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
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
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
Written in tears of blood,
R. P., Jerusalem