“If you don’t wear panties you won’t get a wedgie mommy.” Madeline Grace age 6. How can I argue with that? That comment wasn’t the first indication my youngest preferred comfort over fashion. My Madeline was a bit of a nudist. Nudie on the beach. Nudie running down the cul de sac. Nudie under her clothes. The wedgie comment was a reminder to do panty checks before taking her to school. (Sensitive parents need not worry that I am totally embarrassing my children. Not many 13-18 year olds follow my writings. Madeline is no exception.)
Tzunit, modesty, is such a tricky subject within strong Jewish communities. I love reading over Mayim Bialik’s blog. However, she is continuously receiving grief for her dress code. Some people place her in the category of dowdy dresser because she shows no cleavage (breast or buttock!). Others berate her for showing too much arm or collar bone. There seems to be no happy ground. With all the trouble Dr. Mayim receives, can you imagine how difficult it is to raise modest, confident daughters in a non-Jewish community?
I walk through the halls of school and see more tushy crack, thigh through holly jeans, boxer briefs, teen cleavage and tummy rolls than I prefer. Prom dresses look like they belong on the corner of hooker and pop star. My oldest and I had a grueling time finding a dress for homecoming that had shoulders and covered more than not. She is almost 5 foot 10, so finding anything long enough is a daily struggle. This environment has become the norm with which I am raising little Jewish women.
My wise wedgie daughter was a wake-up call. What a mother models is what she can expect in her daughters. A mother that places development of mind over the development of boobies will raise daughters with higher goals than a new push up bra. So I went back to school for my Master’s. I’m still debating a PhD. I purchased a modest swim suit. I wear a jog skirt over my Under Armor. It isn’t a cure all, but it is hopefully a step in the right direction.
Madeline now wears panties without being checked. Her jeans are fun colors but there are no holes and belts prevent unwanted rear end views. Long tanks layered under shirts helps to keep long torsos covered properly. Both my girls put grades and brains above body. They are generous, loving and kind. We disagree about clothing sometimes but that is very rare.
I wish there was a magic one sentence wrap up this specific post. But the plight for modesty in a modern society is never ending or easily wrapped up. If Dr. Mayim still has to debate the issue of Tzunit I can’t expect miracle answers. This is an ongoing process. Prom is only 3 months away! Maybe I can find her a nice blue muu-muu!?