This Israeli Ad Agency Figured Out a Clever Way to Combat Vandalism Against Billboards Featuring ‘Immodest’ Women

Here’s an advertising tactics atheists might want to use with their own billboards.

In Bnei Brak, an Israeli city with a super-conservative religious population, a lot of men don’t like to see images of women dressed “immodestly.” That means their elbows and knees and hair must be covered at all times.

So advertising company Twisted came up with a clever way to raise awareness about the need to stop violence against women.

They put up this poster, knowing it would get vandalized by the ultra-orthodox men:

Less than 24 hours after it went up, the face of the woman was ripped off… revealing a hidden message:

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25.11.13

Very clever. Very effective.

If only we could’ve seen the looks on the vandals’ faces…

(Thanks to Scott for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • JA

    Not to go off-topic, but how can one see elbows and knees as sexual objects?

    • Artor

      In a repressive society, any amount of skin can be sexualized. Believe it or not, some people get all hot & bothered by the sight of an exposed ankle.

      • duke_of_omnium

        Wait. You mean that some people DON’T get aroused by the sight of an ankle?

        • Shazam

          What can you expect Muslim men get excited by their goats so yeh a real female (Or in their case under age 4 plus year olds turns them on lol) Yes they are a backwards and sick culture period!

          • Randay

            What makes you think that this has anything to do with Muslim men. The town is likely predominately Jewish Orthodox, otherwise why was the hidden message in Hebrew rather than Arabic? The Google translation of the original article also says, “in Israel this year that killed 19 women by their husbands, and hundreds of animals in a violent relationship”

            Who are these presumed men who have violent relationships with animals? They could be Jewish or Muslim, or maybe even Xian.

            Maybe a Hebrew speaker has a better translation.

      • MARTinNJ

        Are we talking the left ankle or the right ankle? It matters. (Snark).

    • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      I guess if you grow up in a culture where every part of a woman must be hidden, you develop some pretty screwed up sensibilities.

    • MineApostasy

      It’s similar to how we see breasts as sexual objects whilst, I’ve heard, in some remote areas of Africa the women find it hilarious that anyone would fixate on breasts asking “are they babies?”

    • cyb pauli

      They say the pilgrims found ears and noses erotic… that’s what they SAY.

      • Ronny G. Chevrier

        That’s what they were holding during… well you know…

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I was about to say:

      In Victorian England, they put skirts on chair legs.

      But I can’t find anything to back that up. I’m also a bit suspicious of this story, in particular how they didn’t rip down any more of the sign. It all seems so ‘neat’ for vandals.

      • JA

        That was actually the British making fun of prudish Americans.

      • Don Gwinn

        Well . . . it did occur to me that if the vandals failed to oblige, you could always rip it down yourself. But if the vandals normally cut out the offending parts, so this looks like their handiwork, the effect is the same. If they normally paint over it, so someone looking at this billboard wonders what happened instead of thinking, at least for a moment, “Oh, they got another one . . .” then maybe it’s not so effective.

        I’ve been told that the story about skirts to cover table legs for modesty was actually something that got passed around Victorian England as a fun joke at the expense of puritanical Americans
        (Oh, look, JA already brought that up 26 minutes ago!)
        . . . . but I haven’t seen evidence for that, either. It sounds plausible, though, the way the French called Syphilis the “English disease” while the British called it “The French Disease.”

        So, to sum up, vandalism is bad, table legs are sexy (but not as sexy as Israeli Elbows*) and everybody has Syphilis equally.

        *Israeli Elbows is a great Cream cover band.

        • Gaël Cassetari

          No, we froggies called it the Italian disease. So nobody gets jealous.

          • Don Gwinn

            I feel certain you must be wrong; I learned that fact from careful study of a James Clavell novel. I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but clearly my source is unimpeachable. ;)

          • Madison Blane

            But why are French called froggies?! That’s the real question here!

            • Bec

              They eat frogs legs as a national delicacy, and the British would frequently refer to France over the Channel as ‘across the pond’, so I guess it came from that.

              • tracy two crows

                Frog legs are delicious and I’m nowhere near french.I DO however, get to endure Quebec week in Florida every year, does that count?lol *licks fried froggie from fingers*

              • UWIR

                “Across the pond” is America.

          • Little_Magpie

            i seem to remember someone called it the Spanish disease? which given that, if i understand correctly, it was a New World disease that came back with the conquistadores, is at least halfway correct (in that the Spanish would have been the proximate source for the rest of Europe)

        • Grover Milhouse Taft

          “Israeli Elbows is a great Cream cover band.”
          Boom!

        • Pogonip

          BTW, the word “legs” was never used. They said “limbs” when referring to legs.

    • Ronny G. Chevrier

      Depends on the position, I suppose…

    • Michael

      Because the people who made the rules were into those bits. It’s all a question of taste, nothing more complex than that.

      I kinda like shoulders, so long as they’re not bony.

      • smrnda

        I don’t know why some people can’t just look at whatever part they find appealing, enjoy looking a bit (being mindful not to stare and be creepy) and then move on. Most humans do that every day. Either these people have been taught that ordinary human sexuality is bad, or else it’s simply a power issue with them hating the fact that other people might have appealing bodies that they can look at but can’t have.

        • Matt Davis

          All religions teach that ordinary human sexuality is bad. The worst are the ones that teach men that women are responsible for men’s feelings – that if women dress immodestly, whatever that may mean, and get attacked by men who can’t control themselves, it’s the woman’s fault. Disgusting behaviour and attitude.

          • Martina

            Very true

          • Madison Blane

            This doesn’t just apply to attacks. In fundamental religions, it applies to ALL men’s actions towards women. Any negative behavior directed at a woman is entirely her fault – she caused the man to sin. Any good behavior on the woman’s behalf is also the man’s right to take praise for, as he is her ‘shepherd’, her guide, her teacher. If she does something right, it is because he trained her into obedience. Training usually involves pain BTW.

            My mom was part of a fundamental Christian religion. When my step-father had an affair (with a married woman in the church), that resulted in my mother, me, and my baby brother being homeless, the Pastor scolded my mother. He said that it was HER fault that her husband felt compelled to have an affair because she had failed to be a good wife, to be someone he wants to come home to, and to keep herself sexually attractive (yes, she gained weight during her pregnancy; he gained MORE weight and didn’t have a reason other than her cooking!)

            When a sunday school teacher felt compassion towards us (she gave us a key to the church so that we could sleep in her classroom and have access to the church kitchen and facilities) the pastor was irate! His words were: this is a church not a charity! The church takes care of widows and orphans not women who cause their own demise through sin! Both women were forced to ‘repent’.

            • Jennifer Lakewood

              That is a very sad story. I hope your mom never attended that church again.

          • smrnda

            I’m no pagan, but some pagans seem a bit more sex positive.

            I suspect that teaching that ordinary sexuality is bad is a way you control people, and it’s advertizing logic all the way through. Convince people that something normal is broken, sell them a phony fix that doesn’t work, and you get a lifelong customer.

          • HS

            Judaism doesn’t teach that at all. Maybe do some research.

            • http://avengah.wordpress.com Matt Davis

              Yes, it does. Have you not read Leviticus and Deuteronomy? There are loads of stupid rules about sexuality in there. Please.

              Maybe if I’d said “Most religions” it would have been better, but there’s always going to be exceptions. However, Judaism isn’t one of them.

              • HS

                You said “all religions teach that ordinary human sexuality is bad”. Judaism teaches that human sexuality is very positive, given the right circumstances, and the right partner.
                A husband is required to sexually satisfy his wife according to Jewish law.
                If you’re reading the Torah with no commentary or explanation from Torah scholars, I understand why you misunderstood.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  And yet, even with those caveats (and yes, Judaism is much less sex-negative than Christianity), it is still the onus of the woman to prevent a man from raping her by dressing “modestly”. It is not the onus of the man to, you know, not rape anyone.

                  That’s not Torah. That’s fundamentalist purity culture, translated into the haredi culture. A man is responsible for his own actions; the clothes a woman wears have nothing to do with his actions.

                • HS

                  It is not at all. A rape is completely the fault of the rapist. Maybe if you’re going to judge Jewish culture, you should actually know something about it.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I do. I was raised Jewish (though not Orthodox or haredi), and while I am now an atheist, I still have a fair bit of Jewish outlook in me. That’s why I say these things. Perhaps you should look into the reports of child sexual abuse coming out of New York’s haredi communities. Go to the blog here at Patheos called LoveJoyFeminism and read AztecQueen’s posts about her abusive marriage and how her community blamed her for it. Read about your own Israeli haredi communities throwing ink and stones and spitting on young girls for not being “modest” enough, calling them sluts and whores, threatening to rape them.

                  Religious fundamentalism is a poison. The haredi are no different from Christian Patriarchy or the Taliban.

                • HS

                  Again, painting an entire community with the same brush as a bunch of crazy people. Maybe you should get to know them instead.
                  Yes there is sexual abuse, unfortunately. Just like there is sexual abuse in secular communities, in Muslim communities, in Christian communities, etc. There are always sad stories and crime. No one’s pretending Haredim are perfect people. There are good people and bad people, just like in your community.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  No doubt. People are people everywhere. But the haredi, just like other insular religious fundamentalists, create a culture that encourages abuse and discourages reporting of it. Abuse is worse in insular religious communities across the board. The haredim, just like the Amish and the Quiverfull folks and the Taliban, have a serious problem with the idea of consent that is much, much worse than mainstream modern culture.

                  In other words, there are good and bad people everywhere, but communities like the haredi ones make it much harder to catch and punish the bad people and actually enables them more often. It isn’t unique to the haredim, but it is a known failing of insular religious communities, which the haredi are.

                • HS

                  If you want to apply findings about “encouraging abuse” in Amish and other insular communities to Haredi Jewish communities, without any evidence, then go right ahead. But it’s just dishonest.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  See below (above? other thread we’re talking on) for a discussion of haredi abuse, at least. I’ll find the links to general religious fundamentalism later.

                • http://avengah.wordpress.com Matt Davis

                  So sex is fine… as long as it’s between a husband and wife. So extra-marital relationships, same-sex relationships etc. are out. Remind me how Judaism is sex-positive again?

                • HS

                  Sex positive, in the right context.

    • David Mumford

      her hair isn’t covered…i know BIG DEAL

    • Jan Kafka

      I get aroused by the sight of the eyes of burqa-clad women.

    • HS

      It’s not about seeing them as sexual objects in and of themselves. They believe a person should dress modestly, according to the laws of Torah. That includes women and men. There, men also cover their elbows and knees.

  • Goape

    Evokes an image of Dark Helmet saying “Fooooled Youuu!”

  • Mick

    The vandals couldn’t also rip down the underlying message?
    The vandals couldn’t find some black paint to hide the message?
    (Yes, I’m dubious about this story)

    • Jeff See

      Seemed a bit clean, the tearing/removal of the picture on the top ad, and how well it ‘framed’ the underlying message, did it not?

      • GubbaBumpkin

        Yes. “How convenient.”

      • Michael Harbour

        My first thought, too.
        I’m immediately suspicious of whether there were actual vandals involved.

        • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          It doesn’t matter. The campaign is effective either way.

          • tickletik

            Yes, it has effectively convinced some Haredim that now they must be against anti-violence. So thank you for the extra wife beatings. I think assholes like you, and the assholes in the Haredi community should both be put in a leaky rowboat and shoved into the ocean. Then the rest of us could get along in peace like human beings.

            • http://batman-news.com 3lemenope

              “Against anti-violence”. That’s not a thing; that’s a passive euphemism for the active choice to embrace violence. The person that embraces violence can only ever blame themselves. It’s pretty perverse, for sure, to blame violence on the people who argue “you really shouldn’t be violent” in so many words.

              • tickletik

                You mean your really can’t figure out how giving across a message in the most offensive way possible, will rile up a community to oppose both the offence and the message?

                Well, that’s exactly the problem. You don’t really give a damn about the message, what you really care about is giving offence.

                There really is no difference at all between you and the preacher who spits in the face of his teenage son who questions religion. No damn difference at all.

                • http://batman-news.com 3lemenope

                  So if a community is offended, this relieves them of the responsibility to moderate their behavior? Please. Offense is not available as an excuse for violence. Some people are sentimentally attached to the notion that only the most oblique, most meek, most obsequious approach to disagreement will pay persuasive dividends. I used to be one of those people. Those people are wrong.

                  And even if that were not true, some things call for clear denunciation; there is a moral imperative that vastly outweighs the norms of social comity. Sometimes, an approach akin to “pretty please, if you would be so kind, stop beating your wife” would be more morally offensive than brutally denouncing it in harsh terms. Neither the pretense of moral equivalency nor the appearance of respect are luxuries to be afforded around discussions of actually evil things.

      • Stev84

        The right angles in the middle of the right edge look really weird.

        • Devo Sandberg Kessin

          Ever try tearing duct tape? The billboards are made of a fibrous material. (BTW, I’m not saying it was vandalized or not, just explaining the weird angles)

    • Guest

      It seems a bit clean, does it not? The way it frames the underlying message? (My apologies if this ends up being a double post. Disqus is acting weird today).

    • MARTinNJ

      I am sure you are also dubious about the 20th Century.

  • cyb pauli

    That’s what they see as immodest. A face and some hair. Oy.

  • Matto the Hun

    I suspect the vandals don’t really care about the underlying message. They got rid of the wicked, sexy, sinful woman… mission accomplished.

    • HS

      Valuing modesty is not about thinking women are wicked and sinful. They value modesty in men as well. This community has certain values that the ad agency went out of it’s way to offend. Maybe you should actually talk to people instead of judging them.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Maybe you should think about why a woman is offensive, and what that says about that community’s “values”.

        Judge? Oh hell yes, I judge. If you think that I am a lesser person because I don’t have a penis and testicles, I am going to judge you all the way to the bank. If you think you are a lesser person because you don’t have a penis and testicles, I feel very sorry for you and hope you escape soon.

        • HS

          A woman is not offensive. But in a community that dresses modestly and expects guests to dress modestly, you don’t think it’s rude to deliberately put a giant picture of an immodestly dressed woman right outside of their houses?

          It has nothing to do with women being lesser or greater than men. In these communities, both men and women walk around very covered up – covering elbows and knees.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            If a woman is not offensive, then why is a woman’s face so terrible that it got vandalized? Would a man’s face have been vandalized?

            • HS

              There are people who take their values too far. It is a small group of extreme crazy people who overreact. Does that mean the rest of the community should be disrespected?

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                You live in that community. You shelter and respect and cover for those people. You tell them their values are correct. Should that community be respected?

                I hope you realize that the fact that a man’s face wouldn’t have been vandalized says your community has serious problems. You earn respect; you are not owed it. You have no right to try to force others to live by the standards of your community or to police them for not. You have no right to not be offended. You look down on others for not being as pious as you- why should they not look down on you for high rates of domestic violence and disrespect of women?

                • HS

                  Why are you assuming anything about me?
                  There are many people in these communities who are good people, kind to neighbors and strangers, give to charity, are hospitable, and above all just want to live normal lives. But you say because other people who look just like them are criminals, that none of them deserve respect.
                  What evidence do you have for “high rates of domestic violence” exactly?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I’m sure that most of the people in the community are good people. Most people are, after all.

                  But they don’t condemn those that do horrible things. They actually give speeches in favor of such things sometimes, even if they don’t do them. They talk about it in approving whispers. They judge the victims- oh, maybe they were too mean, but look what she was wearing!

                  People deserve respect as individuals. But the haredi community as a whole, no, I don’t think it does deserve respect. It clings to old-fashioned and just plain wrong ideas about men and women, it stunts its children’s education and potential (at least in the US), and it has serious issues with child sexual abuse, domestic violence, and general violence against women.

                • HS

                  If you have evidence that the rates of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and general violence against women are higher than in other places, then you can keep on claiming that these are community specific problems. Otherwise, why are you blaming them specifically?

                  Have you talked to them to hear if they condemn the horrible things that happen? Maybe because they all look similar to you, you assume they’re all the same, and expect one group of “black-hatters” to apologize for the actions of a different group.

                  “They talk about it in approving whispers”? Where do you get this ridiculousness?

                  Try saying the same things, but in connection to a different group, like Blacks, or Asians, or Jews in general – you’ll see that what you’re saying isn’t rational, but translates into simple prejudice.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Ah, no. After all, I say the same things about fundamentalists of all stripes. As for evidence:

                  Sexual abuse and domestic violence are way too common and way too unpunished in Haredi communities around the world
                  http://www.timesofisrael.com/haredi-community-breaking-the-culture-of-secrecy-on-domestic-abuse/
                  http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2013/11/judaisms-fundamentalism-problem-678.html
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_abuse_cases_in_Brooklyn's_Haredi_community
                  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-shun-their-own-for-reporting-child-sexual-abuse.html
                  http://telchaination.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-child-abuse-assembly-line-in-haredi.html

                  Haredi abuse women and girls verbally and their leaders do not condemn it
                  http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4330287,00.html
                  http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2013/11/case-against-haredi-man-who-spit-on-and-terrorized-little-girls-dropped-678.html
                  Note: “Mainstream haredi leaders did not publicly (or even privately in most cases) condemn the attacks on those little girls and did nothing to stop them from happening”
                  http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2013/12/haredi-mks-newspapers-claim-no-spitting-assault-happened-in-beit-shemesh-345.html

                  If people didn’t tacitly condone it, why are these men still part of the community? If people don’t whisper approvingly, why are these men still walking around in public behaving so badly? The haredim are close-knit and very influenced by community pressure- the only reason they keep doing such things in public is the community isn’t pressuring them to stop. Oh, sure, if you asked someone point blank, they’d probably say that it isn’t acceptable. That’s pretty meaningless if you’re talking to me. You need to say it to your community.

                • HS

                  I agree there is a problem with reporting crime to governmental authorities in many haredi communities. It has been a problem for a long time, and it is improving. You can look up the organization Jewish Community Watch, if you’re interested in truth, not just accusations.
                  That doesn’t mean that rates of crime are higher in those communities – just that, in my opinion, people hesitate before reporting it to the police, because they feel the public will rush to condemn the entire community, because they are insular and not well known, and “they all look the same”, and are an easy target.
                  Kind of like you’re doing, when you say “Haredi abuse women and girls verbally”. It is not “Haredim”. It is a small group of crazy extreme people. The kind there are in any community, regardless of ideology. Would you like me to assemble a list of crimes committed by secular people, and then demand a public condemnation from all “secular leaders”?
                  Like I said, there are many, many different groups of “Haredim” that you’re lumping together. If some crazy people from one group commit a crime, those from another group won’t feel the need to publicly condemn it in secular news, because they don’t feel any connection to the criminals.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  First of all, secular is not the word you’re looking for. It just means neutral in terms of religion. You should use the term non-religious or atheist.

                  Second, when atheist communities specifically cover up and enable sexual abuse of children because they think God (or the lack thereof) gives them the moral authority to not punish wrongdoers, I will join you in condemning it loudly. If atheists start yelling at women, throwing shit at them, and otherwise denigrating them because God didn’t tell them not to, I will say the atheist community has serious problems and a lot of housecleaning to do, and I will try to figure out ways to clamp down on our extremists.

                  Will you? Will you condemn the sexual predators and the culture that protects them? Will you condemn the people who yell at women, throw shit at them, and denigrate them because they think God told them to? Will you say the Haredi communities, all of them, have serious problems and a lot of housecleaning to do? Will you speak up, and will you tell your leaders to speak up?

                  I condemn the Haredi. I condemn the Amish. I condemn the Quiverfull and the Christian Patriarchy and the FLDS. I condemn the Wahabi and the Taliban. I condemn all religious fundamentalism, especially the insular kind, because of the abuse it spawns and the lack of accountability and responsibility it breeds. And I condemn the people who deliberately blind themselves to its flaws, who argue that “most of them are good people”, who choose to protect their community’s reputation over protecting the people who live in that community.

                • HS

                  Secular/non-religious people have their own ideologies that might allow some crazy people to commit crimes. Disrespect and objectification of women cause rapes and sexual and domestic abuse. Ignoring the sanctity of life causes murders and injury. Should all non-religious people be condemned for all those crimes that go unreported and unpunished?

                  If Jewish religious condemnations don’t make it into the non-Jewish news, I suggest you make it your business to get to know them, and talk to them personally about it.
                  Because I assure you there are many many many condemnations, as there should be.
                  But again, if you’re interested in truth, and honesty, and fairness, then maybe you should distance yourself from across-the-board discrimination.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I have read the religious papers. I didn’t see condemnations. I saw your excuses- oh these are crazy people. They’re a fringe. It’s not our problem. Did you note that most of the things I linked you were actually from religious sources, calling for the haredi to do more than nothing to stop all this?

                  There is no doubt that other ideologies other than religion can lead to all sorts of terrible things. That doesn’t change that fact that religious fundamentalism also leads to terrible things. Take ownership of it and fix it. Don’t hide it under “well everyone does bad things so we don’t have to fix it”. That’s not good enough. That’s just plain bad, in fact.

                  If non-religious people made a habit of covering up crimes because of their nonreligion, of course I’d condemn it. So why won’t you condemn people covering up crimes because of their religion?

                  I will also note that it would be prejudice if I said “all Haredi men rape children”, but of course I don’t think so and haven’t said anything like that. It is not discrimination to say that Haredi communities have higher rates of child sexual abuse and domestic violence, and so clearly they need to do something about that. It is not discrimination to say that Haredi men should not yell at or throw things at women and girls, and the community needs to do something about both the actions and the attitudes that lead to the actions. It is not discrimination to point to a problem and call it a problem. It is not discrimination to get disgusted at people covering up crimes and other people making excuses for those crimes.

                  In all of this, you have never, not once, said “I condemn the sexual abuse of children. I condemn the coverup of sexual abuse and domestic violence. I condemn the high rates of sexual abuse and violence. My community has a problem and I will be part of the solution”. Why won’t you say that? I ask again, why is protecting the reputation of your community so much more important to you than protecting the actual people in it?

                • HS

                  It IS discrimination to say that “Haredi communities have higher rates of child sexual abuse and domestic violence”, since you have zero statistical evidence, comparing to other communities.
                  Any sexual abuse or crime is a problem, and needs to be dealt with. It IS horrible, and obviously I condemn it, and so do my neighbors and my family and my rabbi and my community, because it is all against Jewish law and ethics, and against G-d.

                • becky

                  HS stop with the nonsense. You are the epitome of the very community you defend. We will continue to judge because the only thing we’ve experienced from the Haredim around the world is laziness/refusal to work, sexual abuse, refusal to serve, drying up government resources, violence, cult-like behavior, procreation with NO JOB, NO MONEY and DEFINITELY NO WAY TO RAISE MULTIPLE CHILDREN (at times more than a dozen!!) amongst other things. This applies to both USA as well as Israel. In Israel we hate the haredim. They cause problems on top of the ones we already have. They dont serve in the army, they commit acts of violence against female soldiers and they burn the Israeli flag. So once again, cut the crap HS — you are as pathetic as they are and this is all what I see from your postings… so there is no assumption here. Just PURE evidence of a waste of a life.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Did you read any of the articles? One of the experts estimated that up to 50% of Haredi boys were victims of sexual abuse! That is ridiculously higher than other communities. Furthermore, people who speak out are often shunned and excommunicated, while the abusers are protected. That is a massive cultural problem. This is not a community that protects victims. This is not a community that condemns abuse. This is a community that values silence and reputation over actual people’s lives.

                  Women can be forced to shave their heads or be excommunicate, their children expelled from schools, shamed for daring to not do this absurd practice.

                  …Frimet Goldberger, went public with her disgust at this practice. The most memorable part of her account comes when she describes her meeting with the Va’ad Hatznius — a sort of Taliban-like Committee of Vice and Virtue that purports to judge God’s will in regard to female modesty — after word had spread within the community that she secretly carried an unshaven head of hair under her turban. During the entire proceeding, the chief of the group kept his right hand in front of his eyes, to shield himself from Ms. Goldberger, lest he contaminate himself visually with her wanton harlotry, and directed his comments only to her husband. In a move straight out of Saudi Arabia, the Va’ad Hatznius indicated that it would soon be spending a female inspector to Goldberger’s house, to examine what lay under her turban.

                  More articles about haredi abuse of women as a frowned-upon but protected cultural practice can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here. Those were just the first results a simple Google search turned up. For more scholarly articles, I suggest you start here and read the journal articles linked below the abstract.

                  Sexual and domestic abuse are not crimes because they are against God. They are crimes because they hurt people. They reduce people to objects to be used to gratify lust or take anger out upon, instead of people to be respected. They violate boundaries of consent. If you condemn silently, you might as well not condemn at all. If you condemn but do nothing, you might as well not condemn. Get involved in Bat Sarah Yad Sarah or other groups that help women escaping violence. Work in your community to combat patriarchy. Make sure your rabbi emphasizes reporting abuse to the police, make sure victims are believed, make sure the community doesn’t stand with the abuser and accuse the victim of making things up. Make sure the men know that throwing their shit at women and girls isn’t acceptable. Make the men know that calling women and girls whores isn’t acceptable. And most of all, acknowledge that your community has a problem.

                  EDIT: The organization is not Bat Sarah. It is Yad Sarah. There is another group that focuses on helping abused Haredi women called Bat Melech. I mixed up the two names.

                • HS

                  If he has reliable evidence for that 50% claim, I’d love to see it.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Why don’t you go look for it, then? He’s published and talked about this for years. His name is Nuchem Rosenberg, which you would know if you’d read the things I linked.

                  But you don’t want to find it, do you?

      • Carmelita Spats

        Is this the same wide-eyed community that throws stones at female joggers on a certain street near Jerusalem’s Abraham Hostel because, you know…healthy, non-varicose veined, non-cellulite-ridden, bare legs in 100+ degree weather send shock waves of fleshy joy and folks with a dark and gritty sense of humor gather to watch the stone-throwing freak show from the hostel…and they also want Jerusalem streets to be segregated by gender (men on one side, women on the other)…? Talk to sanctimonious creeps? No way. They’re a helluva lot funnier to mock from a safe distance which means remaining beyond a stone’s throw away and being able to RUN as the crow flies. Just sayin’.

        • HS

          Right. So because there are a few crazy people in the community means you can paint everyone with the same brush and conclude that none of them should be respected? I happen to know many of them very well. Some would say I AM one of them. They aren’t anything like you describe them, and just want to live quiet lives without being disrespected by others.

    • http://www.edgeofchaospodcast.com/ Neurotoxin

      I disagree. The vandals may hold ridiculous beliefs but they aren’t stupid, and they realized upon succeeding at their vandalism that they had lost a major political battle by doing exactly what the ad agency intended for them to do. As for you HS, the ultra-conservatism of these values unfortunately often translates into violence that is never reported or in any way countenanced – and the ad agency successfully demonstrated that for this community, ‘valuing’ modesty translates into a violent intolerance of immodesty. People have a right to their own values but NOT a right to others respecting these values, and their values do NOT give them carte blanche to be violent toward those that don’t respect their values.

      • tickletik

        And then the next time they will simply use paint. Congratulations on antagonizing people for absolutely no reason just to score a petty point. And the best part is, they will now associate anti-violence against women with heretics. So it’s a double win!

  • Peter Cranny

    You’ll often see 16th Century images of women wearing ear coverings. This is thought to be because Mary became pregnant with Jesus by hearing the word of God, so ears are sexual otrgans….

    • Don Gwinn

      Whaaaaaaat?
      Don’t get me wrong, Scully, I want to believe. But that’s totally new for me. R u bn sirius?

    • https://twitter.com/WCLPeter Rob U

      Mary became pregnant with Jesus by hearing the word of God, so ears are sexual otrgans….

      I call bullshit on that one, if this were true then there would be a ginormous pregnancy epidemic every time a Morgan Freeman movie came out!

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        He has that voice, man.

    • b s

      There once was a lady, it’s tearful,
      of performing fellatio was fearful.
      At the moment of dread,
      she’d just turn her head,
      and boy did she get an earful.

  • TrickQuestion

    Looks like a good part of it is missing. I wonder if they took it home with them…

  • Kathleen Bohr

    Even if they pulled the face off themselves, which seems more likely, the message is there. Women should not be treated as property.

    • HS

      who says in B’nei Brak women are treated as property? Have you ever been there?

      • Lauren

        I am an Israeli citizen. They are known in B’nei Brak (and Mea Sharim) for throwing ink on women walking down the street if not dressed “appropriately” including wearing a wig or covering their hair. if they aren’t treated as property, they are certainly controlled or forced to comply with the community “norms”, if you want to be PC.
        Women not from the neighborhood who are there are looked at as, and often called, whores.

        The docim (ultra religious) are a big problem in Israel and not just for stuff like this. They are a drain on the country’s resources (on welfare since the men don’t work), for generations they dodged military service, and are the main group holding back the secular majority, including impeding the peace process with their staunch support of the settlements. Remember Gush Katif?

        • HS

          Where to start?
          I’m also an Israeli citizen. And probably what you would call “dosit” or “haredia”. And a woman.

          I’m spent a lot of time in these neighborhoods. The vast majority of people, just like in any neighborhood in Israel, are good people, who just want to get on with their lives and provide for their children, and uphold the values they see as paramount in life. There are a few crazies that throw ink on women, that insult people, and that rip billboards, but it is by no means the majority. I’ve met plenty of crazy secular people too.

          Ahhhh the myth that Haredim don’t work. Actually 55% of Haredi men work, and a high percentage of women too (I don’t know it exactly). Now, that is a lower percentage than the country average, which is around 75% of Israeli men, but still much higher than 0%, right?
          I’m not even sure what “the main group holding back the secular majority” means…

          It’s just wrong to say that “for generations they dodged military service”. For many years, the official policy of the government was that yeshiva bachurim don’t have to join the army. That’s not dodging, that’s just going along with government policy, set up by David Ben Gurion, btw. Now that the policy has changed, I agree that they should join the army, but I also know that the army has to be ready to receive them – i.e. set up enough programs with the right conditions for Haredim to serve.

          And I guess you’re lumping Charedim in with Dati Leumi (I’m not sure why, because Datiim Leumiim serve in the army at a much higher rate than any other community in the country) with your comment on “settlements”. I remember Gush Katif very well. I remember a government turning on its own people, and kicking innocent people out of their houses that they had paid for and in many cases built with their own 2 hands. And for what? For rockets on Tel Aviv?

          It can be very worthwhile to get to know people instead of relying on what you hear about them in the news or online.

          The yishuvim/”peace process” is a different discussion all together, and I don’t want to get into it now. I’ll just say I don’t understand how building houses could be holding up a “peace process”, when the conflict is not now, nor has it ever been about land.

          • tickletik

            “I’m not even sure what “the main group holding back the secular majority” means…”

            It’s a dodge. She’s trying to pretend she represents the majority. Leftists and their lies, remember?

          • becky

            You need to go serve in the army yourself. Get a taste of what you seemingly think you know everything about. You’re speaking from a one-side point of view. That’s why Israelis can’t stand haredim ANYWHERE! They cause all the problems.

            • HS

              Just replace “haredim” in your comment with Jews, and see if you like the way you sound.
              And I served in the army, thank you very much.

          • becky

            HS is just a burden on the image and reputation of real Jews and Israelis that serve their country and love their land and religion for what it is.

            • HS

              I don’t know even know what to say against such hate. It’s very saddening that a “real Jew” as you term yourself would speak like that against her own family, without even trying to get to know them.

        • tickletik

          They didn’t involve themselves one way or the other with Gush Katif. So while some of us do remember it, you obviously don’t.

          And for a leftist to open her mouth about caring about the majority is a real laugh. You could not possibly give less of a damn what the majority want, given that the majority have for years wanted to scrap the “peace process”. Only you are so good at lying to the outside world and gaming the system internally that the majority are frustrated, and the world thinks you actually represent us.

          • Guest

            Okayyy…I’ll take it from here, buddy.

  • KrisDStar

    Apparently in the original report, vandals usually rip female faces off billboards anyway. The advertising company decided to use that to their advantage:

    Advertising agency decided to make use of the phenomenon, which ordinarily suffer many advertisers. The phenomenon in question is the destruction of the advertising signs bearing the images of women.

    It’s a bad google translation of a page in Hebrew.

    http://www.ice.co.il/article/view/374197#.UpNr8OzUhY8.facebook

  • RegularJoe
    • Neko

      Thanks for that.

    • Little_Magpie

      yep, that’s pretty awesome.

  • ferulebezel

    The path of the cutting is just too precise to be the work of vandals. I think the ad. agency is trolling.

    • Crash Override

      It makes no difference either way…the message was the same, and was delivered in an effective manner.

  • justnearthling

    One must remember that every human being that has ever been bornl was born an atheist and it was their parents that dragged them into a church f8r their first and ongoing indoctrination into whatever cult their parents were a memeber of….including christians, jews, muslims, whatever….they are all cults….not just momons, Davidians, westboro baptist, southern baptist, no matter they are all cults…

    • toolman78

      So does that make those of us who left a religion behind “born again atheists”?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I would like to see this idea used on U.S. college campuses where SSA and other atheist student groups’ fliers are constantly ripped off of bulletin boards and kiosks. Underneath the flier, attach much more permanently a message to the anticipated vandals, speaking about their cowardice and lack of patriotism in wanting to silence free speech that apparently contradicts their opinions and beliefs.
    ___________________

    That being said,
    I’m suspicious that this ad is contrived by the designers, but for reasons other than those expressed so far:

    The accuracy of the ripping off of the woman’s face is not what makes this suspicious to me. That would be done with a knife by someone on a ladder, reaching as high as he can for the horizontal cut and then following down the line of her hair and shoulder.

    The precise placement of the message beneath does not make me suspicious because the designers could have seen a pattern in how similar images were vandalized, and anticipated exactly where to put the text.

    The fact that the underlying message was not also removed is a little suspicious, although that might have been prevented by using a much stronger adhesive than the peel-off-easily adhesive used on billboards that are frequently changed.

    BUT the part that most makes me suspicious that the “vandalism” was done by the ad agency is the text of the original ad: “Violence men & women” What the heck is that supposed to mean? It only makes sense when the underlying message is added. I think they were either 100% certain that the billboard would be vandalized just that way, (instead of with paint, etc.) or they did it themselves.

    Anticipated or contrived, it is a very clever idea, because either way it responds to a particular expression of misogyny that is apparently common in that town.

    • Randay

      I don’t know what the practice is today, but in the 1920′s and 30′s it was usual to just paste new ad campaign posters over the previous ones rather than remove them. This led to an aspect of surrealist art where individuals would tear away parts of one or more layers of posters to create a new image or message, a work of art if you like.

      Of course the accumulation of posters had to be removed entirely from time to time. So the art was ephemeral.

    • HS

      Valuing modesty is misogyny now? They value modesty in men and women. The men also cover their elbows and knees.

      • becky

        The men aren’t sexualized by society, moron. Women are SEX OBJECTS… Then one could say “How can a man show his hair and a woman can’t?” Answer me that. (And don’t bother using the kippa as an excuse – I’d like to see men shave their hair wear wigs as a sign of “modesty”) They advocate for control over women, not modesty. Back to my point: Women are sexualized.

        • becky

          PS – Go put a picture of a man in a short-sleeved shirt… nothing happens. This is clearly violence against WOMEN!! Read a book.

  • BathTub

    Come on, does anyone really think that simply isn’t a part of the advertising campaign? Like the recent BitTorrent advertising campaign where the 2nd stage was to deface their own bilboards.

    • AramMcLean

      Their advertising campaign to sell their special brand of violence against women? Are you a wee bit ‘touched’ friend?

  • compl3x

    Stunt or not, the fact that vandalism is so common and it could be used to promote a positive message is still a nice kick in the ass of the zealot.

  • Greg Baker

    Seems as though this is not that authentic of a story. Fail.

  • Coolred38

    Interesting that the page link is blocked here. I would assume because it has something related to Israel/Jewish. Love the middle east censorship randomness.

  • Aguz

    I thing the vandals were people from the agency itself as the cut out is very, how to say it, neatly. The idea is good regardless, but I’m skeptic to the existence of such neat vandals.

  • Jonas Caleb

    I don’t see why there is an international violence day against women, it should be people. It’s very convenient for feminist ideologues to write men out as victims and cast them as perpetrators attributing to a negative male gender stereotype.

  • MrScruffles

    So these unnamed vandals (Shas? Charedi? Muslims? Drunks?) decided to
    tear down just exactly the part of the poster that the “anti-DV”
    crusaders wanted them to in order to get to the message underneath, and
    did not choose to spray-paint or vandalize it any further. Seems legit.

    • Nancy Shrew

      I get where you’re going, but it is possible that they only wanted to get rid of the woman’s face—which is fucked up, but I digress.

      • MrScruffles

        And chose not to get rid of her forehead or hair? Both the Ultra-Orthodox and Shia extremists have issues with women’s hair (and let’s not even get started on the Sunnis). In Iran, a woman is required to cover up her hair to some degree, and cultural norms in the orthodox pressure women to do the same. Apparently, there’s a previously unknown group of religious extremists wandering around that care about a woman’s face, but not hair and forehead, are selective and gracious in their vandalism (and only vandalize posters in a way that helps get the message the poster is giving across), and are okay with anti-DV messages.

        • Nancy Shrew

          I’m very open to the probability that it was staged; I guess it’s just that I’ve heard about enough senseless shit in my life to consider it a possibility, albeit a slim one.

  • Guest

    The vast, VAST majority of violence in all cultures the world over is suffered by men. Do we not care about them? Why not “End violence against PEOPLE”? Or are men not people too?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      This is subtle, but sometimes people suffer violence because they are female/black/atheist/gay/trans/albino/disabled.

      • Guest

        Take the Sudan. Men are round up and shot, boys watch their adult fathers/brothers executed, their sisters traded as property, then are handed a rifle and sent to fight on behalf of the warlord who did it and to inflict it on the next family. Unique forms of violence on both genders, but at least the women are allowed to live – a miserable life though it may be. I’m tired of the suffering Olympics.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          So you’re tired of the suffering Olympics, and your solution is to shit on people who are trying to do something about it because they’re doing it with too narrow a focus for your taste?

          I sure hope you’re doing something pretty major to end suffering, to make up for your shitting on other people’s efforts.

          • Guest

            My point is, lets stop the violence. Not violence against women, because that says women are much more important than the men and boys who are actually suffering a lot more in these horrific places because they don’t have sexual currency. Supposedly liberal people are constantly dividing people into categories in some sort of hierarchy of grief. They discriminate to end discrimination. It’s pitiful. I’ll worry about stopping the violence. I care if anyone is suffering. Man, woman, gay, lesbien, black, white, whatever. I’m sure you do too. But you’ll still insist on the categories as if one person’s suffering takes precedent over another by virtue of the fact that they belong to the current popular demographic of pity.

            From there, I’m done. It didn’t take you long to resort to ad hominem, truly top class discussion there. You must use reddit. Thanks for the chat.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              You must use reddit, which is why you don’t under stand what an ad hominem is.

              There, now that is an ad hominem.

              • Gust

                You resort to attacking me, not my argument Rich. Everything you’ve said has been a constant deflection or insult simply because I’m not conforming to your doctrine. Liberal minded indeed.

                Anyway, goodnight Rich.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      You do know that most violent acts are done by men, right?

      Male on male violence is common, yes, and it is glorified in the media, we’re told that “real men” solve disputes with fists and bullets — that’s the root of the problem: men are literally conditioned, from childhood, to view violence as The Solution.

      Male victims and survivors should be taken seriously.

      But asking “What About The Menz?”

      That’s a silencing tactic designed to gloss over the fact that those harmed by violence are disproportionately women and children.

      Please think about that.

  • http://www.alwayssababa.com/ lishevita

    Oh, this pleases me to no end. When I used to live in Petach Tikvah and work on the border between Bnei Brak and Tel Aviv, I used to see vandalized billboards nearly every day. I always thought it would be fun to just make it even, and go around covering up all the pictures of men on all the billboards. It’s not that I didn’t want the billboards, I just wanted to make a statement about equality. I never did it, but I’m glad that someone twisted the billboard vandalism in a positive way.

  • Susan_G1

    Utterly fantastic!!!

  • Guest

    Man I am so sick of Bnei Brak, I had to live one neighborhood next to it. I guess every tribe has its embarassing clowns, and the orthodox are ours…

    • HS

      What an incredibly closed-minded thing to say.

  • Josh Angle

    violence against women has nothing to do with it!! commercials and bulletin boards force a message into your heads “drink coke! you want to be happy and drink coke” or whatever the message is. i believe that in a free society people should be free to choose what they want to bring into their worlds and into their lives. these people choose to live in bni-brake for a reason, they are trying to escape western culture; they do not want what you have to offer! leave em alone

  • HS

    What’s the connection? These communities value modesty, and don’t have high rates of violence against women. So basically this ad agency went out of their way to offend the residents, just to “cleverly” deliver a message that is no more relevant in Bnei Brak than it is in NY. How nice.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Telling other people how to dress isn’t sex positive. Recognizing that people can dress how they want, and it’s nothing to do with sex, is sex positive.

  • shifra

    Valuing modesty is valuing the woman by putting an emphasis on her whole personhood rather than one part of her being made into the whole, it is the preserving of the dignity of the woman. That being said, vandalism is not an appropriate and dignified response.

  • In the know

    I suspect that anyone that understands the slightest thing about the ultra-orthodox lifestyle would be aware that modesty, amongst both men and women, includes refraining from publicly flaunting one’s looks, dressing to attract the opposite sex and otherwise displaying a lack of humility. Conflating an image which they find offensive- set up above their neighbourhoods- with violence against women is like conflating atheism with amorality.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      They attack women who don’t dress “modestly” enough. No one, and I do mean no one, should be physically attacked for the clothes they wear or don’t wear. And yes, I do mean even those dressed truly offensively (like in a Nazi uniform or KKK outfit). Putting up an “offensive” picture of a woman’s face and having that get defaced is, in fact, directly tied to the same attitudes that lead to violence against women.

      Note, I’m not saying that there were truly vandals. It’s impossible to say if the vandalism was staged or not. But “flaunting” the fact that women exist is not an excuse to get offended, and having more worry for a bigot’s feelings than the horrible ideas the bigot espouses is really pretty shitty of you.

  • Orthodox Jew in Israel

    Yes, vandalism is wrong and is only committed by a small minority of the ‘Hareidi’ community in Israel, but in contrast to the onslaught of negativity and slander against the hareidi community being depicted in these comments, the underlying message of modesty for many in the hareidi community is not suppression of women, it’s suppression of the devaluation of women in media, advertising ect… by valuing them by their sex appeal which dehumanizes their human value for who they are inside- their true selves. One can equally contend that advertising agencies who employ the woman model by exploiting their sex appeal are also culprit to a dehumanization of woman. This doesn’t justify the vandalism, but the vandalism doesn’t justify a barrage of slander and misinformation about a community at large either.

  • Av

    Why didn’t they just put the underlying message up in the first place? The message wasn’t a problem. A huge pic of a gorgeous woman was. And by the way, it seems like picking a sexy model that makes this ad look more like a shampoo ad than a violence against women awareness ad seems strange. Only the super hot women are at risk? If so, then Haredi women and their shaved heads and black garbed bodies should be safe from any chance of abuse…right? I’m annoyed with the ad creators for stereotyping a victim of violence as an Angelina Jolie look alike with a red satin dress.


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