Saturday, December 26, 2009

Letter To A Friend: Women and Frum Culture

Dear Readers,

I had a friend, once upon a time. For privacy, I will call her "Rivky." Rivky was pretty, young, a ba'lei teshuva, and a fellow law student. She was smart at school and did extremely well- and she lives on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. Her goal was to meet an observant Jewish man, and she went on countless dates, met with myriad shadchanim, (matchmakers) and did everything she possibly could to "get herself out there." She would often date men much older than her, as is the custom in the UWS, and she faced a lot of rejection-mainly due to the overabundance of desperate women and the shrinking number of observant men in the UWS community. The following is an email I wrote to her after another one of her failed attempts at dating. I would like to dedicate this letter to all young observant women.

Dear Rivky,

I think there is something of a more threatening, violent, and

dangerous nature occurring here. Ill explain. The frum UWS culture,

or any frum culture, has its ways. Its ways are a system in which men

like the Daniels, Zacks, etc., men who are overripe, besmirched with

character flaws ( and perhaps by secular society standards, mildly

retarded) reign supreme, demand "NEXT!" from young women, and

view the world as a production line, its sole duty to present them with a

most satisfying product.

Now the flip side. While this doesnt apply to us (yet, hopefully never g-d

willing) a woman over 25- lets say a 29 year old for good measure- is

perceived as lacking any standing or agency. She walks the streets of

the upper 90s as a freakish apparition, heads hang in pity when she is

spotted buying her challah for her lone shabbos, and the whole world

seems to be screaming at her, in every direction, " youre worthless.

your eggs are limited. you may as well give up." Better yet, she is set up

with men in their forties, divorcees, ex cons, men missing various body

parts, men who are deaf mute ( happened to my old roommate who was

29) and so on. imagine, your life becomes endless set ups with members

of the Jewish male circus. I know we cant change things, we can only

hope not to become the 29 year old unmarried, woman who is a

freakish apparition, while men in their thirties trade pretty young girls

like baseball cards. I urge you not to fall prey to this mentality, because

you simply dont need to. it stems from a time when women relied on

men for their sustenance and life support. We are lawyers to be, we are

truly young (compared to them) and at least for now, we should be the

ones who are dictating the terms. I think that is a good plan. Lets take

them on Rivky. we can do it. One ego at a time :-)

Your friend, Mimi

* I apologize to any readers who are ex cons, missing various body parts, or deaf mute. I was simply trying to make a point, dear readers, and wish not to offend. Yours, Mimi

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