WestbankMama made a comment on Shira’s blog that irked me. However, I want to make something clear. I have no personal issue with WBM just a disagreement on some ideological points.
One more remark. This post is not meant to be a scholarly essay citing chapter and verse. It is just five minutes of my thoughts. And now the comment:
As far as we frummies and the “racy stuff” – I think that Orthodox Jews have a much more realistic idea of the power of sexuality than other streams of Judaism, and that is why we follow a stricter set of rules about the separation of the sexes (yichud, modest dress, etc.)
There is a stream of thought that ties into this that suggests that the sexual urge is so strong that people cannot control it. The problem that I have with this idea is that it infantilizes people, men in particular. There is an abdication of responsibility for our own actions that goes with it.
Instead of accepting responsibility for our own actions we resort to extreme measures to prevent impure thoughts and forbidden behavior.
Conceptually there are aspects of kol isha, negiah and tznius dress that make sense to me, but in practice they go too far and do us a disservice.
Your imagination can take you any place you want to go. A long skirt that hides shapely legs is no match for a persons imagination. Separation of sexes minimizes some distractions but does not teach us how to handle distraction. Instead it teaches that we cannot handle it. I find that to be offensive.
Men are capable of choosing to control our urges. We don’t have to live in a monastery to do so.
And that is my five minute rambling on this topic.