Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Why women dress skimpily in the cold


I'm positive that Shmuley Boteach has never tried to find a formal gown, evening dress, or even a casual dress that isn’t either cut up to here, or plunges down to there—or both! I’d like him to write this article after trying to find something appropriate for a teenage daughter to attend a formal function. Good luck, Shmuley! You will be looking for a LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time.

Rather than blaming the women, how about addressing those who are making the decisions about what dresses are sold—the designers and buyers—who make it virtually impossible to look like you aren’t either a (1) 70 year-old obese
woman and patron of “omar the tentmaker,” (2) a streetwalker, or (3) a teeny-bopper on her way to the Junior Prom.

I think the designers assume that, if you want to cover your thighs, your breasts, and your upper arms, you must be some sort of freak that wouldn't appreciate style anyway.
There are virtually no nice tailored evening dresses that are modest and sophisticated. (I know, I have spent weeks looking for ONE dress to attend a wedding).

Sure, there might be some places you can buy a nice dress in NYC or Jerusalem—but those places are few and far between . . .and don’t tell me there is a website! Women don’t buy $200 dresses from the internet—there are just too many variables!!

Most of us get stuck looking dowdy in a skirt/blouse combo that doesn’t quite make it for a formal occasion.

Why do they dress skimpily in the cold? Because that’s all that’s available to buy, and most women will not look that hard for something modest when the entire store is full of short/plunging dresses and nothing else!

Tue, 4 September 2007
The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition
Shmuley Boteach , THE JERUSALEM POST Sep. 2, 2007

Dublin, where I visited with my wife last week for a TV appearance, has
just had its coldest and rainiest summer in 50 years. But you'd hardly know it
given how the women dress at night. The lively city center, with its myriad pubs
and clubs, is filled with guys standing with their pints of Guinness, and women
walking around as if they were at the beach.

Why, when the men dress with jackets and long sleeves to shelter
themselves from the cold do the women wear skirts and blouses that expose almost
every inch of flesh?

Well, it's all about advertising. A shop's windows will display its most
attractive wares. Women, likewise, put on display what they believe the men will
most value: their bodies. And since it is she who shows the most product who
will attract the most customers, it is no wonder that women in our time are fast
becoming all cover and no book.

THE MANNER of dress chosen by the women of Dublin is, of course, common
throughout the Western world. It only came as a surprise to me because Ireland
was once the most Catholic and socially conservative of all Western countries.
An even bigger surprise, however, was the loutish behavior of many women as they
ran around in packs like loud hooligans, trying to attract as much attention as

I saw a bride out on her bachelorette night walking on the city streets
with her friends, an obscene male blow-up doll tied to her body as she readied
herself for the spiritual commitment of marriage.

Across Europe there is now a movement to ban or limit Islamic women
wearing full-face and full-body covering. This is done, ostensibly, to protect
women from being treated as dangerous sexual seducers who must therefore be
hidden away. Curiously, there is no similar movement to try and impart even a
semblance of dignity to young Western women, to get them to value themselves as
something other than a man's plaything.

IT GROWS worse by the day. I was disappointed at TLC, a quality network
and my television home of the past two years, recently announcing that they had
acquired the rights to broadcast the Miss America beauty pageant. Beauty
competitions, one would have thought, should have died the ignominious death of
so many other sexist institutions which portray a woman's highest calling as
serving as male entertainment.

Is it really possible that 60 years after feminism rightly said women
have a brain and not just a bust, we still have international competitions
wherein judges rate a woman for her ability to fill a bathing suit and the
length of her legs?

And yes, I know that nowadays these competitions are given the thin
veneer of respectability by making the women speak nobly of a charitable
enterprise that is central to their lives. But the fact that there aren't many
women looking like Mother Theresa who are allowed to compete gives the lie to
this farcical attempt to give respectability to lechery.

The greatest social story of our time is the second fall of Eve, the
utter loss of feminine dignity and the complicity of an educated generation of
women in their own degradation and denigration.

MEN HAVE, sadly, always taken advantage of women, exploiting their
softer nature as vulnerability and weakness. But one would have thought that
with 60 percent of all college students in America being women, a new coalition
of powerful voices would put a stop to the male tendency to treat women as a
means to their own ends and demand some much-deserved respect.

Instead, remarkably, the situation has gotten much worse. For every
Hillary Clinton running for president, there are millions of women who will
endure almost any form of sexual exploitation to get on TV. For every
Condoleezza Rice serving in an important government role, there are thousands of
female coeds who will rip off their T-shirts for Girls Gone Wild.

And the most astonishing thing as all this takes place is the deafening
silence. I do not know of a single important female voice decrying the tsunami
of porn and the denigration of women in our time.

This would actually be an important campaign for Clinton, one with which
she could potentially win over many social conservatives, without whose support
she cannot be elected president. Say what you want about Hillary, but the one
thing she has always been is a woman who got ahead using her brains rather than
her body. Should she not be encouraging a lost generation of American women to
follow suit?

AN ASTONISHING thing happened here in Ireland while I visited. The
female president of the country, Mary McAleese, addressed an international
convention on suicide and, in a country where it is not uncommon to enjoy a
drink, condemned the culture of binge drinking on the part of youth, linking it
to suicide. "When the research shows us the very strong correlation between
alcohol abuse and youth suicide, we are morally obliged to take this issue very
seriously," she said.

As I read her courageous remarks, I unfavorably contrasted my country,
where not a single presidential candidate has had the courage to speak out on
serious social and cultural issues like this one. We hear a lot about Iraq,
immigration, and health care, as well we should. But social issues like the
breakdown of families and the state of our youth are scarcely ever mentioned.

A few years ago a similar US study, based on the government-funded
National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, linked adolescent female
depression and suicide with adolescent sexuality. The study found that about 25%
of sexually active girls say they are depressed all, most or a lot of the time,
while only 8% of girls who are not sexually active feel the same. While 14% of
girls who have had intercourse have attempted suicide, only 5% of sexually
inactive girls have.

Tragically, it turns out that our silence on the need for feminine
dignity is indeed deadly.

The writer is the author of Hating Women: America's Hostile Campaign
Against the Fairer Sex. His upcoming book, The Broken American Male and How to
Heal Him, will be published shortly.

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