Visibility and possibilities: Ultraorthodox Jewish women between the domestic and public spheres

Tamar El-Or*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

The literature on women in the Middle East deals extensively with their looks. Traditional feminism tended to use women's appearance in public places and their clothes as a barometer of their freedom and power. Current feminism tends to treat these issues as a critical dialogue with Western colonialism. This paper relates to the presence of ultraorthodox Jewish women in their community's public sphere, as well as in the Israeli-Zionist, nonreligious sphere. It analyses lectures given to young ultraorthodox women during the Gulf War, when major social cleavages (Palestinian-Jews, Orthodox-nonorthodox, men-women) were blurred, and the dominant Zionist discourse was muted. The analysis discloses the complexity of the "discourse of modesty" addressed to ultraorthodox women, and the paradox it contains. Rather than use these incongruities to dismantle the discourse itself, an effort is made to use it as a critique of both orthodox and nonorthodox patriarchies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)665-673
Number of pages9
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Volume20
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

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