The Big Bad “F Word”

My dad always tells me to start every article I write or speech I give with a story because if I don’t no one will listen.

Yes, you all know that’s true.

So get comfortable for story time.

I was with a friend yesterday in Tel Aviv. Great day, great time blah blah blah.

As we were walking to catch the next bus out I noticed that there were business cards scattered all over the ground. Well, honestly it does feel odd calling them business cards since there was no plumber or electrician information on them. Let’s keep this post clean and say they were rated PG-13 (or possibly higher) and there was a picture of a woman on each card. I think you can fill in the blanks.

I went on a rant to my friend and from experience I know every time I go on a rant my next step is blogging.  So here goes.

I am a feminist.

Yes, I said it. I am the “F word.”

That doesn’t mean I commend those women who burn their bras, personally I think those who go bra-less are offensive. They were made for a reason, for the sake of humanity take advantage of it. I also don’t believe that women should take on mitzvoth that were specifically commanded to men either, unless they have succeeded in accomplishing the impossible by doing all mitzvoth commanded to women, in which case they are some sort of messiah. And I don’t agree with those women who take on male gender roles to such an extreme.

I am a feminist because I am proud of how far women have come and I look forward to gaining more equality in the future without losing a beautiful quality called femininity.

Granted, International Women’s Day is a day to acknowledge and celebrate our advances, but it’s also a day to understand that the fight continues and not just the universal fight for equality, but the fight within our own gender.

This will sound cliché, but it is so truly true. Respect from others can not be gained until you respect yourself.

Now I am no psychologist, sociologist or anything ending with an “ist”, but I believe that the core root that changes a word that should be seen as positive and glorified into the “F word” is us women.

If someone portrays himself or herself a certain way they can’t be shocked if they are treated that way. Now if significant percentages of people portray themselves a certain ways, they can’t be surprised when their entire gender, race or religion are grouped together and stamped with a specific label.

Too many women (whether they act on it or not) think the answer to find love, to be accepted, to be respected is based on their sexuality thus eventually leading to objectification which is where I believe we find ourselves today.

I was recently watching a movie (if only I could remember the movie…) where a teenage girl asked her father why there is no male term for the word sl*t.

I thought this was fascinating.

There are lists and lists of negative, degrading words for females all with a physical connotation, but maybe one for males.

I don’t think these words just come out of the blue. There is a reason for it. There is a reason women are degraded and objectified. The reason being that there is a significant female percentage that do it to themselves thus putting the stereotype on all of us.

This stereotype is accepted. Songs, movies, TV shows, and books are written were women are constantly seen as nothing more than the object next to her. These productions or music labels are seen as normal and a staple of the modern industry.

Women are smart, successful, intellectual, creative, talented, but because of those, let’s call them “business cards on the streets of Tel Aviv” women we are constantly being thrown back ten steps and allowing the continuity of humiliating lyrics and demeaning movie material and content.

However, anyone who says anything regarding the treatment of women in all these media forums are called “those crazy feminists.” And shockingly women too condemn these rational feminists who are purely defending the dignity of a whole.

Yes, those feminists. The ones who stand up for their integrity and demand respect.

I personally see nothing crazy about that.

Feminism has been coined the big bad “F word” due to the mere fact that not enough women stand up for what is moral. The everyday woman, the soccer mom, the single mom, the women in college, high school, elementary school, we let these almost daily degrading comments go straight past us. We don’t realize that we are the cause of this issue, but we also have the power to be the solution.

I mean really, with a cute pair of shoes anything is possible.



About the Author
Lottie Kestenbaum was born to British parents and grew up in New Jersey. To add to the identity crisis, Lottie made aliyah in August 2012. Hello tri-citizenship! She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Holocaust Studies at Haifa University and living in Jerusalem. Yes, it is a shlep. No need to mention it :-)