God did not create woman from the head so she will not be lightheaded. The eye, so she will not be inquisitve. The ear, so she will not eavesdrop. The mouth, so she will not be talkative. The heart, so she will not be jealous. The hand, so she will not be acquisitive. Nor from the foot, so she would not seek public acclaim. Rather, she was formed from a hidden part of a man's body, creating each limb saying 'Be a modest woman.' Genesis Rabbah 18:2
it's been a while. I thought the series of paper-cuts - the Ladies Guild Collection - was finished. There were 10 in total, which is a nice round neat number... unfortunately there is just too much rabbinic misogyny to fit into a neat round number.
This text from the midrash is something that has been preying on my mind. It goes through and dissects the body into its potential for sin, and so concludes that women should remain a hidden modest presence.
Women must be hidden, not attract attention, not interact, engage or err. A woman's body must be hidden away not just because of the sin that they might incite, but because it must never be exposed. Women are a hidden presence. And what happens in women's bodies, and in women's heads, must also be hidden and not part of the discussion.
The quote is surrounded by naked women drawing attention to the parts of the body defined by the modesty literature as the edges of being naked - the elbow, the knee and the collarbone.
some of these women are shamed and hiding, and some are defiantly promoting these borderline parts of the body.