Frum, Feminine, Feminist

While some of you may have already sipped the same Bartenura Moscato-spiked Kool-Aid as me, to others the notion that I can be fully frum, feminine and a feminist may seem contradictory or come as a surprise. 

There's a lot of fear of feminism in the frum community and I think this fear comes, in part, from a lack of understanding about what feminism even is. This lack of understanding is understandable. I think it stems, in part, from the fact that "feminism" is a big, complex word that encompasses numerous views on many issues. Even in my google searching to locate some links, I couldn't quickly find good educational sources online and the sites I found sometimes contradicted each other

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But You Look Fine

I don't always love my body. Sometimes I feel fat and use the word against myself as if it were the worst insult I could fling. Sometimes I beg my husband for reassurance that I'm beautiful, even though I know he always thinks I am. 

I know what you're thinking: "Didn't this girl just write a whole body positive piece?"

I can also guess at your next thought: "What? No! You're so beautiful!" or "Ugh. Nebach. You don't even know what it's like to be really fat."

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A Few Words About My Weight

I gained some weight when I got married. I haven't been "skinny" since the seventh grade, when I could consider a big bowl of ice cream a healthy after school snack without the scale's dissent. By the time I got married last year, I was a healthy 145 pounds. Over the course of the year, that weight went up. You've heard about the Freshman Fifteen? This was the Newlywed Nineteen. 

It was more, actually. We didn't even own a scale, so I was shocked when, at an annual doctors appointment, I suddenly weighed in at 162lb. At another routine exam a few months later: 177lb. What?! I knew I was carrying some extra weight, but I still looked pretty good and hadn't thought much of it. Even so, I didn't feel too great and I knew it was the extra poundage I was carrying around.

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I Am a Woman

I am loud. I am passionate, and I refuse to shut up about it. I am shy. I am afraid to raise my voice, to say the wrong thing. I hate confrontation.

I am a feminist: I believe in the radical notion that women are people. I believe In the even more radical notion that women are still not given the same opportunities and respect as men, yes, even in America, even in 2015. Are you a woman? Are you afraid of going out by yourself at night? Men aren’t. Are you judged in a job interview for whether or not you’re wearing makeup? Men aren’t. Unless they choose to wear makeup, then maybe they are and many feminists think that’s a problem too. I am girly. I am married. I plan to prioritize having a family over having a career. 

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Makeup Free Monday

I love makeup. I believe makeup application is an art, which is why makeup professionals are called artists. I think it's unfair that makeup and its artistry are trivialized because it's a women's art. It's not fair.

I'm also critical of the fact that the beauty industry thrives on making women feel bad about ourselves and convincing us that our bodies are problems that need to be solved. Example: no one would buy hair removal products if we didn't believe that there is something wrong with our body hair. But body hair is a whole other post. What I want to talk about is makeup.

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The Girl with Her Nose in a Book

I've loved books since my parents read them to me as a baby. Caps for SaleLove You Forever, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I loved them all. Stories with Mummy made bedtime special. Abba would sit at the library with me for hours, surrounded by the elusive smell coming off of more picture books than we could ever read. 

Skip ahead a few years to kindergarten. I was not among the ranks of early readers in my peer group. I still loved being read to, it was an irreplaceable form of quality time, and I saw no need to read on my own.

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