Friday, February 8, 2013

Because Women Shouldn't Travel to the Past

For my latest Ballabuster column over at Jewcy, I talk about time travel. Namely, the type where you go back to a halcyon past where everything was better. People had manners, white picket fences, and everyone was happier. Yeah, that time never actually existed.

But the past, for certain demographics, was a better time (even if the present isn't too shabby for them either). Which is why it wasn't entirely surprising that newly released data suggests that while young men and women both strive for an egalitarian ideal in relationships, if this proves impossible, the men indicated that they would tried to persuade their female partners to stay at home while they acted as breadwinners. In essence, they want to take a trip in a time machine to the past when this arrangement was the norm. The women, on the other hand, presented with the same scenario preferred divorce and self-reliance. For females, traveling to the past isn't a palatable option.

This brought to two things--Louis CK's very well known bit about why it's better to be a white male (you can travel to any time in the past and things will be great for you) and Orthodox Judaism, which also allows you to go back to a time with rigidly defined gender roles.

In this column for Jewcy, I examine the frustrations of having grown up as an Orthodox woman and encountering those who can move back in time with ease--Orthodox men or aspiring ones.


How, I asked, after being raised secularly, could he choose to enter a world where he, as a man, possessed certain privileges that were the result of biology, not merit?

I know this seems harsh and unfair and that I was thinking along "single issue" lines. I wasn't considering all the other reasons that someone might choose to become Orthodox, most of which have nothing to do with "privilege." And I certainly wasn't calling anyone a misogynist. Taking all of the advantages that come your way, whether earned or otherwise, is something we are all guilty of. Yet it does rankle me at times that, by virtue of one's biology, they receive honors and status, no questions asked. 

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