Hasidic Jewish Duo Bulletproof Stockings Play To Women-Only Audiences And Are Your New Fave Band

Why Perl Wolfe and Dalia Shusterman rock. Hard.


by Stevie Martin |
Published on

Dalia Shusterman, 40 and Perl Wolfe, 28 are Bulletproof Stockings, a Brooklyn-based Hasidic Jewish band who play to women-only audiences and are creating a media frenzy across the Atlantic. Oh, and they rock. Hard. Currently working on their new album - check out their EP from 2012, Down To The Top- the pair are about to embark on a US tour to capitalise on their growing success.

We caught up with them a few weeks after a game-changing, headline-grabbing performance at Arlene's Grocery, NYC, to talk music, feminism, religion and why they play their gigs just for the girls.

**Why Bulletproof Stockings? What's the story behind the name? **

Dalia: Bulletproof Stockings is a derogatory term for Hasidic women - people see these women in stockings so opaque that call them 'bulletproof'. When I became religious, I took on that identity as an email address, because I wanted to own the joke. Then I met Perl and it was an instant fit - this would be an amazing band name!

Perl: We're Hasidic women playing rock music, how perfect is Bulletproof Stockings? I saw her email address and that was just it.

**How did you guys meet? **

Perl: When I'd just started writing music and was looking for other musicians to play with, I did a charity gig and started going off at this girl I'd just met about how I needed to find people who played music. It was just me beating myself up out loud, but she then goes 'Are you looking for a drummer?' and I was like, 'Er, yeah, I'm looking for anything!' and she told me about this great female drummer who had just moved to New York, used to be in an indie band but became religious and now is a mom. I got so excited.

Dalia: When I moved to New York, I had drums. They were in the closet. I have kids. I never have expected this to happen, but I can't imagine having gone back to rock n roll in any other context or with any other person.

Perl: Awwwww!

Dalia: No, it's true! It's a no brainer! I did the rock thing but we needed more. We are so psyched to be waking up every morning and knowing we're doing stuff that's going to touch women all around the world.

READ MORE: Malala Yousafzai Doesn't Really Get Pop Music, But That's OK

So let's talk about the women-only audience thing...

Dalia: Journalists are focussing on the fact that we're ostracising men. But we love men! We're women, so we're connecting with being women - it's not about being safe because men are predators or whatever, but there's something awesome about hangin' with the girls. There are so many places to hang out in mixed spaces but nowhere for just us to hang out.

Perl: It's so cool to see girls rocking out on their own - they're being silly, letting loose. One thing that journalists are running off with is the religious aspect, which is crazy because we don't do this for religious purposes. We can perform in front of men - it's nothing to do with the women! We just want to empower women and accept that, while men and women are more similar than they are different, there's something unique and beautiful about women just like there's something unique and beautiful about men.

**What's your take on feminism, and are you a feminist? **

Perl: We were talking about this the other day - there are celebrities (and I'm not gonna name names, because finger pointing is a huge issue with women the world over) saying 'I'm totally comfortable with myself and go feminism and go women' and then they're singing songs about men, like 'Hey take me do and do what you want with me'. It's hard to know what the right 'feminism' is, y'know? One woman is taking her clothes off, and saying 'This is why I'm a feminist, because I do what I want', while another is saying 'You shouldn't throw yourself out there because that's not what being a feminist is about'. Everyone has their own way of being a feminist.

Dalia: Sex is the most powerful drive within humans, and it's what moves humanity. I feel like it should be about how we're going to refine sex to the utmost degree so we can uplift ourselves and uplift everyone around us rather than squandering it and making it no big deal. The advantage of being more covered up is that people get to know you for who you are rather than what you are. Men are men, women are women, whatever, Jew not Jew, everything and everyone in this world has a purpose and this purpose is very necessary. It's not about labelling, but about recognising the preciousness and using it for good.

READ MORE: Where The Stars From Gossip Girl Are At With Their Music Careers

Preach. So talking of Judaism - how much of your religion do you put into the music?

Dalia: Its part of the lyrics - the lyrics are all based on the Torah and Hasidic concepts - because it's who we are , but people are people, and we're all living it. Whatever life we live, that's what colours our experience. For me, coming into the Hasidic lifestyle, I felt like all of a sudden I had different glasses on. Whatever we do is going to be coloured by that, but they're all human concepts that everyone can understand. Humans are all spiritual, it's a universal message.

Perl: We feel confident in the music, obviously there's a bit of novelty to it because it hasn't been done before. Nobody's made a women-only space, so we're going to jump on that Hasidic-women-rocking-out thing and the music speaks for itself.

**Do you sometimes worry that the hasidic thing and the women-only thing is overshadowing the music? **

Perl: I think the more we can produce our music and get it out there, that's what's going to keep it interesting. We are musicians. Sure, there's hype now, but we feel confident that once the hype isn't the main focus, people will still listen to our songs.

Dalia: We're working on an album now, and we hope there'll be more albums and touring in the future - we'll be touring the US this year and one thing's for sure, wherever we go, there'll be women rocking out with us.

Check out the Bulletproof Stockings website for upcoming gigs and track releases, and download their EP - released in 2012 - here. We want these girls to come to the UK, stat.

Like this? You might also be interested in...

Emma Watson Made An Incredibly Inspiring Speech About Feminism At The UN

An Open Letter To Women Who 'Don't Need Feminism': This Is Why You Do

The NoToFeminism Twitter Account Is The Most Epic Thing You'll See All Day

Follow Stevie on Twitter: @5tevieM

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us