Now that summer is here, you see it everywhere–articles on the best swim suits for the season and how to get the perfect “beach body,” all replete with scantily-clad pictures of women in booty shorts. Well, Allison Josephs, Orthodox mom and creator of Jew in the City, is tired of it. She’s tired of the fact that men and women’s clothes are held to different standards.
She’s so tired of it, in fact, that she’s created a social media campaign called “The Skin Gap” to raise awareness on what it is. So, what exactly is the “skin gap?” It’s the difference that we see everyday with the amount of skin men and women are culturally expected to show. In most cases (and I don’t have to tell you this), women show more skin than men.
It’s not that Josephs wants to change what other women choose to wear, but she wants to raise awareness to the fact that the way the media and fashion industry portray women wearing less can lead to depression, obsessive dieting, eating disorders.
For instance, as Josephs points out, writer Bethany Mandel wrote an article for the New York Post about how she couldn’t find shorts for herself where the crotch was NOT the longest part of the garment.
She cites her own personal experience as fodder, stating:
“As a secular American teen, I was so excited to get my first bikini and pair of Daisy Dukes, because it was a sign of being ‘grown up. But something unexpected happened: I’d always feel gross when random men would give me the ‘up down.’ I never did anything or said anything because I had no language to express what I was feeling.”
A few years later, I became an Orthodox Jew and started covering up purely to follow ‘the rules,’ and I discovered something fascinating: covering up actually made me feel empowered. The first time I wore a long skirt and a random guy at the mall gave me the ‘up down’ but had nothing to see, inside I screamed, ‘Yes!’”
Whether or not you choose to dress modestly, it is undeniable that women’s bodies are often objectified by the media in dangerous ways that perpetuate a very homogenous ideal–which is young, thin, and typically white. Carrie Fisher, for example, was body-shamed when she returned to “Star Wars,” simply because she aged like a human naturally does.
Check out the short video below on “the skin gap”–it’s pretty funny: