My name is Racheli Reckles and I am a real housewife. I’m not a plastic housewife, like the Real Housewives of New York, nor a platinum housewife like the Real Housewives of Orange County. I don’t have a camera crew and makeup artist following me around (although people would be very entertained if I did!). I’m made from real unbleached hair, skin that hasn’t been pulled, tugged, and injected in every direction, and a body that has seen four (Baruch Hashem) kids. I’m tired, do waayyyy too much laundry, and desperately need a foot massage. You won’t find me browsing the latest overpriced store with plain white t-shirts selling for $200. You won’t see me sitting at a sidewalk cafe, chatting away the hours with my girlfriends. As for visiting the salon- “What’s that?” I say. “Poor girl,” you’re probably thinking, “She moved to Israel and doesn’t have a life.” Let me ask you this- how is it that I’m happier here than I ever was back in the States?
If you had asked me when I was 18 years old what my life aspirations were, I would have answered you robotically, “I plan to be a doctor (whichever one my mother thought would be the most lucrative) and have a family.” Stop right there. Notice what I said first- I mentioned my choice of career before family. How did I come up with such an answer? Where did I get these ideals from? How did they manage to get so ingrained in my psyche that I didn’t even bother to question if they were appropriate for me? Once again, we have been programmed by society to behave a certain way, and most of us don’t even bother to question our thinking. Let’s look back on the evolution of the Feminist Movement. The Women’s Liberation Movement began in the 1960’s and lasted through the 1990’s. It focused on changing society’s acceptance of women, allowing them to be given equal opportunities to advance and achieve personal independence in mainstream culture. Some of the areas that have given women a greater protection in society are marital rape laws, the establishment of rape crisis centers and battered women’s centers, changes in divorce and custody laws, and reproductive rights. This was an exceptionally important advancement in society for women, as they were finally able to be treated as human beings, and not as a subhuman species.
But that’s not what I want to focus on.
What I take issue with is what feminism has done to the woman. In my opinion, (again, I stress that this is only an opinion) feminism has taken away femininity from the woman. Let’s start with looks: how many women do you know that actually dress like women? Most women these days wear jeans or shorts, plain t-shirts, and sneakers. I would guess that 99.9% of women wear pants at work. I’m not even talking about the lack of modesty- I’m just referring to the lack of femininity in women’s looks today. There is a small percentage of women who do put on makeup and take the time to look attractive, but that in itself is a whole ‘nother can of worms, and I’m not opening that up today. I’m not promoting the etiquette schools of the past, but I am wondering where our lady-likeness has gone.
Next issue: Behavior. Nowadays, women feel the need to compete with men in every area of life, including binge-drinking. If a woman can guzzle down a six-pack, the men around her will surely be quite impressed! Young women think nothing of being loud and rowdy in a restaurant or any public place. It is totally acceptable for everyone at Starbuck’s to hear a girl describe every detail of her date the previous night to her girlfriends. What about sports? Aside from football, I don’t know of any sport that women don’t participate in. You might say that’s great, but I don’t see the point of women playing basketball. Be honest- do any of those ladies look lady-like? Even bodybuilding has its fair share of women. Do any of those bodybuilders even look like women anymore? I sure don’t think so! They’re more muscular than most men!
Third issue: Career. Here’s where it gets really controversial. Let me start by saying that if a woman is in a financial position where she needs to work, no one can fault her for it. I’m not referring to these women. What I would like to call attention to is the women who choose to work. What influenced your decision, ladies? Was it something that was always expected of you? Were you ever given a choice by anyone if you wanted to work or focus on your family? Sadly, most of us were trained to expect a glamorous work career at the end of our college career. Did anyone train us to primarily want to raise a family? Even men expect women to have a degree of some sort when they consider a marriage partner. G-d forbid his future wife doesn’t have three titles after her name! How could his buddies ever take her seriously?!
Feminism came about as a result of women being dissatisfied with being at home, focusing on their families. Thanks to a few highly influential books, such as The Feminine Mystique, being a housewife was portrayed as a negative and degrading occupation. All of a sudden, women were told that they had greater things to accomplish in life. They were made to feel that they were not reaching their potential if they didn’t try to make a career and a life for themselves that was outside the home and separate from their families. As a result, women started advancing in the workplace. But what happened to the family? Now we have a severe backlash. Women of today are expected to juggle all of the pressures and demands of work along with the intense demands of family. Either one of two things happens: the kids take a backseat to the career, or women decide not to have kids at all because they want to focus on their careers. What a tragedy! Now a woman has to get the kids up, fight with them to get out of bed and ready for school, make them breakfast and lunch at the same time, work at a stressful job for at least 8 hours a day, rush home to make dinner, go food shopping, do laundry, do homework, do dishes, catch up on work from the office, and make the kids’ lunches for the next day. Where is the time for her husband and herself? Where is the quality time for her children? Did she even have time to have a real conversation with her kids? Did she get a chance to read them a story in bed? If she did, was her mind in other places, like focusing on her pressures at work?
To me, it’s no wonder why so many families are dysfunctional today. There are too many things pulling the parents apart, and women in the workplace is a big part of it. Not to mention all of the adultery going on! Cheating would be much less prevalent if women weren’t working with men! Ladies, you may think I am writing to you from another planet, but think about it- what are you working for? Is it money? Are you sure? Could it be more of a certain standard of living that you don’t want to give up? Is it prestige? Deep down, do you disdain or feel that housewives are lazy and not pushing themselves to be successful? Be honest with yourselves. If you do feel this way, where did you get these ideas from? Are you working so you just don’t have to be home all day? Then you must ask yourselves what’s wrong with being home and taking care of your home.
Are you starting to see? This type of feminism has made us our own worst enemy. We have been separated into two groups, the majority being the women who believe that a career makes them feel successful and worthwhile. We are bombarded with all kinds of ideals that are severely destructive to our self-images and our families as well. Yes, you might be a career woman with a comfortable income and a nice title after your name, but who’s raising your children? The nanny or the television? Who is home to greet them with a smile and a hug when they walk in the door after school? As a result of spending so much time and effort at work, does your house feel like a home? Does it have that magical energy of warmth and love that only a woman can give it? Or is it a house that your family uses to eat and sleep in until life begins all over again the next day?
Kabbalah teaches us that when we leave this world, we will be asked by the Heavenly Court what we did with our lives. What will we have to show for our lifetime of effort? Do you think they care about how many clients you amassed? Or do you think they care about how much effort we put into cultivating the precious souls that we were blessed with? Who do you think is the person most responsible for a child’s success? The mother, of course. Ladies, you can only put your efforts into so many things; if you’re focusing more on your career than your children, do you think they will reach their potential? They need a mother who’s very involved in their lives, who can give them a strong sense of self and confidence so they can be successful as adults. If a mom isn’t around because she chooses not to be, how strong and confident do you think her kids will become? Furthermore, some may think that Judaism is a sexist religion, placing the man at the head of the family. You couldn’t be further from the truth. The woman is the CEO and President of the family, and any person who disagrees doesn’t know the true Torah view. The woman is the crown of the family, and her husband’s and children’s success is her success. She is the foundation on which the family grows and blossoms. Therefore, if she is not putting her heart and soul into building and strengthening that foundation, how can her family reach its potential?
Little Nachman is fortunate to have a mommy that raises him, not a nanny or a television set
Ladies, I am aware that many of you might be upset and even angry with what I wrote. My intention is not to make anyone feel bad, only to present information that will cause you to question your ideals.Do you want to be a real feminist? Then take back your home! Take back your family! Go against what society forces you to believe in. Be a woman who thinks outside of the box. Real feminism is about being the most incredible woman you can be. It’s not about trying to be as much like a man as possible. But if you think about it, that’s what feminism is to most people. How ironic! If you’re a feminist, that means you’re trying to live your life like a man as much as possible! This is exactly the antithesis of feminism! If you would like to know more about what real feminism is and how to reach your potential as a woman, I highly recommend Rav Arush’s book, “Women’s Wisdom”. It will challenge everything you were taught to believe in as a woman, and you will certainly grow from it. May all of our efforts at achieving our potentials be blessed with success for ourselves and our families, Amen.