Sometimes it takes an outsider to notice the confusion laced within a holiday message. When it comes to Christmas the confusion is on overload. Somewhere along the way a religious message got smacked with a load of pop culture overtones to create a holiday lush with semiotic excess, too much for the brain or heart to process. So, allow me from my seat on the sidelines to create the How To guide so you can enjoy the perfect pop culture Christmas.
12. Shop early and shop often for things you’ll never need that are on sale at bargain basement prices.
Christmas really begins on Black Friday, or 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, whichever you prefer. The holiday is about buying to your heart’s content and making sure everything you and your children have ever dreamed of is stacked up under that decorated tree. The bruises and broken limbs you get in pursuit of those awesome sale prices will be well worth it. Who needs teeth when they can have stuff?
Lately my editor, David Swindle, has been encouraging me to develop a series describing my own out-of-the-box Jewish faith. It’s this mish-mosh of biblical proverbs, Torah adages, stories and songs tightly woven together by my American colonial heritage and intense Zionist pride. There is no one perfect word to describe my Jewishness beyond biblical in nature. Orthodox, Conservative, even Reform I am not. Reconstructionist or Renewal? Forget it. But I find commentary from all denominations (“streams” we call them in Judaism) interesting and acceptable in a “with malice towards none, with charity towards all” kind of way that gives me the liberty to define my Judaism in a way most of my compatriots are simply afraid to do. Which is probably why David finds my approach so fascinating. It’s rare to find a Jew who isn’t somehow fettered by the chains of guilt.
So I begin at the beginning, with Thanksgiving, the quintessential Jewish and American holiday. Traditionally Jews celebrate the idea roughly 1-2 months earlier during Sukkot, a festive fall harvest holiday in which we humble ourselves before the God who brought us out of bondage, not because we are perfect, but because He loves us and wanted to dwell with us. (Sukkahs, as in “tabernacles,” as in “the Lord tabernacles with us.”) When you understand the story of God and Israel as a passionate love story, the struggles are contextualized as are the prophecies, into tough tales with happy endings. When you understand the metaphor of God and Israel as a greater metaphor of God’s love for humanity (we’re just the physical reminders) you open your heart to the immense, overwhelming love of God. And there is nothing more you can do as a human being than reflect on that truth with awe-filled gratitude.
A few weeks ago, the potty-mouthed princesses came to the Internet. The pro-LGBT equality, anti-racism and anti-sexism advocacy group FCKH8 used the young girls to shock us out of our supposed reverie over our hateful ways. The little girls used the sassy black women stereotype (watch their body language, head bobs and all. I was surprised the cultural-appropriation guardians didn’t denounce it for that reason alone) and dropped f-bombs among repeatedly debunked facts.
As Julie Borowski asked in a parody video, “What’s more offensive? Having little girls drop f-bombs for shock value or using the same debunked facts over and over?”
The potty-mouth princesses have returned, this time to drop f-bombs on domestic violence. This new video is even more offensive than the first video, both for makeup and its stereotyping of men.
Editor’s Note: See the first two parts in Susan L.M. Goldberg’s series exploring ABC’s Scandal through the lens of Biblical feminism: “What’s Evil Got to Do with It?,” ”Women and the Scandal of Doing It All Alone.” Also check out an introduction to her work and collection of 194 articles and blog posts here.
The husband/wife relationship is central to feminism. Historical, first-wave feminism studied matrimony in terms of legal rights. Contemporary, second-wave feminism approaches marriage in terms of sexual and economic power. Biblical feminism seeks to understand the spiritual relationship between a husband and wife, and how that spiritual relationship manifests into physical action. To do so, we must begin at the beginning, with Genesis 3:16:
To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
“Rule over you” is a phrase that sends chills down any feminist’s spine. But, what does it truly mean? A study of the original Hebrew text provides radical insight into one of the most abused verses of Torah:
This brings us to perhaps the most difficult verse in the Hebrew Bible for people concerned with human equality. Gen 3:16 seems to give men the right to dominate women. Feminists have grappled with this text in a variety of ways. One possibility is to recognize that the traditional translations have distorted its meaning and that it is best read against its social background of agrarian life. Instead of the familiar “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing,” the verse should begin “I will greatly increase your work and your pregnancies.” The word for “work,” izavon, is the same word used in God’s statement to the man; the usual translation (“pangs” or “pain”) is far less accurate. In addition, the woman will experience more pregnancies; the Hebrew word is pregnancy, not childbearing, as the NRSV and other versions have it. Women, in other words, must have large families and also work hard, which is what the next clause also proclaims. The verse is a mandate for intense productive and reproductive roles for women; it sanctions what life meant for Israelite women.
In light of this, the notion of general male dominance in the second half of the verse is a distortion. More likely, the idea of male “rule” is related to the multiple pregnancies mentioned in the first half of the verse. Women might resist repeated pregnancies because of the dangers of death in childbirth, but because of their sexual passion (“desire,” 3:16) they accede to their husbands’ sexuality. Male rule in this verse is narrowly drawn, relating only to sexuality; male interpretive traditions have extended that idea by claiming that it means general male dominance.
This past week a group of scientists from the European Space Agency landed a spaceship on a comet. Contemporary feminists commented on the happening, but not for the reason you’d think. Screw science. One of the guys on the team talked about the major breakthrough in an on-the-spot interview while wearing a shirt with barely-clad, busty women brandishing guns. Social media chaos ensued. The scientist cried out an apology over the Internet. Apparently the rather clever hashtag #shirtstorm is the real reason why Obama cancelled the space program.
And you wonder why Lana Del Rey would rather spend her time talking about Space-X and Tesla instead of associating herself with the pioneering movement for women that has turned into a forum for Dunham-loving yuppie nags. Celebrities are distancing themselves from the f-word because so-called feminists think the greatest thing they can do for womankind is to complain about a scientist’s tacky shirt. I’m sure that really inspired a teenage girl out there to forego joining ISIS and join in the fight against… dudes bearing busty broads?
Women are fixers. It should come as no surprise to anyone with an understanding of the sexes that the leading female figure on primetime television is none other than a fixer named Olivia Pope. Fifty years ago women primarily played the role of mother on screen and, in doing so, they fixed things and life was pretty darn perfect. But perfect doesn’t fly on network television any longer. Today it’s all about drama, and drama is conflict. So, we get Olivia Pope: beautiful, intelligent, who fantasizes about marrying an already married man, having his children and fixing a nice little life in the Vermont countryside for them, but is too embroiled in fixing her own life and the lives of those she loves to ever quite reach her American nirvana.
Like Israel’s matriarchs, Olivia Pope has a vision of justice, of order, of the way things should be. The wearer of the “white hat,” she wrestles between good and evil in her many attempts to manifest this divine sense that has been humanized as her “gut” instinct. Watch her and you’ll see the woman in white when she pursues truth, the woman in black when she has given over to evil, and the woman in gray when she questions everything she knows. Being a fixer is a woman’s inherent power and inevitable struggle. It isn’t that we want to “do it all” because doing it isn’t as hard as taking responsibility for it, for the lives under our care. Olivia Pope cares for everyone, wants to save everyone, wants to repair everyone and make everything all better. Her struggle, like that of the matriarchs, is in placing the sole burden of responsibility on her own shoulders. But, the greatest lesson of God-given responsibility is that you are not expected to carry it all alone.
Editor’s Note: This is part four in a fascinating ongoing series exploring feminism’s transformations and its impact on culture, history, politics, and relationships. Be sure and check out the first three installments in Amelia’s series. Part 1: The Relevant and the Ridiculous: A Guide Through Feminist History, Part 2: How 8 Songs from the ’90s Define Third-Wave Feminism, and Part 3: 5 First-Wave Feminists Who Made a Real Difference.
Once a label for women who were fighting real battles, “feminist” is now for men and women who are easily offended and looking for a reason. Here are a few times that feminists proved themselves to be obsolete, while simultaneously making sane women look bad.
1. F-Bombs for Feminism
Want to see little girls curse like sailors for no apparent reason? You’re in luck!
Really, feminists? You need to use children as props to score cheap points? There are so many things wrong with this video that I hardly know where to start. The obvious starting point is the language. I’m not just offended that little girls are swearing in this video, I’m offended that they have used children at all and I’m offended that they’re putting swear words into their mouths. None of these kids fully understand the issues for which they’re being used (which are ostensibly inequality of pay and sexual violence), they’re just adorable puppets being used by the adults (in age, at least, though not maturity) in their lives.
One of my main problems with the video, aside from the use of children, is that it’s worthless. Sure, they have garnered attention through shock value, but does anyone remember anything but the swearing? Not really. The message has been overpowered by the medium.
The video asks viewers to chip in $15 to buy a pro-feminism t-shirt, one-third of which actually goes to “kick-ass charities.” One third? I think that says it all. Good job, crazy people!
First off: I’m a longtime fan of Crowder, for what it’s worth.
But sometimes we conservatives are a little too eager to be “Not Progressives™,” and his new “catcalling” video — made in response to the real one everyone’s talking about — is an example of this phenomenon.
Second, just to preempt any, well, shouting by strange men in the comments:
I am 50 years old and have probably been genuinely catcalled about six times in my life.
I’ve been more apt to be called ugly and/or a lesbian, or — because I have “bitchy resting face” — ordered to “Smile!!!”
The last time a strange man shouted something complimentary to me was about 18 months ago, when a construction worker (no less!) said, “I like your shirt.”
I was wearing my red “It’s Not Racist If It’s True” tee — on the streets of downtown Toronto in broad daylight, I’ll have you know.
He made my week.
But that wasn’t catcalling.
And neither are the actions Crowder portrayed in his video:
The wonderfully amusing thing about progressivist thought is how old and played-out it is. The #GamerGate controversy is a perfect example. On one side are the #GamerGate folks, video game enthusiasts like me. We basically just want to be left alone in our basements to blow up computerized helicopters. On the other side are militant feminists like Anita Sarkeesian. They think video games brainwash little boys into becoming the violent sociopaths that, according to “rape culture” theory, they already are anyway. Essentially, progressives want to sanitize stories about unsavory behavior for the good of society. That idea goes back at least 2300 years, to ancient Greece, where it was also a failure. For a movement that defines itself as the wave of the future, that’s a pretty hackneyed approach.
I’m talking here about #GamerGate in the broadest terms. I’m not talking about Chelsea Van Valkenburg, the mentally unstable pseudo-designer whose dysfunctional relationship somehow started this whole mess. I’m not talking about internecine squabbles over gaming journalism. I’m talking about the bigger fight, between gamers and the radicals who want to sterilize games.
There are a lot of ways to address sexual assault on college campuses. Warning students to watch the facial expressions they make isn’t one of them.
Yet that’s what students at Ramapo College of New Jersey in Mahwah, New Jersey, were faced with during an hourlong presentation on alcohol use and sexual assault that focused heavily on what women could do to avoid being assaulted, according to the Ramapo News.
The presentation included tips from the school’s Substance Abuse & Violence Prevention coordinator Cory Rosenkranz, who advised students on how to dress, how much to drink and how to use body language that would lessen the chances of assault.
The author of this piece, Matt Connolly, adds:
The presentation’s focus on what the victim should be doing rather than what the perpetrator shouldn’t be doing — committing acts of sexual assault — drew criticism from students, faculty and alumni.
I am so, so tired of this tripe.
Listen to me closely now.
Men – Know – Not – To – Rape.
We know this already. It’s wrong. It’s bad. It’s rapey.
The problem isn’t that men are stupid, although you’d be hard-pressed to get a modern feminist to admit to that, because to do so in a meaningful way would shatter her precious little worldview.
The problem is that rapists don’t care that it’s wrong. Rapists aren’t ignorant; they’re bad. They’re evil. They’re rapists.
And there are damn few of them in the general male population.
So the solution isn’t to badger the overwhelming majority of men who are decent and good. The solution, as pictured above, is to be prepared for the few who are bad and evil and rapey.
But that would put a whole lot of modern feminists out of cushy “public service” jobs, and we can’t make them compete in the private marketplace against their more-able sisters and brothers, can we?
When I was growing up in the ‘70s, there was a groovy poster that asked the penetrating question, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” Well, in most places, the Democrats found that out on Election Night 2014 after they tried to restage the 2012 “War on Women.”
I didn’t have to become unexpectedly single in my late 40s to be reminded of one basic fact:
Grown women don’t dig being condescended to.
But that was the Democrats’ whole approach in wooing the next constituency they wanted to be able to someday take for granted.
Ever since Sandra Fluke announced she couldn’t afford birth control because she unconvincingly claimed to have needed $3000 of it through her law school tenure, the Democrats have decided that gender identity politics could be as valuable to them as racial identity politics.
It seemed to work in 2012, thanks to an unexpected assist from Todd Akin, who probably picked up the crazy idea in a tent meeting somewhere (where he got the rest of his scientific knowledge) that pregnancies resulting from rape are not merely rare, they basically cannot happen.
So Democrats, spurred on by their cultural Left wing in Hollywood and the media, decided that women (a majority of the population) could be the new minority victim group in their identity coalition that would give them an unassailable majority. But this ignored the fact that economic populism and a flat-footed opponent who directly matched their stereotype had a lot more to do with the 2014 Obama victory.
They decided to openly treat women as though their pretty heads couldn’t be bothered with such things as stagnant middle class incomes, the fact that their kids can only get part-time work because of Obamacare, Ebola, or the fact that the world is “going to hell in a handbasket.”
No, in the Democrat world, chicks only care about their lady parts.
I can be a little hard on feminists sometimes, but that’s because the brand has been so largely destroyed by the bizarre priorities of those using that moniker from the 1960s to present. As time has gone on, it has just gotten worse. Don’t get me wrong, however — I have a lot of respect for the women who got things done in the beginning.
Here are some women who really made a difference.
5. Susan B. Anthony
Susan Brownell Anthony worked for social reform in America on several fronts. Like other women working for equality, she was passionate about abolition, collecting anti-slavery petitions at age 17. She went on to become the New York state agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society.
When she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, they joined forces. Together, they began the American Equal Rights Association, campaigning for the rights of women and blacks. They began a newspaper in 1868, The Revolution, which went into issues of women’s rights. The next year, they founded the National Woman Suffrage Association.
Unfortunately, women’s suffrage had yet to pass when Anthony went ahead and cast a vote in 1872, and she was arrested. Six years later, Anthony and Stanton worked for Congress to be presented with an amendment granting women’s suffrage, and it was finally passed in 1920 as the 19th Amendment.
Susan B. Anthony was the first woman (after a representation of Lady Liberty) to be featured on a U.S. coin.
Much will be written on Katha Pollitt’s “abortion is normal” movement. I’m sure I will write more on it later after I at least read some of the book. But for the moment, here’s one thing that caught my eye in her introductory article in The Nation:
Roe v. Wade gave women a kind of existential freedom that is not always welcome—indeed, is sometimes quite painful—but that has become part of what women are.
One thing Roe v. Wade didn’t do, though, was make abortion private.
…Justice Harry Blackmun’s majority opinion in Roe v. Wade was all about privacy, but the most private parts of a woman’s body and the most private decisions she will ever make have never been more public.
And why is that? She seems to blame terrible conservatives and their abortion-clinic regulations, which is a tenuous claim. Why wouldn’t those like Pollitt who want abortion accessible for women to be able to use as they see fit prioritize safe clinics? The regulations are about safety, which of course restricts access. Even if abortion is completely normalized, it’s not as simple as, for instance, trips to the health spa.
Halloween was always a point of contention in our house growing up. Naturally theatrical, I loved dressing up and relished in making my own costumes. And what kid turns down free candy? Sure, Jewish kids have Purim for these things and more, but when you’re in a mainly gentile neck of the woods, it’s a struggle not to be allowed to join in the party. As I grew into adulthood and took a deeper look at Halloween, however, I began to understand my parents’ objections quite clearly. There are definite reasons why Jews and Christians who base their faith in the Bible should re-think introducing and encouraging their child’s participation in this, the most pagan of American holidays.
Twenty-four percent of married couple families with children under 15 have a stay-at-home mom. Ninety-nine percent of stay-at-home moms in the movies get a really bad rap. Search “Best Movie Moms” and you’ll get lists that include Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment, Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, Shelly Duvall in The Shining, and more than a few mentions of Psycho. The majority of movie mothers are either widowed or divorced, careerists or working class, alcoholics or impregnated by UFOs. The closest you’ll get to a stay-at-home mom in post-1940s cinema is Kathleen Turner playing the psychotic Serial Mom or Michael Keaton taking on the role so his wife can pursue her career in Mr. Mom.
In fact, outside of Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side there hasn’t been a truly admirable middle-class, white, stay-at-home mother on the silver screen in over 50 years. Which is probably why Mom’s Night Out received such a negative critical reception when it premiered last spring. We have been acculturated out of believing in the power and purpose of stay-at-home moms. Yet, the criticisms leveled at Mom’s Night Out for its “depressingly regressive” spirit and “archaic notions of gender roles” were not applied to a similar film about a stay-at-home mom released only two years prior. This Is 40 received mixed reviews, but praise for yielding “…some of [Judd] Apatow’s most personal observations yet on the feelings for husbands, wives, parents, and children that we categorize as love.”
So, what made This Is 40 palatable in a way that Mom’s Night Out wasn’t? Is there, perhaps, a culturally acceptable way to be a stay-at-home mom?
Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing dialogue about Star Trek, women, and feminism. See Ash’s previous installments The Wasted Women of Star Trek, Part 1: Tasha Yar, The Wasted Women of Star Trek, Part 2: Deanna Troi, and April Bey’s “An Artist Trekkie’s Guide For Becoming a Better Person.”
Of the three original female leads of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Beverly Crusher is the one that ended up the most well-rounded, but that’s not saying much. Her appearances were even, more often than not showing up as a plot device so as to create that week’s magic cure if the problem wasn’t technobabble-related. She had kind of a rocky start, but came away more developed than even Geordi La Forge or arguably William Riker.
The problem is that development never went very far. Is that a flaw in the character, or a flaw in the conventions of the show?
Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing dialogue about Star Trek, women, and feminism. See Ash Freeman’s The Wasted Women of Star Trek, Part 1: Tasha Yar and The Wasted Women of Star Trek, Part 2: Deanna Troi.
I am an artist and a Trekkie. For me creating art, discussing art and seeing art are important ways for me to disconnect with the negative things in life. They are a distraction from mediocrity. Star Trek accomplishes this goal too at times. Both can act as lenses through which I view the world.
Having just finished up graduate school, another huge catalytic chapter of my life, I think it’s time to take inventory of the human elements and roadblocks I encountered and the parts of myself I need to rehab and examine. I’m finding the types of people I work best with, the ones I find the most interesting, also in turn share basic moralistic virtues. They are kind, thoughtful, candid yet respectful, honest, reliable, practically critical and have great taste in music. On a very basic, Prime Directive level, <em>Star Trek</em> also tackles these virtues in its characters but it’s a little too utopian sometimes isn’t it? Because reality contradicts this naiveté of so many people being good or at the very least aspiring to be better.
I started a personal quest in grad school about the time I witnessed my first adult temper tantrum in academia. I won’t go into details but it was shocking to say the least. Right then and there, I suspected, if I actively pursued trying to be a better person, maybe those around me would start being better people too, or maybe we’d attract each other with some type of space age “good person” pheromone. Here’s what I’ve learned so far and it’s not quite science fiction.
Monica Lewinsky spoke recently to young entrepreneurs and achievers at Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia about her sex scandal with the President of the United States and about how her life was forever altered by the experience.
Sixteen years ago, fresh out of college, a 22-year-old intern in the White House — and more than averagely romantic – I fell in love with my boss in a 22-year-old sort of a way. It happens. But my boss was the President of the United States. That probably happens less often.
Now, I deeply regret it for many reasons. Not the least of which is that people were hurt. And that’s never okay.
But back then, in 1995, we started an affair that lasted, on and off, for two years. And, at that time, it was my everything. That, I guess you could say, was the golden bubble part for me; the nice part. The nasty part was that it became public. Public with a vengeance.
Lewinsky, now 40, wrote in Vanity Fair in May that although the affair was consensual, nothing could have prepared her for the aftermath, when attacks came from seemingly every direction:
Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position. . . . The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.
Monica’s bad and immoral decision – every salacious detail of it – was published on the internet:
Now, my brother – and all his fraternity brothers – were privy to my most intimate details. As were my dad and his fellow doctors. And my stepdad, and his World War 2 war buddies. My stepmom and her knitting circle. Even both my grandmothers, then in their 80s, knew about the internet. My whole family. My friends. My friends’ parents. My parents’ friends.
All of this left Hillary Clinton — the supposedly great defender and protector of all women everywhere forever and ever Amen– in a terribly awkward position. She knew her husband was a serial philanderer. Six months earlier Kathleen Willey had accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault and there was also the 12-year affair with Gennifer Flowers and another with Paula Jones and probably others. But Mrs. Clinton had a presidency to save and her own political future to think about so there wasn’t a lot of time to think about a 22-year-old young woman who had been taken advantage of by the most powerful man in the universe. Feminism and all the implications of what it really means to defend the rights of women and that whole glass ceiling business would have to wait.
In public Hillary played the victim. She appealed to viewers of the Today Show on her husband’s behalf, blaming the “vast right wing conspiracy” for all the scandals plaguing his presidency.
Behind the scenes, Hillary was the mean girl.
A story about two old Jewish ladies is making the rounds in the Jewish press, but not for the reasons you may think. Sure, they’re bubbes. They’re children of a Holocaust survivor to boot. But the real reason they’re attracting so much attention is that they happen to be retired professional whores.
Dutch twins Louise and Martine Fokkens (probably not their real last name, since “Fokken” is a Dutch term for “old whore”) have become international celebrities since the 2011 release of their biographical documentary Meet the Fokkens. Women’s magazines like Cosmo picked up on their story shortly after the film’s release, publishing quick little details like:
Louise and Martine (mothers of four and three respectively) became prostitutes before the age of 20 in order to escape violent relationships.
It’s an interpretation that, at best, qualifies as a half-truth. Louise was forced into the sex trade by an abusive husband. Martine, however, became a prostitute out of spite:
Martine followed her sister into the trade, working first as a cleaning lady at brothels before she began turning tricks herself. “I was angry at how everybody around us shunned Louise,” Martine said. “I did it out of spite, really.”
Both women eventually divorced their husbands, whom they now describe as “a couple of pimps.” But they continued working in the district “because that had become our lives,” Louise said.
“Our life in the business became a source of pride, a sport of sorts,” Louise added.
In retrospect, both women say they regret becoming prostitutes.
Reading their story, one can’t help but wonder if mainstream feminist advocates for slut walks and “Yes Means Yes” legislation would condemn the pair for regretting the life they chose. After all, their body, their choice, right? They took control of their bad marriages, divorced the husbands they referred to as “pimps” and chose, fully of their own volition, to remain in the sex trade after their exes were fully out of the picture. Martine and Louise, it would seem, are the originators of the Slut Walk.
Editor’s Note: See part I here in Amelia Hamilton’s series exploring the transformations in feminist history and ideology: The Relevant and the Ridiculous: A Guide Through Feminist History
The third wave of feminism got started in the 1990s as a reaction against the second wave fought by their mothers (both figuratively and, sometimes, literally). There were some central tenets at the heart of third-wave feminism, and they can be illustrated in contemporary music. Join me on a walk through ’90s music, and the ways in which these songs illustrate third-wave feminist ideals.
1. Third-wave feminism went beyond legal equality for women, but empowered women to fight for other social issues as well.
One key way in which third-wave feminism differed from earlier waves was that it wasn’t just about women. Take, for example, the Third Wave Direct Action Corporation, founded in 1992. One of the founders was Rebecca Walker, daughter of second-wave feminist Alice Walker. In 1997, the group became the Third Wave Foundation, and was not only dedicated to traditional women’s rights issues, but worked to “explicitly connect women’s issues to issues of race, sexuality, class, and ability.” This was bigger than simply legal equality for women.
Arrested Development’s “Mama’s Always on Stage” (1992)
Mama’s always on stage
Can’t be a revolution without women
Can’t be a revolution without children
Back in May I assembled this collection featuring “10 of Susan L.M. Goldberg’s Greatest Hits.” Today I present a broader assortment of her writings organized by theme and subject. The first section gathers Susan’s analysis of Lena Dunham’s HBO show Girls. Through dissecting the show Susan presents her “Biblical Feminist” approach to cultural analysis and ideological activism. The root of Susan’s variation of Feminism comes through understanding the Torah in the context of A) the competing ancient Pagan value systems in the Middle East which the Israelites fought against, and B) their parallels today in postmodernism. The conclusion of her Girls series captures her ethos which I share:
The western world tends to see time in a linear sense as if we are always progressing towards perfection as we distance ourselves from our primordial past. The God of the Bible has a completely different perspective, beginning with his name: YHVH (the Tetragrammaton) has a literal meaning “I Am, I Was, I Will Be.” In other words, there is no beginning nor end point for God. Likewise, the Israelites were given a yearly schedule that flowed in cycles known as seasons. We may have moved away from our agrarian roots, but theEcclesiastical lyrics put to song by The Byrds still apply: “To every thing there is a season, a time and purpose under heaven.”
As the western world embraced and assimilated what is essentially Biblical Hebraism, adopting a biblical faith in a Messiah and melding pagan practices with adherence to the cultural norms of ancient Israel known as “commandments,” we grew as a society. We overcame disease, poverty, and ignorance in many areas of life. Not ironically, the same forces that demand we turn away from our biblical foundation have also managed to plunge us into a neo-Dark Age. Modern medicine now faces new plagues, radical governments threaten new poverty, and ignorance is more rampant than ever. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the popular branding of Girls as a show that empowers women.
Modern feminism has returned us to the chains of ancient pagan culture. These goddess feminists think they can get away with it because they’re sure we see the world as they do: in lines. We are marching, they think, farther and farther away from the evidence of our ancient past when, all the while, we are being led back into the same ideologies that bound us as temple prostitutes and mothers of the state thousands of years ago.
Susan takes this moral clarity and creative style to a number of subjects beyond trendy TV shows. She covers cultural controversies, debates within feminism, political hot issues, and ideological squabbles. She also has deep things to say on history and philosophy and the news from Israel and the Middle East. This past summer she also developed a sequel to her Girls series in her writings defining “pop culture polytheism,” the way in which some worship celebrities as the ancient Pagans once worshipped nature gods.
A Biblical Feminist Confronts the Girls Goddesses:
- June 6, 2013: A Biblical Feminist Confronts The Girls Goddesses, Part 1
- June 16: Sex Mitzvah’d: Virginity Isn’t Easy for Girls
- June 23: Money: Is That What Girls Goddesses Really Want?
- June 30: Millennial Girls Are Easy: Sex, Power & Porn
- July 7: Sex for Girls’ Sake: Porn, Art, or Both?
- July 14: Single Issue Goddess: The War on Women’s Intellect
- July 21: Her Body, Herself: The Right Size & Shape of Girls
- July 28: Girls: Best Friends Forever-ish
- August 4: Girl on Girl Action: Girls and the Female Gaze
- August 11: Girls on Boys: The Body Politic of Goddess Feminism
- August 18: Girls: As Famous as their Daddies
- August 25: 5 Uncomfortable Truths About Girls
More Biblical Feminist Culture Critique and Analysis
- Full Frontal Equality
- The Tale of Miley Cyrus in the Words of Allan Bloom…
- How Women Can Transcend the Equality Barrier
- Presidential Sex & Powerless Feminists
- ‘Choose Life So That You May Live’
- Let’s Talk About Sex
- We Are the XX: Feminism’s Branded Sheep
- Porn, Sex & ‘The Talk’
- Biblical Feminism and the Dirty Male Myth
- Chicks Dig Porn
- A Biblical Feminist’s Take on Porn
- Can’t Touch This: American Feminism’s Racial Ignorance
- A Job Many Women Would Kill For
- White Chicks be Pimpin’ their Black Hos
- Feminism Doesn’t Need Re-Branding, It Needs a Revolution
- Abused Language, Aborted History
- Feminists: What Color Is Your Character?
- Brains Not Boobs: Re-Formulating for Feminist Success
- Nazi Is the New Sexy
- Feminists Must Go on the Offense
- Men: Act Like a Lady if You Want to Get a Job
- Girls vs Downton Abbey: Feminism’s Body Politic
- Girls: Take This Tour and Shove It
- 10 Reasons Why Camille Paglia Is the Champion of the Feminist Right
- Feminism: A Rich White Girl’s Game
- HBO’s Girls Get a Much-Needed Dose of Reality
- What the MSM Isn’t Telling You About Medea Benjamin’s Tweet-Fest in Egypt
- Our Bodies, Our Only Sense of Self
- Purim: The Cure for Vashti Feminists
- The Girls Season Finale: Second-Guessing Steinem Feminists
- Turncoat Feminists
- Why Women (and Men) Need Biblical Feminism
- Matt Walsh Demonstrates Why Christians Need Biblical Feminism
- 11 Star-Spangled Super Women
- Reality TV’s 10 Biggest Lies About America
- 10 Romantic Comedy Myths About Women
- 10 Ways ’90s Pop Culture Destroyed the American Male
- Beyonce’s 10 Worst, Anti-Woman Songs
- 10 Reasons Why I Will Forever Love Joan Rivers
- Ross Douthat Loves Lena Dunham for All the Wrong Reasons
- Millennial Actress Refuses to Hyphenate her American Identity
- Republican Gardner Buries the War on Women in Colorado Senate Race
- Feminists: You Will Abort Or Die Trying
- What Makes The West the Antidote to Radical Islam?
- Why Politicians, Cops & Feminists Turn a Blind Eye to 1,400 Rape Victims
- The East Proves the West Needs Feminism
- ‘Yes Means Yes’ to a New Generation of Powerless Women
- Spare Me the Vergara Defense
- The Feminist Response to Ferguson
- Islamic State Sex Slavery: American Feminists Ain’t Got No Time for That
- Republicans Whine, “Chicks, Man.”
- Valerie Jarrett Takes Adviser Role to Prime Time
- Obama’s Creepy 3-Way Date Night
- Oh My Goddess: Picture Proof of the Valerie Jarrett Cult
Pop Culture Polytheism
- HBO’s Picasso Baby: Jay Z Raps the Cult of Celebrity
- Paul, George, Ringo & the Prophet John
- 12 Signs You’ve Sought Redemption Through the Religion of Pop
- The Top 10 Gods of the Pop Culture Pantheon
- How to Become an Official Dude in 10 Easy Steps
- 10 Lessons on Abiding in Everyday Life I’ve Learned from The Dude
- 11 Lessons About Religion I’ve Learned from Pop Culture Polytheism
- Going Oprah: Sarah Palin Gives Up
- July 4, 2014: Salon Crowns Obama Our Messiah
The Intersection of Judaism, Religion, and Pop Culture
- The Unproductive Obsession with Hipster Anne Frank
- The 5 Most Tasteless Hanukkah Gifts for 2013
- Pajama Boy Jewish According to… Marx?
- Slamming Torah: There’s an App for That
- Noah Flooded with Potential for Interfaith Battle
- The New Morality Makes Animals of Us All
- Thank God! Who Is He, Again?
- Why the Non-Stop Punchline Shouldn’t Come as a Surprise
- The Latest Outbreak of Golden Calf Syndrome
- Glenn Beck, The Church & the Real Secret to Disney’s Success
- A Jew’s Take on Jesus Movies
- Noah: A Good Jewish Boy’s Cinematic Drash
- Altruism in Religion’s Free Market
- Religion, Politics & Screaming at the Internet
- The #1 Strategy for Happiness
- 10 More Movies Projecting the Jewish Experience on Film
- 13 Jewish Women Who Changed the World
- Debunking the Jewish Mother Stereotype
- Gay Marriage: Get Over the Theology and Look at the Law
- Judaism’s ‘Chained Wives’ Facebook-Shame Delinquent Husbands
- The Church is Afraid of Islam
- Gary Oldman & the Right’s Latent Antisemitism
Israel and the Middle East
- Forget Freedom! We Have #IranJeans!
- Obama’s Great Jewish Conspiracy That Isn’t
- Boycott, Divestment & ScarJo: Pop Culture Questions #BDS
- 18 Reasons Why You Wish You Were in Israel Right Now
- The Battle Against Israel’s Orthodox Patriarchy
- AP Reporter Reveals the Story Behind Anti-Israel Media Bias
- Obama Moves to Defend Hamas
- ‘Miracle’ Wind Saves Tel Aviv from Hamas Rocket
- One Soldier’s Faith Saves Hamas Female Suicide Bomber
- NDTV Exclusive Footage: Hamas Preps Rocket in Hotel Backyard
- Pro-Hamas Activists Blockade Israeli Arms Factory in Britain
- IDF: Hamas Planned to Wipe Gaza Town Off the Map
- Will the Power of the People Fund the Iron Dome?
- “Angry Black Woman” Schools Students for Justice in Palestine
- How Israel is Winning the PR Battle Against Hamas
- Admiring Ann: 5 Coulterisms for Counterculture Conservatives
- Student Survival Tactic: Think Big
- 15 Tricks and Tips for Getting the Most Out of College
- 10 Ways Not to Land Your Dream Job
- Liberty Island: Liberal’s Newest, Greatest Threat
Part 1: Boob Alert: Top 5 Side Effects of Watching Family Guy
Part 2: Totally Petarded: The Top 5 Masculinity Myths on Family Guy
Part 3: Who’s to Blame for Fueling Pop Culture’s 5 Worst Female Stereotypes?
Part 4: Quiz! What’s Your TV Sitcom Family Lifestyle? Family Guy Vs The Middle
Part 5: 4 Easy Steps to Pitching Your Own TV Sitcom
More TV Criticism, Appreciation, and Analysis
- Game of Downloads: HBO’s Bad Spin on Media Piracy
- Proud Member of the Cumberbatch Brigade
- It’s Not Porn, It’s HBO!
- The Goldbergs & Michael J. Fox Sending Millennials Back to the Future
- Nostalgic for MOM Power
- 3 Reasons to Get Addicted to Call the Midwife
- Pop Culture’s Sexy Double Standard: It’s Elementary
- HBO Girls Just Wanna Have Boys
- HBO Green Lights Men & Capitalism
- The #1 Worst New Sitcom for Fall
- The Ultimate TV Geek
- Seeking Relevance, Networks Broadcast Live
- The #1 Reason We Watch Call the Midwife
- NBC Declares Jerusalem Television’s City of Gold
- The 10 Most Cringe-Worthy TV Flops
- The 10 Most Underrated TV Comedies of All Time
War, History, and Ideology:
- A Punch in the Gut: The Aftermath of 9/11
- Technology & the Vertical Caveat in Generational Theory
- Queen Ann Advises Republicans: Always Listen to Mother
- The 2 Mitzvot That Can Restore Unity on the Right
- My 5 Favorite Ann Coulter Columns
- 5 Ways the GOP Screws Up
- 75 Years Later, You Can’t Forget What You Don’t Know
- 70 Years & Counting: Hitler Is Still Hot
- Conservative is the New Liberal
- Untold War Stories: My Family’s Secret Agent
- James Foley, Radical Islamic Terror, and How Quickly We Forget
- Survey Says Millennials Think Socialism is a Joke
- The Real Reason Why Liberals Are Scared of Women with Guns
- Putin Actively Trolls Your Favorite Websites
Analyzing Ion Mihai Pacepa and Ronald Rychlak’s Disinformation: Useful Intellectuals: Framing Marx for the Next Generation
- Red or Dead: How Stalin Re-Defined American Liberalism
- The Assassination of Patriotism: Intellectuals, Disinformation and JFK
- The Framing of Hitler’s Pope
- Sontag’s Kulture Kamp
- Jesus Was a Socialist: Soviet Liberation Mythology Invades the West
- Back in the U.S.S.R.
- Vietnam, Hippies & False Peace
- Political Gods: Framing a New Reality
- Nomenklatura on Free Speech: Duck That!
- The Winning Move in the War Against the Nomenklatura
- Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge: Starting Down the Yellow Brick Road…
- Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge, Part 1: The Mask of Marxism
- Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge, Part 2: Getting to the Heart of Social Justice
- Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge, Part 3: Who Needs a Brain?
- Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge, Part 4: Are Conservatives Cowards?
- Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge, Part 5: The Drug of Disinformation
- Transcending the Illusion of Left Vs Right
- The Dude Dissects Disinformation
Music Appreciation and Analysis
- Christmas Carol Classic: Romanian Style
- 6 Degrees of Separation: Phil Everly to Llewyn Davis
- Rolling Stone, Privately Traded Company, Advocates Millennials Share the Wealth
- The Story You Shouldn’t Miss Inside Llewyn Davis
- The Religion of Beatlemania Still Going Strong
- A Day in the Life of the Fest for Beatles Fans 2014
- Fifth Beatle Brian Epstein’s Unsung Revolution
- Those Silly, Savage Homophobes
- Paul McCartney’s New Video Aims at #GenerationHashtag
- 9 Essential Paul McCartney Music Videos
- 13 Reasons to Fall in Love with Lana Del Rey
- 15 Songs Millennials Must Listen to in Order to Understand the 1980s
- New Jersey Wines: Challenge Your Assumptions
- 5 Tips for Novice Winos
- Valenzano Winery and the Surprising Appeal of the Garden State
- Cold Soil White: The Finesse of German Wines, American Style
- Sip Spanish Style Wines While You Walk Leisurely Among the Vines
- Savoring Almondberry with My Cousin Vinny
- What Exit for Great New Jersey Wine? Old York, Of Course!
- A Revolution in High Class Winemaking
- 5 Indispensible Wine-O Tools
- Beneduce Vineyards: The Next Big Thing in Jersey Wine
- Give Thanks with these Jersey Wines
- Mulled Wine: Spice Up Your Holiday Table
Also check out my two previous collections of PJ Lifestyle writers:
Ashe Schow has an an interesting article at the Washington Examiner: “Feminist hysteria is causing the infantilization of women”:
When did female empowerment become female infantilization?
Women once were encouraged to be strong and independent, to brush aside insensitive words and actions and to emerge stronger. But now, politicians, pundits, even celebrities are feeding an outrage machine by telling women they should be offended by anything and everything….
This shift toward telling women they need help at every stage of their lives (remember the Obama campaign’s “Life of Julia”?) might raise funds for feminist causes or gain votes for politicians, but it’s not empowering. It’s infantilizing.
People often tell me that feminist dogma often backfires and makes women look ineffective. But looking ineffective is not a problem for many women. They see it as an asset and it is a form of power. Denying personal responsibility for themselves may be infantilizing to the majority of women in this country in a moral sense (yes, people should take responsibility for themselves) but in the current political climate, it is empowering. Society helps women when they plead for help and seem/look helpless. Even white knights are rushing to help women in need for whatever reason, whether just or not. Society rarely helps those who help themselves these days.
1. Early feminism had a point. There were actual societal changes that needed to be made.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, feminism was fairly easy to understand. It was a movement of those who believed that women should enjoy the same freedoms as their male counterparts. This included access to the same level of education and freedom in choosing what they wanted from life–marriage, family, a career. Early feminists were fighting for this equality of status, to be seen as equal to men and, if married, to have rights separate from their husbands. Much of this was a reaction against the “feminine ideal” in Victorian society, which argued that women belonged in the home rather than in educational institutions or the workplace. Hooray for these early pioneers of equality!