Putting Women In The Picture
Given the continuously unfolding debate about the absence of pictures of women from Orthodox publications, I would like to present some challenges to certain people on both the right and the left.
With his customary zeal for right-wing causes, Rabbi Avraham Gordimer defends this practice as follows: The religious prohibition regarding men arousing themselves by staring at women equally applies to staring at pictures of women. Hence, religious publications legitimately avoid printing pictures of women so as to avoid ensnaring men in this prohibition.
To them I ask as follows: If this argument is legitimate, then why would it not equally apply the other way too - that women should not go out of the house, so as not ensnare men in this prohibition?
At the other end of the spectrum, some are apparently claiming that there are no differences between men and women when it comes to their desires towards the opposite sex.
To them, I would like to point out the fascinating statistics revealed by the hacking of the Ashley Madison adultery website. It turns out that the active female users numbered just fifteen hundred, whereas the active male users of the website numbered over twenty million!
Judaism recognizes that the problem of wandering eyes and thoughts apply more to men than to women. On the other hand, it does not maintain that as a result, women should be banished from sight. They are to do their share by maintaining a certain degree of modesty, and the rest of the onus is upon men to suppress their thoughts, not to suppress women.