Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oy Vey...

Compared to the other Abrahamic religions, Judaism generally does a good job of minding their own business (something Christianity and Islam will seemingly never learn to do).  When it comes to religious foolishness, though, Judaism is one of the worst.  Orthodox Jews exhibit what I consider the most personally and socially destructive religious "value": accepting suffering and injustice as the will of their god instead of trying to change things for the better.  But whatever idiotic religious practices might be particular to Judaism, there is one characteristic they share with the other major religions: hypocrisy.

Lauren Odes offers a prime example.  Odes was about to begin a new data entry job for a company in Manhattan.  She says she was told to observe other employees to get an idea of the dress code, which she described as casual.  Although she felt she complied with the unspecified dress code, the Orthodox Jewish owners of the company apparently felt otherwise, saying her attire was "distracting."  So the next day, Odes compromised and wore a more modest t-shirt to work the next day.  The company was still unsatisfied.  That's not surprising; a t-shirt is certainly less-than-professional.  The alternative offered by the company, however, was simply ridiculous.  Initially, her female supervisor actually asked Odes to tape her breasts down!  Refusing to do this, her supervisor gave her a bathrobe to wear over her clothes.  A bathrobe!

Odes complied nonetheless.  However, after teasing from her coworkers, the supervisor softened up and allowed Odes to go out and buy a sweater...as long as it went down to her ankles.  I didn't even know ankle-length sweaters existed.  While shopping for the sweater, the company called her and fired her.  Odes has since filed a lawsuit for sexual and religious discrimination, claiming the Jewish owners fired her for offending their religious sensibilities.

So, where's the hypocrisy?

The company is a lingerie wholesaler!  Firing this woman for having tig ol' bitties is like a gym firing an employee for being too fit!  The owners apparently have no qualms about making money from behavior they consider immoral, but you better cover up those forearms and shins if you expect to work for them.

I typically side with employers on issues like this; a company ought to be able to impose whatever legal requirements for employment they want, including a dress code.  But the "professional dress code" defense goes out the window when you ask your busty female employees to wear an old robe or ankle-length sweater.  Furthermore, the fact that she was asked to tape down her breasts shows that the owners took issue with her actual body, not the clothes she was wearing.  Remember last year when the oh-so-provocative Hilary Clinton was cut out of that picture published in a New York Orthodox Jewish newspaper because pictures of women are sexually suggestive?

I used to praise Judaism for the fact that it doesn't seek converts and shove its faith down your throat like so many other religions do.  But, as I look at all religions more critically, the Jewish opposition to conversion seems more and more to be rooted in elitism.  I was naive; there is no religion that does not tout itself to be their god's chosen people and therefore superior to everyone else (interestingly, some scholars translate Jesus's statement "Love thy neighbor" to mean your fellow Jews and that he never intended Gentiles to follow his teachings).  And the Abrahamic religions seem especially concerned with keeping women in their place.  It's a shame so many people are duped into buying this garbage.