When I was younger, and not yet frum, I remembered wanting so badly to wear black stockings/pantyhose/tights (whatever you call them), with one of my black dresses. In the secular community, black stockings were considered very sexy. I remember, finally when I was about 10 years old, my mother allowed me to wear them. It was picture day, and I begged and I pleaded until she finally said "yes, fine." I was so happy. I remember that morning my mom was walking me to school and we met our neighbor. She saw that I was wearing black stockings and she said "wow Anita, you're such a big girl, wearing black stockings already." Ofcourse I was so happy, the comment made my day...and possibly my month.
A few months ago I read a book by NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd. In the book "Are Men Necessary" Dowd quoted a source (I forgot which) which actually stated how in order to attract men, a woman must stand with her left foot in front of her right, and put all her weight on her right leg. She should also wear sheer black pantyhose to attract the male eye.
When I became frum I learned that black tights in the frum community were the ultimate in tznious. The entire concept when I originally learned about it, was that tznious was a form of modest self-expression for woman. When I delved further into it (school uniform rules and learning about why they have some of the strict/crazy ones etc) I realized that all modern day tznious, is basically just a bunch of stupid rules that make absolutely no sense. As examples I will use a quote from an article I found on Wolf's post "Going Overboard on Tzniyus". The article he quoted from is on the Jewish Chronicle website. It is called "Why I won't wear a Burka" Anyway, here is the quote:
A CD recording by a top rabbi from Lakewood, New Jersey, for example, reportedly asks women not to swing their arms while they walk and not to allow their daughters to wear colourful banana-clips in their hair. Women know that if they wear skin-coloured stockings, they must include a seam so it is clear they are not bare-legged. Schoolgirls do not wear shiny shoes that could “reflect their underwear”.
This quote was by far the funniest thing I've ever read in my life. Firstly, I would like to ask, how is it possibly to walk normally without swinging ones arms? I mean, I try when I play with little kids and we have "contests", but to request women to not "swing their arms while they walk" is a bit ridiculous.
Then there's this entire issue of wearing a seam when one is wearing skin colored stockings. I don't know how many of you ladies (or gents) receive Victoria's Secret catologs, or browse their website, but in the "secular" world, seams are considered pretty sexy. Victoria's Secret has collections of lingerie with seams. The cover of the movie "Secretary" (under NO definition can that movie be considered clean or modest) she is wearing a seam. Yes, a seam...and not with "skin-coloured" stockings, but with shear black ones. Then there's Silkies (granted they are more conservative than VS) that featured seamed stockings as their pantyhose of the month (I beleive in December). This was definitly not to attract the attention of frum people, rather to attract the attention of costumers looking for a sexy, new and stylish look. Basically, the seam is considered sexy as well.
I'm starting to think that tznius is actually meant to attract guys, while playing on the girls' naivety and making them think that its actually making the guys turn away.
Then there's the ridiculous final statment made by the lakewood CD rabbi. The fact that girls should not wear shiny shoes because they may reflect their underwear is just bizarre, I cannot even comment on it. I'll just say, that when I read that sentence I started laughing uncontrollably. My sister was like "what's so funny" I told her to read the paragraph, and she started laughing as well. Anyway, my point isn't that one should not keep tznious (I wouldn't do that unless I used satire) but rather that it is ridiculous to think all these crazy stringences actually mean anything. If anything, they really are a way for men to have fun.
I really think its kind of sad that this is what our religion has come too. These bans and chumras really make me think about what Hashem thinks about us in shamayim. Is he happy that we all went insane? Is he happy that his "chosen" people have basterdised the religion?