Did I even have to ask?!
Well looks like "Hot Chanie" is the winning topic.
No surprise there I guess - based on the comments both here and on Orthomom's link to my Six Flags post (which seems to have degenerated into some kind of red shul bash-a-palooza) people seem to have some mighty strong feelings on the subject. My little paragraph even spawned a mini-blog of it's own- when you merely mention a concept and it comes to life without your knowledge it's a little disorienting to say the least.
People seem to have jumped to all kinds of conclusions regarding what I think about Hot Chanies based on my purely observational post. Now that I've had a chance to think about it and read the opinions of others I'm ready to discuss the topic in more depth.
Note the word discuss - not judge- OK Ready?
I certainly have absolutely no objection to Jewish women looking attractive and physically fit.
It drives me crazy when I read that Jewish men are posting things about how no Jewish women are attractive. That's just not true. There are beautiful, attractive women of all religions and nationalities and if none of your own people appeal to you I have a feeling it has nothing to do with looks at all. I appreciate a woman who is not afraid to be herself and doesn't feel a need to hide behind frumpy clothing or dress in the identical blue suit and pageboy sheitel that all her neighbors are wearing while pushing the identical stroller down the sidewalk. Being a frum woman doesn't mean becoming a Stepford Wife and the way a woman dresses allows her to express who she is and what she wants out of life.
Before I go on to discuss the possible motivations of a Hot Chanie let me try to define more carefully exactly who we are talking about here.
I noticed in Orthomom's comment section that one of her readers hit the nail on the head:
"First of all, the Hot Chanie (TM) comment was defined in an environment where such dress didn't seem called for -- as in an amusement park, or taken further, in other "mundane" activities. I don't think the definition applies to how people would dress on shabbos, yom tov, or to a simcha."
There were two things that struck me about the Hot Chanie's I saw at Six Flags, the first was that they were very overdressed for their environment and the second was that they were dressed in a very sexy style while still clearly affiliating themselves with the Yeshivish community/lifestyle.
I grant you that frum women who dress modestly pretty much stand out anywhere they go in the summer. I know *I* do. Skirts, sleeves, and headcoverings are a dead giveaway in 90 degree weather. Add the element of being overdressed and sexy and the Chanie is sure to attract plenty of attention. A woman who is dressed up would certainly not stand out as much at a wedding or a party (or even at shul) where that mode of dress is expected, but when that look is on in full force everywhere a woman goes she has to know that heads will be turning.
As I said in my introduction, the way you dress is a way of expressing yourself - the question is what message are the Chanies trying to convey?
Honestly it's not so surprising that even frum women want to look sexy - it's almost expected of women these days. Even 10 year old girls want to look "hot" - have you SEEN the clothes they are selling in the children's department these days? It's pretty scary.
Based on my experience and discussions with many frum women it would not surprise me to hear that some of these Chanies don't even realise how they appear to men. Despite their apperance they may be quite naive. I'm sure they know they look attractive, stylish, and that they are pushing (agressively) at the borders of their cultural dress code - but the fact that their whole look screams "Take me!" would probably come as quite a surprise to them. While some of these women may be looking for attention it is doubtful that they are looking for extramarital sex and if they knew how their look affected the men around them it would probably give them quite a shock.
What really gets to some people about these Chanies is that they get to live in two worlds - the world of the sleek and stylish (and sexy) and the Yeshiva world.
Women who dress in modest pants, or long skirts with short sleeved shirts, or who live "out of town" can't be in this club, they aren't "frum enough." Their husbands don't wear hats, and their boys don't have payos behind their ears etc, etc...
Yet somehow, because of their sleeve length, these women (who would be tossed out of ANY Bais Yaakov HS for the way they dress) still get to be part of the frummie crowd - what gives?
To those people I ask two questions:
What are you jealous of?
Do you really think anyone is being fooled?
Most people who feel this way would absolutely hate the yeshivish lifestyle - for all I know these Chanies may hate it too and this is there way of rebelling against it in which case it's a pretty brave statement! As for having your cake and eating it too what is the "cake" in questions - Living in Brooklyn? Being considered Frummer than your neighbor? Meh, who needs that?
The truly hard core charedim have no tolerance for this kind of envelope pushing and neither do the serious MO's so perhaps within their own niche their style is accepted and who am I or you to begrudge them the acceptance of their peer group.
I think we all know that the interesting part of this post will be the comments section- so get typing!