A group of female ultra-Orthodox “modesty policewomen” recently sent a letter to clothing shops in Beitar Illit, imploring them to maintain high standards of modesty when selling female undergarments and forbidding them from including colorful underwear or bras among their wares.
“As you know, our city has a special character,” the letter read. It went on to explain that as the West Bank ultra-Orthodox city has a “holy public” of “Torah scholars” and “important Hassidic communities,” shop owners must maintain strict standards of modesty in dress, how they display their wares and in who they allow into their stores, Failedmessiah reported on Thursday.
The squad stated in the letter that it had been written at the behest of female educators and wives of religious figures in the city.
“The fact that teenage girls also visit these establishments must be taken into consideration, and they must not be exposed to various articles,” read the letter.
It also warned that some ultra-Orthodox schools considered exposure to certain types of undergarments to be forbidden for married women as well.
The missive demanded that owners of women’s clothing stores follow a list of “basic steps…at this stage,” which include the following:
1. All saleswomen must be dressed modestly (no uncovered body parts or tight or short clothing).
2. Items displayed without packaging must be stored in drawers or shut closets, where the doorknob twists rather than slides open. Items which are kept behind closed curtains may only be of the traditional sort.
3. The intention of the previous sentence, is in reference to female undergarments.
4. One must not sell these items in all types of colors and/or bold and brash styles. Therefore, there should not be items in stock (or drawers) in the color red, bright pink, orange etc, or items bearing words or pictures.
5. It is strictly forbidden under any circumstance for a saleswomen to suggest, advise or to guide women — and especially brides — to purchase such items which are not in traditional colors: white, beige or black.
6. It is strictly prohibited for men or children to enter the store.
7. If immodest images appear on the packaging, they must be covered up with tape.
8. Advertisement must be modest in style and design.
9. From time to time, women will be sent to track and monitor that all these rules are kept strictly kept, and not in a perverse manner.
The letter did not appear to be from an official body, and was simply signed by three women, who, presumably, will soon be investigating whether the ladies adhere to strict standards of modesty in both their clothes and what they wear underneath them.
How different things were just a few years ago.