Friday, July 25, 2008

Mind-blowingly Stupidest Quote of the Week

The Forward has an article on the battle over Mehadrin buses in Israel this week. In it, one of the women who favor segregation made the following statement (emphasis mine):

I see Haredi women who sit at the back as being the Israeli Rosa Parks,” said writer Shira Leibowitz Schmidt, one of the leading proponents of segregation. “We see it as a stand against the deterioration of standards in the public arena, and view the chance to sit at the back without men gazing at us as a form of empowerment.”

Um..... words just fail me on this one. If you want to argue that the Mehadrin system has it's merits, then by all means go ahead and do so. If you want to say it makes you feel more comfortable to sit in an area with no men, then say so. If you think the plan has merits and should include every bus line, then, please, make your arguments. But to compare yourself to Rosa Parks is simply mind-blowingly ignorant. You realize that she refused to sit in the back, right? She fought for the right to sit anywhere on the bus she darned well pleased. In her case, it was about race, but I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that had it been gender, her reaction would have been the same.

Oh, and one last point...

Men can still gaze at you. Sitting in the back of the bus doesn't solve that problem. All they have to do is turn around.

The Wolf

Hat tip: Pravda Ne'eman

9 comments:

ProfK said...

Your reasoning was solid Wolf but this little gem also needed addressing "“We see it as a stand against the deterioration of standards in the public arena." Okay, I'll bite, show me the standards in Israel or anywhere which had segregated public transportation by sex. What standards are deteriorating? Yes, there was racial descrimination, but sex segregation? With the exception of a few "mehadrin" busses in Monsey and in Israel, the public standard has always been mixed seating.

tnspr569 said...

Nice one, Wolf.

triLcat said...

yeah - it's a terrible deterioration of standards - allowing men and women to interact. Might lead to *gasp* male-female marriage.

Shoshana Chanayah said...

I disagree with you and your commentators. She is being far more multidimensional in her thinking than you are. You are all being, frankly, shallow and superficial. It is true that Rosa Parks performed the opposite action to achieve her purpose, but there is an underlying unity of purpose here which they are trying to meet by performing the exact opposite action. Parks was protesting against the inequality of blacks. These women, apparently, feel that they are protesting against the immodesty of modern Israeli society. This is a cause which they believe is just as immoral and detrimental to the fabric of society as racial segregation. And as far as "deterioration of standards in the public arena"- I don't know enough about Israel, but come on. I am not that old, but I can still remember when there were not large posters of scantily clad women all over the streets. I remember when you could listen to the news without having to take a cold shower. It is the general deterioration that she is referring to and if you can't understand that, I can only view it as willful and deliberate misunderstanding.
There are two problems that you people seem to be having over here. First, you clearly identify with the value of desegregation and equality amongst men and women of all colors and creeds. But you do not seem to really to appreciate the value of modesty. And for this reason it is easy for you to esteem the former and denigrate and mock the latter. Second, you again are proceeding from the point of view of western values and not torah values when you declare that Rosa Parks would not be caught dead in the back of the bus over gender either. The point of this is not gender. It is an issue of modesty. The women do not want to be looked at and the men don't want to look. They are equals in this deal. It is a mutual concern for proper modesty in the public sector. To view this as a discrimination against women issue means you are not even looking at the same issue as the people who are doing this. You are imposing your own western biases and thereby interpreting what they are doing in a perverted manner.
Now, for all of that, I'm not saying I actually agree with the whole idea of mehadrin buses. And clearly, as you point out, it doesn't neccessarily solve the problem anyway. But I can think of all sorts of ways of arguing against this practice that do not involve misinterpreting the issue at stake, the motives of the people involved, and mocking, deriding and wilful misunderstanding of words.

Yosi said...

"Men can still gaze at you. Sitting in the back of the bus doesn't solve that problem. All they have to do is turn around."

A heck of a lot better than it staring you in the face nad almost having no choice but to look.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

it's called appropriation of your opponent's terminology and symbology

Is That A Word? said...

symbology?

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

yes, it is a word.

see definition #2:

http://www.bartleby.com/61/82/S0958200.html

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

btw, if she's so tznius that she wants to sit in the back of the bus, maybe she shouldn't be making public statements to the media, hm?