Tuesday, January 02, 2007
While I never thought of myself as the type to have friends in hot places, it seems that Hot Chanie has taken a stand for the Red and Raggedy among us.
That's right, after a brief hiatus, HC herself has put up a fresh post regarding an article from my father's bible, Yediot Achronot. She's addressed her concerns that the sweeping edicts issued will crimp my style, and vowed her defense. I thank you, Hot Chanie, and I share your hope that I'll be allowed to continue to just be me.
Yediot doesn't intimidate me much. Likely because a fresh, inky copy of this paper was on the kitchen table in my house every morning while growing up, so despite some of its disparaging views on religious life, it just feels like coming home. That is, the Hebrew print edition does.
Sidenote: Yediot is the paper of the common man, and at least it doesn't get all hoity-toity and intellectual about its Chareidi-bashing like Haaretz does.
HC is concerned that in the efforts of the rabbinic powers that be to buckle down on modesty, not only will clothing that is red and form-fitting be deemed unacceptable, but even women with red hair (!) like yours truly may be at risk for being deemed too flashy and not making the grade, simply by virtue of the hair color granted us.
Now, as far as red and tight clothing, I thought these guidelines were already in place in the Chareidi world at large. Perhaps the difference lies in the institution of across-the-board rules and the kashrus stamp of approval being granted to stores selling strictly appropriate clothing described in the article.
Let's remember, everyone, that we're talking about Bnei Brak here. I can't foresee this happening on Main Street, Central Avenue (as Orthomom discusses) or even 13th Avenue just yet. Maybe I'm partial to finding Bnei Brak extreme because until age 5, I grew up in a highly secular enclave about a stone's throw from Bnei Brak known as Givatayim.
I don't know about you folks, but there's something fun about walking into a mainstream clothing store and realizing that off the bat, 85% of the clothes don't fall within my guidelines for modesty. Of the remaining 15%, 10% are totally unaffordable. Of the remaining 5%, 3.5% would look terrible on a redhead. It's fun narrowing down and then trying on that remaining 1.5% with two tired kids in tow. I like to refer to this exercise in shopping futility as "the thrill of the chase."
Life as a redhead is certainly interesting. For those who've never met me, or only met me after I was married and covering my hair, my hair was always kind of intense. Curly, and a dark-strawberry-blonde, people almost always referred to me as "the girl with the curly red hair."
Older ladies would stop me and ask me to accompany them to their hairstylist appointments to show the hairdresser the color and look they were trying to achieve. I'm not bragging here - how many of you want to be at the forefront of 70+ fashion? People were forever assuming I was Irish. I got called "Red" by strangers on a regular basis. In short, it was a thrill that I sometimes miss and that can't quite be duplicated even with a good sheitel.
It was a major part of my identity, and covering it was a huge adjustment, though not an entirely negative one, since I do believe (not to sound all kooky here) that as we grow up, those physical things that are not the real us need to fall away gradually anyway.
To sum up, from a proud Gingi, I thank Hot Chanie for her concern, (though a big part of me figures that she's totally kidding here) and for being a guardian of the inner part of every woman that strives to be attractive and desirable.