Photographic Indecency?

Siegelmania

By Stanley Siegelman

Published May 09, 2008, issue of May 16, 2008.
  • Print
  • Share Share

NEWS ITEM: Hamodia, an English-language newspaper geared toward an ultra-Orthodox readership, refuses to print photos of women. The editors contend that doing so would violate Jewish laws governing modesty.


“Thou shalt not show the female form!”
For uptight Jews, this is the norm.
“No pics of women are allowed,”
Asserts this anti-Playboy crowd.
To reproduce a pretty face
Is tantamount to sheer disgrace.
A smile, a frown, a scowl, a squint?
The female face ain’t fit to print!

Please tell us why it’s such a shame
To print the photo of a dame.
Would macho readers be inflamed
And thereby rendered guilty, shamed?
Would it be wrong — or maybe right —
The photo of a trans-ves-tite?
(Is “she” a “he,” is “he” a “she”?
A vexing ambiguity!)
Hillary, Golda, Bhutto, too —
Their faces should be kept from view?
(It’s vital, too, reporting news,
To Shia with Sunni not confuse!)

Let’s clarify those arcane rules:
Do they pertain to “animules”?
A pic of Lassie is a sin,
But not a shot of Rin Tin Tin?
Don’t dare their photographs to switch,
‘Cause one depicts a brazen bitch!

A ship’s referred to as a “she”:
Would showing ships breach modesty?
Just who devised this fearsome stricture,
Keeping femmes out of the picture?
Those zealous censors are inclined
To banish half of humankind!
Effacement is a brutal act,
It’s anti-human, that’s a fact!


“Tsayg nisht dem kerper fun a froy,
“Dos iz a groyse kharpe, oy!
“Farbotn iz a bild fun min!”
(Dos meynt, a photo feminin.)
Azoy derklern konservatorn
Mit oyfrikhtikeyt durkh ale yorn.
Fotografye fun di froyen
Iz bay zey a hoypt bizoyen.
Fun vanet kumt aza diktat?
Der klal iz efsher misbegot?
Zey hobn moyre aza bild
Vet makhn mener kimat vild!
Trans-ves-tayt photo? vayz es nisht!
Di leyeners veln zayn tsemisht!
A bild fun Hillary? s’iz treyf!
A bild fun Golda? neyn (play safe!)
Azoy shrayen di kanoim:
“S’iz a shande far di goyim!”
A vaybl’s ponim muz zayn hidden!
Oygn? Shtern? Bakn? alts forbidden!
Es iz gantz klor: folg nor dem klal!
Farmayd di pastke seksuel!

Freg yetst a frage fun Bezdin:
A khaye vos iz feminin
Meg in a bild opdrukn zayn?
(Dos iz a frage asinine!)
Der kelev, Lassie, oy oys-shlis,
Zi iz a klafte mit fir fis!
Der ander kelev, Rin Tin Tin?
Arayntsulozn! (vayl maskulin!).
A shif vos iz derkent az “zi”
Iz problematish — zi’z a she!
Hamodia, du host groys zeal,
Nor efsher just a bit tsufil?


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.