The photograph taken in the situation room, during the operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, has become an iconic image. It captures President Barack Obama and his national security team gathered around the table completely enthralled while monitoring the assault. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is shown with her hand covering her mouth while mindfully observing in a seemingly unnerved manner. It is this gesture that most deem largely responsible for making this photo iconic—and, apparently, to the Ultra Orthodox Hasidic newspaper Der Tzitung, sexually suggestive.
“The Hillary Clinton expression is the one that holds the photograph fully,” Time’s photo director told the magazine. “You can see 10 years of tension and heartache and anger in Hillary’s face,” Conde Nast’s Scott Dadich agreed.
The Hasidic newspaper, published in Brooklyn, photo-shopped Clinton and Audrey Tomason, national director of counterterrorism, from the iconic photo in order to use it for the front page of their paper. There is nothing scandalous in the photo. They are dressed in professional attire while monitoring an operation with their fellow male political colleagues, yet, the editors of this Brooklyn newspaper determined that it was sexually suggestive. This act of censorship is deceitful to their readers, as it alters the moment depicted. If the editors felt the photo was racy, perhaps they should have considered grabbing a pencil and sketching their own distorted view of the reality of that moment.
“The Hasidic newspaper will not intentionally include any images of women in the paper because it could be considered sexually suggestive,” Rabbi Jason Miller explains in The Jewish Week.
Simply being a woman is not sexually suggestive. If the men of their community find it difficult to view the photo as is, or to pass a nun on the street, then it may be time for some sexual therapy. Since both women in the picture were removed, it obviously reveals that it is nothing personal against Hillary, but against women in general. The fact that those men fear the photo, or any photo containing the opposite sex, would evoke impulsive erotic manipulation is astounding. Most radical religious cultures strive to verbalize the perception that women are inferior, yet these same cultures’ action depict the reality that they fear women and they are so weak, that they feel that they are unable to control their thoughts in a woman’s physical or visual presence.