Around the web: The Photoshop Newspaper Debacle, Gender Stereotypes, and Screening your Kids’ Friends

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You may have heard about the Hasidic newspaper which edited the photo of the security team in the Situation Room.  One of my mom’s friends even asked her about it, and she in turn asked me.  I didn’t feel like I gave a very good response.  It was a little bit knee-jerk, a little bit apologetic.  Not exactly my finest moment.

My friend Ruchi responded in a different, much more eloquent and thoughtful way.  Here is her blog post discussing this event.

Boys will be boys?  Girls want to be princesses?  Mara over at Kosher on a Budget asks if our kids’ toys affect their attitudes toward gender roles.

Do you know what your kids are playing with at their friends’ houses?  Finally, Joan over at NJ.com raises a question I wouldn’t have thought to ask, but that is an important one.

Have a great Shabbos!

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9 thoughts on “Around the web: The Photoshop Newspaper Debacle, Gender Stereotypes, and Screening your Kids’ Friends

  1. Loved Joan’s question about whether your kids’ friends’ parents own guns. I never thought to ask this question, but a few months ago my daughter told me and my husband she had seen a gun at a very dear friend’s house. Apparently my friend’s boyfriend had a gun (he’s a security guard) and the girls found it, even though it was supposedly under lock and key and unloaded. My husband and I were pretty traumatized. Thank G-d nothing happened. But I want to ask this question from now on. And, my daughter will not be going back over for a playdate anytime soon.

  2. I felt ashamed when I read about the edited the photo of the security team in the Situation Room. To me it is a case of “hillul Hashem” even if the photo was not supposed to be seen outside the Hasidic community. It is an insult to women, to the truth and to the USA.
    I feel too many people are getting insane about “modesty”; the lack of modesty in the Jewish world is not the root to all evils.
    Showing decently dressed women in a newspaper does not lead to lewdness. It saddens me that so many people need to resort to extremes even if I agree that extremes are more comfortable than balance.

  3. Sarah Brodsky

    I agree with Ilana Davita. It bothers me that people are making excuses and trying to justify this reprehensible practice.

  4. Thank you ladies, for sharing your opinions on the newspaper matter. It made me stop and really think about how I feel about it.

    Initially, I had a similar reaction (shame, scorn, etc.), and one of the reasons I posted Ruchi’s article was because I appreciated that it helped me see past my disdain.

    Then I was thinking about the practice of not showing images of women in the paper (as opposed to photoshopping them out, which I find more upsetting), and, although I personally think it’s to the extreme, perhaps having a blanket policy to not print any pictures of women may be nicer than printing some pictures and some not. Why? Because I’m not sure it would be considered a compliment to have your picture deemed incapable of leading to lewdness. You know?

    Anyways, this topic seems to deserve a post rather than a comment, though I’m not sure my blog is the correct venue. That said, I really do appreciate you posting your opinions.

  5. Sarah Brodsky

    To me leaving out women’s pictures in general is no better than photoshopping. It reminds me of being a little kid in kindergarten. The teacher says, “You can play on the slide at recess, but anyone who pushes can’t play on the slide.” So if one or two kids start pushing, they have to sit out. But if most of the kids are being rowdy and the teacher can’t isolate the troublemakers, she says, “That’s it! No one is playing on the slide until I can trust you to behave.”

    Rather than dealing with a handful of exceptions as they come up, these publications are sending the message that women are never fit to be shown–or at least, that lewdness and indecency are so common that it would be too much trouble to try to sort out the good from the bad. This makes even less sense to me given that basically all women in public positions wear the same kinds of clothes and they’re not revealing at all.

    • The photoshopping thing is more heinous to me because it’s altering history. To have a shitta to not look at women, I can deal with that, even if I don’t like it. To edit a picture so that it appears that the women were never at the event? That, to me, is worse.

      But, in the end, I’ll take mishegas over pictures of women over stoning or caning or other more physically apparent extremism which crops up in other societies.

      • Sarah Brodsky

        Yeah, it’s definitely not so bad as beating women or whatever, but that seems like a really low standard to measure it by. I guess part of my problem with it is that this practice isn’t confined to a few fringe extremists in some closed community. There are a bunch of Jewish magazines and newspapers that won’t show a woman’s face–even videos on YouTube. I just think people should think critically about this before letting it become mainstream.

        • Yes, that is a low bar, I agree. I think, unfortunately, that it *is* already mainstream, so at this point I’m not sure what there is to do about it. Perhaps my attitude is too resigned, but I do appreciate that you’ve made me stop and think about this practice more than I have in the past. Thank you for that. :)

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