I have to admit, I’m a little confused.
I always thought I knew what feminism was.
I thought feminism was about strengthening women, valuing women and the role they play in society, about believing in women and what they could accomplish, believing in equal opportunity, and that women are important and valuable members of the human race.
But more and more often, under the banner of feminism, I see women saying things that makes me question what feminism really means.
Does feminism mean man hater? I would hope not. Because if your only self worth and value comes from putting down others, that’s not true self confidence, its bullying. My mom always taught us that when someone puts down others in an effort to make themselves feel better about themselves, its a sign that they don’t appreciate who they are enough.
Yet time and again, I see feminists bashing men, blaming men, accusing them, it seems, of all the evil in the world.
And time and again, I see feminists putting down women who make different life choices than the “true feminists”.
This recent piece by Women of the Wall, ironically named “The High Road at the Western Wall” really pained me.
It pained me, because instead of “taking the high road”, what the piece seemed to be doing was simultaneously blaming men (rabbis and politicians) for what bothers them, as well as attempting to invalidate thousands upon thousands of women who disagree with WoW, who came to the Kotel to show that they care about keeping the place respectful of Jewish tradition. These women came to join the Tfilla gathering started by Women For the Wall, a group for women and run by women. The post by WoW insinuates quite clearly that you can’t be upset at these women because they were just mindless sheep acting on the orders of men- rabbis and politicians. (In the words of a WoW “mother”, they were acting on the “marching orders” of “their rabbi-handlers”.)
I can’t think of something more degrading to women than invalidating their feelings and voice by insinuating that they don’t have thoughts and opinions of their own, that everything they say or do is the regurgitated opinions of men.
Part of women’s empowerment is that when women voice their feelings, you value their feelings, respect their views, and treat them as equals, and not assume that they are incapable of standing strong on their own, as women.
Simultaneously, in their recent article, WoW both degrades women by discrediting us and implying that we’re mindless drones, and also castigates the male species by blaming them for everything they don’t like, making it seem that feminism means “male bashers”.
Women for the Wall is a group of women, strong women, who refuse to be silenced by anyone, especially by other women.
Love us, hate us- take your pick. But at the very least, I ask that you respect the fact that we have an opinion, that these views are our own, and that we are capable of voicing our views. Because if you do not, and insist that everything we say isn’t our own, you’re not only being offensive to Women For the Wall and all our supporters, you’re also being offensive to all women in general, assuming we’re second rate, sub-human without a full range of feelings, emotions, opinions, and dreams.
As feminists, I expected more from you. I’m disappointed. On behalf of the whole female population of the human race.