What if all the male political leaders had been removed from the Paris march?
Sunday's march in Paris seemed like a major moment for freedom of speech around the world. More than 50 leaders from countries all over were in attendance, offering a signal of unity after a three-day wave of attacks rocked the French capital, including assaults on the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo and at a kosher grocery.
Unfortunately, free speech isn't an easy concept. And after the march, the concept was put to the test by HaMevaser, an Israeli newspaper that serves the ultra-Orthodox community. The newspaper digitally altered an image from the march to remove Angela Merkel.
Merkel's removal from the photo was first noticed by the Hebrew-language Walla! Web site. The U.S. Web site Mediaite later found that a number of other female leaders had been edited out, including the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
HaMevaser's decision to edit the photograph appears to have been a result of religious beliefs about female modesty. However, completely removing women from the picture was an unusual and extreme step.
The doctored photo might be seen as sexist or at least poor journalism, but you can also make an argument that, in the spirit of free speech, it has to be tolerated. Perhaps it's appropriate, then, that the best response to HaMevaser's version of the Paris march came from a satirical news source.
On Tuesday, the Irish Web site Waterford Whispers reimagined the same photograph with all the men edited out.
In that edited image by Waterford Whispers, just three women (Merkel, Mogherini and Hidalgo) march on a barren Paris street. Like much of the best satire, there's a sad element of truth behind it. Last year, the Inter-Parliamentary Union said women made up just 21.8 percent of national legislators around the world, while just nine out of 152 heads of state (5.9 percent) were women.