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Mar 14 2013

10 Ways to Add Some Girl Power to Your Seder

By at 5:03 pm

orange for the seder plateWhether you weave in one, a few, or all 10 of these tips, consider honoring the matriarchal roots of Judaism this Passover with a little girl power fun at your seder this year.

1. Add an Orange & Coffee Bean to Your Seder Plate

The Orange: The orange represents both inclusion and solidarity with women and the LGBT community. The new tradition was started by Professor Susannah Heschel, who was inspired by women at Oberlin College in 1984 who made space on their seder plate to represent all who were not explicitly present in the Passover story. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 28 2013

What Kids’ Cartoons Teach About Intermarriage

By at 9:48 am

Elana Gartner’s piece about “adjusting” the fairy tales she tells her son and daughter reminded me of how my poor children are forced to bear the brunt of my Master’s in Media Analysis every time they watch a movie or television show.

Most recently, my 13-year-old son and I discussed how in Les Miserables, the noble revolutionaries who only care about the plight of the poor set up their barricade and destroy the poor people’s (whom they care so much about) neighborhood. Then, while said poor people are literally on their knees cleaning up the mess, the only revolutionary left goes back to his rich grandfather’s house and proceeds to celebrate his lavish wedding without a moment of irony or even self-awareness. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 20 2012

The Power of Women–In Newtown & Beyond

By at 1:30 pm

female teacher and studentDo you ever read something online and get really mad, almost to the point of fury? That’s how I felt when I read a piece posted on Facebook by friends from the National Review Online which alleged that the Newtown massacre was so terrible because there were no men around to stop it.

No, really. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 5 2012

Waxing Eloquent

By at 11:02 am

I don’t care if you shave or wax your legs or armpits or you don’t – but please, don’t tell me I’m less of a feminist because I do.

Maybe it’s because it’s summer, but my fellow Kveller editors seem to be waxing eloquent (ha!) as to the status of their hairy parts. Carla got waxed for the first time and hated it. Mayim disclosed that she not only has never waxed, but she also has never shaved her legs or armpits. I’m not sure why I needed to know either of these things, but hey, now I do! I found the discussion benignly entertaining.

Until, oh, Mayim, you had to go here:

And I have had plenty of women tell me that their feminism is about choosing: whether or not to wear spike heels and push-up bras and bikinis, and whether or not to shave or not shave. Well, as a second-wave feminist (think Hilary Rodham Clinton rather than Gwen Stefani feminism), I respectfully disagree. Feminism, to me, is about leveling the field, creating realistic and respectful expectations for all genders, and allowing the natural abilities and properties of all people to be accepted, appreciated, and treasured.

Mayim, you know I adore you, but it’s not really “respectfully disagreeing” when you say that feminism isn’t about choosing, and when you imply that creating respectful expectations for all genders somehow necessarily entails choosing to keep leg and armpit hair unshaven.

Let me reiterate: I really don’t care what you, or anyone for that matter, do or does with your hair, “down there” or anywhere else. It’s up to you, because it is YOUR HAIR.

Mayim made the argument that we should keep our own body hair so as to convey acceptance of it. I think that’s not necessary. As a general rule, I’d much rather tell my kids, if they comment with regard to anything, “Why is so-and-so doing X, Y or Z?”, simply that “Different people make different choices, and that’s fine.” I’m not going to dictate what my kids find attractive or not, because I can’t. They will come to their own conclusions, and that’s fine, because attractiveness is really pretty personal. In other words, let’s model acceptance of different standards of appearance and beauty – not judge people based on the state of their body hair.

Mayim doesn’t want other people to judge her because of hair on her legs or armpits. Well, similarly, I don’t want people to judge me. I don’t want people to make assumptions about my ideology/card-carrying feminism – and certainly not based on whether or not my legs or armpits are shaved or waxed.

People are far more complex than the state of their body hair, whether by their vaginas (listen, if we can’t say vaginas on Kveller, I quit) or their ankles. I don’t like judging people based on what shoes they wear, so I’m going to try not to judge them on whether or not they use a razor.

Tell you what: I won’t judge you on your hair – don’t judge me on (my lack of) mine.

Jun 19 2012

Are Stay-at-Home Moms Really Killing Feminism?

By at 1:39 pm

rich mom pushing expensive strollerBeing a “real feminist” is apparently when you write an article for a national publication deliberately denigrating other women, and get paid to do so.

That was what I learned from reading Elizabeth Wurtzel’s essay in The Atlantic, “1% Wives Are Helping Kill Feminism And Make The War On Women Possible.” The essay is fairly mean-spirited. Here, for example, is the first paragraph:

Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 14 2012

Mad Women

By at 1:22 pm

mad men womenI love the show Mad Men, and am amused that Sally Draper and I are about the same age. Nostalgia is not my reason for my being such a fan. Rather, the storytelling is great, the characters are complex, and the narrative is compelling.

We baby boomers thought we invented sex. Don and company prove us wrong. We thought women were treated primarily as sexual objects and had a hard time getting ahead professionally, even if they were smart and capable. Peggy and Joan prove us right. We thought that our mothers didn’t do very much at home (I still wonder about that) and Betty shows us what the consequences of that can be. And, in the Mad Men world, and my own world at that time, the only mother who was “working” did so because “she had to.” Many of the rest of us, like Betty’s family, had “Negro maids” to do the housework and child care. Read the rest of this entry →

May 10 2012

Why Did Nobody Tell Me Being a SAHM is So Much Fun?

By at 4:02 pm

m.r.s. degreeI went to college. I am a voracious reader. I used to be a news junkie, and watch all the shows, and go to dozens of movies a year.

So why did I never, in my 30-plus years on the planet, receive any clear and believable messages that being a full-time, stay-at-home mother is a fantastically rewarding job that I should have considered pursuing at a younger age?!

I learned early on that I could be an airline pilot, a doctor, or President of the United States, but I don’t recall any enthusiastic advertisements to the effect that being a wife and mother is ridiculously fun, not to mention a hell of a lot less stressful than a paid job? Why weren’t there any pamphlets at the college-and-career center itemizing the rewards of an M.R.S. degree? How come no one ever casually mentioned, “You should plan ahead to ensure that you are married and having babies by your late 20s, because that way you’ll have time to fit in multiple pregnancies before your ovaries give out and your pubic hair turns gray”? Read the rest of this entry →

May 7 2012

I Am a Feminist Mother… Who Stayed at Home

By at 9:44 am

feminist mother megaphoneI have practiced “feminist mothering” for thirty six years. Really.

I was at Barnard College just as the modern feminist movement was unfolding in the early 70′s. There, I learned to respect my own choices and to have the confidence that I could accomplish anything I wanted to do. There we “girls” were convinced that we were as smart (actually, usually smarter) than the boys we knew. There we were convinced (as if we needed convincing) that we should proudly feel smart and not hide it. That we should only be with men who respected our intelligence and our bodies. Read the rest of this entry →

May 1 2012

Motherhood Vs. Feminism: Join the Debate with Mayim

By at 3:52 pm

motherhood vs. feminismThe New York Times “Room for Debate” section has tackled a topic near and dear to many of our readers’ hearts: Has women’s obsession with being the perfect mother destroyed feminism?

Among the featured debaters (along with Erica Jong and Bringing up Bebe author Pamela Druckerman) is Mayim Bialik, who argues that attachment parenting goes hand in hand with feminism.

What do you think? Can you be a feminist attachment parent? Read Mayim’s full debate here and then throw in your own two cents.

Feb 16 2012

Is My Daughter Doomed Because I Can’t Play Barbie?

By at 3:14 pm

barbie and friendsEvery weekday morning, after my husband and two older sons leave for work and school, my 5-year-old daughter and I are left alone for about 45 minutes.

And, every weekday morning, I promise her that if she eats breakfast and brushes her teeth and gets dressed and there is time left over, we will play whatever game she wants until it’s time to go to preschool.

For the last few days, she’s wanted to “play Barbie.” Read the rest of this entry →

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