Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

15 Av 5766 - August 9, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Platform for Tzniyus

Who Creates the Demand???

I heard about a woman who called up a well known store that caters to the chareidi public and asked why they don't carry clothing that is more modest.

Their reply: "What can we do? That is what the public wants!"

An absurd reply, since it is these very stores who are the fashion pace-setters . . .

When stores, especially central ones, or chain stores, introduce a new line [in modern style, straight, narrow, short, etc.] into their outlets, within a week, these are being sold in bulk, in the hundreds, and all of a sudden, it has become the latest thing, the rage. And then, these selfsame stores hide behind the excuse that "Well, that's the market demand. We're only supplying it," when they are the very culprits who created the demand!

But since at this stage, they are not coming to ask us what to manufacture, but do whatever they like, in my opinion, we must launch a consumer protest movement where everyone can guide their family members in implementing it.

In southern states in the U.S., they used to humiliate the blacks in public transportation until they, themselves, boycotted the buses for months. In the end, the bus companies capitulated and accorded them equal rights.

Perhaps we can implement this idea in the following way:

When a customer enters a store and does not find a garment to her standard of modesty, instead of leaving wordlessly (as we have all been doing up till now, with the sorry results that we see today) and going on to the next one and the next one with the same fruitless results until we are exhausted for physically and emotionally, let us, instead, GO UP TO THE SALESLADY OR OWNER OF THE STORY and declare, "I am not buying anything because nothing here is tzanua."

Or, alternately, "Everything here is short and narrow. I will have to go somewhere else to find what I am looking for." Similarly, "I don't want anything so modern. I want something classic and modest."

You can also place the `blame' on someone else: "My mother does not let me wear this kind of clothing," or "My husband says I must adhere to the guidelines of the rabbonim and your merchandise is not proper or suitable."

The first time you do this, it will be unpleasant for you, the second time — less, and when these complaints become a constant flow, then the unpleasantness will be that of the storekeepers!

Those shopkeepers say that there is nothing they can do about it. But there IS! They CAN! The stores are their source of income! If they become convinced that the customers are determined in their demand, they will do everything in their power to fill that need and provide modest clothing. They don't want to be put out of business, do they?

As consumers, we have unlimited power. We must begin to use it, the sooner the better. We have to set the tone, the norm. In my estimation, a hefty percentage of the population wants to dress properly, but is at a loss to find proper clothing — and settles for lower standards.

A final word: Don't think that because the situation is so terrible that it cannot be improved. On the contrary, it can and might become even worse!

If those of us with Jewish sensitivity do not wake up and unite to fight for our lives, we are doomed! "For we have been sold" down the river, to wear every rag, every clown costume, instead of the royal raiment that befits a Jewish princess.

Written in tears of blood,

R. P., Jerusalem


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