Just kiddin’ about the title. Muffti noticed this and figured he better blog about it before one of the more religious types around here goes ‘look, the hidden hand of hashem in everything including body images disorders!” (c’mon, Laya, you know you would have…)
Anyhow, a recent study on body image by Prof. Yael Letzer of the University of Haifa’s School of Social Work, working with Shira Gefen and Prof. Ora Gilber, based her findings on interviews with 320 religiously observant Jewish girls in 9th through 12th grades. The finding? There is a positive correlation between levels of observance and lack of body image problems, eating disorders. Self esteem generally seemed to be higher amongst the girls who were religious.
The explanation? According to Letzer:
Sex roles are much more defined, and this constitutes a type of protection for the teenage girl and prevents her from being dissatisfied with her body and, developing eating disorders…Jewish tradition praises internal characteristics and traditional principles and not beauty…Instead, religious girls focus on a strict lifestyle and observance of the commandments.
Makes sense, Muffti guesses. Actually, it seems incredibly speculative. Maybe the requirements of tznius make it easier to be happy about body shape: why worry when no one is going to see it anyways?!? But it’s good to know that subservient gender role (get your engines running, apologists!) at least comes with a side benefit.
Thanks to Jpost.