Posted in Miscellany

Today’s Magic Trick: Making Women Disappear

Today’s award for laughable misogyny goes to a Hasidic (those guys with the black hats and side curls) newspaper, Der Tzeitung (which means the newspaper).

Situation Room

via Washington Post

See Hilary Clinton? Yes, she is sitting with President Obama and the national security team, receiving an update on the mission re Bin Laden.

And now you don’t:

via WP blog

If you were reading Der Tzeitung, you wouldn’t see her or another woman in the room. They were photoshopped away.

According to a statement from the newspaper, reported by Melissa Bell in the link above:

In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women, which in no way relegates them to a lower status…

Uh huh. Right. I’m rushing out to buy a sheitel (the wig Hasidic women wear to cover their hair). That reminds me of the store–no joke–that had the wigs on dummy heads with sunglasses lest a man, that frail but somehow powerful creature, became inflamed.

Seriously, what I object to here is disinformation. If the newspaper doesn’t want to print pictures of women, then this photo shouldn’t be in it at all. To photoshop it and remove women is a lie because it removes women from office. It lies to their constituency about the world. That is what a cult does to keep its people in ignorance. And that is wrong.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

8 thoughts on “Today’s Magic Trick: Making Women Disappear

  1. which in no way relegates them to a lower status…


    I’m not sure disappearing women from representations in the public sphere solely because of men’s responses to these representations does anything other than relegate women to a lower status in society.

  2. Good point regarding the distortion being cultish.

    Also, I read on another blog that the reasoning for removing Clinton was because this religion views photos of women as being “sexually suggestive.” Talk about centering the heterosexual male gaze! I mean, to many women, aren’t some photos of men also sexually suggestive?

    And, I’m skeptical of the notion that a photo of a woman just existing in the presence of men is “sexually suggestive.” It wasn’t my understanding that she was wearing bikini bottoms and nipple tassles to the meeting. But hey, you never know what was been photoshopped out…?

  3. Fannie, LOL. Hasidim and other ultra-orthodox Jewish sects have engrandized male sexuality to the point where it makes me think it’s verging on homoerotic. Men’s flammability extends to women’s voices (no singing or public speaking), women’s hair (cut off at marriage and covered), women’s legs and arms (sleeves, longer skirts). Of course, people being what they are, women cover their shorn hair with long luxurious wigs. Kosher wigs of human hair run to about $500 and European wigs to $1200. (I googled it) The wigs are nicer than your average head of hair, though less comfortable, which pretty much sums up most “beauty” products. So all this focus on modesty sexualizes & discomforts women, exaggerates men’s maleness and makes money for someone. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même.

  4. Rachel, this day and age indeed–I can’t believe the ignorance out there in so many ways. Human beings hardly seem made in any divine image, except perhaps one that has been fragmented into so many pieces that intelligence is seriously fractured.

  5. That is amazing, but not in a good way. And what a paradoxical combination of man’s extreme weakness (unable to view any image of woman safely) and tyrannical power (therefore destroying them all). It’s really quite mind-boggling.

    1. I think those two often go together. It’s those who feel profoundly weak internally who are the most tyrannical. People who come from strength lead by attraction rather than domination.

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