‘Twilight zone’

Orthodox women beat ban on print images by sharing on Instagram


Orthodox Jewish communities are increasingly forbidding images of women in their magazines and newspapers, so Orthodox women are turning to another outlet — Instagram. Out of fear of reprisal from their more conservative readership, writes Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt for Forward, most Orthodox publications now exclude images of women. Instead, they replace them with with photos of flowers or even of their husbands — all in the name of preserving female modesty.

But even among the devout, a growing movement of women are bucking the trend by sharing pictures of themselves online. In the world of Orthodox Instagram, women bloggers share pictures of local engagements and weddings, recipes, and even outfits and cosmetics.

Some women in the Orthodox community say they’re concerned about the lack of role models for the young girls in their community, noting that the only women they can see in media are secular ones. Older women too, wrote Alexandra Fleksher on Orthodox blogsite Cross Currents, are growing tired of being treated like “second-class citizens.”

“We feel stuck, we feel unappreciated, we feel ignored,” explained a 42-year-old Mother in a private Orthodox women’s group on Facebook. “I am raising seven children while working and helping my husband learn [Torah] and pray every day. I need validation and I need it like oxygen. Being pushed around and neglected…is bad for my Yiddishkeit [Judaism] … If that makes me a feminist, then I am proud to be one, and to speak up for my fellow frum women.”

Instagram personality Adina Miles, who scandalized the Orthodox community when she submitted an ad to an Orthodox journal featuring a photo of herself with her face covered by a laughing and crying emoji, said she was tired of living in a “twilight zone.”

“My proposition wasn’t even so radical,” she said. “You’d think I was talking about abortion rights… Something like hiding women’s faces has no halachic basis.”

Read the full story at Forward.


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