Excising women from news images

9 May 2011

Thanks to the amazing blog Sociological Images, I now know that ultra-orthodox Jewish papers can choose to photoshop images to expurgate the women. Apparently these papers usually make the argument that the images are “sexually suggestive or show women interacting with men in ways that are considered inappropriate.” But how does one explain the images below, which compare the original situation-room photo during Osama Bin Laden’s capture with the photoshopped one below that appeared in a Brooklyn newspaper?

The paper below is Der Tzitung, targeted to the ultra orthodox Jewish community of Brooklyn. But this isn’t the first time such papers have purged images that don’t appear obviously “sexually suggestive” or showing “inappropriate” relations between men and women, or images that create “impure thoughts” in readers. See for example these below (again from Sociological Images; see that site for helpful links) from an ultra-orthodox Israeli paper. Again, compare the top (original) image with the one below, which has been highlighted to show how all the girls have replaced, somewhat awkwardly, with duplicate images of boys:

We might disagree about whether eliminating sexually suggestive images is a good idea; but these images simply eliminate anyone designated female. Including Hillary Clinton, a woman of significant power in the world who is highly respected in Israel and amongst many American Jews. No comments here — make your comments over at Sociological Images, which deserves full credit.

Late-breaking update, 11 May 2011: Jill at Feministe has posted an update on this story along with an alternate image of the situation room in which the men have been photoshopped out. Excellent.

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