Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Slavery Today

A bunch of celebrities got together recently to tell Obama that he's not alone. They wanted to reassure him after he got, "the loneliest job in the world." Poor guy. 

They all pledged to take steps to help Obama in his lonely job. Some of the pledges were pretty good. I especially liked the one where some celebrity, who I didn't recognize, pledged,  "to consider myself an American, not an African-American." What a great goal for a nation that really needs to let itself get past its history of slavery. Come on - do we really need affirmative action when a black man just managed to get the most powerful job in the country? 

It was slavery, more than any other issue, that was emphasized in this video. I quote:

Some lady with an accent and a smoker's voice: "I pledge"
Some woman in a white jacket: "To work to make good the 200 year old promise to end slavery"
Ashton Kutcher: "To the abolition of 21st century slavery"
Demi Moore: "To free one million people from slavery in the next five years" 

Call me ignorant but, well, I'm really not - and still I'm not sure what they're referring to. Because I'm not completely ignorant, I'm going to venture a guess that this "slavery" that they're talking about is taking place in Sudan or Rwanda, (Uganda? Western Sahara? Kenya?) or something, an inference I make from,

1. A video I came across a year or so ago that told the story of children in Africa kidnapped and forced to fight for their captor's army, (which kind of sounds like the stories of Jews in Russia being kidnapped and forced to join the Czar's army,) and,
2. From the fact that modern-day slavery stemmed from Africa when warring African tribes sold their prisoners-of-war to European slave traders. 

If someone knows what the real story is, please do tell, but in the meantime I really have to wonder how these celebrities expect their audience to know what they're talking about when most Americans (and I don't say this in a boastful manner - it's just a fact,) are not nearly as aware of world issues as I am, and even I'm not sure what they're talking about. 

Freeing slaves -- that I know a lot about. In the daily prayers that Jews (are supposed to) say every day we are reminded about the fact that G-d freed us from slavery in Egypt a while back. As I was saying them today I was thinking about the fact that, like the Passover prayer says, if G-d had not brought our ancestors out of Egypt, we - and our children, and our grandchildren - would still be slaves to some guy with the title, "Pharaoh," in Egypt. Pretty spooky. 

From my knowledge of slaves being freed, it's gonna take a heck of a lot more than just a mention in a celebrity video to free these 21st century slaves. Try 12 plagues. 

Oh wait, no - that won't work. Destroying enemy land (Locust) and property (Pestilence, Hail), torturing the enemy (No water! Bugs everywhere! Boils! Turning out the lights!), and killing the enemy (Death of the Firstborn) would all be deemed unusable as tactics for freeing a suffering people. 

Okay, so we don't free them the way G-d did - we free them the way Lincoln did. Nope - that won't work either. It took a war with more American casualties than any other war fought by America to free those slaves. Besides, Lincoln was a Republican and we can't do anything the way that he did it. 

How about in the way that we freed Afghanis from the Taliban's cruel reign and Iraqis from Saddam Hussein's oppression? 


How, exactly, are these celebrities expecting us to end slavery, then?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Armed & Feminine

A few months ago I wanted to show off a new hat to a friend of mine, an American soldier (Hooah!) recently returned from Iraq. Here's the hat:

Yes, I'm an NRA member.

Cue: Shadchanim run away screaming

My friend responded, "That's funny. I thought that religious women don't have the right to bare arms."

For a second I stared at her, mentally running through all the Jewish laws that I could think of which might prohibit women from using guns... Until I realized she was talking about the Jewish laws of modesty, (which I talk about here.)

Boy, was I relieved.

In the latest issue of "America's 1st Freedom" magazine (published by the NRA), there's an article that cites the growing numbers of women interested in guns. "Of our 54% growth rate in 2007, 66% of that represented people new to shooting. And 40% of the 54% were women," says a shooting range owner in the article.

Apparently women want to be able to defend themselves. I know that's why I'm an NRA member.

I can admit that here on this anonymous blog, where only a VERY few of my viewers know who I really am. I wasn't completely kidding when I cued the shadchanim running away screaming. It's dangerous to be a feminist who likes guns in frum society. I told my mom today, after reading the article about women and guns, that we could eliminate (from the shiddichim business, not literally,) great numbers of guys if we told shadchanim that I'm a member of the NRA.

She was not amused.

I have to keep my gun enthusiasm quiet if I want to be accepted in frum society. So if you're out there reading this and you know who I am, keep quiet about it, will ya?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Dancing Idealist

I used to be an idealist.

A blog under the name Hasidic-Feminist (you can imagine that I was excited to find that one) recently wrote about how her Hasidic community marries off their children when they're young and idealistic in order to keep them, "entrenched within the community, tied down by obligations and red tape."

I used to be one of those idealistic kids who, if I'd been "married off" when I was still in that idealistic phase, could have ended up as one of those women who I write about in my blog -- the young married girls without dreams or ambitions beyond their own little families.

As the idealist I used to be, I would have been happy to enter into that kind of life. I would have done the whole dance of the young Orthodox girl who gets engaged, giggles over her fiance with her friends, happily makes wedding and new-home plans, goes on to have her own children and lives to keep her husband and children happy.

Would I have remained happy, though? 

Ay, there's the rub.
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil 
Must give us pause
(Hamlet Act III, Scene I)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Feminists who are Scared of Babies

Google loves to feed you ads when you use their products based on the words that they think you're interested in. So while checking my "frum feminist" email account, Google fed me an ad for, "Feminist T-Shirts" on Cafe Press, and I decided to check it out. Those T-shirts reminded me why people have such an aversion to feminists. 

There were the okay ones that read things like, "Feminism: The Radical notion that women are PEOPLE," and great ones that say, "Violence against women will not be tolerated"

Then there were the obnoxious ones like, "I'll be post-feminist in the post-patriarchy," and, "FEMINIST and not afraid to say it!"

And then there were the abortion ones. The ones that make it sound like only evil, selfish, biggotted, racist men could possibly be anti-abortion. The, "Against abortion? Get a vasectomy" one. The, "Hell hath no fury like a woman denied her right to choose by a handful of greedy, self-important, white men." And the horrifying, "If I want a baby inside me, I'LL EAT IT!" one, which I can't even begin to understand.

Why must someone who is anti-abortion be evil? Can't a woman, or a man, be pro-life without being woman-haters?  

If a woman doesn't want to have a baby - fine. That's her choice, and in that case, I am pro-choice. But abortion just because a woman doesn't want a child takes a woman from, "I don't want a baby," to, "I care more about myself than about the life inside of me." 

It sounds to me like these women have a problem with people who are anti-abortion because when they hear, "Abortion is murder!" they hear, "You care more about yourself than about your baby and that makes you selfish and uncaring."  Not wanting to be the bad "guy," they go and find someone else to blame for their "choice". 

If a woman wants to care more about herself than about her baby, she should just admit that she doesn't want a baby instead of blaming the people who care about the life inside of her. She needs to get over that complex that tells her, "They're out to get me because I don't want a baby and they say that I have to have one!" and realize that no one wants her to have a baby. They just don't want her destroying any. 

How about this T-shirt logo: "Against abortion? DON'T GET PREGNANT!"

If you don't want a baby, crazy-feminists, just don't get pregnant. Then the pro-lifers won't bother you and you can live your life in peace without fear of evil monsters who are "out to get you." 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Couples Banquet

I've written a number of times (here's one, here's another one, and there are more, I'm sure) about how the frum community tends to see their young women only as important if they're married. I got another reminder of this sweet attitude today in the mail. 

It came in the form of an invitation to a banquet that the high school that I graduated from is making. 

My first thought was, "What the heck? Why am I being invited to their banquet? I've never been invited before."

My second thought was, "Oh, because they're honoring (former classmate of mine)... I should really go."

My third thought was, "Wait a second... The only price they have here is for couples." 

My thoughts went kablooie from there. 

To have an attitude of, "We don't take singles too seriously," is bad enough. To have it written out officially for everyone to see on an invitation... That's wrong. 

You would think that they would write a price for people attending on their own because it's a fundraiser and they'll take money from whoever they can get it from, yet somehow they can't conceive of a person being capable of attending an event without a significant other.

It's just as well, I suppose. If I attended by myself I'd probably be miserable, my head aching from all the, "Oy, poor thing, she's still single" looks pointed in my direction.