Maccabeats Take a Beating for Blotting out Women from Purim Video

Hat tip to the Blog in Dm Jewish music blogger, for picking up this Jewish Week op-ed with the ironic question of the week, "Where are the Women in the Maccabeats Video?" by Natalie Blitt and Rabbi Josh Feigelson.

The Jewish male a capella group has tried to follow up its big viral hit Hanukkah video with a sequel for Purim. Here it is.

The JW editorial's authors make one point about the new release, "The video is once again slick and professional, and the music is catchy. But in a song and video devoted to the story of Esther, there’s one major missing element: women."

They then argue with eloquence that the role of women in the Orthodox world needs attention. They are right on that score too.

Then if you read the comments on the JW site, you get treated to a dozen or so pro-Maccabeats, pro-Orthodox entries -- that we think were all written by the same person using sock-puppet identities -- yes it is that obvious.

The mistake of the editorial is that the writers assume that Orthodoxy prohibits women from appearing in videos on YouTube. This is nonsense. There is no such prohibition.

Try watching this video of a wonderful instructional Torah class by Mrs. Shira Smiles. She practically sings her lecture, and nobody will question her Orthodox credentials. She's got dozens of equally lyrical and erudite videos online.

It immediately creeped us out when we realized that on the new Maccabeats video there was not a woman to be seen, not one sitting at the table, nor serving food, clapping, watching the men sing, clearing off the dishes, no women, none, though there were some little girl toddlers running around in the video. To us it was quite odd and we asked some of our friends and relatives and found that to others too all of this was noticeable and the video was a puzzling gaffe.

It's a shame, because these boys have talent, now spoiled by a bizarrely off key video -- one that parodies the wrong song too, as pointed out by authors Natalie Blitt and Rabbi Josh Feigelson. Pink's song "Raise Your Glass," they correctly tell us is, "a provocative salute to women’s empowerment." (Yes Pink is Jewish.)

Well, we think this failed parody version of Pink is a salute to the invisibility of Orthodox women that might have to be called, "Put Down Your Gals."

1 comment:

b said...

I agree that sometimes what we call "modesty" is subjugation, and I, too, find it disquieting. But I think that Orthodox women, at least in my circles, have found a middle path that accommodates cultural sensitivities and self-realization.

One of my daughters, a doctoral candidate, is married to Dr. Jean Jofen's grandson. His mother is department chair of Jewish History. My wife, a PHD in English Literature, did not spend her life barefoot and pregnant, despite my best efforts. They've managed to fully realize their identities and to confidently and energetically assert their influence as equal partners.