The Guardian and the forgotten White Knights

It is getting harder and harder to grasp the excellence of insanity in fields crowded by seeds of politically correct nonsense. Nevertheless The Guardian succeeded.

Harriet Sherwood, on The Guardian “columns”, has published another enlightened article, with the following title: “Israeli airline urged to stop ‘bullying’ of women by ultra-orthodox passengers”.

In short, the news is:

Israel’s national airline, El Al, has been criticised for allowing ultra-orthodox Jewish men to disrupt flights by refusing to be seated next to women. A petition on change.org is demanding that the carrier “stop the bullying, intimidation and discrimination against women on your flights.

Uhm, men refusing to seat close to women, interesting. And this translates in discrimination against women. Let’s dig it.

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One flight last week, from New York’s JFK airport to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, descended into chaos according to passengers, after a large group of haredim, or ultra-orthodox Jews, refused to take their seats next to women, in accordance with strict religious customs.

Honestly, I do not share the beliefs of these orthodox Jewish men, due to my atheism. Nevertheless, I find their requests hardly objectionable.

According to Amit Ben-Natan, (a passenger) “People stood in the aisles and refused to go forward. Although everyone had tickets with seat numbers that they purchased in advance, they asked us to trade seats with them, and even offered to pay money, since they cannot sit next to a woman. It was obvious that the plane won’t take off as long as they keep standing in the aisles.”

Saddly airplanes do not take off with people standing, It’s due to gravitational implication of flying. When patriarchy will be defeated, we’ll be dealing with the gravity. One enemy at a time. By the way, one thing appears clear; to insist for switching places is now “bullying”. If you dare to offer money you add objectification to bullying, pretty clear.

Another passenger added: “I ended up sitting next to a haredi man who jumped out of his seat the moment we had finished taking off and proceeded to stand in the aisle.”

Patriarchy vs gravity, what a dilemma for that man. To harass standing close to her, or to harass moving away from her?

On a different flight, Elana Sztokman, executive director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance: “What happened to me on this flight isn’t that different from what happens on almost every flight. You get on a plane, and the plane is about to take off but a whole bunch of ultra-orthodox men start playing around, moving around, whispering, moving back and forth trying to find different seats … Anyone who’s ever travelled on El Al has experienced this.”

Said Emma, a Jewish Orthodox Feminist witness. It’s religion inside religion … religion nesting.

Sztokman’s flight came at the end of a US speaking tour on her new book, The War on Women in Israel: A Story of Religious Radicalisation and Women Fighting for Freedom

What a fortunate coincidence, isn’t it?

Sharon Shapiro (BA in Women’s Studies), from Chicago, the organiser of the online petition said it was “not right that female passengers are being intimidated or harassed. It’s one thing to ask nicely, but if someone says no, they should not be put under pressure”

I agree Sharon; it is not ok to harass people, or just women? Details. Just a clarification: who is put under pressure? The women asked to exchange seat, or the Jewish Orthodox men prescribed not to sit close to a female? Can you figure out where the belief  of those men comes from? Come on Sharon, you can do it, yes you can…

Myla Kaplan of Haifa said: “I no longer feel comfortable flying on El Al due to the bullying and delays and general humiliation of being asked to move out of a seat I reserved in advance.”

The humiliation of moving out of seat for complying, pragmatically, with harmless religious beliefs? Disappointing maybe, but humiliating? Come on. I believed humiliation was something else. Like, for instance, when you are made to feel as “owning the seed of evil”. Such as when you cannot access a train compartment in order to secure, with your absence, a safer place for women; or when you are kindly reminded not to masturbate in public; or when you are asked to move out from a seat close to a minor boy or girl in order to reduce the risk of sexual abuse.

The author then continues:

The outcry over flights comes against a backdrop of moves by hardline ultra-orthodox communities in Israel to impose dress codes on women, restrictions on where they can sit on public buses, segregated checkout queues in supermarkets and the removal of women’s images from advertising hoardings.

This is an ever increasing dilemma: objectification vs segregation, a hard choice. And I imagine the “dress code” applies only to women, am I right?

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Dear The Guardian, let’s be clear, I do understand that the “fligh situation” can be disappointing. But terms like “bullying”, “humiliation” are just non sense. And the whole article seems to be … what it is, a pretext, another occasion to promote the sisterhood and present another volume of feminist literature. The never ending enciclopedia of the never existed “War on Women”.

Well, I’ll do the same because my article is a pretext as well, because this stuff of “orthodox Jewish beliefs” and public transport, recalls something in my memory.

The She Taxi She Rides!

It is not HeForShe in this case, it is the SheForShe. The prefix is a variable, the suffix is the constant.

Indeed, just a couple of weeks ago I encountered this article: “New Service Offers Taxis Exclusively for Women”, dealing with a taxi company in NY where the only drivers and clients allowed were women. Apartheid? Of course not, don’t be silly, please.

In this article, one paragraph attracted my attention:

Miriam Malave, 54, a livery driver in Brooklyn for three decades, said she gets more requests than she can handle, often from Hasidic women in Williamsburg who will only ride with women

Interesting, isn’t it? Apparently, for orthodox Jewish women, not only a male passenger to split the bill is not an option, but not even a male driver is. It must be male oppression, patriarchal subjugation, what else? Why Jewish women freely moving in the USA should ever take a “no man allowed” taxi, if not for the fear of a severe patriarchal punishment is case they disobey?

So, let’s combine the two situations now:

  • men, in a public space, under the scrutiny of other people, asking for seats not close to females;
  • women, in a private situation, asking for a taxi without male presence.

Two options are on the table.

  1. Either the root of such behaviours resides in men considering women a disgrace and inferior beings to keep at reasonable distance,
  2. or alternatively, it stems form a beliefs system where a man close to a woman represents a potential threat, or at least a form of “lack of respect”

One of the two.

Apparently the behaviour of the males seems compatible with both the two options. On the contrary, the behaviour of the females fits only with the second option, don’t you think so?

Just a guess, but could it be the case that the strict moral doctrine of that orthodox branch of the Jewish religion puts women so high on a pedestal, that boys, and then men, interiorize the sense of shame so deeply to refuse to put at risk the dignity and safety of women, simply by sitting close to them? Does still anyone remember the old chivalry code?

And on the contrary, in case you’d consider the first “patriarcal” option more suitable to justify the self segregation of the ortodox Jewish people, how did you frame to the nowadays cultural development, under the flag of feminism? Why do the battle for “women rights”, the crusade against “gender violence”, etcetera, overlap so nicely with the ever increasing initiatives for women only spaces, for women safe spaces, and sex segregations that span “pink train carriages”, “pink taxis” and surreal proposals for “pink lanes in highways”? Should I mention the policies of “western” airline companies dealing with adult male passengers and unattended minors (make a web search of “Johnny McGirr “or “Mirko Fischer”)? Wouldn’t it sound weird that feminims and patriarchy stemming from opposite positions, get to the same concluson: “keep” women safe from men? Indeed, it is not possible.

The first option, is not an option.  I’m pretty sure you will agree.

The point is that feminims is pretty much a religion. And all religions, I would say almost all moral codes, stem from the same “antropological” root: the sacredness of women. A belief that lead also to some form of mutual “segregation”. It is, simply put, gynocentrism, a deeply rooted driving force of our civilization, of which current feminism recognizes only half of the implications.

My dear Guardian, these poor men deserved a better deal. They just expressed a chivalry code thas has been forgotten, behaviours that will soon be regretted by the very same people that now deprecate them.

Those men just wanted to play a role passed down by previous generations; to be “white knights” deidcated to guard the fortress of blind and ever more entitled princesses; knights wielding swords against themselves and expecting a moral reward that will never come.

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