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Flatbush Girl Launches Modest Proposal: #FrumWomenHaveFaces

It started with an emoji laughing so hard it cried — or crying so hard that it laughed?

Adina Miles, the Orthodox Jewish comedian behind the popular social media brand Flatbush Girl, took out a full page ad in the Flatbush Jewish Journal thanking a local city councilman for his service to the Jewish community.

But when she went to place the ad, she was told neither her face nor the word “girl” could appear in the ad — the paper, like many Orthodox publications, does not print pictures of women for modesty reasons.

Image by Screenshot -- Flatbush Jewish Journal

In an act of defiance, Miles solved the problem by placing the aforementioned emoji over her face and replacing the word boy with girl. The irony was apparently lost on the publishers.

On July 10, Miles took to Instagram with a unique idea to fight back, encouraging men and women to post photos of religious women with the hashtag #FrumWomenHaveFaces

“What kind of message are we sending our daughters & sons when they look through a magazine & there are no female faces to be seen?” Miles wrote on Instagram. “We can’t allow the fear of nuances to drive us towards extremism,” she added.

Men & Women – spread the word: Share a post with #FrumWomenHaveFaces What kind of message are we sending our daughters & sons when they look through a magazine & there are no female faces to be seen? We all know that a picture says a 1,000 words. Just the name of a woman is not enough. In the last 20 years, Jewish publications were faced with a dilemma: what is a modest woman? Instead of embracing this as a time to create torahdig guidelines, editors got lazy. Rather than coming up with proper tznius parameters, they decided to remove women entirely & they rationalized: women are strong – they’ll be able to handle being omitted from the conversation. The 100s of people who have reached out to me aren’t going to tolerate this anymore. We can’t allow the fear of nuances to drive us towards extremism. With the internet in everyone’s pockets, we are raising a generation today that is faced with more influence from the outside world than ever before. If girls can’t see visible role models within the mainstream publications, they will turn to other more dangerous places. “Im Lo Achshav, Aimasai?” Now is the time to iron out the details until we can all agree to guidelines. Here’s my proposal: SHOW FEMALES FROM NECK UP. I wholly respect men & women who as a personal choice would prefer to keep their faces private. But the Jewish religion does not use veils. We unanimously agree that face coverings is not an acceptable standard for our community. If frum women are allowed to walk around outside with their faces uncovered, visit other people’s homes, & be out in the workforce, then their faces should be allowed to be in print as well. My husband & I have reached out to Daas Torah to petition this cause. The Rabbanim who shared our views regarding neck-up photos were unwilling to put their names behind this cause #politics. I have hit a brick wall & I am turning to you: Let it be known that your voice is louder than the extremists who have weaponized & twisted the words of Kol Kvoda Bas Melech Penima. Men, we need your voices too. We need your support because you’re the demographic that the publications “think” they’re “protecting” by not showing a woman’s face.

A post shared by Flatbush Girl (@flatbushgirl) on

Laura E. Adkins is the Forward’s contributing network editor. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter, @Laura_E_Adkins

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