Bulletproof Stockings: female empowerment

Photo: Sefira Ross

Perl Wolfe (left) and Dalia Shusterman, Photo: Sefira Ross

by Charlie Crooijmans

The other day I was reading about the alternative rock band Bulletproof Stocking. The band based in New York, consists of Hasidic women. This caught me by surprise, because I reckoned that there is a taboo on female chant in this ultra-orthodox Jewish community. In an article (NRC. Next, August 27, 2014) founder, singer and keyboard player Perl Wolfe explains that men aren’t allowed to listen to female chant, because it may seduce them. However, that commandment is true merely for men. The solution is that Bulletproof Stockings plays for an only-female audience. Of course this evokes some juicy headlines.

Like: Bulletproof Stockings Are The Fiery, All-Girl Hasidic Jewish Band That Rocks Harder Than Anyone of the Huffington Post, or Hasidic Girl Band Bans Men From Shows of The Jewish Week, Bulletproof Stockings take unorthodox road to rock stardom of the Guardian.

The sound of the band is less rock than the headlines suggest. It is more a mix of country, pop and nigunim (Jewish songs). The band plays mostly at women’s universities or private shows. I wonder what happens if they are playing at a mixed festival when they become huge. Do the men have to leave the room by force?

From their point of view it is completely understandable. At the synagogues men are free to sing, jump and move around, whereas the women have to stay upstairs and watch. Their Hasidic rock gives the women some sort of liberation. Perl Wolfe and Dailia Shusterman aren’t unworldly because of their religion – they hold on to the rules, like wearing wigs and overdressing¬† – but they strive to reach other (non-religious) women as well. It is like a global sisterhood thing. Women are allowed to dance the way they want it, without being objectified by men. But what about the rituals of life? I mean, in the Hasidic community the marriages are usually arranged.

This is a very nice interview of AOL with the ladies.

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