This basic story has been popping up regularly. Here’s Salon’s introducing it:
Hasidic newspaper edits Hillary out of Situation Room photo
A publication brushed both women present out of the iconic image
By Natasha Lennard
AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza
A Yiddish newspaper reproduced this image, but took out the women.
The newspaper that did this is Der Zeitung, published in Brooklyn. Here’s their version of the photo:
The interesting question is why they doctored the photo. In not uncharacteristic barbed fashion, Jezebel suggests this:
The religious paper never publishes pictures of women, as they could be considered “sexually suggestive.” Apparently the presence of a woman, any woman, being all womanly and sexy all over the United States’ counterterrorism efforts was too much for the editors of Der Tzitung (Sic) to handle.
The Jerusalem Post was more temperate:
While Der Zeitung had no comment as to why it altered the picture, many conjectured that it was either because of concerns about immodesty, or strong feelings that women should not be in positions of power (my emphasis).
“This is a bit silly,” one commentator wrote at failedmessiah. “Secretary of State Clinton was not dressed immodestly. There was no intent of objectification in the photo. Haven’t the editors got something better to do?”
I said the following in an email to Michael Shaw, founder and guiding spirit of the blog BagNewsNotes, which I visit every day:
Seemed to me a good follow-up to your earlier treatment of this image. Reminds me of the Soviet Union back in the day when persons who had fallen out of favor were airbrushed out of official photos, of 1984, of ancient Egypt when images were cut from bas reliefs and in-the-round statues destroyed, of the Roman practice of damnatio memoriae, etc.
I’ll cite one example from Egypt that’s doubly relevant here: Hatshepsut. As always, caveat emptor if you’re checking something in Wikipedia. But a well known Egyptologist who is my daughter’s colleague at Emory has told me this is accurate:
Toward the end of the reign of Thutmose III and into the reign of his son, an attempt was made to remove Hatshepsut from certain historical and pharaonic records. This elimination was carried out in the most literal way possible. Her cartouches and images were chiselled off some stone walls, leaving very obvious Hatshepsut-shaped gaps in the artwork.
Der Zeitung has, as far as I know, failed to respond when asked about it; but two reasons for the obliteration are cited in the quotations above. First, that women shouldn’t be tempting the male gaze; and, second, that women should not participate in politics — especially not at the level Hillary Clinton has reached. Hatshepsut was a pharaoh, and Hillary Clinton might very well have been president rather than secretary of state right now.
These attitudes are common to such seeming strange bedfellows as extremely conservative sects of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity — all “religions of the book,” and in their case it’s the same book: the Hebrew Bible. Yes, I know. Judaism throws out the New Testament, and Islam adds another, preemptive book: the Holy Koran. I’m trying to emphasize what they have in common, though.
Women are scary! Men hold all the positions of power, and suddenly women are trying to push in and take some of the power for themselves. Women have a special advantage in the struggle: their sexuality. Straight and bi- men are drawn to and seduced by that sexuality. And then…? Cleopatra is imagined popularly to have seduced first Julius Caesar and then Mark Anthony. After which each was killed.
In the movies of the 20’s a popular type was the “vamp,” short for “vampire.” These women would seduce men with their beauty and sexuality, suck from their lives everything that was vital or valuable, and then leave them. Incidentally, one popular vamp was Theda Bara, her name said to be an anagram for Arab Death. She dressed sometimes like the film maker’s imagined image of Cleopatra. (Her real name was Theodosia Burr Goodman.)
So what are men to do? Keep women out of the realms of power, and out of sight as much as possible. Keep them in the house if you can. If that’s impossible, then cover them up when they go out in such a way as to hide their bodies. I matriculated in 1960 at a Baptist-controlled college. Women were not allowed to wear trousers, only men. Women were not allowed to wear shorts. When they were going to phys ed, women had to cover themselves and hide their legs with a raincoat.