Apr 25, 2014

Is Wearing Black Our Problem?

I'm constantly reading news items about studies that were done, some of them silly, some of them interesting.  I'd like a study to be done in the frum world about the possible correlation or cause-effect relationship between the preponderance of wearing black and the seemingly astronomical rate of anxiety and depression, panic attacks and OCD behavior.

According to our frum publications that are doing their best to "remove the stigma from mental illness," as futile as that might be, just about everyone and their neighbor is on anti-anxiety or anti-depression meds or should be, and we are urged not to be ashamed but to seek help and get our meds so we can live happy lives. 

If you look at pictures taken many decades ago, even at the black and white pictures, you will see that men who were bnei Torah wore suits, shirts and hats of various colors.  In wedding pictures of today, there isn't much point in printing in color since both the men and women's side consist mainly of black anyway.  Toddlers on up are also dressed in black.  Goyim have noticed this recent phenomenon and are heard to ask whether wearing black is part of our religion.

Since we are affected by what we do, says the Sefer Ha'Chinuch, and we know we are affected by what we wear (ex. how we dress to do messy projects or exercise and how we dress for Shabbos or a simcha), the premise of my suggested study is that our society's move toward wearing black has a negative effect on our mental health.  Perhaps the first thing a therapist should suggest to a client is that they minimize wearing black.

It's not like this study can ever happen because we don't know the rates of mental illness and medication of frum people of previous decades.  And how could the hypothesis about color be proven?

On a positive note, I've been noticing more colors lately.  Still plenty of black, but colors are making a modest comeback.

1 comment:

  1. I would defend the wearing of black because:
    1) It goes with everything
    2) Does not go out of style
    3) Does not show stains and dirt
    4) Is slimming
    5)Does not look cheap, even when it is
    however, small children look better in colors and adults can add some color with accessories. Men who wear ties can liven up the black and women have loads of options for adding color.