No men allowed.
That’s the rule when a popular New York all-female rock band takes to the stage.
The band Bulletproof Stockings is made up of members of Brooklyn’s large Hasidic Jewish community, and one of the religion’s tenants is kol isha -- which prohibits men from listening to women sing.
Hasidic women, on the other hand, are allowed to listen to men sing.
“We’re trying to build more environments where girls can be themselves . . ."
- Dallia Shusterman, drummer, Bulletproof Stockings
The rule means men are turned away at the band’s club dates. The restriction applies even to husbands, and one band member’s spouse has reportedly been banned from seeing his wife perform, which she’s been doing for more than two years.
Last week, the band played their first-ever show at one of New York City’s top venues for live music, Arlene’s Grocery on the Lower East Side. The audience didn't include any male fans during the band's set, which included, according to reports, two renditions of their break-out song, "Frigid City."
Bulletproof Stockings hope the show will boost its appeal to non-Hasidic women rockers.
In a profile of the band before the Arlene Grocery show, drummer Dallia Shusterman, 40, told the The Wall Street Journal what the band is doing isn’t anti-men. “We’re trying to build more environments where girls can be themselves, to cultivate who they’re meant to be,” she said.
The group’s name refers to the thick hosiery that some Hasidic women wear on the streets of Brooklyn.
The ban on men has had its challenges. A Brooklyn club date was canceled when the venue said it couldn't close the show to men.
Shusterman and vocalist and keyboardist Perl Wolfe, 27, told the Journal that jazz and the blues have been influences, but they consider themselves alternative rockers who are “Hasidic in musical flavor.”