standard. It's stupidity. Something we are all guilty of at times.

  13. Haha, that would be a good comeback to rude questioning--what's your Frumster label.

    Well, how I "ask" this shul question is I casually mention what shul I normally go to (which is yeshivish), and that if I'm in her city I daven at shul X (also yeshivish). Then I say that I like Rabbi X at local yeshiva X.

    Pretty much the woman catches on and it's easy for her to politely say that's not within her range of interest, if that's the case.

    In that way, I don't dismiss out of hand someone who is MO machmir and/or straddling between MO and yeshivish, while not being offensive to someone as yourself who has a well-defined outlook that does not overlap with the yeshivishe velt.

    I don't know, maybe by being polite in such matters (or considering someone who, g-d forbid, sometimes wears floor-length denim on a busy weekday) I am risking my yeshivish credentials ;-)

  14. See, that's much better. Although, seriously, if you read my blog you know that I'm not your average any hashkafa. I call myself MO machmir because I'm observant but, I'm not into clothing color and kollel. MO liberal is usually when they have a foot off the derech like these girls.

    Frumster says that MO Liberal is for people who go to movies, bars and nightclubs. I watch movies on my laptop. I don't usually go to the theater because I'm not paying the prices they want when I can take a movie out of the library. I'm more comfy sitting on my bed watching than in a theater with obnoxious teens talking. I guess there is something about watching on a giant screen. I have a friend who treats me when she wants to see something. She's a big Clint Eastwood fan so, the last thing I saw in the theaters was "Gran Torino."

    Incidentally, the skirt the guy was picking on was past my knees and a floppy cut.

  15. I actually prefer a yeshivish service because it's fast and no frills. When it comes to where I would send kids I might have. I'm torn. If I send them to a modern school, they will have classmates who don't keep Shabbos and kosher at home. If I send them to a Bais Yaakov, they will be indoctrinated to support a kollel guy and I don't feel so good about that.

  16. Well, I would say the guy was almost certainly being deliberately rude about the skirt (dan l'kaf zchus)

    Right, the labels. I fall just on the other side of the imposed divide into Yeshivish Modern because while I wouldn't choose anything outside of Bais Yaakov style, I would emphasize there are multiple lifestyle options (myself being a full-time scientist who learns regularly).

    Even, gasp, for my daughters to have secular education options besides PT/OT/ST.

    Hmm, I wouldn't mind faster davening. For weekday Mincha Shemoneh Esrei I can take my time davening, get a cup of coffee (kidding), and come back before the shaliach tzibbur starts the repetition.

  17. Micha,
    I know he was being rude. He was mad because I said I wasn't for him. I wasn't really shooting him down, I just could see that he and I were/are too different. Besides which, he and I are both on Facebook and he had seen my profile. He didn't think we were right enough for each other to contact me there.

  18. The sort of behavior you refer to with the girls is interesting: the more direct physical behavior of that sort seems common more common among people who are shomer negiah (in fact one sees a bit of it with both genders). I suspect that the flirting behavior is to some extent getting rid of sexual tension due to the lack of any acceptable outlets.

  19. So, men grab each other butts when they are shomer?

  20. No men don't do that. It's different for girls.
    Oh, you could have comeback with how a real learner doesn't wear non slip-on shoes or a real ben Torah doesn't wear such a rumpled shirt.

  21. Well, that seems to be what Joshua is saying.

  22. I have two daughters in an MO high school who are irritated at how some of the other students dress. There are a few teachers who try to enforce the dress code. I'm not clear what is done, since my daughters always come to school dressed in an appropriate factor.

  23. Hahaha, I wonder if they go to the school I walked by. I was in Brooklyn. The grabbing of the you-know-what just disgusted me. Although, I can't see that the school can do anything about something like that when it doesn't happen at school.

    If anyone can find out what they do, I would love to know. I was tempted to ask if their school actually allowed that.

  24. Michal, you mentioned the MO school vs. Bais Yaakov issue, but there are plenty of schools that are in the middle -- where almost all the girls come from Shomer Shabbat/kashrut homes (or if they don't keep Shabbat/kashrut that well for whatever reason, it is not public knowledge and only their closest friends will know about it) and they are not taught that kollel is the only way to go.

    As for the skirt issue -- I was kind of horrified when I saw some of the skirts my classmates were wearing. It comes as an even bigger surprise when you have known most of these girls since first grade and they've always been these nice little kids, and then all of a sudden they are completely different. In a way, it's harder to see someone lowering their standards than knowing they grew up like that.

  25. Well, most girls are raised to get attention and be looked at. After all, adults tell little girls how pretty they are. Maybe that's why I didn't end up like that. My mother hated fighting me to comb my hair which seemed to have a skill of tying itself in knots. So, I had short hair most of the time and while I was cute, I wasn't a pretty little girl with long hair and wearing a skirt like the type that they say that to.

    So, I think when these girls grow up, they are searching to still be called pretty and so they dress like sluts because then the boys call them pretty. I remember one time I saw/heard a woman on the subway calling/cooing that her daughter was "sexy" over and over again. The little girl was in diapers. I thought it was so disgusting and disturbing. I think that mother was messed up in the head and the daughter will likely be so, as well. Anywho, I think it fits into this idea that you create a situation where females need reinforcement. I'm so glad my mother raised me to be independant, tough and hard-working instead. I wouldn't want to be a part of this helpless ditzy crap that women do.

  26. These girls are searching for attention, but what I think many of them don't realize is that they're not impressing these guys -- they might be doing the exact opposite. One guy once told me, very frankly, that he thinks one of my friends is a slut. First of all, it was very painful for me to hear that about a longtime friend, and also, I was just so sad for this girl because she did not realize how people were reacting to her. She wanted to be admired, but just as many people were repulsed by it.

  27. Michal, I haven't seen butt grabbing, but I've definitely seen Yeshiva students engage in behavior that would be easily classified as homoerotic. Certainly some of the rough-housing can fall into that category. But you are correct that it isn't as extreme.