Former super-babe Pamela Lee Anderson is in Israel to be a judge on their version of Dancing with the Stars.
While there, she plans to use her “powers of seduction” on ultra-Orthodox Jewish lawmakers to get them to ban fur. Fur is a big issue for these guys because of the 200-year-old Eastern European tradition of wearing fur-trimmed hats (“streimel”) that many ultra-Orthodox follow.
Good luck, little shiksa. Since they’re not married to you, these guys won’t shake your hand; many won’t even look at you. Listen to you? I doubt it. There are Orthodox Jews right here in San Francisco who respect and admire my wife but won’t shake her hand. We both know it’s nothing personal, and she’s OK with it, but when confronted with that kind of medieval thinking, I won’t shake theirs, either.
It’s part of a modesty code that I abhor. Rule one: men have to protect themselves from the existence of women—they’re too distracting and tempting. Rule two: women have to hide from men—to protect men, and to honor their husbands. In fact, ultra-Orthodox Jewish women hide their hair because of a religious injunction against “wantonness;” to make it easier, many shave their heads and then wear a wig (or just a headscarf, fearing that a wig looks too much like natural hair).
What is it with the orthodox followers of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity? Regardless of the language they use (the power of women, the needs of women, the special purpose of women, the wish to honor women, the desire to protect women, the fundamental evil of women), the motivation is clear—reduce male anxiety about the existence of women.
No, that’s too polite. Reduce male terror of women.
So cover their bodies, cover their hair, cover their faces. Silence their voices. Disqualify them from leadership. Don’t let them read the Torah. Don’t let them read, period. The Taliban mutilates women who don’t cover their ankles. Fundamentalist Christians tell women that Jesus wants them to obey men, not to think—a modern form of mutilation.
If Pam Anderson is serious about making the ultra-Orthodox more humane, she can start by talking about birth control. Each man has one or two fur hats. Each man has 12 or 15 children. Those children need a lot of care, and they eat a lot of chickens. Do the math, Pam.
Meanwhile, the question remains: how does the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus feel about beauty? You’d think that oceans, sunsets, peach trees, and breasts would be proof that God really loves beauty.
But as a fundamentalist Muslim warns in the current international play The Great Game, “Don’t look at the Moon—it’s too beautiful, and it will take our mind off prayer.”