Living in New York City means getting used to street harassment. In the past few years, my name has been Baby, Sexy, Bitch, and Hey You, Why Don’t You Smile? I’ve learned when to give the finger and when to hide. My friend Jen Dziura, a life coaching columnist, advises women that the best way to counter street harassment is to walk calmly up to the whistler or catcaller in question and politely let him know that he needs to learn how to speak to women in a respectful way.
It’s because of her that I finally said something to the Hasidic men who harass me in my neighborhood. Keep reading »
Let’s say you’re having a problem. Say you’re a dude, and your vision is just too good. It’s so good that you can see attractive women, and those women turn you on. How will you solve your problem? Learn not to stare at people? Teach yourself that women’s bodies are not pieces of meat? Naaaah. Just buy a pair of blurry glasses!
Stores in Mea Sharim, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, are carrying special blurred glasses designed to help men avoid looking at women. These special glasses blur out anything that is more than ten feet away, which means that men can do things like cross the street safely, read the newspaper, and stare lasciviously at women who have the misfortune of only being nine and a half feet away. Keep reading »
Lauren Odes, 29, of New Jersey, has filed a lawsuit alleging gender and religious discrimination against her former employers after she was supposedly fired for being “too attractive.” In April, Odes was hired at lingerie distributor Native Intimates in New York City, which is run by Orthodox Jews, to do data entry. (Odes herself is Jewish, but more secular.) Almost immediately, her supervisor told her that she was “too hot” and her breasts were “too big”; she was also asked to tape down her boobs. On her second day at work, when her outfit — a tee shirt and jeggings — still upset her employers, they told her to put on a bathrobe they had in the office. Odes said she then left the office to go buy herself a more “modest” outfit — and got fired while she was shopping. Keep reading »
A few weeks ago, an article in the Orthodox Jewish newspaper The Jewish Press began to make waves in the religious community. Yitta Halberstam, a well-known Jewish author, wrote about the process of trying to find her son a wife. In her part of the Jewish community (a right-wing faction of Orthodoxy sometimes known as yeshivish), it’s not uncommon for a professional shadchan (matchmaker) to pair up young eligible men and women. A shadchan who makes a successful shidduch (match) can be paid well for their services. However, there has been a recent “shidduch crisis,” which is that there are more prospective brides than grooms. Orthodox boys are waiting longer to marry, while girls are essentially considered over the hill if they’re not married by 18 or 19.
One way that shadchanim (the plural of shadchan) have tried to solve this issue is by hosting events where mothers can meet and interview prospective daughters-in-law. Halberstam attended one of these events and she admitted that the whole process made her uncomfortable. However, as the mother of an eligible bachelor and therefore someone in a position of relative power, Halberstam could have called off the whole thing and pointed out how awkward and unfair it was to the young women involved.
Instead, she penned a long rant about how young women should wear more makeup and their families should be willing to pay for plastic surgery if that’s what it takes to land a husband. Keep reading »