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The Schmooze

Mayim Bialik Won’t Stay Silent On Orthodox Blurring Out Women’s Faces

If you think the fact that Mayim Bialik can’t speak for a month will keep her from publicly sharing her opinion, you obviously don’t know Mayim Bialik.

Despite strained vocal chords, Bialik took to Instagram to share her opinion about an Orthodox journal’s policy of blurring women’s faces out in ads.

Bialik’s comments come in response to an incident in which Adina Miles, aka “Flatbush Girl”, an Orthodox comedian and Instagram personality living in Flatbush, Brooklyn, was told by the Flatbush Jewish Journal that she would have to blur her face in an ad she was running in its magazine.

Miles responded to the journal’s policy with an Instagram post of her own.

Men & Women – spread the word: Share a post with #FrumWomenHaveFaces What kind of message are we sending our daughters & sons when they look through a magazine & there are no female faces to be seen? We all know that a picture says a 1,000 words. Just the name of a woman is not enough. In the last 20 years, Jewish publications were faced with a dilemma: what is a modest woman? Instead of embracing this as a time to create torahdig guidelines, editors got lazy. Rather than coming up with proper tznius parameters, they decided to remove women entirely & they rationalized: women are strong – they’ll be able to handle being omitted from the conversation. The 100s of people who have reached out to me aren’t going to tolerate this anymore. We can’t allow the fear of nuances to drive us towards extremism. With the internet in everyone’s pockets, we are raising a generation today that is faced with more influence from the outside world than ever before. If girls can’t see visible role models within the mainstream publications, they will turn to other more dangerous places. “Im Lo Achshav, Aimasai?” Now is the time to iron out the details until we can all agree to guidelines. Here’s my proposal: SHOW FEMALES FROM NECK UP. I wholly respect men & women who as a personal choice would prefer to keep their faces private. But the Jewish religion does not use veils. We unanimously agree that face coverings is not an acceptable standard for our community. If frum women are allowed to walk around outside with their faces uncovered, visit other people’s homes, & be out in the workforce, then their faces should be allowed to be in print as well. My husband & I have reached out to Daas Torah to petition this cause. The Rabbanim who shared our views regarding neck-up photos were unwilling to put their names behind this cause #politics. I have hit a brick wall & I am turning to you: Let it be known that your voice is louder than the extremists who have weaponized & twisted the words of Kol Kvoda Bas Melech Penima. Men, we need your voices too. We need your support because you’re the demographic that the publications “think” they’re “protecting” by not showing a woman’s face.

A post shared by Flatbush Girl (@flatbushgirl) on

Bialik is an outspoken feminist who runs an active YouTube page where she shares her —sometimes controversial — opinions with her fans. Good to know we’ll have her Instagram to turn to in this month of YouTube silence.

Becky Scott is the editor of The Schmooze. Follow her on Twitter, @arr_scott

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