Remember the Absolut Vodka ads that established an iconic brand by creating a cutout of a Vodka bottle. The Absolut Vodka bottle might not have shown up in the ads but it was there in negative space.
Women have become the negative space of the frum world, their very absence highlighting their constant presence.
In the Tznius mindset women have been reduced to sex and sex is the great negative black hole enveloping the frum world and reshaping everything around it. Gender segregated streets, pictures of women photoshopped out of newspapers, new tznius standards, the rise of pornography and new Kol Korehs warning about immodesty. These are the borders around the Absolut ad, the great dark space we try to avoid looking at lest we fall hopelessly into it.
Why do we fear that darkness so much? It isn’t simply a fear of women but of control. The Gedolim need to control us and we wallow in so much guilt over the excessive churmas that the darkness has come to represent our own inadequacies. The extreme has become the holy, forgetting that the other extreme of Kedusha is Kedeisha.
By turning women into sex objects in the name of Tznius, we have fragmented personal relationships and marriages and the fabric of our society. We’ve denied ourselves access to the talents and contributions of half the Jewish people and patted ourselves on the back for it for our self-righteousness, our self-discipline and self-sacrifice, refusing to admit that behind it all is fear. Not fear of women but fear of our ourselves.