Wednesday, 3 February 2010

talking to women will send you to hell



The full text of this mishna is "Yose ben Yochanan of Jerusalem used to say: Let your house be open wide, let the poor join the members of your household, and do not converse much with women. This was said about one's wife, all the more so does it apply to another man's wife. Hence the sages say: a man who talks too much with women brings trouble upon himself, neglects the study of Torah, and in the end will inherit Gehinnom (hell)." (Pirkei Avot 1:5)
what starts as a positive directive to care for the vulnerable members of society ends in a concern for too much social interaction with one's wife. And other men's property, sorry, other men's wives.
it is often translated (by squirmy apologetics) as "do not gossip with women" as that would be degrading to them. except the hebrew is 'si'cha' which is a conversation.

whispering women - sexually alluring, or gossiping. either one is an activity that distracts those poor men.




amongst the lacework there are 'branks' - english 16th century punishment devices used for women who were accused of gossiping, and other misdemeanors that bring shame on their menfolk.



silencing women

5 comments:

Steve said...

Fantastic (fantastic cos frightening) use of negative space for the gagged lady. The mouth itself (this hole) being a kind of gag. Reminded me of that line from Rachel Mars in'Unto Us a Child is Born'about building up all those muscles around our mouth-holes to keep in the things we aren't allowed to say.

Steve said...

I did promise something more 'cerebral' than "Is that woman in the upper-left hand corner doing a pooh?" this time, didn't I?

x said...

yes, that bit in Rachel's play did strike home.
and thank you for your cerebral comment.

jaq

I'm still not sure how 'readable' the different images are, or the underlying structure in the composition in the lacework... think of going pure silhouette for next one

Zahavit said...

wow jaq they're just getting better and better! this one is so intricate. i love the change in scale with the woman gossiping on the right hand side. it's not hard to read - just invites a really proper examination with so many different images as commentaries on the text reflecting different styles and historical moments - all united in their common desire to shut women up.

Anonymous said...

I'm using this in a class on 'The Place of Woman Religious Imagination' tonight. If I don't make it out alive, I'll blame you.

Jeremy