Because We Were Slaves: Israel’s Sex Trade – Addendum

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After our last post on modern day slavery dealing with the Israeli Sex Trade, Mobius at Jewschool posted a 1 hour long film clip from Israel. Made up of three episodes from 2 different shows broadcast on Israeli TV, the clips (in Hebrew with English subtitles) expose the extent of the problem in Israel. Featuring interviews with women forced into prostitution, police spokesmen, pimps and social workers, it was painful for me to watch given that I love Israel so much. Please watch the clip and do whatever you can to erase this blight from our midst. Also feel free to make a donation using the PayPal button below which will be given to the organizations fighting this problem or make your contribution directly to the Task Force on Human Trafficking.

After you see this clip, please consider clicking on the button below and donating any sum of money at all. Anything will do. Let’s try and get it to at least over $500! We’re close but we need your help – thanks! Also feel free to read our previous posts on the subject:

Israel’s Sex Trade
Because We Were Slaves










Founder of Jewlicious? Publisher? Man I hate titles. I coined the name Jewlicious and I slave over the site. I live in Jerusalem and I need to get some breakfast.

125 Comments

  1. themiddle

    4/8/2006 at 11:26 pm

    Do you have a fund to which we can contribute that will help fire shitty Israeli policemen and officers and replace them with people of higher quality?

  2. Joe Schmo

    4/8/2006 at 11:27 pm

    What do you expect in an anti-G-d irreligious state?!

    A state that fights religion -

    Fact: without the fear of G-d there are no morals.

  3. themiddle

    4/8/2006 at 11:47 pm

    According to the report, 1,000,000 men use these services in Israel every month. That would mean that a significant portion, if not the entire population of males in their teenage years and over are using these services. I find that hard to believe.

  4. ck

    4/9/2006 at 12:02 am

    No TM – the figure cited refers to 1 million visits to prostitutes a month. Some men visit moore than once. The figure is shameful but also well within the bounds of credulity.

  5. themiddle

    4/9/2006 at 1:03 am

    Perhaps I misheard. Then again, they had one woman claiming 20 – 25 men a day. Assuming we halve that to 10 – 12 a day and assuming we count 250 days a year when she’s servicing men, she alone has 2500 – 3000 visits per year. Using her numbers, you would be over 5000 visits for this woman alone. if we accept the 3000 per year new arrivals figure, with the 2500 visit figure, you arrive at 7,500,000 visits to prostitutes. Even if you have people who go 10 times a year, you’d still have 750,000 male clients just for those 3000 women.

    My point is that we don’t know that this is credible and the numbers don’t add up. If they do, then I say again that you’d have to have the participation of huge segments of the Israeli male population. I’m not debating here, just thinking in writing.

    The one thing these videos and articles make clear is that the pimps seem to have a lot less stress in their lives than these prostitutes whom they abuse. When one considers the callousness of the police to the women, as shown in these videos, one can only conclude that Israeli society is not overly concerned about this issue.

  6. Purim Hero

    4/9/2006 at 4:06 am

    Does it really matter if their numbers are acurate or exagerated? If it’s happening it’s bad, period. I love Israel, and it is precisly because of my love that I have to come out against this openly and strongly. Something needs to be done. Donating is a great start, one that I’ve done as well as many others, and many more hopefully will. But, donating money to an organization is not enough. We need to be willing to speak up and criticize things in Israel that are bad, and realize that only through that criticism do we actually support Israel. We don’t support it by ignoring its problems, but by making Israeli society aware and concerned so that it can change for the better.

  7. themiddle

    4/9/2006 at 5:05 am

    Do the numbers matter? Well, I guess they do for two reasons. You want to speak the truth whenever you can, especially if you advocate for something. Second, it’s hard to gauge the scope of the problem without numbers.

    Of course the problem is horrible and aside from making a financial contribution, I think people should speak out and make as many decision-makers in Israel aware of this. It’s incredible (in a bad way) to hear these senior police officers discuss this issue, they are so cynical and jaded that they really don’t seem to care about the women or their victimization.

    So yeah, from a moral and ethical standpoint, the numbers don’t matter. Even if there is one woman being used for these activities against her will, that is intolerable. It just seemed incredible to me that so many men would be customers because if they are, every one of them is complicit in this crime against these women.

  8. laya

    4/9/2006 at 5:26 am

    Not to let this devolve into a numbers debate, but Middle, why would you assume they work only 250 days a year? You think they get vacation time? or maybe shabbos and holidays off?

    The other 115 days a year, when they could be making pimps money, their captors let them go ride ferris wheels and eat cotton candy instead?

    These girls don’t get days off. Let alone 115 of them.

    Furthermore, there are people who visit brothels much more than 10 times a year. There are individuals who will visit once a week or more.

    If you want to crunch the numbers again, don’t forget to factor in that they estimate that there are about 3,000 women kept against their will. That is in addition to those who are prostitutes by choice.

    But tell me again how good it is for women today as evidenced by the fact the we can go to university now (remember Marina from the last post has a degree in physics!)? In case anyone thinks this only happens in backwards countries like Israel, roughly 20,000 women are smuggled into the US every year to work as sex slaves. That number does not take into account existing US residents such as kidnapped girls. A world in which men can frequent prostitutes not caring if they are there willingly or not, a world in which police treat such girls as if they are the perpetrators of crimes and not the victims, is a world in which no woman is really truly equal.

    You are absolutely right that every man visiting one of these girls in complicit in this crime. Speaking out against it is in large part why we are doing this series. I really believe that most people are simply not aware of the prevalence of slavery, which extends far beyond the sex trade, and how we all are complicit in it (it is slavery which produces those bananas we love to buy for $.19/lb). But money still matters too.

    If even 1/10 of our readers were to donate just $10 or more, it could make a really big impact.

  9. mobius

    4/9/2006 at 7:23 am

    dave, a lil html advice: if you don’t want the 8 blank lines above the paypal button, condense the form code into one line. it doesn’t need to be split up as it is preformatted.

  10. themiddle

    4/9/2006 at 2:20 pm

    Actually, Laya, I was minimizing the number of work days because I wanted to arrive at a low-ball estimate. I also doubt they get days off, so your sarcasm is out of place here.

    As to your comment about how this somehow relates to the conversation about things being better or worse for women now, I have to tell you that it has no place in this discussion. There are also tens of thousands of homeless people in the US and Israel, does that mean that the situation is as bad as it was, say, during the Great Depression? In fact, what makes this sex slavery situation so abhorrent is that one would think that our society would be adamantly opposed to it because it has made tremendous strides toward equality and diversity.

  11. laya

    4/9/2006 at 2:52 pm

    what is the point exactly of arriving at a low ball estimate when your premise is to question the figures.

    I think womens equality very much does have a place in this discussion. Equality does not just mean accessibility to education. Equality also means equal respect.

    As long as a womans bodily integrity and dignity are so easily disrespected and ignored, not just by the pimps but by the police(!), women are not equal.

    I am not rendered equal by sole virtue my ability to attend university, but also by my ability to walk safely across the campus at night.

    I don’t know what your example of the great depression is supposed to prove, because I never said it was “as bad as” any time. Whereas your argument that women today ARE equal in pretty much every way could be likened to an argument that says “because homelessness is so much better than it was in the great depression, it really isn’t a problem today at all”

    You are right that society has made tremendous strides, but these women have another thing working against them – they are poor. If rich white girls were being kidnapped and sold into slavery to be raped and beaten and forced to service men, it would be on the nightly news every day until it stopped.

  12. themiddle

    4/9/2006 at 3:36 pm

    The point of a low ball estimate is that it’s harder to challenge. I was being generous with the numbers to try to come up with a realistic assessment because if the numbers are greater than I posit, it makes my point all that much more clear.

    Okay, so now we are talking about poverty as the cause for these women’s inequality? Fine, we’re in agreement on that, but I don’t understand what you’re getting at with the rest of it. Are you saying that equality is achieved when men and women are exactly the same? Prostitution exists and is primarily conducted by women because men’s sexual needs seem to be different than women’s. As I understand it, there are also gigolos out there. Are you saying that when men don’t have strong sexual urges that need to be satisfied in some way, that this is when women will be equal?

    I don’t think the equality issue is part of this debate. The police is treating this issue disrespectfully because they are prostitutes and prostitutes are typically considered to rank low on society’s ladder. That has nothing to do with women’s role in society, although I do think Israel’s progress towards equality between the sexes lags behind the US, perhaps even by a lot (even if they did have, as you put it, a “token” female prime minister).

    We’re talking about rapes on campus as part of equality? Again, you’re confusing the issue of sexuality and violence with equality in society. Men don’t get mugged or held up? Of course they do. People who rape are sick individuals and are not representative of their society. If you can’t walk across campus safely at night, this is not due to inequality but to a different set of issues altogether.

    Also, at no point did I say that we don’t live in highly sexualized societies where the sexuality we see in the media doesn’t permeate our lives. In fact, I addressed this point and did indicate that the same sexualization of our lives has also empowered women in ways that they have almost never been empowered in the past couple millenia.

    We agree that things aren’t perfect or equal yet, but the “tremendous strides” women have made have already changed the lives of most women in the West and will continue to do so.

  13. Ben-David

    4/9/2006 at 4:02 pm

    Laya – can you post shorter clips? This one takes forever to load. Moby is generally internet savvy – he should know that 1 hour long is not the most appropriate format for internet video.

    Keep posting about this important issue!
    Happy Pesach!

  14. laya

    4/9/2006 at 4:23 pm

    Poverty is not the CAUSE of women’s inequality, I simply mentioned that it is one more thing these terribly unfortunate women have against them when it comes to getting society up in arms about it.

    There are gigolos, but there is no multi billion dollar industry of images which women consume of hot young men with long and always erect penises perpetually ready to pleasure them. Gigolos (meaning men who service women) also represent a tiny fraction of the prostitution industry. In order to make a living, most have to serve mostly men and the occasional woman.

    Go ahead and find me a website for men who service women.

    I am not saying at all that “when men don’t have sexual urges…” and I don’t know from what you would infer that.

    What I would say is that when men at large begin to care that the woman fulfilling his sexual urge is doing so willingly (this applies equally to date rape as to prostitution), that will be one huge step towards real equality.

    You say prostitution has nothing to do with women’s role in society, but it does! because those women ARE a part of women in society. The tremendous amount of men they service are also effected by this notion of bodies as commodity.

    Yes, we are absolutely talking about campus rape as part of equality. I don’t think I am confusing anything; violence and sexuality absolutely has to do with REAL equality. Equality means equal respect as much as it means equal accessibility.

    If a man does not respect my right to decide whether I will give or withhold my body from him, then he does not respect my basic humanity. If my basic humanity is not respected, I am not equal.

    The 20,000 women brought into the US every year to work as sex slaves and the 3,000 a year brought into Israel are there unwillingly. Every man who is with them, is, as the woman in the video said, is raping them.

    But back on campus, it’s a non starter, if you can’t make a distinction between the fear a man has of getting mugged and the fear a woman has of getting raped, you really don’t understand the issue at all. Let’s put it this way – Most rapes happen by men who are friends or acquaintances with the women. Men they trust to some degree. Your friends and acquaintances don’t mug you. Trust me, it’s a mind fuck.

    Allow me to repeat myself:

    If a man does not respect my right to decide whether I will give or withhold my body from him, then he does not respect my basic humanity. If my basic humanity is not respected, I am not equal.

  15. laya

    4/9/2006 at 4:24 pm

    Ben-David, ck posted this one.

  16. ofri

    4/9/2006 at 4:42 pm

    you tell him, laya. good for you.

  17. themiddle

    4/9/2006 at 5:23 pm

    Yeah, Laya, you are right. I understand nothing.

    To hear you, I can only conclude that you don’t have the opportunity to thrive in this society, to get a good education, find a good job, live in safety, express your thoughts openly, vote for your candidate of choice, run for office, open a business, decide exactly how you will behave sexually and with whom, travel as you wish, live where you choose, and call the police if things, God forbid, go horribly wrong. I mean, omigod, Cosmo – created and edited by women – has another thin woman on the cover and there goes your equality!!!!

    This is your response to my points about equality in society? You acknowledge “great strides” but then come at me that as long as there is prostitution or campus rape, you are still unequal?

    Men are terrible people and women are all our victims.

    As long as I look at a woman and think, hmmm, attractive, then you don’t have equality? On the other hand, if I look at a woman and think that she’s smart and well educated, since some guy might rape her, that also shows there is no equality in society. Is that what I’m hearing?

    Not all of us go to prostitutes, Laya, nor are we all rapists, nor do we quash your ability to live as you like and pursue all the things I list above. If these statements sound foolish to you, consider how ridiculous it is for me to hear you say that you are unequal in society because you might be raped by a male friend.

    A very small percentage of males are rapists. Are you telling me that if there is a 0.1% chance that you will be raped on any given evening if you walk alone on campus, or even if you are in the room with a man you know well, that there is inequality between men and women in society? If there is a 1% chance that, God forbid, you will be raped, does that become your bar for equality versus inequality?

    Sorry, I don’t think rape is related to equality at all. It is related to violence. It is related to sexuality. It is about one person seeking to be with another and using violence to achieve this end. If you note, alcohol is often involved in the type of campus rape to which you allude. The alcohol suggests to me, again, violence and base instincts, which have little to do with how society functions or even how people function when they are sober. These issues are problematic, but I don’t see what they have to do with equality between the sexes.

    Prostitution is not about inequality between the sexes either, and while it may involve violence, it is primarily about commerce. There may be inequality in terms of power or income between the prostitute and her pimp or client, but it is not inequality between men and women as Heidi Fleiss would tell you.

    That pimp in the news clip has a wife and two daughters and he explicitly states that he feels sorry for the prostitutes that he pimps. He also explains he does it…for the money. He would never do such a thing to his wife and kids. So what is the difference between a woman he abuses in this way and his wife? There is obviously a difference.

    These prostitutes are exactly what you said, commodities. This is what makes their plight so horrible and the actions of these men so heinous, they are not only harming these women but they are also stealing their basic humanity by turning them into money-making widgets. They don’t even have the excuse of alcohol. These men go home to their families after hiring a prostitute and treat the women in their lives completely differently.

  18. David Kelsey

    4/9/2006 at 5:27 pm

    Where did my comment go?

  19. David Kelsey

    4/9/2006 at 5:33 pm

    Okay — I’m trying again.

    Laya, I don’t accept the equating of prostitution with rape, because of the following assumtions:

    1) The woman does not express she is being raped to the John.

    2) The John does not perceive or intend to rape her.

    3) The John does not physcially force her to have sex, and physical force by the rapist or at least at the time of rape is a key component for rape.

    If you truly do believe that it is rape, then don’t you also need to charge any man caught whoring with rape?

    I don’t support that. Do you really support that, Laya?

  20. David Kelsey

    4/9/2006 at 5:36 pm

    Laya, does begging a girl you are friends or aquaintances with also count as attempted rape? Cause I have this, er, friend, who may have done that before.

  21. themiddle

    4/9/2006 at 5:41 pm

    Ofri, I am not Laya’s enemy. Nor am I yours.

  22. Joe Schmo

    4/9/2006 at 5:49 pm

    I agree with TM over Laya on the fact that this is unrelated to equality.
    It has to do with those who don’t care about others whether men or women but only care about satisfying their own desires.

    Don’t you all see what happens when there is a flood somewhere and burgler alarms and the police aren’t there?! There is immediate looting and robbing. If there is nothing forcing people to act correctly they will do whatever fulfills their desires.

    In ‘Ethics of the fathers’ (Pirkei Avoth) it says that government and police are important because without that “Each person would swallow his friend alive…”

    You are all ignoring the real issue- that is the fear of G-d. Be open and understand the truth don’t block it out because it bothers you:

    The only reason a person would not fulfill their base desires, aside for being forced not to by laws, is if they fear G-d.

    A society that does not fear G-d will over time turn into Sodom and Gemorrah.

  23. ofri

    4/9/2006 at 5:53 pm

    i didn’t say you were, or even imply it. i simply disagree strongly with the things you’re saying, and laya is doing a pretty good job of explaining what’s wrong with them, therefore i see no need to expand on it. your defensiveness is bewildering.

  24. laya

    4/9/2006 at 5:53 pm

    wow, middle you really DON’T understand.

    Where have I said that I do not have opportunities to live and thrive in society, educate myself, vote et al?

    Nowhere.

    You are completely misreading me, as well as projecting a whole set of radical feminist beliefs upon me. By the way, for the record, no, I do not think that marriage is institutionalized rape a la Andrea Dworkin.

    I took umbrage with your position that because women can go to university and earn more than their husbands, clearly they are equal in every way.

    Physical safety is an aspect of equality. Because of biological differences, women are naturally more at risk than men.

    I can be a Ph.D, a CEO, or a fireman, but the fact remains that you as a man don’t have to think about half the things i do walking alone at night.

    I cannot travel anywhere I wish precisely because I am a woman, and calling the police if something god forbid happens, if often a laughable exercise. Up until just a few years ago, almost all rape laws were designed to protect men from false charges.

    Wanna talk about how how rape is a part of how society functions? – “one in three think that women are partially or wholly responsible for being raped if they are drunk, and more than a quarter believe women are responsible if they wear sexy or revealing clothing.” source (uk)

    Again, NOWHERE have I said all women are victims. No where have I said all men are rapists (god forbid!) Nowhere have I said that all prostitution is bad.

    I have made a distinction between willing and unwilling prostitution that you ignore. However, non-consensual sex is non-consensual sex, be it involuntary prostitution or good old fashioned rape.

    It is misleading and disengenuous to say that women are equal simply on the basis of equal opportunity to jobs and education, as you seem to think. More equal today? Yes. Equal period? No.

    Don’t project this whole array of radical feminist beliefs upon me TM. Can you saw strawman? I thought I was pretty clear, try rereading my post, and rethinking it without the reactionary stance and projections. Until then, I will hold by my position that you do indeed know nothing of this issue.

  25. ck

    4/9/2006 at 5:57 pm

    Prostitution is not generally considered rape DK. But lets look at the reality of the situation in certain cases.

    Trafficked prostitutes generally cost less than your average professional hooker. In Israel, an escort costs about 450 NIS, and the woman will come to you, well dressed and friendly and will stay with you for up to an hour at a time. Trafficked prostitutes generally cost less – as little as 120 NIS for the basic in/out service. Their job is to get you off as quickly as possible, the faster the better and in any case, no longer than 20 minutes – although with most men usually between 5 and 10 minutes. Trafficked prostitutes don’t get out much and even in the middle of summer remain pale. They tend to be listless and mechanical and often whacked out. Any man who cannot tell the difference between a willing sex trade worker and a woman who is kept indoors and fucking upwards of 25 men a day is simply being willfully blind. And it’s not like the media hasn’t reported on the existence of these women in Israel. Any John who sleeps with these women is in effect raping them because they are not willingly consenting. When consent is obtained by threat of violence, given by a third party or obtained by virtue of drugs or alcohol – that’s not consent and non-consensual sex is rape.

    There are at least 3000 prostitutes in Israel who are having non-consensual sex every day with upwards of 25 men. That’s 75,000 rapes a day. This of course does not apply to all sex trade workers, but it remains a totally horrifying figure nonetheless.

    Oh and people? DONATE! Do it!

  26. laya

    4/9/2006 at 5:59 pm

    DK –
    there is a huge distiction between voluntary and involuntary prositution.

    like I said: Non-consensual sex is non-consensual sex, be it involuntary prostitution or good old fashioned rape.

    And no, a man who begs is certainly not a rapist. The girl has the right to say no, even if one could argue a certain amount of emotional manipulation.

  27. michael

    4/9/2006 at 6:03 pm

    Fear of God? Where the hell do you get off? If fear of God is any sort of factor in motivating people not to frequent prostitutes, why are such a large percentage of Israelis who visit sex workers religious, in particular Charedim?

    Because, hey, it’s okay to visit a whore if you’re Charedi, as long as she’s not Jewish. And the cheaper, the better!

  28. laya

    4/9/2006 at 6:05 pm

    and ofri, feel free to add your two cents, another womans thoughts would certianly be valuable!

  29. ck

    4/9/2006 at 6:21 pm

    TM! Straw man’s on the phone. He says he wants his argument back!

    That having been said I think you both brought up interesting points. All I can say is that having worked with a criminal lawyer, my day to day experiences and extensive research tends to bear out laya’s points. Yes – there is surface equality in Western society and women have indeed made great strides.

    But vestiges of the good ol’ days still remain. This is particularly apparent in areas related to female sexuality, namely sexual assault, prostitution and slave trafficking. Most victims of sexual assault are assaulted by someone they know and most do not report the crime. Despite great strides made in the legal system, the experience of pressing charges in most sexual assault cases is extremely harrowing, to say the very least.

    With respect to the trafficking of women as sex slaves, what little progress has been made in this area has only been made in the last 2-3 years and still the problem persists almost unabated.

    There remain in our societies institutionalized mechanisms that continue to out and out victimize women in ways that men are not victimized. If equality and justice are the goals, we as a society have much more work to do. I don’t want to minimize the great strides we’ve made thus far, but I also don’t want to diminish the scope and extent of what we still need to do.

    Did I mention that a donation today would be great?

  30. ofri

    4/9/2006 at 6:22 pm

    there’s no question which of us more articulate, laya, but i will say one this: to me, it’s perfectly obvious that these women are devalued and looked upon as worthless human beings. if they were seen as equal, this would not be happening to them. middle, the fact that the Russian pimp would not do what he does to his own wife or daughter doesn’t exactly make him a mensch in my book. he’s doing it to someone else’s daughter/sister/potential wife. yes, horrible things happen to men. men face discriminatio on the basis of race, religion, economic status, etc. unfortunately, women have all those inequalities to deal with on top of sexism. and this tendency of men to make women seem like we’re insane feminazi militants any time we try to explain our grievances (like the scuzzy client in the video) is pretty infuriating.
    Kelsey, most guys who date-rape (or the equivalent raping of a friend of acquaintance) don’t consider it rape either.

  31. David Kelsey

    4/9/2006 at 6:23 pm

    Laya,

    Then let’s say the prostitute is working because of force, and therefore the sexual exchange is, according to you, rape — should the penalty to the John be more?

    As for the begging thing, whew — thanks! My friend will be very relieved when I tell him.

    Michael, your unfortunate comment about “the cheaper the better” in terms of purchasing a prostitute’s services maligns the Haredi community unfairly, and I demand a retraction. They do not operate under a “the cheaper the better” policy towards prostitutes specifically, but have this attitude in general towards everything because in the Zionist Entity they are lazy and don’t like to work but prefer to suck on the State’s tit.

  32. ofri

    4/9/2006 at 6:25 pm

    well few things are more embarrassing than making multiple grammatical errors as one is explaining one’s own ineloquence. that first sentence of mine is a disaster.

  33. David Kelsey

    4/9/2006 at 6:48 pm

    Ofri,

    You are correct about the date rape situation. But the intent and actions of a John with a prostitute follow a similar process. Laya wants to say that when she is an independent contractor, it isn’t rape. I don’t think you can split it like that.

  34. michael

    4/9/2006 at 7:06 pm

    Michael, your unfortunate comment about “the cheaper the better” in terms of purchasing a prostitute’s services maligns the Haredi community unfairly, and I demand a retraction. They do not operate under a “the cheaper the better” policy towards prostitutes specifically, but have this attitude in general towards everything because in the Zionist Entity they are lazy and don’t like to work but prefer to suck on the State’s tit.

    Mmmmm…the sweet, cloying milk of the tax dollars of the secular Israeli Zionist Torah-hating goyish pigs…may _H-s-em!@_@! be praised for inventing a use for the mamzers…

  35. laya

    4/9/2006 at 7:28 pm

    —-

    DK- first of all lets get something straight – rape is not defined by violence as your said in point 3 of a previous comment, it’s define by lack of consent.

    Girls working as slaves in brothels did not consent to be there, and have no choice of consent to have sex. If they resist they are raped and beaten.

    The sexual exchange is not rape “according to me”. Most rape laws now insist that consent by a third party (ie, the pimp) is not consent.

    Say some guy kidnaps a nice young woman, and keeps her locked in a room in his house, chained to the bed with her legs spread. Say he lets men come and pay him to have sex with her. Would men think differently about it? I think most would. What happens to these girls is not that different – they just don’t have physical chains

    In the real world, no one is ever going to charge the john with rape, nonetheless, that does not change the fact that morally, he is culpable. He is complicit in the crime.

    Perhaps if men started looking at it like that, they would be much more apt to make sure the prostitutes they go to are in the industry willingly.

    My assertions are not meant to be acted on in the legal realm, but from a moral perspective, I believe they are still sound.

    Laya wants to say that when she is an independent contractor, it isn’t rape. I don’t think you can split it like that.

    You can have a pimp and have it not be rape. It is not a matter of being an independent contractor. It is not a matter of anything other than consent. I’ve had the uh…interesting experience of knowing a few pimps and prostitutes. They were call girls and they worked when and if the wanted. They can say what they will and will not do and expect it to be respected, and they also get paid for their services. At any given encounter they always had the right to say no.

  36. ofri

    4/9/2006 at 7:33 pm

    Kelsey, I don’t think the client is nearly as despicable as the pimp. But guilty is guilty. If you implicate yourself in this disgusting industry, you are enabling it. If the prostitute puts on a happy face and “consents” to the sex, then I could see the logic in the argument that there is only so much for which you can hold the John accountable. Like ck said, though, I think these guys know better. The client in the video made it perfectly clear that he knew the difference between a 400 shekel/hour call girl and an “exploited” 120 shekel wretch. And anyway, it’s not like these women have a real choice. If they tell the client they don’t want to have sex, they’ll be beaten or worse. I know it’s harsh, but punishing the clients and eliminating the demand is probably the most effective way of curbing the supply.

  37. Joe Schmo

    4/9/2006 at 7:36 pm

    Michael,
    Why are you so insulted? Notice that I was very careful to say fear G-d and not Haredi because I knew there were people like you ready to pounce.

    What I said is not rocket science. You or anybody can arrive at it by simple clear thinking.

    -and then you write: “why are such a large percentage of Israelis who visit sex workers religious, in particular Charedim?”
    –really Michael. What percentage is it? I’d love to hear because I am sure the percentages of them is much much less than that of the secular society.

    Guys like you who make obviously false statement due to a hatred of the religious are dangerous.

    Laya,
    I agree with you in the sense that there is no ‘true equality’ between men and woman. Look, Men are stronger, taller, and they control everything. I don’t know if its really possible for there to be real equality the way you might want it.
    -Not that it shouldn’t be but simply by the nature of it.
    You can try to approach it but you can’t get it exactly.

    Can the fox expect to be equal to the lion?! They are both carnivores but in the end one is larger and stronger. In the end that’s how it is. In order for woman to get rights (for example to vote) the men had to be convinced to allow it. ultimately its an uphill battle to try to make it more equal.

    At the same time it is also true that its not ‘because’ they are woman that there is this disgusting trade
    - its becasue people are animals and in the end and do whatever they crave.

    Woman being weaker physically and in certain respects psycologically can more easily be intimidated and lorded over which is why the ‘stronger animals’ in this world can subjegate the ‘weaker prey’ – to use such a parable.

    Sad, but the nature of it since the day Adam and Chava were created.

    Thats what I believe on this subject.

  38. dede

    4/9/2006 at 8:22 pm

    ah yes, joe. a woman like Laya, for example, is clearly showing a marked, inherent psychological weakness compared to you. And she’s so intimidated.

  39. michael

    4/9/2006 at 8:30 pm

    Why am I insulted? Because I’m sick of this high and mighty bullshit that spews forth from the mouths of certain religious people that supposed fear of God translates into a higher morality than that of us secular pigs.

    So here’s an interesting quote for you from a study on the Israeli sex trade and from a real live Israeli pimp:

    Israel’s demand for prostituted women may be bolstered by three groups — foreign workers, Orthodox Jews and Arabs. Many of Israel’s nearly 200,000 legal and illegal foreign workers are young, unattached men likely to buy sex. (Elisabeth Eaves, “Israel not the promised land for Russian sex slaves”, Reuters, 23 August 1998)

    Amir, a Tel Aviv pimp, said a woman could cost up to $20,000, depending on her looks. “It’s like a car. It depends how valuable she is,” he said, standing on a street lined with flashing lights advertising brothels near Tel Aviv’s old central bus station. Arabs and Orthodox Jews have “very strong taboos against sexual connections outside of marriage and therefore go to a place where they can do it more anonymously. It’s a matter of supply and demand,” he said. (Elisabeth Eaves, “Israel not the promised land for Russian sex slaves,” Reuters, 23 August 1998)

    Or from an Israeli anti-prostitution activist:

    “On the Jewish New year, I went down to the old bus station area to see what was happening,” Ben-Ami recalled. “there were young men queuing outside each brothel. When you look into the reception area you could see all these sad and upset women, and when they see you, they suddenly look up and smile. They are happy to see you because they have to be happy or else.”

    What particularly offends Ben-Ami is the haredin (orthodox Jews) who crowd the Tel Aviv brothels on Friday mornings and afternoons for a pre-Shabbat tumble.

    When you go to the area of the Stock Exchange or the Diamond Exchange, you see a lot of prostitution and a lot of very, very religious men – because these men need sex but the women in their society cannot give it to them when they want it. They also cannot masturbate because they cannot waste their sperm. So they have to do it with a women. These men also do not use condoms, therefore they must pay the pimps more. So in order to satisfy the needs of these men, we have to sacrifice these women.

    “Because these women are not human beings,” Greunpeter-Gold said indignantly. “They are foreign women. The religious prefer it to be with foreign women because then they don’t wrong Jewish women.”

    Ah, but of course, these people are those “guys who hate religious Jews” or whatever, so anything they say holds no water. Because to bring up the significant involvement of religious Jews in propagating the Israeli sex trade, or to call it hypocritical, or to mention that the very “fear of God” that you claim would motivate religious Jews to avoid prostitutes actually in many cases brings them to actively seek out their services, is just hatred of the religious.

    Which is not to say that there aren’t religious Jews working against slavery. Like ck and laya. Or the IRAC people (but then again, the IRAC people aren’t Orthodox, so I guess they’re not REALLY religious Jews, huh?)

    So, Joe, I highly recommend you return to whatever Kahanist hole you’ve been hiding out in. Because you’re not helping the cause of religious Jews any.

  40. Italian jew

    4/9/2006 at 9:20 pm

    How bad is the sex trade in Israel?

  41. David Kelsey

    4/9/2006 at 9:21 pm

    Laya,

    I said force, not violence. I meant to include other types of coercion, not just violence.

    I hear what you are saying, but I still disagree with Ofri’s demand of punishing the client.

    Punish the pimp — we all agree with that. But going after the clients…

    There is always a great reason given to attack the users of vice.

    It tooke us decades to get rid of those awful Rockefeller Laws in New York.

    The only way to seriously curtail the brutality of the pimps is to legalize and regulate the industry. I realize that this will not be possible in Israel, but then we have to accept that an underground industry of Vice will have abuses. It will be cat and mouse, it can be reduced, but no, Ofri, you will never fully eradicate prostitution. But yes, you can ruin the lives of a few who solicit their service.

    Ofri, I think you are terribly wrong in your willingness to endorse draconian methods against the Johns. There is always an excuse to go after the users of Vice, and there is always truth in the claims. But decent people get hurt this way. During prohibition, many people became crippled because of the concoctions they drank.

    People went to jail for drugs in the sixties, a terrible and unnecessary waste of life.

    In CT, peoples’ careers were ruined when the cops started busting the Johns.

    When the Federal government outlawed marijuana in the thirties (or early forties?), no public official dared to protest too loundly.

    Except one. The Little Flower (LaGuardia) condemned the law.

  42. ofri

    4/9/2006 at 10:50 pm

    Kelsey, I’d argue that when people buy drugs or illegal hooch for private consumption they are not directly harming anyone except potentially themselves. You seem really concerned with the lives/careers of these Johns. What about the women held against their will and fucked 25 times a day? When a person physically violates a woman he knows is being held against her will and treated as a slave, it’s wrong. There’s a way to be a responsible consumer in every market, including the sex trade. I assume men go to these places because the girls are cheaper, so they must know that they’re cheaper because they don’t get paid, and if there’s proof that the guy is aware of what he’s doing, I see no reason why he shouldn’t be held accountable for it. Do you feel sorry for the pimp in the video telling the reporter about how he can’t pay the bills and he’s got kids to feed, blah, blah? Cry me a fucking river. It’s hard, yes. Lots of people in Israel are working their asses off and can’t make ends meet and it sucks. But there’s no excuse in the world for what these people are doing. Not the pimps, not the traffickers, not the Johns, nor the cops and bureaucrats who are turning a blind eye. If this comes off as overly aggressive, please realize that my anger is not directed at you, but at this frustrating situation.

  43. DK

    4/9/2006 at 11:47 pm

    Ofri,

    Your comment about drug purchasing not harming anyone except themselves is absolutely wrong. Unfortunately, these drug rings are networks of criminals and worse, terrorist rings that benefit from each and every wholesale purchase.

    You attack suggesting I feel badly about the pimps was dead wrong, as I previously stated (quite clearly) that they should be targeted, so if you are going to be vitrolic in your attacks, at least get them right.

    The fact that you are uninterested in differentiating between levels of culpability and injustice suggests that you have not thought this through and are reacting emotionally and in a shrill fashion, and therefore at this time it is my assessment that you are in no position to dictate a policy change (on this specific issue) on any level to the State of Israel.

  44. Joe Schmo

    4/10/2006 at 12:38 am

    Michael,
    Its almost not worth responding to one so illogical and full of hate who uses similar logic to that of anti-semites.

    You first say “why are such a large percentage… religious.”
    So I called you on that and I challenged you to tell me what percentage because I KNOW that the religious would not be a large percentage.

    Then – in the style of a demogogue – you give quotes that don’t talk numbers at all. You quote and say “MAY be bolstered by three groups…” unreal:
    a. “it ‘MAY’ “- what are they unsure?!
    b. ‘bolstered’ implies that these three groups might ADD to the main clients which that paragraph doesn’t identify – the obvioous implication is that the secular Israelis who live in Tel Aviv are the main clients.

    Then you continue to quote haphazard statements which again do not talk about percentages.

    If you want to talk to the point – quote something which gives an idea of the percentages – just to tell me that there exist some religious people who engage in this doesn’t teach me anything.
    -In every society you will find murderers, robbers and adulterers.

    This is what I need to deal with?! A Jew engaging in anti-semitic style demogoguery?! You try to find an example and paint all with it?!

    dede,

    I was not talking about Laya. I’m talking about the subject of the story – the prostitutes.

    Do you really question the fact that woman can be more easily bullied and pushed around than men?
    Is that a good thing? Of course not and we should fight injustice whenever we see it.

  45. DK

    4/10/2006 at 12:46 am

    You know what? I’m starting to get it. It indeed sounds a hell of a lot more horrific than the high-end seedy underworld glorified on HBO. Just don’t let this become an international witch hunt upon the Zionist Entity, okay?

  46. themiddle

    4/10/2006 at 5:35 am

    Laya, I have had enough of the attacks so I will disengage from this discussion. I will simply point out that you went from here:

    Western society has simply replaced a financial dependence men with a psychological one. The looks, come ons and attention we get from men (even when we find them distasteful) reassure us of our attactiveness, and our attractiveness is our prime value and the reason we are worthy to be loved.

    to here:

    Physical safety is an aspect of equality. Because of biological differences, women are naturally more at risk than men.

    But then, after telling us that all women are at risk in a discussion where you claim that the prospect of rape (!!!) makes women unequal to men, you write,

    Again, NOWHERE have I said all women are victims.

    But that’s exactly what you said.

    You also said,

    What I would say is that when men at large begin to care that the woman fulfilling his sexual urge is doing so willingly (this applies equally to date rape as to prostitution), that will be one huge step towards real equality.

    But later you say,

    No where have I said all men are rapists

    Maybe not, but you sure implied that anywhere you go, you are insecure and that lack physical safety is what differentiates you from men and makes you less than their equal in society.

    In another section you write,

    But tell me again how good it is for women today as evidenced by the fact the we can go to university now (remember Marina from the last post has a degree in physics!)? In case anyone thinks this only happens in backwards countries like Israel, roughly 20,000 women are smuggled into the US every year to work as sex slaves.

    Thus suggesting that even though you concede (usually sarcastically) my repeated point that women have made great strides academically at every level of school and university, surpassing men, this is immaterial with respect to equality in society because there is still sex slavery out there.

    You don’t want to sound radical, but in my view you’ve set up a perfect victim. Since you are biologically different, you are an eternal victim and can never be equal according to you. Society could elect women Presidents or Prime Ministers, have 60% of the college student population be women, create programs at corporations that allow women to have families and continue to work, enact laws to compel equal pay, equal funding for sports, encourage programs that improve hiring possibilities for women over men, place no restrictions on women’s ability to open businesses or drive buses or fly jets or fly military jets or become judges, etc., etc., etc….

    …and it won’t matter one iota because you are biologically different and could be raped.

    Honestly, I don’t even know what to say.

    I don’t think of you as a victim or as unequal to men. I think of these sex slaves as victims. I think of prostitutes who are compelled by difficult lives to become prostitutes as victims. Their inequality is expressed in many ways, not the least of which is the derision they receive from society.

    There are certainly women who are victims out there, including many frum women, but the real victims are those whose choices are taken away. These sex slaves are a perfect example. They are victims to cultures that excuse men going to prostitutes while also looking down at prostitutes. How that relates to your sense of also being a victim, as you have stated in this discussion, I don’t know.

    I don’t think it does.

    You say you find it amusing that somebody else can tell you that you’re not a victim or that you’re equal when you feel otherwise. Fair enough. You want to feel like a victim to society because you can never be an equal due to our biological differences or because they market make-up, skin care, clothes and shampoo to women and sell billions of dollars in the process? Go ahead. If it’s okay with you, I’ll still see you as an equal while sympathizing deeply for these sex slaves whose freedoms were stolen and who truly have to deal with their biological differences as being a root cause for their problems. I’ll also ignore all those beer and hair loss commercials they target at me.

  47. ck

    4/10/2006 at 6:21 am

    Well, this has certainly been an edifying exchange between TM and laya. I think you both would have benefited from taking to heart the balanced perspective I brought to the discussion in comment #29 – it seems that in essence you are both right. Society has, in large part, made great strides in the realm of Women’s rights. However, there is still much work to be done.

    Laya’s position that by mere dint of physical differencess, women are more likely to be victims of physical assault is true. That fear is real and palpable and is a regular part of many women’s lives. TM’s assertion that that is something that cannot really change is sad but also just as true.

    But what about focusing on things that we can change? What’s wrong with acknowledging that women’s images in the media often act to enforce a state of constant insecurity? That the media holds up role models for women who portray a standard of beauty that is unrealistic and impossible to live up to? And that enormous financial interests profit from keeping women in a constant state of insecurity? Why not teach our daughters that this is all bullshit and that they should be valued for who they are rather than for how thin they are or how big their boobs are. Wouldn’t that go a long way towards continuing the advances we have made in the realm of equality? And why not let men know of all the detrimental effects of the sex trade and sex slavery? Women directly involved are being victimized as are people in general when sexuality devolves into nothing more than some kind of commodity market? In that respect we are all, male and female the poorer.

    But whatever, I enjoyed both of your perspectives and I think its time for both of you to step back and focus on those areas that you both agree on.

    Oh yeah and lets keep those donations coming! There’s no such thing as too little! Thanks!

  48. Joe Schmo

    4/10/2006 at 6:44 am

    ck, after your whole beautiful monologue:

    “Why not teach our daughters that this is all bullshit and that they should be valued for who they are rather than for how thin they are or how big their boobs are. Wouldn’t that go a long way towards continuing the advances we have made in the realm of equality? And why not let men know of all the detrimental effects of the sex trade and sex slavery?
    Women directly involved are being victimized as are people in general when sexuality devolves into nothing more than some kind of commodity market? ”

    –why are there so many posts even on jewlicious that imply different.

    and how do you explain the unreal defense of ‘Dov Charney’ that disgusting molester of young girls?
    They were also similar to these prostitutes- young and both financialy and psycologically easy prey.

    You thought what he was doing was a-OK. what about your whole monologue here?

    If this attitude is so pervalent amongst the ‘best’ of us what can you expect from the rest of society?

    I apologize to all of you but Laya is correct about this one.

  49. ck

    4/10/2006 at 7:03 am

    Hey Joe,
    Thanks for your (always) frank comments. I can assure you that Dov Charney is not a molestor of young girls. My defense of his advertising campaigns is totally in line with what I’ve said. None of his models would ever have a carreer as a professional model. Mostly because they are too old, too short, too heavy or whatever. The images used in American Apparel ads may be provocative but the message is a positive one – that a woman does not need to be a 6 foot tall, anorexic with air brushed skin in order to be attractive. There’s no dissonance in anything that I have written. And I think you’ll find that laya will agree with me on this.

  50. michael

    4/10/2006 at 7:27 am

    Joe, you little Kahanist worm, you can call me an anti-Semite when you drop everything in your life and move to Israel, instead of being yet another American Jew in Brooklyn who thinks he’s somehow justified in telling Israelis how to think, how to live, how to make war and how to make peace, despite taking no part in their society. Fuck you.

    As far as percentages, no detailed study with percentages of the Israeli sex trade has ever been carried out. However, in countless interviews with prostitutes, pimps and aid workers, the large number of religious clients are mentioned. It’s common knowledge in Israel. So don’t give me any of your “demagogery” bullshit because you’re not willing to accept the truth. Am I saying secular Israelis don’t use hookers? No. I was disputing your original bullshit comment that fear of God translates into a higher moral standard when the evidence is much to the contrary.

    Any hate I have isn’t directed at the Jewish religion, but rather at certain elements of its practitioners – you know, people like you. People who use Judaism as a justification for racism and genocide. People who demean secular Jews who in every tangible way do more for the Jewish people than they do. People who claim that religious Jews are intrinsically better than secular Jews or gentiles. People who think their belief in God magically gives them the right to tell other people how to live.

    Go right to hell, Joe. And shut the fuck up while you’re at it.

  51. laya

    4/10/2006 at 7:43 am

    Middle, I am not attacking you, I am taking umbrage with your arguments. That is what we do here after all. No where have I attacked you personally, other than saying I really don’t think you understand the issue, but then again, I don’t know that I can expect you to. But please, don’t take my arguments personally.

    I cannot however defend myself against straw man arguments of your own making, which you seem to be doing a lot lately. There is a huge difference between saying that all women are at higher risk of being victimized by rape or sexual assault and saying that all women are victims. Similarly there is a huge difference between saying that society still has far to go and society has not improved at all.

    My consessions to you are not sarcastic, they are sincere.

    It is not an issue in ALL men, or even most men. But if it is an an issue in 1 out of every 100 men, given the right circumstances, that is plenty to affect women across the board on a daily basis.

    Statistics are such that between one in three to one is six women are victimized at one time by sexual assault or rape (my anecdotal experience seems to bear this out). That’s a hell of a lot, but most of us brush it off, cause you have to keep living. But just because we can live with it doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect us.

    It’s not just about the men who actually rape, it’s also about how society looks at it; If I go out to have a good time and a few drinks, and i wear a low cut dress that I feel gorgeous, sexy and empowered in, and if I happen to get raped, 1/4 of the jury would be likely to find me somewhat responsible because of my outfit, and 1/3 because i had a drink.

    If I have history of multiple sex partners, thankfully they are no longer allowed to bring it up in court in defense of the rapist. Why? Because it’s understood that such a fact will influence the judge and jury. It was just one more cock, what’s the difference?

    That is the society we live in. There are still great strides to be made towards actual equality. (being clear: this does NOT say no strides have been made)

    Women’s images in the media are part of the discussion because you cannot ignore the correlation between objectification of women in the media and objectification of women in real life. A man can deny that women internalize these images, but he would be wrong.

    But lets break it down – basically the argument is whether or not the physical safety and bodily integrity (which includes the ability to travel freely) should be included in a discussion about equality. I say yes, the middle says no.

    I don’t know to what degree our opinions are reflective of the population in general, but I would guess that most women would agree with me, no matter how many white upper middle class men tell us we are wrong.

    The thing is, it doesn’t matter if I am a department head at a university, a politician or a waitress, walking home alone at night we are all just women and therefore potential victims. (key there being potential, don’t misread me yet again to say we are all victims)

    I hate being cliched, but until you know what it is to accept the fact that you walk home every night, keys in hand, between your fingers in case you need a weapon, looking behind you every few minutes, as just a regular part of life, Until you’ve had to wrestle your way out of an unwanted physical situation with someone you thought you could trust, until you’ve had your ass grabbed by a superior at work or your professor, until you have not been able to go to a popular vacation spot unless you are with a man out of fear for your safety, until you’ve sat at a party with the guy who raped your best friend after she chose not to press charges cause she was willingly in bed, but only wanted to make out, and she knows there will be no legal recourse for that. Until then, you can be the most empathetic man in your tr-county area, but you really don’t know what it’s like.

    So don’t diminish the effect it has. And try not to make things so black and white (either I am fully satisfied with the equality we do have an strive for no more or I am saying we have no equality at all seems to be the reasoning. ).

    – To say it for the filth time or so, trying to be absolutely clear: I am not saying all men are assholes or rapists or Johns, I am not saying all women are victims, I am not saying society isn’t a better place for women now that 100 years ago, I am not saying that true equality is absolutely impossible by virtue of biological differences.

    What I am saying is that access to education and good jobs are undeniably good, but not proof of women’s total equality in society. I am saying we still have a ways to go. I am saying that true equality also means respect of bodily integrity. Disrespect that becomes sexual assault anywhere affects women everywhere.. I am saying that when a woman’s right to consent, be she a prostitute or college student, is universally respected (no matter what she’s wearing), it will be a huge step in the right direction.

    If we deny that there it is yet a problem, we have no hopes of fixing it.

    Now PLEASE everyone, donate something!!!

  52. ck

    4/10/2006 at 7:56 am

    Yikes Michael! I hate to say this though, but I really believe that those Charedi men who make use of prostitutes be it in Israel or in Brooklyn or in Montreal, are not consumed by the fear of God. for if they were, they would never be willing participants in the ongoing rape of these unfortunate women. And yes, I know that in some haredi circles, going to a prostitute is considered halachically ok. I have no problem with that – I mean it doesn’t look good, it brings disrepute to Orthodox Judaism, it supports an industry that commodifies and cheapens women, it adds money to underworld coffers and increases crime, but who am I to judge? However, using trafficked women to get off because, you know, the price is right, well that’s wrong. And lets not forget, Haredim can’t use condoms. I can imagine how pleased Haredi wives will be to find that they have contracted a lovely STD due to the nocturnal activities of ther husbands.

    In any case, the point is that I don’t think visits with prostitutes are a common activity of Haredi Jews. And to whatever extent Orthodox Jews do participate in the Sex trade industry, they are doing so despite their religious convictions.

    Just sayin’ is all.

  53. ofri

    4/10/2006 at 7:59 am

    Kelsey, I am perfectly aware that I am no in position to “dictate policy change” on this issue or any other, for that matter, but thanks for being a dick about it. It’s too bad that no one who is in a position to dictate policy change seems to give a rat’s ass until the U.S. threatens sanctioning, and even then it’s just for show.

  54. michael

    4/10/2006 at 8:19 am

    Who are you to judge? I don’t know…a human being with a moral compass, not to mention a religious Jew? Isn’t that enough?

    And dude, it’s totally way convenient to redefine and say that God-fearing people who visit prostitutes aren’t really God-fearing. You can whittle away at the god-fearing pool all you like by saying “Well, he’s not REALLY God-fearing because he does such and such,” but then eventually you’ll have no one left.

    Personally, I don’t see why being God-fearing and being a bad person can’t necessarily co-exist.

  55. ck

    4/10/2006 at 8:54 am

    Michael: Because God wants us to be good and to whatever extent we are not good, we are not acting in accordance with his wishes. Of course very few people manifest the fear of God in every single action that they do – but it’s not hard to imagine that God does not want us to rape, or spread misery, or enrich criminals, or act deceitfully, or support and be part of a system that does all of that. I didn’t even have to go to Yesshiva to know that.

  56. grandmuffti

    4/10/2006 at 9:57 am

    Personally, I don’t see why being God-fearing and being a bad person can’t necessarily co-exist.

    hehehe…when you think about it, bad people who are theists should be doing a whole lot more fearing than the non-bad people :) Muffti thought that Michael’s point was this: lots of haredi jews help themselves to the services of prostitutes. While we don’t know the numbers, there is no reason for people to start drawing conclusiosn like ‘secular lifestyle brings prostitution etc. and orthodox lifestyle avoids it’ since there will be demand for whores even if secular society faded. Then you come along and tell us that really there are no REAL orthodox people who use the services of prostitutes coz they aren’t acting in the fear of God??? And Michael rightly pointso out that now you are just equivocating on teh notion of ‘orthodox jew’.

  57. michael

    4/10/2006 at 10:23 am

    I heart the Muffti and his effective distillations of my ranting.

  58. dede

    4/10/2006 at 10:27 am

    CK, I agree with Michael that you can’t say they’re not “God-fearing,” as a way to get out of the argument, for two reason:
    1) Regardless of their personal beliefs, the way these men dress, the communities they live in, and the ritual life they are engaged in labels them as Orthodox Jews. Thus, when they do horrific acts in public, it’s not a blight upon themselves alone, but upon all of Orthodox Judaism and the God-fearing holiness it supposedly stands for. This is a textbook and egregious chilul Hashem, and saying that they’re not really “God-fearing” and therefore shouldn’t matter doesn’t solve the problem, and doesn’t fly in the real world.

    2) All those Christians responsible for the Crusades, endless pogroms, turning a blind eye during the Holocaust, the Inquisition, etc. etc. etc…..? I’ve met many Christians today who tell me that the perpetrators of these acts, done in Jesus’ name, were “not really Christians.” Think that should let the Christian community off the hook? No fucking way, in my opinion.
    The solution for either community of faith is the same–if those people are “not really” part of that community, as its members its our role to show the world that they don’t fit in, by taking a stand against them, as you’ve done here.

  59. DK

    4/10/2006 at 10:37 am

    Ofri, see comment 45 and chill out a little.

  60. ck

    4/10/2006 at 10:48 am

    dede: I never said that ostensibly God fearing haredim who use prostitutes shouldn’t matter. I’m just saying that intelligent people ought not derive from that a criticism of all Charedi or orthodox Jews from the acts of a few individuals. I mean just because Stalin was both an atheist and a mass murderer doesn’t mean that all atheists are mass murderers.

    I fear that with the obfuscation that is sure to follow muffti’s entry into this debate, the conversation is sure to devolve into tertiary issues like Kant’s fondness for French ticklers and Transcendental Idealism. No good can come of this. Instead let’s just wish Muffti a happy belated birthday and remind you all, once again, to make a friggin donation. Use the paypal button.

  61. dede

    4/10/2006 at 11:07 am

    Intelligent people, including Orthodox Jews, should also be aware of what they supposedly stand for and how they are viewed. Reports of a self-professed religious group participating in horrific acts burns itself into the brains of even the most intelligent, as it should. If we don’t want this crap on the airwaves, we can’t trust the intelligence and impartiality of others to say “oh, that’s just a few bad apple Orthocox Jews.” We need to be proactive. And of course, not just with the Orthodox among us–that’s just the topic I was responding to.

  62. EV

    4/10/2006 at 11:10 am

    Dear The Middle and Laya,

    I come to Jewlicious to get pissed off over reactionary, xenophobic posts and comments. I do NOT come to Jewlicious to eavesdrop on internecine battles over the place of women in society. Please go back to your Jewlicious roots. PLEASE! I need to be pissed off this morning and this isn’t working!!!!!!

    Michael,
    You’re the best.

    ck,
    Okay, you’re helping me get pissed off. Thank you! Please keep excusing the Haredim their holier than thou, God-lies-within-me-therefore-I-can-do-no-wrong hypocricies by saying they’re not really God-fearing and “who am I to judge.” My blood pressure’s rising already and I love you for this!! Keep it coming!!!!!!

  63. grandmuffti

    4/10/2006 at 11:19 am

    tahnks for the birthday wishes. Muffti has never once spoken about Kant on this blog! You’re the obfuscator, ol’ friend. The point was that its a bullshit claim by Joe Schmo to say that if we were all just orthodox and not secular, this problem would go away. There’s no reason to think that.

    Now, was that obfuscating? NMuffti hearts you too, michael.

  64. Tom Morrissey

    4/10/2006 at 12:52 pm

    Good point by dede. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc. should be defined, in part, by how the adherents of those faiths behave. Not just by the letter of their respective scriptures, or their beliefs in the abstract. It’d be ludicrous to deny any Christian role in the Holocaust by smiling condescendingly and saying, ‘Jesus teaches us to love one another, silly! So it had nothing whatever to do with us!’

    (Muffti hates Kant. Kant was a theist.)

  65. Joe Schmo

    4/10/2006 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks for the compliment ck,
    the fact is Charney ‘sleeps’ with them he doesn’t just give them a job.
    -Come on.
    -And the latest picture post by Michael:
    Checkered scarves and bleeding hearts doesn’t lend support to “teaching daughters not to care….”
    We sure didn’t have to wait long for a counterexample on Jewlicious.

    (But I suppose it being Michael, who from his posts apparently doesn’t fear G-d… I understand where that Post is coming from.
    Hey MIKE take it easy – it was just a joke.)

    Now Michael,

    Sorry your so upset but its pretty ridiculous for a sane person to think that a large percentage are religious – when the base of operations is in Tel Aviv – the religious have to travel to the main center of this disgusting activity. The location tells it all.
    Location location location!

    Fear of G-d obviously translates into higher moral standards. Even Hareidim can lack the fear of G-d.

    But overall people at least taught to fear Him will be moral in higher percentages.
    All Im saying is exactly what ck said in comment 52.

    Mufti,

    Why do you misquote me by saying:
    “The point was that its a bullshit claim by Joe Schmo to say that if we were all just orthodox and not secular, this problem would go away. There’s no reason to think that.”

    I didn’t say that and I wouldn’t. I agree that to say the defense “they are not religious” is ridiculous.

    I even said (look in comment 44):
    “In every society you will find murderers, robbers and adulterers.”

    The point is simple:
    There will be less of them in a society where fear of G-d is taught than in a G-dless society.

    Now Mufti, even for you, that should be obvious.

  66. laya

    4/10/2006 at 1:38 pm

    Actually, the fact is, Joe, you don’t know what you are talking about at all. You imply that all the women working for Dov Charney have the job because they slept with him. I can tell you for a fact that it incorrect.

    You call Charney a molester of little girls, but now, wouldn’t a god fearing man not indulge in flagrant lies, libel, and lashon hara? Or does that not apply to you?

    EV – Orthodox Judaism is the only TRUE Judaism and marrying a shiksa will cause you constipation, a joyless life and bad breath.
    Consider that my muffti’s birthday gift to you, my friend.

  67. EV

    4/10/2006 at 2:08 pm

    Laya,
    Thank you!!!! Now I’m blissfully pissed!!!! This is the best birthday gift I’ve ever received!!!!!

  68. michael

    4/10/2006 at 2:39 pm

    Michael,
    You’re the best.

    Finally, independent and unsolicited confirmation of my most deeply-held belief…

    Err, uh, I mean, you rock, EV!

  69. Joe Schmo

    4/10/2006 at 9:21 pm

    Laya I have no idea if ‘all’ the woman have the job becasue they slept with him. I don’t know this chatney from a hole in the wall and its better that way.

    Did I use the word All? My point was simply that you or ck shouldn’t defend him about the ones that he does.

    Give me a break laya. You feel you have to kiss up to the others here who don’t like what I say?

    Charney is immoral like the others and if you want to defend him then you have nothing to complain about when woman are treated how they are.

    You, a woman, will have to sleep in the bed you make.

  70. Joe Schmo

    4/10/2006 at 9:23 pm

    I apologize for the spelling errors.

  71. laya

    4/11/2006 at 6:49 am

    oy, joe, again, you don’t know what you are talking about. I don’t feel the need to suck up to anyone here, but I do feel the need to call you out on lies and bullshit when I see it.

    Like you said, you don’t know Charney from a hole in the wall, and you have gathered your awfully strong and misguided opinion from incendiary articles you have read.

    I won’t defend everything Charney does, but I will defend him as a person from the slander people like you feel so justified spreading (child molester?!? Get your head on straight joe). I will also defend the many qualified women who work for him. I’m sure they’d be thrilled to hear how you think they got their jobs.

    Just remember, slander and lies are also immoral.

  72. ck

    4/11/2006 at 7:08 am

    Also remember to make a donation using the PayPal button in this post! Let’s not forget whaat thee post is about!

  73. grandmuffti

    4/11/2006 at 7:37 am

    Sorry Joe, Muffti was really paraphrasing Michael who was paraphrasing you…

  74. Joe Schmo

    4/11/2006 at 8:58 am

    Please Laya,
    It all depends on your definition of molestation.

    It would seem to me that sleeping with young girls who are employed by you is emotional molestation even if by ‘consent.’

    Thats my definition take or leave it.

    If your definition is not like that then all I can say is that you are implicitely condoning this very activity that causes the put down of woman that you were complaining about.

    Mufti,
    No problem. You have to be careful about that because often the people who respond (in this case Michael) don’t exactly like those they are responding to (me). Their responses often are exagerations of what their opponent said in order to make their opponent look bad and to drive home their own point.

  75. laya

    4/11/2006 at 9:26 am

    Joe,

    Ask anyone who actually was molested as a little girl and see if they agree with your oh-so-loose definition there.

    But you’ve set up it so that if I disagree with your misinformed opinions, I am a hypocrite. So much for honesty in arguments.

    This Pesach Joe, why don’t you take a reminder course in the ethics of speach – since morality seems to be something you concern yourself with.

  76. grandmuffti

    4/11/2006 at 9:38 am

    well, in fairness, Muffti isn’t even sure he paraphrased Michael very well. He was trying to get the structure of an argument between michael and ck clear where hte important part came near the end. anyhow, glad you accepted the appologyh and muffti will be more careful in future!

  77. Joe Schmo

    4/11/2006 at 12:24 pm

    Laya I have no idea what your talking about. Hypocrite, not hypocrite, these are labels and I don’t want to get into name calling. One thing to me is pretty clear though.

    When the Charney’s of this world are supported the general negative sex symbol of women is supported and this ultimately results in all the negative things that so rightly bother you.

    As another example, to explain my point, lets take this article- the prostitution in Israel.

    The general position of the people commenting here is that prostitution itself is fine- its just that force is no good.

    Well I am sure that there is a spread some came and were forced in Russia. Others Im sure knew what they were doing and after they came here decided not to or maybe they came on purpose knowing in thier mind that once they get a free trip here they will back out. Now if the only issue is force and not the prostitution per se then I would not be so sure that someone who knew originally what they were doing and knowingly caused their buyers and smugglers to expend money and effort to get them accross the border should be able to back out of thier implicit contract.
    Now they don’t want after they got here? – after their commitment? So using that argument I would think that only those forced from the very beginning should be allowed to leave from thier contractual obligations.

    But if you are like me who think that the prostitution itself is the problem and that it is wrong then I would be against the whole thing. Now I wqould have thought that you would feel that way seeing how the demeaning of woman and their being sex symbols bothers you so much. Notice that there is no problem of a sex trade of men only of women. But if not and you choose to defend ‘nonforceful prostitution’ then you should understand the implications in terms of all those things that bother you.

  78. laya

    4/11/2006 at 1:05 pm

    well joe, you said if I disagreed with your definition of molestation (I do) Then I am condoning the “put down of women” which I have spoken against (ie, hypocrite)

    For the record, and not to start new debate, I am not against prostitution in and of itself, and it is not women being sex symbols in and of itself that bothers me so. I am not against women having a healthy sense of their sexual selves and I am not against adult, mutually consensual sexual activity.

    I AM against the notion that ANY display of a woman’s body is dirty, or that sex itself is dirty. I am against seeing women not as sex-symbols but as sex-objects, and the notion of commodity and ownership that generally follows.

    It’s obviously a complicated issue Joe, let’s not argue it to infinity. But you know what’s not complicated? Donating money by pressing that paypal button now!

  79. Joe Schmo

    4/11/2006 at 2:25 pm

    You distinguish between women being sex-symbols and their being seen as sex-objects.

    Unfortunately the two are inextricably intertwined. One leads to the other.

    The meaning of sex is a specific desire. If a women is seen as a sex symbol (which is OK by you) that means they are the object of others desire.

    Now what do people do when they want something? Whether it is food, cattle or women they will attempt to get it- through money or otherwise.

    That is why your position is untenable. What the pimp said on the movie clip is on the money “its the law of supply and demand.”

    -If they are sex symbols automatically the laws of ‘supply and demand’ kick in and they immediately become sex object. And if they can’t buy it or its illegal and the desire is strong then the corollary to supply and demand kicks in the of ‘whoever is stronger wins’ and you have rape.

  80. laya

    4/11/2006 at 2:41 pm

    whatever you say Joe.

    I can’t really argue with someone who can’t distinguish between symbol and object, or women and cattle.

  81. themiddle

    4/11/2006 at 2:59 pm

    Whoa! While I disagree with Joe’s Kahanist views, I think he’s made some valid points here and shouldn’t be dismissed with yet another personal attack. I mean, I realize that as a white, apparently upper middle class male who understands nothing, I should just let you as a woman tell us all how it is, but AA definitely uses suggestive ads showing young women in the very poses that you tell us above are part of the reason that you feel are unequal.

    I am against seeing women not as sex-symbols but as sex-objects, and the notion of commodity and ownership that generally follows.

    (if you edit your comment this time, please let me know)

    Decide, either the sexualization of our society in media and other aspects of our society are causing you to be unequal and, in fact, harm, as you have expressed, or they aren’t. You can’t say, “Well, this is a problem in society, but the guy who runs a company doing the same is a mensch so he gets a pass.” Well, I guess you can, but at least do it in a way where Joe Schmo here doesn’t come under attack for pointing out that a sex symbol is exactly the same as a sex object. Exactly the same.

  82. laya

    4/11/2006 at 3:59 pm

    sex symbol and sex object are not the same.

    Sex Symbol: “A sex symbol is a famous person, male or female, who is found sexually attractive by the general audience. The term was first used circa 1911. ”
    -wiipedia.

    Sex Object: “any person regarded simply as an object of sexual gratification ” -Princton.edu

    Are we clear, the both of you?

    Now, where was this alleged personal attack? edited comments?*

    *except for that edit: I added the words “edited comment?” as well as the * and the words you are reading now. Please be advised.

  83. laya

    4/11/2006 at 4:18 pm

    I also never said anything about particular poses making me feel unequal. I have said however that it’s the totally unattainable image of beauty displayed everywhere that contributes to general self esteem issues. Maybe you got confused.

    In fact, one thing I happen to very much enjoy about AA ads is that unlike every other major fashion advertiser I’ve seen they do not airbrush the hell out of the photos after models went through 3 hours of hair and make-up. AA has expanded what we consider sexy to include stretch marks, zits, razor stubble and gym socks. Real women are allowed to be sexy too, and AA proves that beautifully (those new Dove ads…not so much)

    I never said the basic sexualization of the media is what makes women unequal…but I should expect you to know what I’m saying better than me by now…never mind. Continue your lives as you wish.

    I understand that because my views might be a little complex and can’t all be found in A Beginners Guide to Feminist Thinking 101, it might confuse some of you. But really, it’s not that hard to follow if you can hear what I’m actually saying.

  84. themiddle

    4/11/2006 at 4:25 pm

    “I can’t really argue with someone who can’t distinguish between symbol and object, or women and cattle.”

    And we are clear. They’re exactly the same. A sex symbol is a sex symbol because many people want to fuck them. That is the idea behind sex, n’est ce pas? You see a person whom you find attractive and you want to have sex with them even though you don’t know them from Eve. Some people want to fuck Melanie Griffiths and some people want to fuck Latoya Jackson and some people want to fuck Madonna and some people want to fuck AA models or Maxim girls. These people, in turn, wear revealing clothes, or none at all, intended to show their flesh and reveal their appealing bodies. Why reveal their bodies on film and in media outlets? Well…to be objectified. By doing so, they make themselves into sexual objects of desire and thereby increase their marketability. You don’t know them, you will never meet them, but you find them “sexually attractive” meaning, sexually desirable…meaning, objects of sexual gratification.

  85. Italian jew

    4/11/2006 at 4:30 pm

    Long debate……

  86. michael

    4/11/2006 at 4:31 pm

    This is the spat that never ennnndddssss, and it goes on and on and onnnnnnn, two people started fighting ’cause they can’t find anything to do, and they continued fighting because because they’re Jews, this is the spat that never ennnndddssss, and it goes on and on and onnnnnn…

  87. laya

    4/11/2006 at 4:48 pm

    And saying that I cannot argue with someone who does not understand the semantic difference between the words we are arguing about is a personal attack? Geez, no wonder you get all sensitive with me.

    Because I am apparently a glutton for frustration: Think in terms of a Venn diagram. A sex symbol CAN BE a sex object, or a person, a whole person with talents and abilities that go beyond that. Their sexuality is one key part in a total human being.

    A sex object is viewed only as an object of sexual gratification (as per the princeton definition). They may or may not also qualify as a sex symbol.

    It’s easy to remember – thevery word “Object” implies a dehumanization.

    They may overlap, but one does not necessitate the other. Sheesh.

  88. Puirm Hero

    4/11/2006 at 4:55 pm

    Yay for Pesach, at least one day where Internet spats have to be put on hold, or two if your in the Diaspera…

  89. Joe Schmo

    4/11/2006 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks TM for defending me.

    This is what I think Laya wants. She wants that men should ‘adore’ ‘look up’ to a woman and say ‘wow how attractive’ just as someone would look and say ‘wow how smart is that guy.’

    It is an honor and people feel good when others look at them and say wow how beautiful and sexually desirable that person is.

    At the same time she doesn’t want people to view the woman as an item up for sale.

    So I tried (emphasize ‘tried’) to explain that I do understand her (Laya’s) distinction. but it is untenable -ie unattainable.

    Because once you make yourself desirable in that manner automatically you will turn into an object that people want to get whether through money or through force.

    So I am not saying that those two things are the same in the theoretical sense but both together are unattainable in this world.
    -In effect they become the same since you will not achieve one without the other.

  90. Tom Morrissey

    4/11/2006 at 5:35 pm

    Some people want to fuck Melanie Griffith?

    Middle’s credibility does a complete flame-out.

  91. Ephraim

    4/11/2006 at 6:04 pm

    Melanie Griffith?

    LaToya Jackson??

    MADONNA???

    Geez, Middle. Couldn’t you say something like, oh, I don’t know, Salma Hayek, Kate Winslet, Rachel Weisz?

    Some of us out here read Jewlicious on our lunch hour, y’know.

  92. themiddle

    4/11/2006 at 6:07 pm

    :lol:

    Sorry guys. I was trying to point out women who put themselves out there as “sex symbols.” Maybe it’s me but Weisz and Winslett have not struck me as making overt career choices emphasizing their sexuality, but I’m willing to be disabused of that notion. Particularly if you have pictures.

  93. Tom Morrissey

    4/11/2006 at 6:09 pm

    Salma Hayek. Uma Thurman. Salma Hayek.

    Did I mention Salma Hayek?

  94. themiddle

    4/11/2006 at 6:16 pm

    Okay, maybe I was wrong.

    Alert!!! Clicking on this Salma Hayek picture is going to offend you!

  95. laya

    4/11/2006 at 6:27 pm

    an honest question: does one have to make “overt career choices emphasizing their sexuality” to be considered a sex symbol?

  96. themiddle

    4/11/2006 at 6:34 pm

    Probably. It’s not as if these pix, shows, costumes or clothes happen by accident.

    But I think the whole notion of “sex symbol” is fallacious anyway. It really is a nice way of saying “somebody lots of people find sexually desirable.” That’s not a symbol, that is an object. The only genuine sex symbol around is Hugh Hefner. The guy is symbolic of an era and of a particular philosphy about sex in America.

    I think.

  97. Tom Morrissey

    4/11/2006 at 6:35 pm

    Just saw the SH photo.

    I have nothing else to say. Except: thank you, Middle.

    Thank you.

  98. themiddle

    4/11/2006 at 6:39 pm

    Tom, stop objectifying women, it’s not nice. By the way. That pic and the Hayek pic prove me wrong about these actresses seeking to be perceived in a certain way.

  99. Ephraim

    4/11/2006 at 6:40 pm

    Damn firewall. Shit.

    I’ll check when I get home.

    Is it the (gulp) infamous white python shot from From Dusk Till Dawn? (I hope, I hope……)

    And,, Tom, did you see The Divine Salma at the Oscars? She made Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman (as pretty as they are) look like pre-pubescent boys.

  100. Tom Morrissey

    4/11/2006 at 6:47 pm

    Ephraim, I did indeed. Man. It’s all subjective, obviously. Well, no it isn’t. Salma Hayek is the most beautiful woman in the history of Mexico.

    And Middle, mine not the lubricious raving of a Neaderthal, over-the-hill heterogringo, but a cool, detatched judgment, made more in sorrow than in anger.

    (That photo made me cry.)

  101. Tom Morrissey

    4/11/2006 at 6:48 pm

    Salma can objectify me anytime she wants.

  102. themiddle

    4/11/2006 at 6:52 pm

    Perhaps you should have a picture taken in a swimsuit at the beach?

  103. Tom Morrissey

    4/11/2006 at 6:53 pm

    With Photoshop all things are possible!

  104. themiddle

    4/11/2006 at 6:57 pm

    Yes indeed! Except that if you manipulate your image, Laya will disapprove. It’s fine, I’m sure American Apparel will accept your picture untouched and unadorned. Are you ready to be plastered all over billboards and buses in the pursuit of selling more underwear? Would you be if you knew Salma was standing at the corner of an unnamed downtown of a California city watching the buses go by?

  105. themiddle

    4/11/2006 at 7:00 pm

    Oh, I forgot.

  106. Tom Morrissey

    4/11/2006 at 7:05 pm

    I have terrible self-esteem. I’d give anything to be noticed by Salma Hayek.

  107. laya

    4/11/2006 at 7:07 pm

    A question for you then middle:

    But I think the whole notion of “sex symbol” is fallacious anyway. It really is a nice way of saying “somebody lots of people find sexually desirable.” That’s not a symbol, that is an object.

    A lot of men I have known in my life have made it clear they find me sexually desirable. I have all the right ingredients after all, skinny body, big tits, good bone structure, full lips, healthy hair…does that mean I’m a sex object?

    And perhaps you would like to refrain from telling me what I am saying and telling others how I would feel, more because you are generally wrong than because it offends me.

    But please feel free to go ahead and press that PayPal button!

  108. Tom Morrissey

    4/11/2006 at 7:12 pm

    Laya and Middle would like to announce that they’re starring in the re-remake of the film ‘Swept Away.’

  109. Ephraim

    4/11/2006 at 7:18 pm

    Tom, you prpbably know already, but Hayek’s father is Middle Eastern (Lebanese, I think) and her mother is Mexican.

    Viva la race mixing!

  110. Tom Morrissey

    4/11/2006 at 7:20 pm

    Hayek’s dad is . . . Middle?

    I love you, man!

  111. laya

    4/11/2006 at 7:23 pm

    Also, as much as it sure is interesting to see the middle say he’s wrong about anything, it might be noteworthy that because Rachel Weitz or Selma Hayak poses in sexually suggestive poses on the occasional photo shoot, he seems to imply that they WANT to be seen as sex objects, ie, objectified.

    Is it possible to allow your sexuality to be seen as one part of who are, or is it that the second you allow it to be glimpsed (assuming you are reasonably attractive), you have made yourself a sex object. Either you are wanting to be objectified or you…what? dress in demure colors, loose fitting garments and cover any provocative flesh? So maybe the Heredim had it right all along…

  112. Puirm Hero

    4/11/2006 at 8:04 pm

    Let’s be honest Laya, you’ve got all the right parts (your words) to be a sex object. What’s the difference that makes you not a sex object but rather Laya the person is that you possess a personality that you not only enjoy passively, but make sure that others realize that your personality and opinions Are who you are.

    As one of those men who’ve let on in the past that they had a massive crush on you, it was only in part because of you good looks, your personality and intellect were just as important if not more important, and that kept you from being a simple sex object and rather relegated you to the realm of an attractive woman.

  113. Ephraim

    4/11/2006 at 8:07 pm

    When heterosexual men see pretty women, we desire them sexually. It doesn’t matter what they are wearing. That is just how things are.

    If we see them wearing skimpy and revealing clothes that are designed to show off their bodies to the best advantage, that is, to accentuate and emphasize their sexual characteristics, we assume, at the very least, that they are aware of the effect it has on us. We also usually assume that they dress in this way because they wish to attract desirable men.

    Of course, it behooves a gentleman to not force his attentions on a woman who does not desire them. It has been my experience in discussions with women on this subject that they define “sexual harrassment” not as sexual attention from men, but only as unwanted sexual advances from men in whom they are not interested.

    Then again, some women seem to want to get into a fight about it. I knew a woman who made a habit of going braless and wearing a T-shirt that loudly proclaimed “Don’t You DARE Look At My Breasts!”

    The thing about it was that she had a face and a body that would have made a pack of marauding Uruk-Hai run screaming into the arms of the Rohirrim blubbering for mercy, so I was only too happy to oblige. It was truly pathetic.

  114. esther

    4/11/2006 at 10:30 pm

    Tom Morrissey, I am so glad you are back with us. Happy non-Passover…

  115. themiddle

    4/11/2006 at 11:12 pm

    I loved Swept Away…

    by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August

    Good ol’ Lina Wertmuller rocked!

  116. laya

    4/12/2006 at 3:18 am

    Middle? Am I a sex object because men sexually desire me? Can a woman show her sexuality and have it be seen as one part of a total human, or is does any display of sexuality render her a sex object? Does wearing a V-neck shirt mean I want to be objectified (those clothes don’t pick themselves you know)?

    What if I am a CEO of a major company, attractive, and wear well cut garments that display my figure flatteringly. A lot of men want to fuck me. Am I really but a sex object?

    I can understand why it’s difficult to answer; It begins to erode the sincerity of your previously held assertion that all women are truly equal in your eyes (or did you not mean the attractive ones?) not to mention your indignation that Haredim can’t seem to look at an attractive women without objectifying her, because that’s what I kinda here you fellas here saying as well. Maybe you have more in common with Haredim than you think!

    In any case, have a Pesach Sameach. May freedom from slavery, sexual objectification, and endless arguments reign.

  117. themiddle

    4/12/2006 at 6:17 am

    Difficult to answer?

    No, busy. Also, a little tired of your ongoing personal attacks and hostility – despite your hollow denials.

    I am also beginning to think that you are still working out some of your ideas – which is absolutely fine, except that as you work through them, you keep talking to others as if they are idiots.

    For example, in one comment you’re all about the challenges of women’s self image because of the impact of media, and the next minute you’re all for something like AA ads because they show zits while you ignore the obvious sexuality in the ads which may be just another form of pressure on women to behave a certain way. What if women don’t want to have a pouty, sexy, come-hither look while they wear underwear and lie in bed with the covers off? Isn’t that a typical AA ad? Won’t that contribute to women’s poor self image and bombardment by the media, causing severe emotional hardship and confusion? Won’t her boyfriend wonder why those AA t-shirts aren’t making her have that after-sex doe-y look in her eyes? Nope, AA ads are something that Laya enjoys; they don’t trouble Laya.

    You wrote, “I am against seeing women not as sex-symbols but as sex-objects, and the notion of commodity and ownership that generally follows.”

    You can insult me again by telling me I don’t understand you (or anything), but I have to guess that that you mean that you want women to appear as sex symbols but not as sex objects. You want them to be beautiful, to be perceived as beautiful, but also to be respected for who they are while not being perceived as a mere sexual object.

    When told that there is no difference between the two, you back off a little and acknowledge that, “A sex symbol CAN BE a sex object, or a person, a whole person with talents and abilities that go beyond that. Their sexuality is one key part in a total human being” but completely ignore the obvious point which is that even if their sexuality is one part of who they are, if it is the part which they emphasize – as it would be with any person who makes it a point to intentionally present themselves through the media as a sexual human being, thus “sex symbol” – it is going to affect how they will be perceived, which is as sexual human beings. They will be objectified.

    I mean, I don’t know who the woman in the picture is, but I do know she’s in AA underwear and looks really sultry and sexy. I know you want me to adore her for her profoundly modest sensibilities, charm, intellect, good breeding, lovely manners, strong connection to Judaism and potential for being America’s next female astronaut – in other words, according to your definition, see her as a whole human, a “sex symbol” – not as just another female hawking underwear, or a woman suggesting she’s just had sex and wants me to know it. You want me to see her as a person, not view her and her body as commodities. Right? I should think of her as a potential student, doctor, mother, pilot, or heck, perhaps a Starbucks barrista. When I see that image, since it has zits and she looks real, I shouldn’t think to myself that it’s about sex and she’s being commoditized. Heaven forbid.

    Of course, Dov Charney thinks otherwise…which is why that ad and photo exist in the first place.

    You wrote: “Women’s images in the media are part of the discussion because you cannot ignore the correlation between objectification of women in the media and objectification of women in real life. A man can deny that women internalize these images, but he would be wrong.”

    But then you defend AA ads. Confused?

    Don’t be. After all, I’m sure you are being sincere and who would even think of questioning your sincerity?

    On to your supposed trump where you want me, at the risk of exposing my supposed insincerity (can you believe you actually wrote that?) to view actresses who pose for professional photographers with their breasts half exposed as something other than women who commoditize themselves, while also meeting sexy female CEOs and not want to fuck them. Wow, what a load I suddenly have to bear. Gosh, I hope I’m not insincere! If I see a sexy CEO wearing a flattering outfit and I actually want to sleep with her, then I am insincere and consider her as a non-equal. I’m also like the Haredim.

    Hmmm, are you saying that I would never want to sleep with an equal or superior? If I would, then this undermines your silly point, right? Or do you think that just desiring a woman makes her unequal? If you think that, consider the disadvantage of the poor male businessperson who can’t get me interested at all, no matter how tight his shirt.

    I meet professional women often enough that sometimes I do see them in tight fitting outfits. I treat them respectfully, never ask them to sleep with me, and stick to the business at hand. That doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t think about the fact that they are or aren’t attractive to me, but my focus is on the business at hand, as is theirs. Their physical presence is part of who they are and that is a far cry than seeking to “fuck” the woman because her clothes are tight.

    But we were not talking about women in meetings, or people who desire you, Laya. We were talking about objectification of women through media. If I hadn’t known who they were, chances are that upon seeing the Hayek or Johannsen photos above, I would have viewed them as women who want me to see them as sex objects, not anything else. Salma Hayek could have shown less cleavage but she wanted to be exposed. Ms. Johansen could have tucked the exposed breast in but she didn’t. Madonna has spent her career crawling and dancing on a stage suggestively. You’d like people to view them as something other than women making themselves into a commodity. Uh huh. I’m sure Madonna would quickly disabuse you of that notion. She’s selling sex. So are the others.

    Now you’ve tried to bring this to a personal level, where instead of viewing a picture of Salma, or Madonna on a stage, or an exposed nipple in the middle of a football game, I now have to look at Carly Fiorina, or the girl next door and tell you whether I, if I see them dressed sexily, would view them as something other than a sexual commodity.

    Of course.

    Period.

    Amazing, isn’t it? So the answer is that if you present yourself as a whole human being, you will be perceived as such, even if “a lot of men want to fuck you.” If you present yourself as solely or primarily a sexual being, then you will be viewed as such.

    Oh, and as for the Haredim and their Orthodox supporters who want to separate the women from the men at the Western Wall? They are very different from me.

    I hope that as you enjoy this Pesach and as you think about slavery and freedom at the seder, you also consider freedom of the mind from perceived victimization and the resulting anger. You have so much ahead of you and so many opportunities that it’s a shame if you were to be handicapped by a sense that society is placing limitations upon you. Even where limitations exist, there are usually other paths that can be taken.

  118. ofri

    4/12/2006 at 7:52 am

    one of the problems with this type of communication (instant message, e-mail, blogging and what have you) is that we don’t have the body language or tone of voice of the speaker to help us know where he or she is coming from. themiddle, since i am not on the receiving end of laya’s messages, i can’t really tell how i would react. i have been known to respond hastily and angrily myself more than once. it seems that at this point you’re so wound up about this that you will perceive anything laya says as a personal attack, and that prevents this from being an earnest discussion. this isn’t an easy topic. women are historically the victims of sexual objectification, but at some point, some women objectify and victimize themselves without direct intervention from men. this is not completely their fault, it is learned. it not also completely men’s faults anymore. Besides all that, we women want to be sexy sometimes and not seen as sexual objects OR symbols other times. it’s not that unreasonable, i think. the argument that Salma Hayek has her breasts exposed therefore she wants men to see her as a fuckable object at all times is kind of like saying women who wear skimpy outfits are inviting aggressive sexual advances/rape. and before you accuse me of accusing you of being a rapist, that’s not what i’m saying at all. it’s just a slippery slope.
    have you seen Frida? it’s a fantastic movie, first of all, and i recommend it. secondly, in it Salma is doing what she does best, what i think she would like to be known for, considering it was her pet project and labor of love. and it’s none too sexy most of the time. that’s along the lines of what i think Laya means by seeing the entire person.

  119. laya

    4/12/2006 at 7:56 am

    Please try not to take my disagreements with you position and understanding of the issue as a personal attack middle.

    well, we’re all always in evolution, but it is hard to understand a person’s position if
    a) it does not fall directly along party lines
    and/or
    b) you assume to understand it too early on, and don’t allow yourself to hear what the person is actually saying.

    You said You want them to be beautiful, to be perceived as beautiful, but also to be respected for who they are while not being perceived as a mere sexual object

    You are pretty much right. Be it beauty or sexuality, appreciation is great, as long as respect for their being a human is always there first and foremost.

    I didn’t back off the position. Two things may overlap in places, but that does NOT mean they are equal. There are Arabs who are terrorists, and there are terrorists who are arabs, but not all arabs are terrorists, nor are all terrorists arabs. Therefore Arab cannot be the same thing as terrorist.

    I can be mindful of the effect the media has, but not be against absolutely every image of women’s sexuality. That shouldn’t be a contradiction. I know it would be easier if I was a hard lined radical on this issue, but I’m not.

    I was not saying that if you WANT to fuck that CEO it’s objectification, but if you look at her as a sex object because of her dress (as you have implied is inevitable).

    It’s not looking at a sexy woman and thinking about sex. It’s divorcing her sexuality from her humanity. That objectification.

    (to be clear: “Objectification refers to the way in which one person treats another person as an object and not as a human being.” – Wikipedia.)

    That’s the problem here, on teh one hand you say that if i present myself as a whole person I will be seen as such, but on the other hand you imply that the moment a woman displays any aspect of her sexuality, she is wanting to be objectified. So how does a woman achieve total personhood walking down the street? How does a woman achieve this perfect, precarious balance?

    You made your definition of sexual object clear (somebody lots of people find sexually desirable) but then beck pedel when I ask if that would then apply to me.

    But whatever, we’re talking over each other, everything I say is personally offesive to you, and clearly this is going nowhere. I have said everything I have to say. If you are hell bent on not hearing it, then I am the insane one to continue.

    I should have known better than to get into it when early on in the dialogue you threw out a classic, classic straw man argument (comment 17). Coming from that place, I should have known honest dialogue was impossible . I apologize for letting it go on this long. (post script. and I will delete the comment I made the comment to ofri for closure)

    Pesach semach to you and yours.

  120. Tom Morrissey

    4/12/2006 at 9:55 am

    Thanks, Esther, and right back at you. Have a holy and happy Passover. (I’m alas still waiting for the seder invitation that never comes….)

  121. Joe Schmo

    4/12/2006 at 12:11 pm

    OK I got this argument clear now (TM and Laya tell me if I got it):

    Laya expects simple men to be as holy as the ministering angels (Malachai Hasharet):

    To first watch and look at a woman selling themselves and exposing themselves sexually but to completely uproot viewing such a woman sexually as an object to satiate his desire.

    Laya would demand that a hungry person after a fast day walk by a bakery with a big sign “fresh danishes” that has the delicious aroma of fresh chocolate danishes to not view that as an object that would satiate his hunger.

    TM says that people are people – not the ministering angels.

  122. themiddle

    4/12/2006 at 1:03 pm

    I can be mindful of the effect the media has, but not be against absolutely every image of women’s sexuality. That shouldn’t be a contradiction. I know it would be easier if I was a hard lined radical on this issue, but I’m not.

    It’s not a question of being for or against every image. It’s a question of holding fast to the principles you advocated in the first place. You don’t want to have women objectified but then approve of ads that do just that.

    I was not saying that if you WANT to fuck that CEO it’s objectification, but if you look at her as a sex object because of her dress (as you have implied is inevitable).

    That is not what I said or implied.

    It’s not looking at a sexy woman and thinking about sex. It’s divorcing her sexuality from her humanity. That objectification.

    Precisely. Where did I say that I do that with your hypothetical CEO?


    That’s the problem here, on teh one hand you say that if i present myself as a whole person I will be seen as such, but on the other hand you imply that the moment a woman displays any aspect of her sexuality, she is wanting to be objectified.

    That is definitively NOT what I said. Sitting in front of a pro photographer for a photo session that your publicist will distribute and making sure that your breast is clearly visible is NOT “the moment a woman displays any aspect of her sexuality.” Why misrepresent the intent of the woman being photographed?

    People want to be attractive to others and for some that means wearing tight or revealing clothes. Nowhere do I imply that this makes women who do so into objects or people who want to be objectified. For someone who is complaining about the other party not hearing you, I would say that you’re pretty hard of hearing yourself. At least I provide you with quotes of your own words.

    So how does a woman achieve total personhood walking down the street? How does a woman achieve this perfect, precarious balance?

    What a silly question. Talk about strawmen?! You posit that I say things I didn’t say and then proclaim that there’s a problem which doesn’t exist.

    I know, I know, you don’t perceive yourself as a victim.

  123. ofri

    4/12/2006 at 10:09 pm

    joe schmo, you are vile.

  124. laya

    4/13/2006 at 2:21 pm

    Joe, if you can’t distinguish between the way a person should act towards a human being vs. a danish, you have a serious problem.

    Middle – ok, whatever you say.

  125. themiddle

    4/13/2006 at 7:21 pm

    Laya, glad to see we’re finally in agreement.

    Chag sameach.

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