The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is (in)famous for altering images to remove women, lest anyone get the wrong idea they’re equal to men. (The actual excuse is that pictures of women might offend the community’s “stringent modesty standards.”)
They removed Hillary Clinton from the iconic picture of the White House Situation Room during the Osama bin Laden raid. They also removed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo from a picture of world leaders. Jennifer Lawrence was notably absent in posters for The Hunger Games movies, while IKEA offers a mens-only catalog for this community.
The latest woman to get the hatchet treatment? Smurfette.
This is one version of the actual poster for the upcoming Smurfs: The Lost Village:
You won’t see that poster in the city of Bnei Brak, Israel, though, because Smurfette, the only female in the group, has been cropped out of the image.
As part of the publicity campaign for the new film “Smurfs: The Lost Village” launched on Sunday, the PR company Mirka’im — Hutzot Zahav censored the image of a female smurf from billboards in Bnei Brak. The smurfette does appear alongside three male counterparts on other billboards throughout the country.
The company distributing the movie, Forum Film, said that the PR company decided not to hang the original poster in Bnei Brak in order not to harm residents’ sensibilities, adding that it is not accepted practice for images of women to appear on the city’s billboards.
If a drawing of a fictional blue creature with blonde hair offends your religious sensibilities, then there’s something wrong with your religion.
To be sure, not every ultra-Orthodox community practices this kind of censorship, but this sort of irrationality really deserves to be called out no matter who’s doing it. It makes no sense in this particular case, either. What happens when the people in Bnei Brak see the movie? Smurfette’s still going to be in it. Good luck cropping her out of the entire film.
There’s no reason not to show women in the advertisements when they appear in the final product, just as there’s no reason to rewrite history when women are, in fact, in positions of power. They exist whether you like it or not.
Keep in mind that the censorship isn’t happening because the women are scantily-clad or sexual in any way. They’re censoring women for existing. Because it’ll burn their ultra-Orthodox eyes, don’t you know.
(Thanks to Matt for the link)