This again. The New York Times:
Francesca Hogi, 40, had settled into her aisle seat for the flight from New York to London when the man assigned to the adjoining window seat arrived and refused to sit down. He said his religion prevented him from sitting beside a woman who was not his wife. Irritated but eager to get underway, she eventually agreed to move.
Laura Heywood, 42, had a similar experience while traveling from San Diego to London via New York. She was in a middle seat — her husband had the aisle — when the man with the window seat in the same row asked if the couple would switch positions. Ms. Heywood, offended by the notion that her sex made her an unacceptable seatmate, refused.
Yes, sorry, guys – you can’t do that. We discussed it, and decided. You can’t refuse to sit next to people on public conveyances because of their category. It’s not allowed. You don’t get to treat certain kinds of people as a contaminant.
A growing number of airline passengers, particularly on trips between the United States and Israel, are now sharing stories of conflicts between ultra-Orthodox Jewish men trying to follow their faith and women just hoping to sit down.
Fuck “trying to follow their faith.” They can do that at home. They can do that in public if it doesn’t affect other people. They can’t do it in public when that means treating other people as a contaminant.
The Times finds a haredi Rabbi who says the phenomenon is rare and the haredi men he knows have no problem sitting next to wimmmmmmmin on public transportation.
But multiple travelers, scholars and the airlines themselves say the phenomenon is real. The number of episodes appears to be increasing as ultra-Orthodox communities grow in number and confidence, but also as other passengers, for reasons of comfort as well as politics, push back.
“It’s very common,” said Rabbi Yehudah Mirsky, an associate professor of Judaic studies at Brandeis University. “Multiculturalism creates a moral language where a group can say, ‘You have to respect my values.’ ”
So when unreconstructed
Afrikaaners fans of apartheid get on planes they can refuse to sit next to people who aren’t sufficiently pallid?
Rabbi Ysoscher Katz, a Modern Orthodox Talmud scholar who grew up in the ultra-Orthodox Satmar sect, said, “When I was still part of that community, and on the more conservative side, I would make every effort I could not to sit next to a woman on the plane, because of a fear that you might touch a woman by accident.”
That’s the problem – that’s a stupid fear. It treats women as a contaminant.
“The ultra-Orthodox have increasingly seen gender separation as a kind of litmus test of Orthodoxy — it wasn’t always that way, but it has become that way,” said Samuel Heilman, a professor of sociology at Queens College. “There is an ongoing culture war between these people and the rest of the modern world, and because the modern world has increasingly sought to become gender neutral, that has added to the desire to say, ‘We’re not like that.’”
Gender separation is a terrible issue to make a litmus test of anything, because it can’t avoid subordinating women, just as racial segregation did and does subordinate one race in relation to another.
So just knock it off.