Facebook reminded me that three years ago, I shared this article. I have thought of it and mentioned it many times since then. I'm glad to reread it today. Personal responsibility for the win!
you step into the extremist ultra-Orthodox mindset for a moment, there
is indeed a problem - haredi men must move around in the world to a
certain extent - if only to travel to and from yeshiva and run their
errands. But in this wider world there are
women. Let’s accept the premise that any glimpse of any woman awakens
base instincts that they have absolutely no control over. It’s an absurd
premise, but I’ll accept it for the sake of argument.
now, most of the ‘solutions’ to this quandary have women giving up
their freedom and their comfort, requiring them to cover their bodies
and hide themselves, to stay out of the public realm, to avoid stepping
on the public stage, in order to keep the men away from temptation.
this context, the glasses, in fact, represent a refreshing change of
approach. They limit and hampering the freedom of the men, not the
women. They make clear that if the sight of women bother them, it is
their responsibility to limit their sight, not force women to get out of
their line of vision.
that disrupt these mens’ eyesight and ability to move around in the
world is actually an excellent answer to their troubles, and also spares
women the insult of having men cover their eyes when they approach, let
alone being spit at or being called a ‘whore.’ In fact, the blurrier
the glasses are, all the better, making it easier for women to walk in
front of them in the most immodest of attire and yet not disturb their
holiness. Hoods and shields that block their peripheral vision further?
Even better. Why not a black hood pulled over their head entirely - a
sort of a male burka? Or earphones that distort voices so that women can
speak freely without awakening their base urges? Of course, many of
these innovations may carry the unfortunate side effects of men walking
into walls or oncoming traffic. But if they choose to adopt them, that
is the price they will just have to pay, presumably a small price for
the great benefit of living in a permanently female-free zone.
say that we embrace and endorse these types of solutions - those that
cover up and segregate men, not women. If haredi men have issues with a
life that includes seeing and interacting with half of humanity, it is
indeed a problem. It is their problem. Let them deal with it. Let them
find solutions that limit their comfort and movement, their own ability
to function freely in the world. Because women should not be asked to
give up their own. "