Sunday, March 13, 2011

'Really Special Shoes'

“It's really hard to walk in a single woman's shoes—that's why you sometimes need really special shoes.”

Lesson of the day: It's really difficult to take pictures of your own feet. Also, it's too bad I am venturing north into the snow tomorrow morning (it's a spring break for fun and schoolwork—we'll see which one suffers most) and will thus have to wait days before I can wear these awesome new shoes.


At 3/13/11, 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How are those heels at all modest? I'm not being critical because I have a problem with it myself, but I don't understand how wearing sexy heels is okay but showing your collar bones isn't. I'm confused and just want to know if there's a reason.

At 3/13/11, 11:49 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Hi Anonymous, I want to give this a full answer, but, alas, need to go to bed so I can wake up at like 5 in the morning, so we'll see how this goes. But the bottom line is that tzniut is very confusing.

It is obviously about more than skirt and sleeve lengths, but so often it's equated with those things. Can shoes be un-tzanua? Can colors? What about something that covers knees, collarbone, elbows, but is ridiculously tight? Makeup? Nail polish? Long hair? Denim skirts?

I've heard all of these things called not tzanua, and I have a huge problem with that. There is no halachic source that will tell me red is not tzanua or that my hair cannot be longer than a certain length or that I cannot wear flip-flops. Find me a Mishna Berurah or a gemara that says that and we'll talk.

Until then, I feel confident making my own decision on these things. I follow the halacha. Beyond that, it gets tricky.

I'm not saying that just because it falls within the letter of the law it's OK. I already said that I think tzniut is about more than that, but I think there's a huge realm of subjectivity here. (Though I would note that in general I believe that Judaism is about halacha, which is about laws. At its heart, I heard a rabbi say a few weeks ago, Judaism is a legal system.)

I am intentionally avoiding the phrase "immodest" because I think "modesty" is a poor translation. Tzniut seems to have little relationship to whatever it is we call "modest" in English. It certainly has little relation to anything the secular world considers modest.

I personally do not consider shoes sexy. I like shoes. I might even love shoes. But sexy? I just don't think there's much you can do to feet to make them sexy. So, I will wear those shoes Now, do I think my collarbone is sexy? Or my elbows? Nope. But those are halachas. It's not for me to make those decisions.

Does that make any sense?

At 3/14/11, 10:07 AM, Anonymous allison said...

Somewhere on your blog you already have a post on this debate where you linked to an article that called shoes sexy. I can't find it. Maybe you can.

At 3/14/11, 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may not consider shoes sexy, but tznius is for a guy. I think this discussion can't take place without a guys perspective. I am here to tell you and women everywhere that men do find certain shoes sexy. Flip flops with nicely manicured toes are beyond sexy. That would be off the charts. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.

At 3/14/11, 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its not always just about the skin that shows either. High black leather boots can also be "sexy". Guys are strange like that, but that's the way we are wired.I would be more than happy to debate you on this. I'm not even talking halacha....but we can go there too if you want.

At 3/14/11, 7:38 PM, Anonymous David said...

One last thing, I personally don't have a problem with wearing any type of shoes you'd like. My point was just to try and explain things from a guys point of view.

At 3/15/11, 12:29 AM, Blogger Eli7 said...

So, I believe Allison is referring to this article, on which I commented I did not know what it meant for shoes to be made of sex.

I'm writing this from my vacation when I should be either sleeping or working, so I will make it short, and again not a completely full answer, but, David: Is tzniut all about guys? I'm loath to take such a simplistic view toward tzniut. Especially considering the gemara tells us that men can be attracted to a woman's pinky but then doesn't require us to wear gloves at all times. And, David, what about elbows? Are those sexy? If they're not, shouldn't I be allowed to uncover them? And, also, do you speak for all guys?

I mean, if boys are pigs (which is what we were told in seminary), I'm just guessing that if we tried to avoid anything that turned any guy on, we'd pretty much be wearing potato sacks. And I don't think that's the point either. I mean, we have to be attractive enough that guys will want to marry us, right?

There is something more to tzniut than just avoiding anything that's too "hot/sexy/alluring" for guys to handle.

At 3/15/11, 6:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to bother you on your vacation but I consider this issue important because I feel the need to educate your PHD behind a little. I took an informal poll among my friends this morning and they all agreed with me, so it turns out that "yes", I actually am speaking for the majority of guys. Shoes can be very sexy. Your pinkie and elbow are not screaming, "look at me"!" But if you decorated your pinkie with little ribbons and wrapped it in suede or leather, then who knows. But your shoes are drawing a lot of attention to yourself whether you know it or not.
You mentioned something about your seminary teaching you that most guys are pigs (or even hinting at it). Some guys are pigs, but its up to all guys to control themselves. However, girls like yourself are living in a bubble if you feel like as long as you don't promote certain areas of your body, then all is good.
Can't you just admit that I taught you something about guys and tznius? I'm not asking you to give up your beloved shoe collection (G-d forbid).

At 3/15/11, 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After thinking things over, I am beginning to see things your way. I believe you when you say that you don't think shoes are sexy.....but that's only because I have come to believe that you think your feet are out of this world!!!
You are clearly very proud of them and show case them whenever you have an opportunity. For example,
The picture of your "really special shoes" did not have to include your actual foot inside it. By your own admission you say that it was difficult taking pictures of your own feet. Furthermore, for the record I would like to submit exhibit A, where I dug up a picture from your own blog, which clearly shows off your feet in flip flops with bright red nail polish (5th picture down). This should help jog your memory a little
Do you see where I am going with this? Need I say anymore? :)
I would appreciate a response to both comments...

At 3/15/11, 2:58 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

David, I certainly didn't mean to indicate that you hadn't opened my eyes at all to anything new. I'm just trying to figure out exactly what the implications are and what it means. You certainly have told me things I did not know before.

In terms of the red-nail polished feet, to be fair, only one of those feet is mine. And in terms of the picture on this post, the shoes just don't look as awesome without feet in them, and I didn't have someone else's feet handy. But I don't think my feet are awesome; I really just think shoes are pretty.

I'm curious as to what your take on tzniut is. What should women do so men can control themselves? What should we wear? Burqas? I know that's extreme, but I am trying to understand what your position is. And as a girl, how am I even supposed to know what is or is not "sexy"? (There are things that are obvious, but beyond that...) The nice thing about the halacha is that it gives me objective standards (though as I said I do believe there's an aspect of tzniut that is not about men at all). What am I supposed to do when subjectivity comes into play?

At 3/16/11, 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as both feet not being yours, I did notice that something didn't seem right, but did not want to say anything just in case you were born with that condition (I.e., 2 right feet). But I digress (nice try getting me off topic :)
In all are right and you must really have a love for shoes (in full disclosure, the majority of your shoe pics do not contain your feet in them).
As a female how should you know what is considered "sexy"? (That's what I'm here for. I don't mind volunteering my time for the public good. I can be a good resource and consultant). However, For those who unfortunately don't have access to me, It is a good question. How are women supposed to know? I'm not asking you to dress in a long denim skirt and Puma sneakers. My view of tznius is that women can look pretty and dress nicely and trendy without having to draw attention to any specific parts of their body.
For starters, how about flip flops without nail polish. Can you try that. Listen, I can appreciate nice feet, but with bright red nail polish, you might as well be waving a flag to all men so they can check out your pretty feet. Next tip: on the flip side, be careful wearing turtle necks. Many women feel that since they are not showing any skin, it must be okay....wrong! Tight turtlenecks on a woman can be very appealing to men.
Even A married women who wears those flowing long wavy sheitels (wigs) with high black boots can sometimes even have sex appeal if they don't tone things down too.
My point is this........I don't have an answer for your shoe fetish right now...I will need to get back to you on that, but just remember - the more skin a shoe shows off, the more desirable it becomes. You women yield a lot of power over us men, so use it wisely!

At 3/17/11, 10:24 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Thank you, David. This was helpful. I am still somewhat uncomfortable with the whole concept of tzniut being merely to defend against the fact that men are pigs. There is certainly an aspect of tzniut that has to do with women's own body image, etc., as well. And while some of that may be apologetics, I don't think it all is.

And I think I have a natural inclination to push back against the craziness of tzniut chumras. My 10-year-old sister told me that my earrings weren't tzanua. She also had a little booklet that suggested practicing getting in and out of the car tzniustically. I'm sorry, I think we've gone too far if that's how a 10-year-old is being educated.

I also think that guys may not realize how difficult tzniut is for girls. And while I agree with the whole concept of being attractive not attracting, in practice, that is incredibly difficult to achieve.

At 3/18/11, 6:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the tznius booklet your sister received was a little overboard. I believe in teaching them the concept of tznius so they can be aware from a young age, but it is ease to get carried away with chumras (that was cute about the earings, although if she was older and said that, I wouldn't find it as cute).
I guess I'm learning from you too. I didn't realize how hard tzniut can be for girls, but I sort of understand what you mean. You want to look your best at all times and feel good about yourself. I get it and sympathize.

At 12/24/16, 5:04 PM, Anonymous Louise T. Ziegler said...

This shoes are really manly , I appreciate your thinking. But looking so wonderful with this jeans and also be looked so stunning with non iron dress shirts . the outfit will be awesome. You have had a good collection of shoes . This pair is pretty good.I love to read your post regularly, Thanks.


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