Monday, March 28, 2011

Passed agreements about Tznius

A “push up” bikini top for girls was recently in the news. Abercrombie and Fitch market the product, and that wouldn’t be so weird if the product were not literally for girls, little girls, starting at around age seven. Ick.

Passed the shock of parents and other concerned groups, shouldn’t Abercrombie and Fitch be asking who, which designer and which marketing wiz thought that this was a reasonable, nay, even good idea? I think the company should take a much, much closer look.

There maybe on going discussions and disagreements about what in particular is appropriate clothing based on any number of variables. But I think at some places in the road, there is common ground. And I think this might be it. Whether we agree with modest dress or not, and passed all arguments of the fault of the media and blaming parents and/or schools in general, I think most of us agree that sexualizing little girls is wrong.

The problem with a product like this according to Professor Gail Dines of Wheelock College is “It gets young girls to think about themselves in sexual ways before that’s developmentally appropriate.” And as if this were not problematic enough, the negative effects are not limited to girls according to Dines, “It sends out really bad signals to adult men about young girls being appropriate sexual objects, objects of sexual desire for young men.” (WHDH-TV3/25/2011)

First, let me say that I don’t want to give Abercrombie and Fitch any undue press. I think that would only further the insanity. What I would like is a solution or at least an answer. Perhaps parents and others would be willing to contact the company either via email @ or by visiting the manager of their local store. It may seem like these small acts do not amount to much, however, people who answer email and who work in stores have to be paid, generally by the hour, and you and twenty other people like you are going to cost the company time and money. If it cost enough money, perhaps they will find that marketing items to sexualize young girls is not only creepy and amoral, but not at all cost effective.

Additionally, since the publicity the company has removed the term “push up” from their website. The product, however, is still listed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An open letter to Jim Rizoli:

An open letter to Jim Rizoli:

I don’t readily answer ignorant matters such as these on the Internet or otherwise; I just don’t have that kind of time on my hands. But since you, Mr. Rizoli, asked to hear from the Jewish people on this matter I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are sincere. And here it is:


Having said this let me explain a few things Mr. Rizoli. Kosher is a mitzvot or commandment for the Jewish people. The markings on prepared food is a kosher certification and let’s people who practice kosher know that this food is okay to eat or drink. It is NOT a tax. It is not a vehicle for sending monies to Israel. This ignorant accusation would be the equivalent to Jewish citizens complaining that restaurants serve fish on Fridays and then announcing that “they” are likely funneling their ill-gotten fish funds to the Vatican. It’s just silly, but I think Mr. Rizoli, you know it is silly and are simply seeking to inflame people and insight anger.

Further, Mr. Rizoli, you complain that some soaps have a certification mark as well. And they do. For the same reasons that the foods do, because people use these soaps to clean in their kosher kitchens and/or wash tablecloths napkins, dishes. Why? Because they want them to remain kosher. It is a common practice. The same applies for plastic wraps and foils. There are many, many available that DO NOT have this certification. This is also true of foods. Feel free to purchase them liberally Mr. Rizoli. However, your claim that this is how “they” get more money is a ridiculous one.

Rabbis and the certification companies they work for do get paid to supervise and inspect establishments. That is their job. Much like, Mr. Rizoli, you are paid for your work. And while there are many “help” type jobs in the world such as doctors, lawyers, nurses and teachers, it is unreasonable to assume those who participates in ‘helping’ jobs should be so very committed to improving the world as to also agree not to be paid for their work. Further, Mr. Rizoli, I feel I must tell you that other people who work for the food companies in question also get paid: Shipping clerks, mailroom personnel, cooks, canners, advertising execs and graphic designers. The list goes on and on. Shocking I know, but I feel I must inform you, Mr. Rizoli. There is a chance a your corner stores, your local book store, even religious ones, are paying people who work for them!

Your stuttering, stammering, claim that if a company doesn’t pay the message is “We’re gonna do something bad to you.” Well if by bad you mean you will lose the certification, then yes because the plant needs to be inspected and comply with particular rules. Your use of the word extortion is another matter. Is the USDA extorting money by using an inspection process? Are health departments “extorting” when they inspect routinely and insist that an establishment complies with code? And do you think that this cost is absorbed and not passed on to the consumer? Really? “They force the company to put this Jewish symbol” on a product is another mistaken claim. Food companies approach the certification company; fill out the appropriate paper work; and make an appointment.

The definition of ignorance is to be uneducated, unaware, and uninformed. Ignorance is conquered with knowledge much like fire can be quenched with water. So consider yourself informed Mr. Rozoli and now that you are, you are also responsible, and in the future even culpable.

*You can contact personally Mr Rizoli at 508 875 2043