I Wasn't A Feminist Until I Met Men
Updated: Jan 14, 2021
Back in the good old days I was able to have appropriate Beis-Yaakov conservative views. Women belonged in the kitchen because the food was there-that was something I could always get behind. I've never been one to go to shul early (or at all...) on Shabbos morning and I won't rationalize it with a lie saying I connect to G-D better at home. What I connect with on Shabbos is my bed and a book and reading two sentences of the book before falling asleep for 16 hours and a family member having to come in and make sure that I am still breathing because it's been awhile since I was conscious and my body may have forgotten.
I was also happy with what I considered to be my role: staying behind so eventual husband could learn and pray and connect after a long week at work. This worked great for me-I could read the kids my book (It's time for Midnight Sun again kids!) and I wouldn't have to deal with any of the religious activities that are harder for someone like me who tends to lack focus and patience.
Which is why it's confusing for me as a single that people are always asking me where I daven and where I learn.
I...what? In my room next to my bed? Why do you want to know?
Oh right. Because somehow everything is my job now.
I forget when I woke up in a world where suddenly I had to have all the babies and care for them, make all the money for my family because G-D forbid any guy should give up his passion for poetry, and learn all the Torah and daven 3 times a day with a minyan so we all get in to heaven #lostcause.
I used to believe that I was happy letting the men run the show. They could plan the dates and pay and I could spend 4 hours with a Russian woman slowly electrocuting each hair follicle on my face.
(side bar: electrolysis is the best I should have been doing it in high school. Middle school. At birth.)
The problem is that the men aren't doing a great job. I've been on a ton of bum dates and seen resumes where the guy isn't learning, making money, or davening but he expects me to be doing all three.
So, when I see women march down the street in their pink hats, I want to think "how silly! feminism is just a way of destroying gender roles and will lead to our societal downfall!" But instead I'm thinking "Gosh. I wonder if they were also asked a few too many times if they could support a family on their own so their husband could pursue pottery and now they're just done."
There is of course the argument that feminism itself is what created these men who expect women to do it all for them and cannot come up with doing anything on their own. Once men saw that women were capable they just gave up.
Aziz Ansari posits a similar question in his book Modern Romance.
You may know dear Aziz from popularizing the phrase "Treat Yo'Self," a phrase which I used this morning when hitting snooze 5 times.
Aziz studies many aspects of modern love in this book-some of which I may blog about later-but one section that fascinated me both times I read this book (and I have a ton of books to read so reading something twice is high praise) was the section on males in Japan. Japan is having a marriage crisis so extensive that they are offering tax breaks to anyone who has kids because of the population slump. Many Japanese men are living with their parents, have stalled in their careers, and are literally scared to go out with the typical successful Japanese woman.
This is the gender that supposedly rode on white horses while wearing armor that weighed as much as your average five year old on their heads to fling themselves into battle to save their fair maidens.
(Please don't tell me everyone in the olden days wasn't a knight, I don't want to hear it.)
This is the gender that used to duel over a woman's honor. DUEL.
HOW DID YOU KNOW I'VE BEEN WATCHING BRIDGERTON? YES I LOVED IT DID YOU LOVE IT? AM I WALKING DOWN THE AISLE TO WILDEST DREAMS ON VIOLIN NOW? DO POLITICIANS LIE?
Guys I was going to insert a Bridgerton GIF there but they were all so beautiful I was nervous the blog might be tagged as porn.
I'm wondering if we need a big conference to entice the Japanese and Jewish men to get it together. I'm finding a lot of the same things-guys in love with their moms who are just looking for a new mom to take care of them.
I don't think the solution is getting rid of feminism. Call me crazy but I like when no one interrupts me at work and I think rape should go away forever. #liberal.
Instead I would like to propose three potential solutions which i think are all terrible but also the current situation is terrible.
I would also like to put out to the universe that I don't actually want any of these to happen. I used to walk around in crowded spaces going:
and spoiler alert: WE GOT A PLAGUE AND I DON'T LIKE IT TAKE IT BACK.
So now I tell the universe to ignore me when I make proclamations like these...and maybe listen to the millions of times I said "I just want to be married."
Solution 1: A New War
We've been in the same war (I think) since like 2001. It's a highly politicized war that no one really pays attention to anymore. I'm talking about the wars of yesteryear, the ones that involved the whole world or the very nature of our country #northernaggression. Remember back in 1945 when things like this would happen?:
Look at that. She has the girl job and he can drive a boat. That's not a man who is going to ask you to "meet [him] in Teaneck because [he's] scared of driving in Manhattan." That man spent his last few months murdering Nazis in the face.
So I propose a new war. One like the olden days where everyone was on board and the bad guys were unequivocally bad and the women would knit scarves for the men at the front. I think it would help men to work up their courage to pick out a restaurant on their own if they had murdered a few people and could drive an airplane/boat/tank/horse.
Solution 2: Honor Rules
Back in the olden days of last week in BridgertonLand, men used to really care about a girl's honor. A girl couldn't even be alone with a man or people may have found ways to question her honor. Girls' fathers and brothers and husbands would defend their honors literally to the death.
So why am I getting put on a subway at 11 pm after a date and no one is even checking if I made it home alive? OH-and he didn't even pay my fare.
Next time this happens I want to be able to call my father and my brothers and have them call the guy up and demand a duel. The men in my family aren't particularly strong but there are three of them and I date a lot of guys who weigh less than me (sobs) so I'm thinking we'll come out of this ok. Let's go back to everyone realizing that I am a diamond of the firstest water and I should be treated as such.
Solution 3: Try? Not Try Harder. Try At All.
I go to the gym which is a funny sentence because my body is made out of spaghetti. Nevertheless #seratonin I go and I pound that treadmill and I see my score up on the board and I come in dead last every single time.
And still I go.
Why? Well just because there are people out there doing it better than me doesn't mean I need to full on stop doing it. I'm doing this for myself, not to beat Jada with the Lululemon everything.
Men, if you're terrified to do your jobs, daven, learn, be men, because women are doing it better....then women have won and we just don't need you guys anymore. Unfortunately, some of us are still attracted to you so we are keeping you around. We are just asking you to try. Yes, you might lose to a woman but just do it anyway. Learn even if there is a girl out there who can out learn you. Earn, even if your boss is-GASP-female. And stop offloading the expectations that we are supposed to have for you onto us. We have enough to deal with.