09 May 2008


This whole Miley Cyrus episode has had Hubby and I talking about the issue of sexualizing teenagers. And of sexuality, in general, and who's responsible.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, the issue is, 15 year-old Miley Cyrus posed for photos with the famous Annie Liebovitz. One of the photos shows Miley on a bed, wrapped in satin sheets with her exposed back to the camera, looking over her shoulder.

So what. You see more flesh on a beach, right? Yeah, well, satin sheets, exposed back...that's extremely suggestive. And no 15 year old should be photographed in such a suggestive pose. It's not about how much of your body is covered, it's about *how* your body is covered.

For example, when Britney Spears first rocketed to fame, her video for "Oops I did it again" has her and her gal pals prancing all around in a school uniform. The skirt's a little short, but all the important parts are completely covered. It's *how* she wears the uniform that makes it inappropriate.

Judaism asks for modesty from all Jews, male and female. For women, this has been interpreted by the most observant groups to mean women must be covered from collarbone to knees, with opaque socks or stockings and elbows covered. Modern Orthodox interprets it a little more loosely, but still expects fair coverage. These are by no means all the rules of tzniut, or modesty, but you get the idea.

Hubby and I were at an ultra-Orthodox synagogue in another town, and observed a group of beautiful young women. There was not an ounce of skin below the collarbone to be seen, sleeves were long, knees were covered, stockings were dark tan.

But also:
the shirts were skin-tight
the skirts were slim-fitted through the hips
the heels were 4-inch flippy-sandal spikes
the various tops they had on over the skin-tight shirts were rabbit-fur shrugs or off the shoulder shrugs

To be honest, these beautiful girls looked like overly-dressed hookers. Both Hubby and I came to that conclusion independently. Even their sheitels or wigs were overdone. It was sad and disturbing.

Thus was coined the term, "frumtarts"

Not to be confused with Hot Chanies, of course. ;)

Which leads me back to Miley Cyrus. Where were her parents? Supposedly her father was there, and the pictures were digital so they were able to view them immediately. I don't blame Miley at all. When I was 15, which was a very long time ago, I knew who Annie Liebovitz was. If she wanted to take my picture, and told me to wrap myself in a satin bedsheet, I wouldn't have been able to say no - it's ANNIE LIEBOVITZ for cryin' out loud! The doyenne of Rolling Stone Magazine covers!

However, Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley's father, has been in the business long enough to not go google-eye in the presence of Annie. And certainly he knows what is suggestive and what is not. And what is appropriate and what is not. What made him think that seeing his little daughter in that pose was acceptable?

As for the frumtarts? Well, you don't need to be exposed to tv and movies to know what's not appropriate. Following the letter of the law and being covered up does not mean you've covered up your sexuality.

Just look into the eyes of the next photo you see of a Burqa-wearing woman.

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At 11/5/08 7:10 p.m., Blogger Bea said...

I have learnt a new word today. That's so cool. Frumtarts.

I hope you're getting your stuff sorted out. Really is an eye-opener when you have to move it and ask yourself what's really necessary. Travel light!


At 15/5/08 4:58 p.m., Blogger LC said...

Oh, yes. My pet peeve around here is how the teenagers dress in *shul*. But you said 'sheitels' - that means *married* women. Apparently their husbands don't see it as a problem either? Yikes. Says something about American society, huh.

Good luck with the packing and the move.

At 15/5/08 7:01 p.m., Blogger projgen said...

Bea, glad to be of service ;)

Lut, the frumtarts were in Canada - but American society is creeping into Canadian slowly but surely. It's getting harder and harder to distinguish between the two...

At 23/6/08 6:50 p.m., Blogger triLcat said...

I know just what you mean. Sometimes a girl in jeans and a t-shirt looks a whole lot more wholesome and less sexual than a girl in a long sleeved shirt and a super long skirt.

And yeah, Miley... pleez. people, let children be children!


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