Monday, April 27, 2009

guilt girl's tefillin,

guilt girl

A little bit about Guilt Girl's costume; she likes (skanky?) black leather (but money is tight so her costume is usually a second-hand, sales-rack, pieced-together, self-altered affair) and she wears a surgical mask (the easiest cheapest identity-obscuring thing available to her).

And she wears a black strap wrapped around her left arm.

A little about that black strap...

I've always thought that a black strap wound around one's arm would just be a cool touch to a costume, so obviously Guilt Girl would wear something like that just for the design appeal (in spite of money problems, she does like a bit of flair.)

Then, I'm working on a character who lives in a phylactery. When I finally got around to doing some research on phylacteries (or tefillin) I was enthralled and amazed to see what they look like when worn. The feminist in me was delighted to see the gender aspect of this ritual dress addressed by Barbie and even Rosie the Riveter.

So I am toying with the idea of her little black strappy costume thingy having a strong aspect of tefillin to it.

But I'm not Jewish, and I don't think Guilt Girl will be either. So... working on it. And hoping it won't be perceived as too offending to any members of the Jewish community who might happen across her.


  1. My first gut response is that you're going to offend someone no matter what. I guess the real questions are, who might you offend, and why? For example, there are gangs of Hasidic boys who insult and even attack women who come into their Jerusalem neighborhoods wearing mini-skirts. Their ilk might be offended by your portrayal.

    After reading comics like Spawn and dozens of wacky indie comics that take religion on directly, my idea is that there is a space, especially within the comic book world, for this kind of riffing on religious motifs. Furthermore, the phylactery itself isn't unique to Judaism: D&D has phylacteries where liches keep their life force, and there are Shinto and other kinds of phylacteries as well.

  2. yes! I'm interested in that aspect of phylacteries, as used in spec/fiction... and this would be something more along those lines...

    And I definitely plan on riffing the religious motifs from my own religion. I am just a lot more sensitive to inappropriately appropriating (heheh) another religion's sacred stuff (fanatical extremists aside).

  3. If you don't include the tefillin boxes, you shouldn't offend anyone. The straps have meaning too, but separate from the boxes they are not 'sacred.'

  4. you might want to read a book called the Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon. a movie might be in the works, too. There is an addict who uses tefillin as a strap to shoot up...he dies.

  5. A feminist celebrating a Barbie doll with tefillin????? Sell out!!!!!