Friday, July 10, 2009

More idiocies

In JP's justification for orthodoxy's opposition to gender equality, he initially cites 2 main reasons: that women are prohibited from attending Talmud lectures, and that wealth is held by men.

First there is a logical fallacy here (asserting the consequent). Women don't hold wealth and can't learn Talmud? That's the point, because men have been (unfairly) dominant historically, women have been kept at a disadvantage, but that is not a reason to maintain it. Jews adopted male dominance from surrounding cultures (as they did many other things, including the name of their god El). It like someone saying in the 1800s that blacks shouldn't be allowed to vote because they had been slaves, and they thus are too uneducated.

Furthermore, that women aren't permitted to learn Talmud is a particularly severe and neo-conservative invention of the Litvaks. It is based on a number of Talmudic saying about women being simple minded and that teaching them Torah is a waste of time. But I suspect that the Litvak ultraorthodox don't really believe this anymore, but need to keep their women ignorant and thus keep them in their place. It is certainly not the view of mainstream orthodoxy and certainly not "Judaism" that says this.

JP also disingenuously uses biological arguments about the strength of males. He is a hypocrite as he has written many times about problematic human nature and the need for morals to tame or overcome them. Suddenly, because males can outfight females, that's a reason that men should make decisions? Sounds kind of pseudo-Darwinistic to me. Yes, on average, men are better at certain things and women at others. But that doesn't mean that they should be forced into a role.

8 comments:

onionsoupmix said...

I was pissed off that he seems to actually think domestic violence doesn't exist in the frum world. What? He also seems to think that less women leave OJ because they know how good it is or some other crap like that. Less women leave for a relatively simple reason- women in very frum societies tend to have few career options and are dependent on marriage and community to a much greater degree than men.

Also, what's with that rapist deal? He seems to think that nonconsensual penetration & sodomy is somehow different from rape. And that there are no rapists in the orthodox world.

Holy Hyrax said...

What about places like Nishmat, where women learn Gmara....and very well actually.

G*3 said...

> He also seems to think that less women leave OJ because they know how good it is or some other crap like that.

Another reason women leave less may be that in right-wing communities women are generally less educated than men about Judaism. They don't learn gemmara, if they learn halachah it is limited to the KSA, and they are fed a steady diet of feel-good stories. That leaves most women with a good feeling about their religion and kind of fuzzy on how it actaully all works.

I wonder though what the reall statisitics are.

Off the Derech said...

G*3: Excellent point. If they even learned a little Sanhedrin, with all the death penalties, they'd run so fast...

DrJ said...

I don't know if its even true that fewer orthodox women become skeptics than men. I certainly know of many girls who have gone OTD. Any stats, anybody?

David said...

The rule about women not being allowed to learn Gemara is bizarre. I've been told by a few rabbis that women are just incapable of getting it, because their minds don't work that way. Obviously, if this were true, there would be no reason to forbid women from learnign it. Women are physically incapable of flapping their arms and flying-- nobody thinks to say "women are not alowed to fly." Frankly, the only reason women aren't permitted to do this, is that the rabbis are afraid they might be good at it.

G*3 said...

I was told that women shouldn't learn gemara becuase it involves a lot of debate. Women are more emotional than men and wouldn't be able to handle a heated discussion without breaking down.

And that was the "nicer" version.

The more-often cited reason is that women are "kalos rosh", alternitivley translated idiomaticly as flighty, unable to be properly seroius, and airheaded (is that a word?).

None of those are the least bit insulting, right? After all, that's just the way it is.

Mellock said...

onionsoupmix said...
"I was pissed off that he seems to actually think domestic violence doesn't exist in the frum world."


Could it be because he himself is a domestic abuser and in denial about it? To be perfectly honest, it would not surprise me in the least to find out that Jacob Stein is a wife beater. I genuinely fear for the safety of his wife and children.