Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What or who is out of whose control? (Response to YD)

Here’s part of a comment by YD to this recent post of mine:

“Maybe tznius isn't a practical concern that a man will see something and begin entertaining sexual ideas. If that were true then clearly the theory would be completely incongruous with the application: it's crazy to assume a man who sees a bit of a woman's arm uncovered will be sexually aroused.”

If it were that crazy, then what’s the explanation for this? Why on earth should photos of modestly-dressed women with their heads tilted flirtatiously to one side be so sexually distracting to a group of yeshiva students that their rabbi called for a boycott of the wig store that displayed them?

Is the issue that men living in certain right-wing Orthodox communities have so little contact with women, particularly those outside their own families, that they have limited “immunity,” and can get “sick” at the least exposure? That’s certainly what A Simple Jew and his commenters seem to me to be saying—following the first link here.

Or is the real issue the idea that women are increasingly out of men’s control? Brooklyn Wolf seems to think that that may be the case. He doesn’t have much patience with men who insist that men should study full-time for life, but then deride women who—gasp!—go out and work for a living:

“This section caught my attention as well.

It is no secret that in other circles, the reason for deteriorating marriages, climbing divorce rates and the current shidduch crisis, is greatly due to the fact that the girls today are much more educated, knowledgeable and capable than the boys are. More than often times the bread-winner in the young family is the wife. Today with modern society and the plague of liberalism all around us, woman are no longer being taught to be mothers of children and good wives, instead liberalism is teaching them to become executives of large corporations and to try and become the man they were never meant to be!

I find it to be both extremely funny and sad that a sane person could write this paragraph. We encourage our young men to sit and learn, to eschew any education which might result in his having some marketable skills, all in the name of advancing Torah study. Since the young couple has to eat and the vast majority of us don't have wealthy parents or in-laws, the women go out and earn degrees and become the breadwinners of the family so that the husband can learn in Kollel. However, now we're decrying this as the cause for deteriorating marriages and for the shidduch crisis! Give me a break! You can't have it both ways! Don't create a situation where the women are forced to go out and work and then tell them that their doing so is the cause of broken homes and the shidduch crisis. . . .”

See also this satiric post by Harry Maryles about, among other things, recent physical attacks in Israel against women who had the unmitigated gall to seat in the front of a bus not officially designated as having separate seating for men and women. As a United States citizen and current U.S. resident who remembers all too well the Civil Right's Movement's fight for desegregated public transportation (and desegregated everything else), the whole idea of an entire class of people--in this case, women--being relegated for life to the back of the bus gives me not only a sense of déjà vu, but also, a royal case of the creeps.

Speaking of getting a royal case of the creeps, this is downright scary. May the young lady have a refuah shleimah, a complete healing.

A self-fulfilling prophecy


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