Why My Husband Won’t Be Seeing Wonder Woman

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22 Responses

  1. tzippi says:

    Great timing for this essay: the week of “lo sasuru acharei l’vavchem v’acharei einechem.(And may I just add that the title brings me joy. I guess because no one has, and is likely to ask me, if either of us are seeing Wonder Woman and why/why not.)

  2. Chana Siegel says:

    Well said. My husband tries to avoid films like this for similar reasons. He’s honest with himself and his limitations, and I respect that. I, on the other hand, won’t be seeing Wonder Woman because I don’t enjoy comic book simplicities and I have other things to do with my time.  

  3. Shades of Gray says:

    “In fact, the face of a 14 year old cancer survivor was pixelated in one of the weekly magazines just a few weeks ago.”

    I remember thinking  when I saw this picture that publishers have a right not to show women, but to pixelate is disrespectful and doesn’t make sense even  from a stringent Torah point of view (then again,  this criticism paled  into insignificance when reading the content of  the article, which was about a heroic survivor who met  President Trump).

     

  4. Bob Miller says:

    There is no compelling reason for any Jew to see any Hollywood movie at the theater or at home.  We’re too steeped in alien values from our surroundings as it is.

  5. Steve Brizel says:

    Great article! The real issue is that the rating system is a joke and you can tell from the reviews how much pritzus violence or simply a poor plot line is within any movie today. FWIW even if Israel has a wonderful Charedi female director I found her first film ( Filling the Void) far better than her most recent film.

  6. Ksil says:

    I thought humans (men AND women, were created in the image of God?  So by looking at a woman, we are looking at holiness!  How could you turn this kedusha into tumah, into something dirty.  You know, by obsessing over women and how much they expose, you sexualize them more than porn!  You cover your 8 year old daughters up with shells and so forth, this Is disgusting abuse must end!

    • Why not extend the argument further? לית אתר פנוי מיני’ ס Hashem is everywhere! Even in aveirah! Why not discover Him there? The Nefesh HaChaim writes that indeed, HKBH is in everything. The king’s chamber pot still belongs to the king. But you are not going to experience him at his best by sticking your head into it. The point is that Hashem’s presence is everywhere – but it is not accessible to us equally in all places. In some places, the distractions are so strong, that the Essence doesn’t come through as well. Similarly, the image of G-d is indeed in all humans. But how they are packaged sends distracting signals that can at times block our concentrating on the Tzelem, while watching less deserving things.

  7. dr. bill says:

    Your essay reminds me of a student who asked the Rav ztl if he can attend the opera during sefira.  The Rav quipped, the question is whether you can attend the opera altogether as well as asking, who is singing?  My sense is that PG 13 movies are on par with what one encounters frequently in everyday life and, except for those who do not go the movies altogether, does not present a major halakhic issue.
     
    More critically, the movie delivers a message that orthodox Jews fail to discuss at their own peril.  choosing to go or not to go is one thing, avoiding the issues is a different story.  More attention to tocho and not barro seems justified.

    • tzippi says:

      I know this has been addressed but just another thought on no worse than “what one encounters in every day life”.Because of the nature of every day life, boundaries have changed. As a rather mundane example, you can take Gordon Korman’s books. Bugs Potter was a typical youth book, and A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Can was young adult. Compare to No More Dead Dogs and Son of the Mob, which would be in the same categories respectively.Boundaries are being stretched and normalized in the outside world. I hope our sensitivities aren’t undergoing a similar process.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      I think that your characterization of the rating system is overly generous. You have to read between the lines to understand that anything that has been sliced and diced from an above the guidelines for an R is now what is an R and what is PG 13 include nivul peh, suggestions of pritzus and unacceptable relationships,  and conduct. Just because one experiences a street in the summer that looks like a beach does not mean that you have to lower one’s sense of Kedoshim Tihiyu and view the same as normal behavior and attire in your own life and spare time, when in reality such attire is a sign that that a woman or man does not care that he or she is being judged on their external image. The simple inquiry-if you would not bring such garbage and imagery into your house, why plunk down money for garbage for two hours?

  8. Shai Meyerson says:

    Nice article. I wish to point out that whether a man should view a movie of this sort is not dependent on his personal challenges. There are clearly defined halachos, based on gemaros and both classic and contemporary poskim (see, for example, Igros Moshe E.H. I 56). A man may not purposely look at an improperly clad woman. It follows that viewing a movie of the sort described is prohibited – for all men.

  9. I found the movie incredibly inspiring and focused on women’s strengths, not their bodies. The very brief scene with Chris pine is innocent, his parts are covered and it’s easily avoidable. This movie is a gift to women who are sick of being both exploited and erased. I wrote about it as an orthodox woman here:  http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/what-wonder-woman-means-to-this-orthodox-jewish-woman/

    • Alexandra Fleksher says:

      Shoshana,

      It was actually your article that made me realize that I shouldn’t judge this movie by its cover. Once I read how about its significance in much of its messaging, it motivated me to read more about it, and I’m glad I did. I hope you realize how I do express this in my article and appreciate the contributions this movie makes. Its awesome, but as I say, my husband won’t be seeing it.

      (Now if I did choose to see it, I would do the totally prudish thing according to Hollywood standards and close my eyes during the Chris Pine scene.)

      I wrote this article to give voice to what I see is the lost art of shmiras einayim. There are real halachos for men regarding shmiras einayim as stated in the Shulchan Aruch. (Also see the above comment about Rav Moshe Feinstein.) To disregard them for whatever reason (it’s not a big deal, Gal Gadot isn’t being presented as a sex object, it’s a PG 13 movie, this is what I see on the street, etc.) to me is not intellectually honest. This is a situation where a man is making a choice to view a 2 hour movie that goes in the face (and quite literally) of the concept of guarding one eyes. If there is halacha and there is a question if a man can see this movie, then to me, the right and honest thing to do in deference to halacha is ask his personal Rav.

      I believe you that this movie goes beyond women’s bodies and focuses on their strengths, particularly emotional. But equally truthful is the reality that this is a Hollywood movie. Why wasn’t a strong, burly “Amazonian” dark skinned woman cast as the part? Gal is a gorgeous former model and Miss Israel…and there is nothing wrong with that…but she is very pleasing on the eyes intentionally, not just her pretty face. I still maintain she is eye candy, whether or not Patty Jenkins intended her to be or not.

      As I expressed through a personal story, my husband, who I am using to represent orthodox men who take shmiras einayim seriously, would find this halachically problematic as well as not appropriate for him in regards to the Jewish value of modesty. Yes, he walks down the street, yes he deals with immodest women at work, but to intentionally choose to be entertained by a film that features an island of semi clad women and scenes of a built female super hero displaying her super hero physical prowess is simply not in accordance with his values and in striving to be a ben Torah.

      A modern orthodox rebbetzin told me that members in her community would not think twice about not seeing this movie. That is my point. Whether one is MO or not, I think it behooves us to be a bit more critical about our engagement with contemporary culture.

      I wanted to propose the perspective from a wife who sees shmiras einayim as a beautiful thing. I remember when dating my husband, we were walking at a park on the Emory campus near my home, and I noticed that as a girl walked by him wearing shorts and tank top, he consciously looked down. That made me feel incredibly special. As I said in my article, it’s not a sign of weakness…or that he would view that girl in an inappropriate way. It’s a sign of strength in being committed to one’s values. It’s a safeguard for and a commitment to modesty.

      Shoshana, I am also sick of women being erased. I do not experience the level of extremism that you witness in RBS. But my argument would be to please show role models of Torah observant women in our magazines, dinner videos and dinner invitations. “Put the women back in” as we say. But Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman isn’t going to do it for me, and watching the movie isn’t going to solve our problems of frum women being erased.

      A true gift to Orthodox women in my mind would be promoting the “exposure” of modest, religious role models in our publications. At least in the women’s magazines, please!

      I would like to end this long reply with a real life story that says the world to me in terms of the question of whether or not we objectify women by covering them up. A woman I know told me about an life changing incident that encouraged her to investigate Judaism which ultimately led to her conversion. She is an exotic-looking “island girl” blessed with great beauty, and she would emphasize her beauty by her choice of revealing clothes. She was walking by what was unbeknowst to her a yeshiva, and she saw a bunch of young men passing her by. She was surprised to notice that they weren’t looking at her like all other men in the street would. After they passed, she even turned around to see if they had turned around to look at her. They didn’t. She was astounded and decided to find out more about these people who she felt didn’t objectify her as a woman.

       

       

    • Rafael Quinoaface says:

      So let me get you straight (I ready you opinion piece in TOI): to counter the trend in the Chareidi world of erasing images of women, you hold a typical Hollywood blockbuster film that has, as its central character, a woman who by basic halachic standards (forget chumros) is not dressed appropriately! How is Gal Gadot’s body not being exploited, if you want to talk about exploitation. A movie made to make money for the studio making it, a complete exercise in making money.

      The way to fight a wrong is with another “wrong”.

  10. Beverly Beard says:

    This article goes the the very essence of the question “what does it mean to be a Torah Observant Jew?”  Alex Fleksher , writing with such clarity and honesty, holds up a mirror that we should all look into regularly.  Obviously, some want to and some do not.

    Hollywood is the purveyor of the American value system.  We really have to be sensitive to how much of it we will accept.  And I have to admit, I do love a good movie!

    A little history here… the founders of Hollywood, Sam Goldwyn, Jack Warner etc all escaped from the pogroms of Eastern Europe and went into movies.  They changed their names, married non Jewish women or if their wives were Jewish, changed their names and assimilated as fast as they could.  The first Talkie was “The Jazz Singer” about a rabbi’s son who falls in love with a gentile woman.  These immigrants painted an idealized picture of America in their movies and thereby created “The American Dream”.  White picket fences, cowboys who rescued Jews from the Indians (Cossacks and Jews) etc.  A worthwhile read is “An Empire of their Own, how the Jews Created Hollywood” by Neal Gabler.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      All true-but the Hollywood of the 1940s and 1950s which produced  great films does not exist today.Any film that is even remotely patriotic or celebrates the nuclear family or explores  even normal adults doing their job as opposed to engaging in arm chair psychiatry of the family, simply does not get financing, or  green-lighted for production. Hollywood today pushes the progressive agenda in its films  and who gets awards.That is why American Sniper , which was a major huge box office hit, failed at the Oscars.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Look at it this way. Fiddler on the Roof, in the same fashion, was a huge success and remains so because it had some memories of life in the shtetl, but ultimately celebrated assimilation.

  11. Raymond says:

    My understanding as to why G-d commanded us to sacrifice animals, is because He looked into our nature, and saw that we (collectively speaking, of course) could not so easily disengage from the various idolatrous forms of such activities, and so animal sacrifices done with excruciatingly detail, and all dedicated to G-d, was His way of weaning us away from such a practice.  In other words, G-d always keeps in Mind our nature, when making demands of us.I bring this up, because to ask any man to never, ever even look at any attractive woman other than his wife, is simply far too much to expect of any normal man.  I would think of such a prohibition as being an example of cruel and unusual punishment.  Our Rabbis may even be in agreement with me, or else they never would have created a special blessing that we say when we see a beautiful woman.  Of course, at the same time, a man needs to be discreet when experiencing such wonders of G-d’s Creation.  He need not glare or stare at a woman for any prolonged period of time, especially if it makes either the woman or those around him too uncomfortable.  And yet to not appreciate the fact that G-d made at least some women to be beautiful, seems as wrong to me as, say, not appreciating a beautiful sunset along the beach, or some mighty waterfall found in a forest.Also, I have to say that having this whole topic come up in light of WonderWoman, is disappointing to me.  Until I read the above article, all I felt was a sense of pride, that of all the attractive women that Hollywood could have chosen, it went for such a nice, wholesome, adorable Israeli woman, who happens to be married with children.  I had felt as if it was Hollywood’s way of saying that maybe such pure angels can be held as their ideal, rather than the ones that they usually choose instead. 

  12. Ellen says:

    “….it’s better than the last version of Wonder Woman who was wearing even less”

    Seriously?  The modern-day costume might land 2 cm closer to the collarbone, but to anyone paying attention it has a far more suggestive quality.  But do yourselves a favor and don’t go check.

    Oh – and there were no sex scenes.

  13. BenG says:

    Yasher Koach to you and your husband striving against difficult nisayons in these difficult times before mashiach!

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