Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Judaism and Feminism


[Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique]

Judaism is opposed to sexual equality.

Within the Orthodox Jewish community, the primary decision makers should be men.

First of all, only men are permitted to attend Talmudic lectures. Since all important decisions in society are based on the Talmud, this effectively excludes women from community decision making.

Second of all, in Judaism, wealth generally is in the hands of men. If someone dies and leaves a son, the son inherits all regardless of the existence of daughters. If a woman marries and owns property, the property is controlled by her husband during their marriage. If a married woman works, her earnings belong to her husband unless she waives her right to spousal support.

The fact is, however, this is little different than in other societies.

In all human societies, even those which claim to endorse the principle of equality of the sexes, men are dominant. In politics, about 80% of all leaders are male. In the business world, there were 21 women from a total of 1,226 billionaires worldwide in 2012. (In fact, New Atheists leaders are called by some "sexist".)

Going a step further, among most animals and nearly all mammals, the male is larger and more aggressive on the average than the female.

Gender equality is therefore seemingly not only against human nature, but against biology.

In my humble opinion, Judaism handles male dominance in a very humane and reasonable way. Men are given greater decision making privileges than women. On the other hand, men pay a price for this – they have much heavier religious obligations than women. Secondly, men are obligated to treat women with a level of love and respect equal to that with which they must treat other men. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18) applies equally to women and to ones wife. Insulting a woman is prohibited. Striking a woman is strictly prohibited. Forced sex is strictly prohibited. A man must financially support any children he has. I am aware of one case of spousal homocide in the Orthodox community.

Other societies seem to have an ideal of sexual equality, while in reality women are plagued by constant, horrific violence and victimized by "dead beat dads". Secular men seem to tell women "You're welcome to be as masculine as you want to be and we'll toss you some token crumbs of power, while at the same time we'll treat you like garbage."

I suspect that this philosophy, of a humane approach to male dominance, is one reason why very few Orthodox women choose to leave Orthodoxy, in comparison to the number of male "dropouts". Women know that they are getting the best deal possible.

30 comments:

Ironmistress said...

You would make an excellent Muslim.

Seldom can be read so sexist, so male chauvinist, so nasty and so repulsive text as this posting was. This is against EVERYTHING I was brought to believe and what I consider to be righteous and just. Reading your text makes me vomit.

For you, women are nothing but sex objects and domestic slaves. Which is not surprising as you condone slavery.

Not even Fred Phelps can be so vile.

Betsy said...

I think you're way off base. Domestic violence is as common in Judaism as among other faiths and among the secular community.

jewish philosopher said...

"women are nothing but sex objects and domestic slaves"

No actually women are equally valuable but somewhat subservient human beings. In secular society, women are nothing but sex objects; leave off the domestic slavery part.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_industry

"Domestic violence is as common in Judaism as among other faiths and among the secular community."

If so, why have very few if any orthodox Jews been convicted of intimate partner homocide, something common elsewhere?

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/intimate/victims.cfm

The Bald Guy said...

"No actually women are equally valuable but somewhat subservient human beings. In secular society, women are nothing but sex objects; leave off the domestic slavery part."

WHAT?? Truly, there is something poisonous in the Monsey air.. Lord, get me out of this place.

"Subserviance" is a cultural, not a halachic, characteristic. True, there is still sexism that exists today, but to a FAR, FAR, FAR lesser extent than, say, 1,000 years ago.

jewish philosopher said...

Subservient means like an employee is subservient to an employer although both are equally human.

 "True, there is still sexism that exists today, but to a FAR, FAR, FAR lesser extent than, say, 1,000 years ago. "

Really?

“Coupled with the fact that trafficked sex slaves are the single most profitable type of slave, costing on average $1,895 each but generating $29,210 annually, leads to stark predictions about the likely growth in commercial sex slavery in the future.” 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking#Human_trafficking_and_sexual_exploitation

Anonymous said...

Can you please put a statement, at the top of each of your posts, stating that you are a convert from christianity, not raised in a jewish home, and that your opinions are those that you have formed based on your readings.

As a normal FFB guy I'm scared that people will come across your views and think they represent mainstream charedi Jewry.

Sometimes I'm not sure if you're just trying to parody yourself/bait your readers. You can't seriously hold these view.

jewish philosopher said...

"As a normal FFB guy I'm scared that people will come across your views and think they represent mainstream charedi Jewry."


Mainstream charedi Jewry supports female rabbinical ordination for example?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leora-tanenbaum/female-rabbis-prohibited-_b_827082.html

Honestly, Bald, are you actually orthodox? I don't want to insult someone who may just be ignorant, not willfully rebellious. I fully respect ignorant Jews who are groping to find the truth. Please look at the links on the right hand margin of my blog for further study resources.

Anonymous said...

"Judaism is opposed to sexual quality."

Did you just realize this? It's one reason the religion is stupid and only attracts a certain number of other Alfalfa-he-man-women-haters types.

The Bald Guy said...

I am plenty Orthodox. You are engaging in the extremely dangerous activity of interpreting texts solely on your own, with little grounding in commentators. It's almost as if you are taking an excessively literalist approach to fortify something in your belief...

jewish philosopher said...

"Judaism is opposed to sexual quality."

That's "equality" not "quality". I'm all for quality.

"It's one reason the religion is stupid and only attracts a certain number of other Alfalfa-he-man-women-haters types."

I love women. The real women haters are the atheists driving the porn industry, which increasingly involves the radical objectification and often brutal denigration of women.

http://www.amazon.com/Pornland-How-Porn-Hijacked-Sexuality/dp/0807044520

"I am plenty Orthodox."

So I don't follow you. Does you're plenty orthodox synagogue have a female rabbi? And if not, then what exactly is your problem?

Anonymous said...

Don't you think, JP, that some men's belief in their own superiority is just a bit self-serving? Doesn't that bias, in and of itself, make you sort of doubt this premise to begin with?

I, for example, think that anonymous blog commenters are the pinnacle of creation, God's gift to mankind. But that's unrelated, of course, to the fact that I'm an anonymous blog commenter.

Dave said...

Fortunately, your views about women, slavery, religion and science topics have long ago been discredited and thrown in the garbage bin of history, and are held only by a small and insignificant minority who wield no power. (Unless you consider the Muslims as your allies...)

There is no going back to your fantasized "good old days" in the shtetls of Europe or the towns of talmudic era Babylonia...

Thankfully you are a dying breed. While you are free to spout off any garbage you want, the society that you wish to create would grant no such freedoms.

Keep blabbing, you have no influence.

jewish philosopher said...

"Don't you think, JP, that some men's belief in their own superiority is just a bit self-serving?"

It's actually male dominance, which is simply a global, biological, eternal fact, not male superiority.

"Fortunately, your views about women, slavery, religion and science topics have long ago been discredited and thrown in the garbage bin of history, and are held only by a small and insignificant minority who wield no power."

Jews have always been a small minority as I explain here.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/04/why-are-there-so-few-jews.html

We are however the eternal people. Long after the today's Western culture of irresponsibility and eternal adolescence has gone, we'll still be here bearing witness to the truth. The pagans of ancient Greece and Roman once claimed victory over us. Where are they?

Dave said...

" The pagans of ancient Greece and Roman once claimed victory over us. Where are they?"

They are the predecessors of modern western political thought and philosophy. They are not gone.

jewish philosopher said...

In 136 CE the victorious Roman legions burned Torah scrolls on the Temple Mount and erected there a temple to Jupiter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_Kokhba_revolt#Outcome_of_the_war

Today, plenty of people are still reading Torah scrolls. Worshipping Jupiter, not so much.

This is the same way all false ideologies perish while we keep chugging along.

Dave said...

2000 years ago the Jews were worshiping by sacrificing animals with priests spraying blood against the wall of a Temple.

Not too much of that nowadays. Sacrificing is a dead ideology.

We chug along differently, and so does the rest of the world.

jewish philosopher said...

The Romans destroyed the Temple, however we pray daily for it's restoration. However a Jew from 2,000 years ago could walk into a synagogue today and understand what is going on and agree with what is being said.

The ancient Greeks and Romans, who were once such obvious victors, such big winners, have long disappeared. Their idols, once so great, now sit only in museums.

I think most women recognize how fake and hypocritical feminism is. The modern American woman is, except for a few rare professionals and politicians, far more abused than ever before in history,

"Surely the most benighted pre-liberation '50-style womanhood -- rushing to meet your husband at the front door, putting the martini in his hand, and sitting down in your freshly applied lipstick to listen to the all-important events of his day at the office -- couldn't be any more humiliating than the conditions that liberated modern women routinely tolerate today."

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/elizabeth-kantor/girls-hbo_b_1465466.html

natschuster said...

Dave:

Actually, Western Political thought is more strongly grounded in Christianity. Read the writings of the Founding Fathers of the United States if you don't believe me. The Greeks and Romans where very heavily into slavery, pedaphilia, infanticide, lack of women's rights's etc.

Dave said...

"I think most women recognize how fake and hypocritical feminism is."

Thank you for publicly displaying how out of contact with reality you are with society.

"Actually, Western Political thought is more strongly grounded in Christianity"

Which of course is grounded in Greek and Roman philosophy.

I am not defending ancient Greek or Roman culture. But a lot of Muslim and Christian (and Jewish) philosophy is directly descended from Aristotle, Plato and Democritus.

As you know even American history is peppered with discrimination and inequality.

Interestingly, I read that in the early days of the yishuv in eretz yisrael Rabbi Kook was opposed to allowing women to vote in the Zionist worker's movement elections, out of fear of offending the British! Not until 1928 did women have full suffrage in the UK.

" however we pray daily for it's restoration. "

And the Muslims pray for Muhammed's return. So? Does that mean it will happen?

The fact is that the old way of life is dead. Thankfully, nobody, including orthodox, really believes in priests, animal sacrifices or impurity any more. Good riddance!

jewish philosopher said...

"Thank you for publicly displaying how out of contact with reality you are with society."

Spoken like man who knows nothing about women, who has probably never been and maybe never will be in a long term relationship.

Atheists often boast about how they have succeeded in abolishing slavery and created gender equality. In reality, slavery today is more popular than ever

http://assetcampaign.org/about-slavery/

while women today are more abused than ever

http://www.now.org/issues/violence/stats.html

Regarding the longevity of my religion, allow me to point out that 3,200 years ago the Egyptians were boasting of having destroyed of the Israelites.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merneptah_Stele#Mention_of_Israel

Rumors of our death seem to be exaggerated.

Mark Twain wrote an article in Harper's Magazine March, 1898: Concerning The Jews:

To conclude. - If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one per cent. of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star-dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers.

He has made a marvellous fight in this world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.

The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?


http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1898twain-jews.asp

Dave said...

1. You're talking of the longevity of the race. None of the things that Twain mentions are Judaism itself.

2. "Spoken like man who knows nothing about women"--Although I shall remain anonymous, I recently celebrated my 30th anniversary. Which is more than what you could claim :-).

My wife, BTW, is a 3rd degree black belt in Okinawan Karate (Shorin Ru) and could probably kick my ass (although I've never tested her).

jewish philosopher said...

"None of the things that Twain mentions are Judaism itself."

He was referring to religion as well.

Twain wrote in that article:
"In the present paper I shall allow myself to use the word Jew as if it stood for both religion and race."

Today, I believe that few scholars consider Jews to be a race.

http://judaism.about.com/od/judaismbasics/a/beingjewish.htm

"Although I shall remain anonymous"

Anonymous bloggers have zero credibity when discussing their personal lives.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/a-gay-girl-in-damascus-displays-ease-of-fudging-authenticity-online/2011/06/13/AGxBWkTH_story.html

Dave said...

Does this mean that all rabbis have no credibility?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/wheaton-rabbi-pleads-guilty-to-fraud-in-torah-scheme/2012/02/02/gIQAKvShlQ_story.html

jewish philosopher said...

Creating false online biographies is so effortless that anyone who takes bloggers biographies serious without a lot of independent corroberation is an idiot.

It never fails to amaze me when anonymous bloggers make some statement like "I'm an atheist however I never drink or use drugs and I spend my free time volunteering in a homeless shelter." Yeah, right.

Dave said...

Do we actually know what YOU do in your private time,, away from the prying eyes of your wife, when not blogging? Maybe you are a peeping Tom. Or have a secret homosexual lover. Or perhaps worship molech.

But who cares?

jewish philosopher said...

I'm just saying that based on your comments you sound like an immature kid who knows nothing about real women, and your baseless assertion to the contrary is worthless.

Dave said...

Hmm. Because of my disagreement with your comment that most women find feminism as hypocritical, you conclude that I am an immature kid?

Based on your comment, I regret to you inform you that your powers of observation , analysis and insight are extremely flawed. And wrong.

jewish philosopher said...

Some people remain emotionally adolescents forever.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/200910/arrested-development-when-adolescents-run-responsibili

Ironmistress said...

I am not defending ancient Greek or Roman culture. But a lot of Muslim and Christian (and Jewish) philosophy is directly descended from Aristotle, Plato and Democritus.

As is Talmud, FYI. Martin Luther analyzed Talmud and showed the berakhot are strikingly similar as the Pagan Platonic blessings.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of Golda Meir?