Why? Well, I can’t claim it makes sense. My impression is that if you’re The Forward, everything oppresses (Orthodox) women.
As acknowledged by Footsteps, an organization helping people leave the “ultra-” Orthodox community, women are much less likely to leave Torah observance than men (in a TV interview, the head of Footsteps said only one-third of its clients are women). But as demonstrated by Deborah Feldman, Leah Vincent and Frimet Goldberger, they are much more likely to provide fictionalized depictions of their past lives and communities after they do.
Even so, this article is an amazing journey into the realm of illogic. Its basis is a single anonymous phone call to a store in Lakewood selling “trendy” clothing, berating them for advertising depicting a seven or eight-year-old boy dressed according to current fashion — which, in all honesty, outfits him as a Ringling Bros. employee. Be that as it may, the caller was outraged, not amused, and she threatens a boycott if the store won’t stop wasting their money trying to market clown costumes to the Orthodox Jews of Lakewood.
Which, to Frimet Goldberger, “continues a cycle in which women perpetuate their own victimhood.” I wish I were making this up.
To her, the fact that women seem even more concerned with tznius than men, despite her own acknowledgment that “ultra-Orthodox women are not the gullible and oppressed creatures we sometimes purport them to be” (an amazing admission, that, especially with her confession to having done this herself), just means that women are being more oppressed. It is women, not men or children, who are “outraged,” “unwilling,” yet “forced to conform.”
It’s good enough for Ripley — but given that it denigrates the Orthodox, its appearance in the Forward is little surprise.