Thursday, June 07, 2012

Challenging My Feminist Credentials

I have been published.  Greenhaven Press has published a book with the title Feminism. Greenhaven is (among other things) dedicated to the proposition of presenting opposing viewpoints on various issues of the day. As such they collect essays from various sectors of society expressing opposing viewpoints. They describe themselves as “the leading source for libraries and classrooms in need of current-issue materials”.

I am honored to have one of my essays chosen (with my permission) to express an Orthodox Jewish perspective on the subject of feminism. My essay was one of 2 Orthodox essays selected for inclusion into this volume. Oddly enough (at least to me) my essay was chosen as the one opposing feminism. Since I consider myself a feminist I was a bit taken aback by this. Although they published my essay intact, they changed the title from Feminism and Judaism – a Double Edged Sword to Feminism Disparages and Contradicts Orthodox Judaism’s Role for Women.

I absolutely do not believe the revised title is true or an accurate reflection of the views expressed in the essay. 

What disparages Judaism is not feminism but extremist interpretations of it that devalue our core beliefs.  Being a feminist does not mean we must be so blind to gender differences that all differences -  physical and mental - are virtually ignored. There are reasons for those differences. 

In the eyes of God we are equal but because of those differences we have been given by God different roles to fulfill as our primary responsibility to Him. But when it comes to respect and equal pay for equal work - that is where true feminism lives. Does this sound anti feminist to anyone? In any case you can see for yourself if the title given to my essay was fair.