Consider the newly posted review (at the Seforim blog) by Rabbi Aryeh Frimer of Rabbi Daniel Sperber's Darka shel Halakha. The majority of his explicit argument is (a) Sperber misunderstands the original Talmudic statement about women and aliyot; (b) Sperber misconstrues the scope of kavod-haberiyot - it can only temporarily nullify a rabbinic decree; and (c) Sperber misapplies kavod-haberiyot to the matter of women reading Torah.
Two side comments, however, throw as much light on Frimer's argument as do the more bibliographic portions:
[I]n the case of aliyyot, no act of shame has been performed to all
those not called to the Torah (both men and women); they are simply not honored.
This is incorrect. As R. Frimer surely knows, reading from the Torah at fixed times is one of the basic requirements which a Jewish community must fulfill (not, as far as I am aware, an individual requirement, as he seems to assume). In the case of a man, not being called for an aliyah at one occasion means "simply" that he must wait for another occasion. But the possibility remains that he may someday be called. For an Orthodox woman, she will never be honored. Thus "both men and women" is a misleading formulation, and "simply not honored" is rhetorical sleight-of-hand: if one can never be honored - never participate in a basic community ritual - I think shame is something to be careful of.
The second group of misstatements is more revealing.
This view [of many rabbis] explicitly rejects subjective standards - in which what is embarrassing results from the idiosyncrasies or hypersensitivities of an individual or small group. The vast majority of religiously committed women are not offended when they do not receive an aliyya. Indeed, they understand and accept the halakhic given, although some might clearly have preferred it to be otherwise.
"Idiosyncrasies" and "hypersensitivities" are strange terms to be applied to the spiritual strivings of half of all Jews - to which Frimer begins his essay with an avowal of respect.
And then - how does R. Frimer know that "the vast majority of religiously committed women are not offended when they do not receive an aliyya"? Has he talked to them? Or are "religiously committed women" defined as those who do not think about receiving aliyot? In any case, the formulation "...when they do not receive an aliyya" is again misleading, implying as it does that we are considering an individual aliyah, one of many, which Leah or Sarah happens not to be called for at a particular moment. Rather, as I pointed out, we are talking here about the wholesale exclusion of a very large group (half of all Jews!) from a basic community obligation.
More importantly, does it make halakhic sense that if a group of women – nay, any group, says: “this Rabbinic halakha offends me” – be it mehitsa, tsni’ut, kashrut, stam yeynam, many aspects of taharat ha-mishpahah, who counts for a minyan, and who can serve as a hazzan - then we should have a carte blanche to go about abrogating it. Such a position is untenable, if not unthinkable.
More rhetorical sleight-of-hand! The premise in this paragraph is not being advocated by any party to this dispute (or indeed any observant Jewish feminist!). I very much doubt that R. Sperber is indicating that any group which thinks itself offended by a given Rabbinic edict "should have a carte blanche to go about abrogating it" (whatever that means). It is true that when a Rabbinic edict does lead to the wholesale exclusion of women, the circumstances of the legislation (whether or not they apply, and when) should be very carefully examined. No slippery slope here, merely R. Sperber's derekh-haTorah.
To reframe the question R. Frimer is asking (but without the stacked deck): does it make halachic sense that a community which values the spiritual striving of women should consider whether its own honor is sensitive to their wholesale exclusion? The question answers itself.