Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hineh bah. This is not in the spirit of Yom Kippur, Israel! Didn't you learn anything from atoning? Akko is one of the only places where Jews and Arabs live in harmony. Can we please not ruin that? You make it really hard to be a Zionist when you do this kind of crap.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Watch me makeup my mind instead of my face. Yet more reasons to despise Palin and feel insulted by McCain's choice of her as running mate.

I think McCain thought that all us Clinton supporters would go "Oh man, she has a uterus! I'm voting for McCain now!" Did he honestly think we wouldn't find out about her politics? Or is she really just a sexy appeasement for the religious right?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hit me with your best shot. Big news for Muslim women...maybe.

Apparently there's a new trend in hijab styling, with blogs and YouTube videos advising pious Muslim women on different means of styling their head scarves. To me, this indicates an emphasis on individualism and self-expression, which is definitely positive. However, Muslim women are still trying to individualize a symbol of patriarchy. Nevertheless, progress is progress.

Except when it's clearly not. Iraqi women are literally exploding through the glass ceiling as the newest recruits in al-Qaeda's army of suicide bombers. There have been 24 female suicide bombers since January, and I'm sure the numbers will continue to rise. Part of the woman bomber's appeal is that it is unacceptable for a man to perform a full-body search on a woman, and traditional robes are bulky enough to hide quite a stash of weaponry.

But perhaps the most insidious detail in this story is the means of recruitment. Al-Qaeda operatives marry and allow the wife to be dishonored in some way, such as allowing another man to rape her. Consequently, she must end her life to end the disgrace she has brought upon her family. I cannot even wrap my head around this one.

In every military conflict, women are cannon fodder. Except in this case, women have become the cannon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

She wants the luxury of her own life. I've blogged about this before, but since nobody listens to me, I'll try again.

Brandeis University released a new study, "Gender Imbalance in American Jewish Life," claiming that in non-Orthodox settings, "American Jewish boys and men have fewer connections to Jews and Judaism in almost every venue and in every age, from school-age children through the adult years....Contemporary liberal American Judaism, although supposedly egalitarian, is visibly and substantially feminized."

Feminized? Apparently the ladies are taking over! In the Reform movement, the largest Jewish religious movement in America, Women outnumber men in seminaries, youth groups, summer programs, and prayer services.

And you should be worried! The Brandeis study argues that "men's decreased interest in Jews and Judaism walks hand in hand with apathy toward creating Jewish households and raising Jewish children." No more Jewish babies! Because the women are taking over!

But fear not! Here come the men-only Brotherhoods, men-only barbecues, dare-devil birthright israel trips, and man-centric Passover Haggadahs. Because HaShem knows that the traditional Passover Hagaddah is really misandry run amok.

Personally, I think you can blame assimilation and the break down of the insular Jewish community for the alleged disappearance of men from the Jewish community. Ideal American manhood is not compatible with stereotypical of Jewish manhood. Who wants to be the nebbishy, wimpy Jewish Other when you can be the wealthy, handsome, sexy American Man who gets to fuck the hot shiksah (think Portnoy's Complaint here). Jewish men don't want to maintain a connection to Judaism, and because Judaism is passed down through the woman, marrying a non-Jew is the ultimate rejection of Judaism.

American Jewish women, on the other hand, are embracing their new and hard-won role in the Jewish community. Gone are the days when Jewish women could be cook and wet nurse but nothing more. American Jewish women don't have to sit behind a mehitzah anymore, and you can't make them!

Says Brandeis: "Some suggest that in the Western world, spirituality, especially in more liberal denominations, has become associated with femininity. Others believe that men are reluctant to join organizations unless they can play leadership roles, and with the entry of large numbers of women into synagogue life, there are fewer such opportunities for men."

The fact of the matter is that there is no inherent gender bias in Judaism. The second class citizenship of women in Judaism has everything to do with culture and nothing to do with religious prescription. Stop blaming women for your religious community not looking the way you want it to when, frankly, every sociologist with his (or her) PhD can tell you that women have always been the key sustainers of religious devotion in times of strife. The sooner men realize that women are not usurping their throne, the happier we'll all be.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Does that mean my body must always be a source of pain? While the image of First Lady as the pinnacle of American womanhood is nothing new, this re-packaging of Michelle Obama is really pissing me off. The Obama campaign is doing an image makeover on her to make sure she doesn't appear Like Hillary. She co-hosted "The View" and graced the cover of "Us Weekly" doing her best soccer mom impression. Says a friend:

"[Michelle] is not the least bit interested in being a co-president or participating in policy decisions…Her first priority as a first lady would be that the girls are OK, and to continue to be the outstanding mother that she is."
This would be nauseating without the article's headline of "Why Barak loves her." Why? Because she shops at Target, why else? You didn't think it had to do with her accomplishments, her intelligence, or her moxie, did you?

Of course, the campaign has to wrap her up in traditional gender roles precisely because of her talent. A smart, outspoken, accomplished woman is bad enough, but one who is not only African American but who actively embraces her heritage is downright frightening. Consequently, they "soften" her, "maternalize" her, and basically white-wash her. And I do mean "white." She's coming off as a regular June Cleaver with her pearls and her carpool.

In the context of this election cycle, this development is particularly upsetting. Democratic voters were given the option of the most accomplished black presidential candidate ever to campaign or the most accomplished woman presidential candidate ever to campaign. For better or worse, the black man won. But a truckload of sexism accompanies that progressive victory. If the progress of one group of people comes at the expense of another, is it really a success?