To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, “A person should not believe in an -ism, she should believe in herself.” Especially when the -ism is being managed and marketed by a couple of flakes.
Allison Rapson and Kassidy Brown are two behind-the-scenes media personalities looking to re-brand feminism in a marketing campaign with only a few more syllables than something Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone would have fashioned in between hits of vodka and cocaine. The only thing vaguely permanent about their manifesto are the matching tattoos the pair appear to receive on camera. We Are the XX is the latest in a movement that has been floundering for a purpose since women got divorced and entered the work force en masse in the ’70s and ’80s. Life is good, the theory goes, so what exactly are we fighting for again? Feminism doesn’t know and, as a result, a series of disparate voices have arisen, spending more time arguing than accomplishing.
Contradictory leadership and incessant infighting plague any and every movement. I often receive criticism from readers who cannot comprehend the idea of Biblical Feminism. After all, the Bible, as they see it, is just a loaded patriarchal cannon prejudiced against women. That’s what the world has taught them, and quite a few religious officials, both Jewish and Christian, claiming to represent the Bible have lived up to that stereotype causing plenty of discord and disillusionment in the past few decades.
Take, for instance, the ongoing struggle of the Women of the Wall, an egalitarian Jewish women’s group seeking equal rights to pray and read the Torah while wearing tallit and tefillin (prayer shawls and phyllacteries) at the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem. The 25 year old movement gained worldwide attention this past summer after many members were arrested for fulfilling their goals, something the ultra-Orthodox political establishment within Israel deems offensive. After winning their court case, the Women of the Wall faced a series of ultra-Orthodox protesters who turned Judaism’s holiest site into a grudge-match arena, throwing dirty diapers at the praying women while brandishing signs claiming they were shaming Judaism and turning their backs on God to form a new religion. All this because the Women of the Wall did not perform their Judaism to the ultra-Orthodox’s liking.
Ricky Gervais, an avowed atheist, smartly commented on Facebook earlier in the week: “Free will: That thing that God gave us so that we could do what we want and then he could punish us for not doing what we were told.” It is a logical assumption that anyone would agree with if all they ever knew of the Bible was a corrupt official’s interpretation. Women of the Wall leader Anat Hoffman quite rightly reflected: “This is a territorial war by rabbis who don’t want to cede power.”