Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The war on women/milchamah al nashim

When it comes to issues regarding women, I’ve seen some of the headlines, both in Israel and in the United States in recent months.

In the old days, we would have called it a backlash. I believe the current term is "pushback."

We uppity women have the unmitigated gall to demand equal legal rights, equal education, equal opportunity, equal pay, and, apparently worst of all, the right to control our own bodies. In response, a war is being waged against women, both in the United States and in Israel. The only distinction between one country's war and the other's is that the weapons are different.

In the U.S., the weapon of choice is, well, the war against choice. More and more restrictions are being put on women's ability to have an abortion, and, ironically, even on women's access to birth control--it doesn't seem to have occurred to any of the rampaging politicians and their supporters that restricting access to birth control will only increase the number of abortions. I dare anyone to tell me that this isn't sexism at its worst. Has there ever been a time in the history of the United States when men's access to birth control was restricted? Even in the bad old days, when a man had to go directly to a pharmacist and embarrass himself by asking for condoms, no man ever needed a prescription for condoms, nor did he have to get permission from his parents. In my opinion, this has nothing to do with children, and everything to do with punishing woman for wanting to have sex without consequences, a right claimed by men since time immemorial. (The Torah/Bible nonchalantly recounts Yehudah's/Judah's visit to [a woman posing as] a prostitute [Tamar] as if such behavior were taken for granted--see Parshat Vayeshev/Genesis chapter 38, verse 12-26.)

In Israel, the weapon of choice is tzniut, modesty, in ever-increasingly extreme forms. In recent months, photos of even modestly-dressed women have been disappearing from advertisements, news articles, and even campaign posters for female candidates (over their protests). Male Orthodox soldiers have walked out on female soldiers who were singing (due to the rule, variously interpreted and observed, against a man listening to a woman sing), though this did not happen in the past. And modestly-dressed Dati Leumi (Religious Zionist) elementary-school girls, way too young to be b'not mitzvah, much less of, um, visual interest to heterosexual men, have been spat upon because their modest clothing was not modest enough for some extremists.

It appears that there's no such thing as permanent progress for women--every time we try to merge into a faster lane, we get kicked back to the curb. :(

It’s Z’man Heiruteinu, the Season of Our Liberation. HaShem didn’t redeem Beit Yaakov/Jewish women from slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt just so that we could serve yet other human masters.


Anonymous Carol said...

Not sure if you'd be interested but there's a new product called the Tzitzit Belt. It's a modern adaptation of the tallit katan and it's designed with women in mind. No more safety pins and it can be worn with any outfit. It's a new product so I'm trying to get the word out. I'll let the site do the talking for me. (this is my site btw) http://www.tzitzitbelts.com/index.html

Tue May 15, 08:08:00 AM 2012  
Blogger Amanda said...

Hi Carol, in my opinion this plug is not at all appropriate for the topic of the post and I hope you're not spamming other J-blogers with the same line.
Also, I have run across your product/site before, and I feel compelled to point out, (since you have brought it to my attention again) that you are missing a key point in the mitzva of tzizit, as quoted in the top of your own site --- These tassel are meant to be tied on the *corners* of the garment, as seen on the tallis, or the tallis katan. The garment should be square or rectangular, and the pieces in the corners. On your belt, they tassels are in a line, not on the corners, and it is just a fundamental misunderstanding!
I just find this whole thing so odd. Since you can't even be bothered to try to link your sales-spam to the content of the post, I decided that we could talk about what interest you the comments.
Also, this blog author already wears a tallit (and thus correct tzitit) when it suits her, so why even bring up this [non]solution to a [non]problem.

Tue Jul 31, 03:16:00 AM 2012  

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