Women Erased From Historical Photo

Women have been erased from history for millennia. Countless courageous events led by women have gone unwritten or rewritten in the history books. Yet, in the age of feminism in modern times, we assume this doesn’t happen anymore, right?


According to CNN, the uber-Orthodox Jewish publication Di Tzeitung, a Hasidic newspaper based in Brooklyn, New York, whited out Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason, director of counterterrorism from the now iconic “Situation Room Photo” take while President Obama monitored the raid on bin Laden’s compound.

Just like that. Zip. Gone. The two women present no longer exist with a swipe of Photoshop.

Why would they do such a thing?

Apparently, according to Rabbi Jason Miller, a blogger who picked up the story Sunday for The Jewish Week after another blogger wrote about it on Failed Messiah, Di Tzeitung does not include images of women in print “because it could be considered sexually suggestive.”

Not to diss Hillary (I’m admittedly in Team Hillary), but seriously, she’s just not looking super sexy with her furrowed brow and her hand over her mouth as she awaits the outcome of the risky mission. And Ms. Tomason — well, you can barely see her, seated way back behind all the dudes.

Since when were women in politics just doing their job so scandalous?

I’m not a religious scholar, but rumor has it that Hasidic Jewish law mandates that men and women not be pictured in the same photos, since it’s just too darn sexy.

But laws also require truth — and any manipulation of the truth (such as doctor a photo) is patently outlawed.

When faced with the choice between breaking one law or another, clearly manipulating the truth won out over showing powerful (but potentially racy) women, doing their thang in the situation room with dudes.

‘Scuse my French, but WTF?

How is it that women are still at risk of being erased from history? It’s no wonder we as women are fearful about standing up for what we believe, speaking our truth, putting ourselves out there, and being seen for who we really are. After all, we’re still at risk of being erased, even when you’re a women who ran for the Presidency.

Not to be culturally insensitive — and not to ignore the first amendment rights of this newspaper — but how is this still happening in our culture? I’m frankly flabbergasted.

When will we as women be permitted to stand fully in our femininity without fearing that we’ll be censored for being too sexy?

Also appearing in the news this week was an article about SLUT WALK, an international series of protest marches spawned by a Toronto police officer’s comment that women should avoid dressing like “sluts” to avoid getting raped. In these walks, women and men dressed in provocative or revealing outfits marched in protest to “slut-shaming.”

Why is this still happening? Are women really so alluring that men can’t help themselves? Are we really supposed to cut off our feminine power to avoid wreaking havoc for men?

I’m no man-hating feminist. In fact, I love men, and I consider myself a feminista. But when I read stories like these, I feel my blood boil.

I am a woman, and I will not be erased.

I will not be silenced. I will not be censored. I will not go away. I will not downplay my femininity or sensuality just to make someone else more comfortable or keep myself safe from the violence of men. I will stand, not just for myself but for each and every woman out there who wants to be unapologetically who she is.

I am woman. Hear me roar.

What about you? What do you think? Are you outraged? Not surprised? Frustrated? Tell us what you think and let us hear you roar.

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Learn more about Lissa Rankin here.


Sheri Schongold
Sheri Schongold6 years ago

In the "holiest Jews", Chasidem, any woman but your wife, mother or daughter (possibly mother-in-law) are considered dirty. So they will not show pictures of them, or touch them in any way (hold hands in a circle dance, dance with any woman but above mentioned, etc.) Ergo, it is no surprise to me (at least) to see them white out women. Women are, at the very least, 2nd rate citizens and that is something that will never change with the Chasidim unless there are major changes in Jewish religion.

Chris C.
Chris C6 years ago

The Jewish publication Di Tzeitung is written by men, I'm sure, who make these STUPID decisions! If it weren't for WOMEN, none of these idiots would even exist!

Craig Gosling
Craig Gosling6 years ago

Jews of the world, reject those Rabbis who live by Bronze Age nonsense and expect you will believe them. More shame on religion.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago

Do those rabbis still live some 2000 years ago?

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago


Anne S.
Anne S6 years ago

Clearly what women are doing wrong is not wearing their invisible cloaks. Rape would stop and problem solved.

Sarah M.
Sarah M7 years ago

What an outrage!

Paul Diamond
Paul Diamond7 years ago

They got it all wrong. If there is a creator, and that is a big IF, how are we to understand the creator? From a book written by some male bronze age desert nomads who borrowed ideas and creation myths from all the cultures and that surrounded them and preceded them. Or do we observe the creation as a reflection of the Creator.
In that case it is likely that the creator is female. For it is only the female of the species that bears the gift of creation. It is the female that has an abundance of nurturing, compassion and justice instincts.
The male is merely there to provide the catalyst for the creation and, if he is a real man, protect her and the child while they are at their weakest and most vulnerable.

Jennifer B.
Jennifer S7 years ago

Not at all surprised but very disappointed.

I wouldn't be surprised either if they censor out anything to do with Anne Frank, one from their own religion. It's a "men are better than women" and "women can't do anything good for themselves or for society" philosophy these men, either egotistically or ignorantly, believe.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener7 years ago

Think we're reaching a turning point, see the legacy of men "ruling" over a few millennia... time for change ladies!