Avital Chizhik has written a great essay for Tablet about the disease of excessive modesty obsession in many ultra orthodox circles. The kicker is her closing:
Back in high school, when we girls would ask our teachers for the source of the laws of modesty, the classic answer was to turn to Micah 6:8. Yet now it dawns on me that the same text has been misread, poorly taught. When Micah enjoins Israel to “do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk modestly with thy God,” his final verb is to walk with God. Modestly is simply the adverb.
He essentially is asking that our piety, our walks with God, be done modestly—he’s not asking us to hide our women. Nor to confine them to specific streets, nor to the back of the bus.
Perhaps, rather, he is asking us to keep our piety modest. No one needs to know how many pages of Talmud you’ve learned today, what kosher certification you don’t trust, how intensely you sway during prayer—or how thick your tights are.
Kippah Srugah Tip to Chicago Guy