Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Orders must be followed, however evil

A New York Jewish newspaper is banned from publishing photos of women by rabbinic authority, so when it printed the White House situation room photo it naturally removed Hilary Clinton and Audrey Tomason from it.

It's the blithe disregard for what this actually means that shocks. Sexism is prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex, according to the online OED. Here's some snippets from the statement issued by Der Tzeitung, the offending rag:
Our photo editor realized the significance of this historic moment, and published the picture, but in his haste he did not read the “fine print” that accompanied the picture, forbidding any changes.
Yes, the 'fine print' is more important than the equal standing of women, apparently.
The allegations that religious Jews denigrate women or do not respect women in public office, is a malicious slander and libel.
Of course! Air-brushing women out of important historical photographs is in every way consistent with respect for them, isn't it?
The Jewish religion does not allow for discrimination based on gender, race, etc.
Well, you just did, and do, discriminate based on gender because, as you go on to say:
In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women...
See. Not, you do not publish photos of men, or children, but women. That is discrimination based on gender.
...which in no way relegates them to a lower status
Again, of course not! Air-brushing women out of important historical photographs is in every way consistent with granting them equal status, isn't it?
Publishing a newspaper is a big responsibility, and our policies are guided by a Rabbinical Board.
That is a surprise.
Because of laws of modesty, we are not allowed to publish pictures of women, and we regret if this gives an impression of disparaging to women, which is certainly never our intention.

So the argument goes, it's not sexist; they're not doing it because they're women, but because the Rabbis tell them so.

They're only following Holy Orders.


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