At one point in my life, I was convinced that platonic relationships weren’t possible, of course this was when I was young and surrounded by people who thought that allowing a woman to leave the kitchen or get an education would make them into a sexual deviant. In fact, I actually feel that many folks within the frum community are constantly thinking that women are sex objects, by making us think it’s impossible to be friends with a woman without thinking constantly of boning them and that being alone with the Rabbis wife (regardless of the fact that it’s 2 in the morning and you don’t even know that there’s a chevra kadisha emergency) is going to lead to improprieties involving shtenders and yads (yichud is actually one of the most ingenious halachas, but I have to push some buttons here, or unbutton some buttons here)
So you have little shloimy and he can’t talk to girls, look at girls, think about girls, his magazines are censored from girls – so pictures of Madaline Albright and Rebetzin Yungreiss are cut out – regardless of the fact that I couldn’t really imagine anyone spilling seed due to them – and so on. What does this convince little Shloimy about women? In my opinion and I’ve been there, it convinces us that women are only there to entice us into wasting our seed and filling our minds with sex. It convinces frum men that women were are like a million yetzer harah march constantly trying to force us into sin.
So does separating the sexes in a militant way and the constant legislation of new tznius chumras lead to ufair and untrue views of women?
I’m sure I’m going to piss some of you off and I am already thinking of what I am going to write as an argument to the views expressed in this post, but it seems, based on my vast experiences in multiple orthodox and non-orthodox Jewish communities that it the extreme views sometimes lead to objectification of women.
So are platonic relationships possible?
It’s a common view amongst frum Jews that friendships between two people of the opposite sex are never platonic. We were definitely convinced of this during yeshiva and it does happen to be that most of my friendships with girls until I was in my 20’s were because I wanted to get some, but at some point I realized that women were people too and I opened my mind to the possibility that I could be just friends and that it shouldn’t be any different than the friendships I had with other guys. In the frum community they would say I became desensitized and that I had sunk low that I didn’t recognize the taiva and it would be easier for me to sin, it was only easier because I had a car and an apartment whereas in yeshiva the only place I could take a woman was behind the dumpster and that wasn’t romantic enough for me.
Platonic relationships do exist, just not in the frum community.