Maybe it’s me, but I’ve been noticing a trend within the feminist movement lately. I consider myself a feminist. I want equal and fair treatment of the sexes. I want to be paid the exact same for my job that a man would get paid who has the same job/education/professional experience. I want my daughter to even have the idea of becoming the President of the United States without having to defend her dream to those who think a female as President is too dangerous due to a woman’s ’emotional’ state. But here’s the thing, I also want a feminist movement that doesn’t alienate my daughter’s mother because she chose to get married and have a child.
I’ve been noticing a lot of blog posts out there aimed at celebrating the single woman by choice. There was this blog post, written by the incredibly intelligent, Chanel Dubofsky, that I found wildly offensive (I’m allowed to respect someone and disagree with them. It’s rare in our world these days, but I do it). Then there was this one, which blatantly told you that if you did not fit into a certain mold within this type of feminism then you were DEFINITELY not invited. And of course, my top two favorite are this one, which call children “baby-alien parasites” and then finally, this campaign, which nicely celebrates women who happen to be single (and here’s my one-liner on the celebration of singlehood—Mazal tov y’all. Seriously, I could personally give two poops whether you are single or not. I, for one, do not feel sorry for anyone who chooses to be single or be married. It just doesn’t affect me one bit. Ok, three-liner).
Now, here’s my beef. I too write a blog, which is based purely on my opinion however, I do not align myself with a movement other than Judaism and the Lacefields and Fisches. I don’t even align myself with Modern Orthodox Judaism because we don’t fit into any category. However, when you call yourself a feminist and write feminist articles then I’m assuming you’re speaking for the movement and as a woman, I find it wildly alienating that because I got married and had a child I’m most certainly not welcome; the above articles/blog posts being just a sampling of why I’m getting that sneaking suspicion. I celebrate my women friends who aren’t married—-I celebrate them when they finish Graduate school, when they have birthdays, when they get their dream jobs or a prestigious fellowship. Oh, and by the way, no one asked me to second guess my decision to go to graduate school to get a Master’s in Social Work, which landed me $40,000 in debt, a debt which most certainly is a lifetime commitment. No one asked me if I was ‘sure’ I wanted to make a commitment to my husband because I was 30 years old when we got married and my friends trust me that I’m making a heavily thought-through decision that is based on what I want. That’s why they are my friends. And finally, I just need someone in this new feminist community to admit that they don’t have the faintest idea of what it means to be a parent because I certainly did not until I had a child. The love I have for my daughter sometimes takes me by so much surprise that my breath gets caught in my chest. Parenthood is so overwhelming in a myriad of ways I couldn’t possibly have understood before I had my daughter. I know you want for women to not be defined by their children alone but damn it, I’m working on raising a self-confident, self-aware, reflective, open-minded, giving, feisty woman and if it does or doesn’t work out, it still defines me because she’s a piece of me—-just like my job as a school counselor, my life as a social worker, as a Jew, as a woman. I don’t know what it’s like to be Christian, blond, a bus driver, a doctor, a devout Muslim, etc. (notice I chose all identities that are a choice to some degree) so I’m certainly not going to call someone out on those choices and do my darndest to make them feel somehow ‘less than’ so please, new feminist movement, I ask you to do the same. Please, be reflective. Please recognize that you are alienating the very population you stand to represent for equality. I want to hear what you have to say but I am struggling. I get institutional-heterosexism (seriously, I went to the University of Michigan School of Social Work and it was soooo intensely liberal it made ME feel conservative at times) and there is no way I’m denying I wasn’t raised to expect to have children at some point. However, I also wasn’t raised to expect to be married, which is why my mom worked very hard to make sure I could take care of myself (oh, p.s. raised by single mom).
But truly, the next time you want to yell “I’m sorry” to a woman at her bachelorette party because you pity her or the next time you write an article explaining why you can’t be happy for your friends who are getting married just consider the fact that some of those women might be reflective, thoughtful, intelligent enough to have made her decision for herself. Yes? No? I tried.
P.S. This recipe has nothing to do with this rant other than I made these on Friday and I’m writing this today so I guess they have the weekend in common?
Golden Potstickers (recipe entirely from 101cookbooks.com)
1/2 cup sunflower oil
8 green onions / scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 small serrano chiles, thinly sliced, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup / 60 ml soy sauce
1/4 cup / 60 ml water
4 tablespoons sunflower oil, plus more for pan-frying
1/2 cup chopped shallots (4 medium)
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
2 cups / 11 oz / 310 g cooked yellow split peas, ideally at room temperature, then process in a food processor until uniform and fluffy
1 package round potsticker wrappers
How’s That Now!?
Start by making a scallion oil. Heat the oil in a small skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and stir well. When they soften, after about 30 seconds, remove from the heat. Set aside. Note: You can refrigerate this for later use, but bring to room temperature before using.
Make a dipping sauce by sprinkling the chiles with sugar. Chop and smash a bit with a knife. Place in a jar or small bowl, add the soy sauce and water, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust to your liking – more sugar, water, etc.
To make the filling, in a large skillet, fry the shallots in the sunflower oil over medium heat until golden brown, 5 minutes or so. Sprinkle with salt, and stir in the yellow split pea meal. You want to stir until the shallots are evenly distributed. And you want the filling to hold together if you pinch a bit between your fingers. If it’s too dry, work in water a small splash at a time. Now give it a taste – you should want to eat it straight, if not tweak with more salt until you do.
Now, fill and shape the dumplings. Very lightly dust your counter top with a bit of flour. Place 12 wrappers on the floured countertop, and add a small dollop of filling just off-center of each dumpling. Run a wet finger around the rim of each wrapper, press the edges together well, and try to avoid trapping air bubbles in the dumplings if you can. Crimp each dumpling, and gently press it down against the counter to give it a flat base, so it sits upright. This base is also what gets brown and crunchy – one of the things you’re after. Repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling. Place the dumplings seam side up on a well-floured plate or baking sheet. The extra flour that sticks to the base gives extra crunch.
At this point you can freeze any dumplings you know you aren’t going to cook.
To cook the dumplings, heat another scant tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange dumplings in the pan, seam side up, with a sliver of space between each (so they don’t stick together). Pan-fry until the bottoms are golden, a few minutes. With a large lid in one hand, carefully and quickly add 1/3 cup / 80 ml water to the pan, immediately cover, and cook the dumplings for a few minutes, or until the water is nearly evaporated. Uncover and finish cooking until all the water is gone – another minute or so. Dial back the heat if the bottoms are getting too dark. Cook in batches, and serve drizzled with the scallion oil and spicy soy sauce.