Sunday, August 05, 2007

May A Woman Swing Her Arms While Walking In The Street?

Of course she may! Yet, according to SemGirl, a certain Rav said that they should not:
Now suddenly in an address about tznius to the Yeshiva he was saying that women and girls need to be careful not to swing their arms while walking in the street.
I've never heard of this, even amongst frum women. But it is not just a problem in subjectively deciding what is modest and what is not, and formalizing it for everyone. There is another issue with this -- it is not for nothing that human beings instinctually swing their arms when they walk. This serves as a counterweight for maintaining balance. (For example, when designing robots, researchers trying to mimic human locomotion have the robots swing arms to maintain balance.) Without swinging arms, people would walk more stiffly and more precariously. There are real human side-effects of making such a proclamation. I wonder if this Rav tried walking for a few days without swinging his arms before imposing this new restriction on the female Jewish population.

This is not unlike the previous tznius issue I posted about -- slits in women's skirts. There, there is a strong possibility that those banning slits in women's skirts did not realize that the slits were not just there to attract attention to the bare leg, but were actually functional -- they allow women in straight skirts to move their leg forward. If so, they may have treated slits as mere "pritzus" within fashion, such that it is forbidden in any form (e.g. even below the knee, even with thick stockings underneath). But in reality, it is necessary for a woman to walk forward comfortably. The same here -- swinging the arm forward is functional, and serve not just to attract a man's attention.

So now you have women, hobbling along in these narrow skirts up to the ankle, and they cannot swing their arms to maintain balance. Next we will hear that they cannot swing their legs -- they can move by pivoting their hips.


Anonymous said...

Some experts in primate locomotion say that the famous Bigfoot footage is fake and that it must be a human in a costume. Why? Because the putative Bigfoot is swinging his arms while walking upright; an action particular to humans.

haKiruv said...

That's just scary. There's a point where it's the man's problem and not the woman's. Besides, I don't see how swinging arms is immodest.

Chana @ Lemon Lime Moon said...

Yes swinging one's arms is necessary for movement. It is not a fully conscious act, its part of the motion of walking or running.

And yes, it is the man's problem. I want to issue horse blinders for men who have these horrific wandering eye problems.

Yehuda said...

I think that we should have the robots transport our women wherever they need to go. Of course, this would make robots un-tznius.

haKiruv said...

What about female robots?

Reuven Chaim Klein said...

But moving through pivoting their hips is less tznius than swinging their legs.

Anonymous said...

I, at least, am happy not to live in such a nutty community.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

swinging arms? sounds like it could lead to mixed dancing!

Anonymous said...

I never noticed that women swing their arms while walking... until now. Now that it has been pointed out to me, it is hard not to stare at women swinging their arms.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should require the women to be totally covered in an enveloping black cape with just a small slit for her eyes so she can see. No one would even know if she had arms much less if they were swinging. Wait. Another religion has already done that.


Maybe they should just have all the men make deposits at a sperm bank and then neutered thus freeing the men from their uncontrollable urges while freeing women from all these rules.

It is truly amazing that men in the non-Orthodox world can even function what with being in a constant state of arousal. I'm impressed.

Anonymous said...

"The slits in skirts also allow for the efficient passage of warm air currents from subway grates. Without the slits, the entire skirt would billow like a sail. In such a situation, if the woman's arms are not in a horizontal or diagonal position , air resistance is further reduced causing some petite women to go airborne."
-Monroe Journal of Fashion and Film. November, 1957.


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