Voyeurism and the Yeshiva Girl

Madonna has got me thinking about Barry Freundel. To be honest, Madonna often gets me thinking about body, sexuality, and women’s power. I consider Madonna one of the most body-empowered women out there. She has full command of her body, and uses it as her artistic canvas. She can do anything she wants with it, put on any item of clothing and pose in any position, and the effect is one of power and ownership. I frequently find myself wondering whether she represents an ideal of body empowerment, whether on some level I should be teaching my daughters to admire and emulate her for her complete ownership of her life and seeming ability to do anything she wants. (Of course, then the Orthodox voice in my brain usually kicks in and reminds me of how far Madonna is from anything familiar to me in my own relationships with my body.)

Anyway, knowing this about Madonna, I was surprised to discover a few months ago that she took to twitter to express her anger that a photo of her was leaked without her permission. The photo was an unpolished image of her in bra and underwear, apparently in a dressing room. “This is a fitting photo I did not release,” she wrote. “I am asking my true fans and supporters who respect me as an artist and a human to not get involved with the purchasing trading or posting of unreleased images or music.” The reason I was surprised at her reaction was because the week before, she had done a topless photo shoot for a French magazine. It was a strange juxtaposition to me, that she would upset about this photo of her in her underwear when just days before the entire world just saw her undressed. 

2 comments on “Voyeurism and the Yeshiva Girl

  1. Wandering Rabbi on

    Wow! Great article. Would love to have you comment on the Jonathan Rosenblatt— boys in the shvitz phenomenon. For me, goes beyond voyeurism into “power stripping” — a violation of privacy in order to seduce boys into the “shvitz club with the rabbi”, a strange form of peer pressure.

  2. elanahope on

    yes, these are definitely related types of offenses. interesting how rosenblatt continues to insist that he did nothing wrong…..as if to say gazing is a victimless crime…same thing….it’s about the victim as an object, with no volition and no power

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