7 Shvat 5781 / Wednesday, January 20, 2021 | Torah Reading: Bo
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Goods on Display    

Goods on Display

If you exploit your physical looks to attract a man to the degree that he can’t even hear you having a normal conversation with him, what kind of man do you expect to get?


The other day someone showed me a short video of a plus-size model talking about her healthy and flourishing self-confidence. I was in awe, both of her beautiful face, and of the confident way she carried herself. She was a remarkably gorgeous woman.


Then, the video cut to scenes of her beach photo shoot, where she was displaying her body and itsy-bitsy plus-sized bikini in all its glory. At this point, I started to get annoyed. Yes, the kids were fighting in the other room and my little boyfriend/warden/slavedriver was walking around the house, calling my name. So I ran to the bathroom and hid behind the shower curtain. I couldn’t lock the door, because our locks are archaic, and you actually need a key to lock it. Of course, the keys are always getting lost.


So why did I get annoyed? Certainly not by her positive message of girl power and confidence. I got annoyed by the fact that she fell for the ridiculously backward message that society is sending to young women, both about the way they should view their bodies, and about the way they should dress.


First things first: I am all for dressing nice, looking elegant, and feeling good about yourself. But I don’t agree with putting your goods on display to show the world how self-confident and empowered you are. Let’s put all of the laws of modesty aside for a minute and just look at the message that we ladies are being told.


Basically it’s like a formula: more skin + chest + flabby skin + cellulite + stretch marks + stomach rolls showing = more self-confidence. Excuse me, but what is that? How does showing the world your excess baggage equate to increasing those good feelings about yourself? How does inciting gawks, whistles, and/or laughter make you feel better about yourself?


Am I missing something here?


Since we collectively suffer from societal amnesia, let me remind you of the image women were supposed to live up to in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. Perfect figure, tiny waist, curvy, a larger size bust, and perfect hair and makeup at all times. Do any of you remember the ‘90’s? Waif models were all the rage, prancing down the runway in their emaciated bodies, looking almost like they were just freed from a concentration camp, God forbid.


Were not all of these messages aimed at giving women the vision of what they ideally should look like? All of the famous models, actresses, and singers had to be the image of society’s fickle view of feminine perfection.


And now, the message is the opposite. Accept yourself as you are, with all of your flaws, and celebrate them! Don’t try to improve on them, and don’t try to hide them! They are there, and the world deserves to see them!


Here’s where I think most young girls and ladies get confused. It’s great to accept yourself as you are. You absolutely must, for your own sanity and mental health. But, it doesn’t mean that: 1) you don’t have to work on improving anything, and 2) the rest of the world has to witness your gargantuan level of self-acceptance.


Do you want to know what I really think? Many of you probably answered, “No,” but I’ll tell you anyways. I think that women have been persecuted, ridiculed, and violated by society for, arguably, all of history. But for now, I’m focusing on the past 70 +/- years in modern history. We’ve been told how to dress, how to look, what to think, what role we’re supposed to play, how to behave, to get a job, not get a job, get married, don’t get married, have kids, don’t have kids, wait for marriage, be promiscuous, etc., etc. In my opinion, many of these messages are a bunch of nonsense, and they’re being created by people (likely men) who don’t care at all about us, and who don’t have the slightest idea of what’s really good and healthy for us.


Only the Torah has the right, balanced, and healthy rules for living as we’re supposed to live. The system is perfect. It’s our problem that we don’t understand it. So I’ll tell you that in regards to modesty, dressing appropriately is the best way to enhance your self-confidence.  It’s also the best way to show the world that you care about your body, and no one else has the right to see it.


What is the point of turning yourself into a walking billboard? What exactly is healthy about putting your flaws on display? What happened to “my body is my temple” and all those self-respect mantras?


And furthermore, single ladies, you should know something very important about guys. If you exploit your physical looks to attract a man to the degree that he can’t even hear you having a normal conversation with him because he’s too busy being blinded by your chest, then what kind of a man do you think you’re attracting?


I promise you he’s not the kind that you can have deep spiritual conversations with. He’s not interested in what ideology you believe in, how you want to raise your kids, and the fact that you will want him to help around the house. He’s interested in your body. Nothing more, nothing less.


So I hope I’ve opened the eyes of a few of you lovely ladies. Remember the three cardinal rules of self-respect:

1) Cover up - no one deserves to see your body


2) Look your best - no one said you have to look disgusting. Put yourself together nicely!


3) If you want to be treated like a quality girl, you’ve got to act like a quality girl. Put yourself above the rest and don’t look like you’re one of the fish laying on the ice at the supermarket, waiting for a customer to choose you because you’re slightly bigger, smaller, or have more glassy eyes than the other fish.


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