I put up a spoof like this years ago

It was a fake ad in the Purim issue of Kallah Magazine, which included a contest for spotting the fake ad. Unfortunately, many people didn't get it, and now I see why. Some people really seem to believe it's a good idea to resort to cosmetic surgery and other erasures of what is not so appealing for the sake of a shidduch.  The infamous article by Yitta Halberstam generated quite a slew of comments here. What amazes me is that some actually agree with her.

As for the argument that all this is worthwhile if it makes just one shidduch happen, I offer the flip side: what if one death or case of infertility results from the surgery or anorexia induced by this preoccupation with living up to the model ideal of beauty. (which itself isn't real see "Models are Made and Fotoshop by Adobe)  I have heard of at least one death of a frum girl that was due to a heart attack caused by her anorexia.

 I know that Mrs. Halberstam may not agree, but I still think it is better to be alive and normal looking (even if single) than to be literally drop dead gorgeous from unnatural habits and procedures. In any case, I know for a fact that the most beautiful girls are not always the first to marry. And those who remain single are not necessarily ugly. There are many factors involved in a match beyond such superficial considerations.

Halberstam draws on her own experience of straightening her hair and nose (to erase the traditional Jewish looks associated with less than perfect noses and wavy hair?) to become a swan-like beauty and win her produce to produce yet another prince who gets girls thrown at him all the time. Alas, the masses of singles she sees before her at a gathering are too unattractive to bear consideration. And they don't even have the sense to make the sound investment in cosmetic surgery and gobs of makeup that she did. (Could that be what's behind this ?If  she suffered for beauty, and if she wasn't good enough as created, then....)

For my less than superficial analysis of the American beauty's standard effect on Jewish society, see http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2009/06/beauty-and-jap.html and http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2008/11/sheitels-hair-to-stay.html

There's a nice response to Halberstam's piece by Gila Manolson who confesses that she never wears makeup except on Purim. Also see http://orthonomics.blogspot.com/2012/03/wasnt-adarpurim-joke.html

The Chazal that came to mind when I thought about this assessment of the single girls as unattractive is from Nedarim 66a:
 Rabbi Ishmael wept and said, "The daughters of Israel are really beautiful, but it is poverty that makes them look ugly."
. The difference between his view and the cynical advice (well-meaning, though it may be) offered today is that he 1) he believes in essential beauty,  which he is able to perceive despite the lack of accessories and makeup 2)he  sees the need to beautify those who are not appreciated as something worth weeping over and 3) he offers adornments-- which is a far cry from cosmetic surgery

One more link that illustrates beauty comes from within and thinking of yourself in positive rather than negative terms radiates to others at http://www.lisapetrilli.com/2012/01/09/how-to-empower-a-new-standard-of-feminine-beauty/


uriyo said…
Your spoof ad was pretty clever. For those who want to see it, it's on page 30 (also known as sec2:28) of: http://web.archive.org/web/20070115155313/http://kallahmagazine.com/SpringWithcovers.pdf
Ariella said…
Thanks for the comment and the link, uriyo. I do appreciate it.
Anonymous said…
Kudos for addressing this issue. You are so right; many very beautiful girls have not met their zivuggim, while others much less "endowed" have fared much better--ha-kol bi-yedei Shamayim." Moreover, I find it outrageous that the mothers are the ones who select the girls for their sons. Says much for the masculinity of the boys, who--alas--are not ready to assume the title and responsibilities of men.

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