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In Yabia Omer YD 6:14, Rav Ovadia Yosef ruled that it is preferable for a woman to wear women's pants than to wear a "mini-skirt" (חצאית-מיני). He writes that a full skirt is preferable to both.

In the beginning of the responsum (וברור..."‏") he explicitly rejects the opinion of the Peri Megadim (OC MZ 75:1) that the body part שוק (which he assumes a woman must cover) refers to the thigh, while accepting the opinion that it refers to the calf.

His concluding line is:

ובמקום שלא ישמעו לנו הבנות ללבוש חצאיות או שמלות המכסות את הברכים, יש להעדיף מכנסים על חצאיות ושמלות קצרות, עד שיוכלו להשפיע עליהן ללבוש בגדי צניעות ככל בנות ישראל הכשרות
And in a place where the women won't listen to us to wear skirts or dresses which cover the knees, one should prefer pants to [short] skirts or short dresses, until one can influence them to wear modest clothing like all Kosher Jewish women. (my translation)

Why is R' Yosef willing to accept a skirt which only covers the knees but not the calf?

  • Is he saying that he prefers an uncovered שוק to wearing pants?
    • Is he relying Bedieved on the opinion he rejected earlier in the responsum without saying so? (Did I miss it?)
    • Is he just making a cost-benefit Tzniut analysis? If so is his conclusion due to leniency regarding שוק or stringency regarding pants? (This would mean that men could not recite Shema in front of a women dressed like that.)
  • Is he implicitly assuming that the skirt which covers the knees is being worn with opaque socks/leggings which cover the calf? (This would mean he preferred full pants to skirts which don't cover even legging-covered-knees, and all the more so to skirts which don't cover the entire calf if worn without opaque socks/leggings.)

My question is about R' Yosef's referenced opinion. Not about anyone else's opinion about anything.

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I did not see it inside,but it seems that since there is a strong opinion which is followed by many that the shok is called the thighs then it is at least acceptable,however if it it is above the knee then there is no halachik opinion who allows it. – sam Jun 25 '14 at 20:24
@sam It's actually a ridiculously weak opinion, though you are correct that it is followed by many. As I said though ROY explicitly rejects this opinion in no uncertain terms in the beginning of the responsum. You are indicating my first suggested resolution as listed in the question. – Double AA Jun 25 '14 at 20:24
He does mention (in section 1): וברור שירך חמור יותר משוק – Fred Jun 25 '14 at 20:28
it really seems from the qoute of the tshuva that it is at least keep to the knee,but if one would have asked him personally he would have said to the calf,it is more of what the people do in the street. – sam Jun 25 '14 at 20:31
@sam I'm not sure what you mean. Is he not issuing his own psak here? If he thinks pants are better than leaving the calf uncovered then he should just say so. What's the problem? – Double AA Jun 25 '14 at 20:34

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