Purim’s Beauty Myth

February 24, 2013

What did you think of the question posed at the bottom of the article?

(Forward By Johnna Kaplan)Esther saved the Jewish people because, so they say, she was smart and brave. When she learned of the genocidal plot of Haman, the vizier to her husband, King Ahasueres of Persia, she revealed that she was a Jew and pleaded for her people to be spared.
Esther’s daring act of approaching the king, confessing her nationality, and requesting the Jews be saved from certain death underpins the story of Purim. But as relatable as the holiday’s heroine is meant to be, few of us would get the opportunity to act as she did. Ahasuerus had chosen Esther above all of the other girls in his harem; to put it plainly, she was able to save the Jewish people because she was the hottest woman in the room.
But the story of Purim isn’t the only reason I’ve been thinking about Jewish women, beauty and the pressure to look a certain way.
First, I read this Jewcy piece by Emily Shire (who also writes for the Sisterhood) about how Jewish girls and women have a particular preoccupation with thinness. I had never thought of the issue that way, possibly because, unlike Shire, I grew up in a town where Jews, though hardly invisible, were not the majority. In my experience, (natural) beauty and (effortless) skinniness were expected of all girls equally, as were good grades, athleticism and flawless hair.
My mom was similarly unsure about the premise, though when I read her a sentence about Jewish women being especially devoted to the diet beverage Tab, she said excitedly, “Ooh! I remember Tab!” I tried to recall whether, in my youth, Jewish girls I knew cared more about being thin than the others. I wasn’t sure.
But now, as an adult, I think perhaps we do. The other day a friend mentioned that an acquaintance, a Jewish-Hispanic woman, had “married a white dude; her kids look totally white.” I cynically said, essentially, “good for her, because Jewish guys don’t want us anyway unless we’re size zero.” My friend replied, “Exactly,” and added that the Jewish men she knew preferred “Asian girls with big boobs — another white elephant.” It’s important to clarify that my friend is a) long-married and b) neither Jewish nor Asian. Jewish women are now expected to be thinner (read: prettier) than the competition, to the point where even outside observers notice it.
While pondering this rather depressing state of affairs, I noticed Purim on my calendar, preceded by the minor fast day of Ta’anit Esther. Esther fasted for three days before approaching Ahasuerus. How many pounds, I wondered, could one lose doing that? Because if I was requesting a stay of execution for my entire community based on my attractiveness, I’d want to look as good (read: thin) as possible when doing it.
Esther is not the only Biblical woman who relied on her looks to help defeat enemies of the Jews. Judith got close enough to decapitate Holofernes because he desired her, and though it isn’t explicitly stated, it’s hard for me to believe Yael lured Sisera into her tent simply by promising him a drink. Of course, plenty of other ancient women might have had the guts to wield tent pegs against their foes; we only hear about the ones who got the opportunity.
These days, hopefully, it’s different, but for much of history a Jewish woman could only change the world by being noticed. Even today, you don’t get plucked from obscurity for your personality. The idea that looks can bring salvation runs through the Jewish female experience. If you can catch the eye of the King or even flirt with the Nazi officer, maybe you’ll change his mind. Maybe you’ll live.
I suppose every little tribe under ancient Persian rule had their would-be Esther, who hoped the king would repay her presence in his harem by lending support to her cause. But not all cultures would approve of such things. So I wonder if the celebration of women who do good by means of their beauty is particularly Jewish. I wonder if some relic of it hangs on to this day, and is expressed in the pressure to be prettier, to be thinner, to be the one who might get noticed and save us after all.

I find the “Forward” disturbing more times than not, but what struck me as odd is that the article did realize that a females sexiness is a trait that is encouraged by Judaism in a way that a man’s sexiness is not… this I agree with… but I found it odd that the Forward somehow seems to think this character is unique to Judaism or at the very least is something unusual. I can’t think of any culture that does not share this character. It was almost like the writer reached a conclusion she didn’t like and then concluded that Jews like beautuiful women because we are inferior and then concluded that other cultures are not like this… which is a very odd conclusion. Is this the source of the Forwards progressive readers self hate and Anti-Semitism? Do feminist Jews really believe that gender traits are something that is made by Jewish law and not something that occurs naturally? I find it hard to refute the idea that feminism is in fact self hatred. I am very glad this liberal self hater allowed us a window into her warped soul.


How Islamic public relations money is using a victim’s illness to obscure a Muslim threat

August 16, 2011
The word is Stockholm syndrome. Empathy for your killers.This report obscures a correlative truth. This isn’t a progressive slant: Jews are trauma victims of a historical abuse by… everyone. And Muslims are subversively attempting to attack. It is very sad that the Muslim public relations money is using the illness of a historically abused community to justify their taqqiyya and need to obscure. The report, “Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future”, claims that overwhelming numbers of Jewish Americans believe Muslim Americans are loyal to their country – 80 per cent (about the same number and percentage who voted for Obama). Aside from Muslims themselves, no other religious community demonstrates such confidence in the loyalty of America’s Muslim citizens. It is very sad for the Jewish community that they are so vain as to assume that tolerance for killers is a good thing. Vanity is a vice and abuse victims are weak to it. From substance abuse to feminism there is a need to perceive of oneself as different then reality when someone has been traumatized. It is frustrating to see the public relations establishment use the Jewish communities pain as a way to justify equally abusive world views like feminism and Islam. If the Jewish community could wake up from their prideful need to be more tolerant then the general population then they might be able to see a threat to their own family as immanent. The biggest problem with the martyrdom and abuse culture is we start to see an intellectual superiority for those who have been wronged. People who experience injustice are not wiser. This is not to say there are not some intellectual strengths in the Jewish community, but we are incapable of dealing with social issues without making things worse. The worst part about being inside the Jewish community and trying to correct the culture from within is the personal attacks one deals with. Anyone inside the Jewish community who questioned Obama for the last few years was marginalized, called racist or mentally ill.


Vanity Fair Blames Capitalism after Syrian Public Relations Vanity

April 3, 2011
…but seriously… the fact that “VANITY FAIR” is against CAPITALISM should be all you need to know about SOCIALIST influenced ideas. There is an elite in government and they are a hell of lot more VAIN then the rest of us!!

Vanity Fair fails to mention that they were the Vanity behind the Repressive regimes… in Syria. our American wealth that is mentioned in the “Vanity Fair” article as 1% would not pay for one year of our debt. In fact all the richest Americans would not build a city like Dubai. If you take the money away from the 1% of America… then the middle class fails to reap the benefit of the 1% which is jobs and Research and Development. It is very sad to see Vanity Fair obscuring the issue… when they were the public relations of Syria.

THE FAT AND THE FURIOUS The top 1 percent may have the best houses, educations, and lifestyles, says the author, but “their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live.” via vanityfair.com

Vanity

December 14, 2008

Re: bye bye american apple friter