Saturday, 31 December 2011

M.I.A.Female OJ Skeptics

In April, Shilton HaSechel asked his readers  Why So Few Female Skeptics? There were several very plausible responses . . at least to someone like me who is admittedly COMPLETELY on the outside of the OJ/OP world. Some speculations (as I understood them) included:
  • Women get an abridged/watered down/sugar coated version of the male education in the Orthodox system and therefore may not have as solid a foundation from which to question 
  • Skeptical women don't shut up and put up . . they get out
  • Women may represent a smaller portion of the skeptical blogosphere in general, and so the smaller representation in the J-blogosphere is reflective of that.
  • The Orthodox system basically does not allow for much (any?) independence of thought in women.
My apologies to any commentators whose views I misread . . please feel to correct/clarify. So here's another idea from an observer from the outside. Could Orthoprax women be too busy/burnt out to be blogging?

I have several OJ friends. Some are friends who are related to me by marriage (two of my sister-in-laws, for example). Most happen to be BTs, though I don't know how relevant that is. In any case, when one of my OJ friends confided in me that she was OP,  it came as a complete shock. Not because I could not fathom how she could not believe in God or Torah. I'm an atheist so I get that part, but why practice, then?

In general, I am in awe of my MO friends. They are ambitious, educated, and successful professional women AND are committed wives/mothers who follow OJ. I am also a working mother, so I know first hand how labour intensive balancing work and family can be, but add all the complexities of living an OJ life, and they have what appears to me to be three full time jobs. One friend, for example, a very committed mother of two, works and studies full time. Obviously she observes Shabbat, but Shabbat is not necessarily a day of rest for her. It often means hosting people . . .worrying about when the food is cooked/ is there enough/ cleaning up etc.,  Sunday is a mad rush getting prepared for the week, not to mention additional obligations like going to the mikveh etc., or having everything sorted out for holidays. To me, it just seems exhausting! But if you believe, I get it. I get living with conviction, and behaving in a manner that reflects one's beliefs.

Naively, it never really occurred to me that there were practicing OJ's who didn't believe. So, what took me by surprise in my friend's revelation was how one could adopt such a labour intensive life without believing. Her confession got me hooked on reading OP blogs, and I understand a lot more now. (More about this in my next post). But - to answer Shilton's question - my suspicion is that there may be a large element of (communally unacknowledged?) burnout in working OJ women who face so much pressure to perform in various aspects of their lives. Insiders, what are your thoughts?

Update: Jan 4 2011: I have started reading an excellent Female OP blog, Sitting on The Fence. Another possiblilty for the MIA females: maybe our search engine failed us :).

3 comments:

  1. > Could Orthoprax women be too busy/burnt out to be blogging?

    Could be. But what makes you think that the women are busier than the men? Speaking for myself, I work, I get the kids to school most mornings, I clean the house, I cook occasionally when my wife is working evening shifts, I’m in middle of renovating my house… and somehow I still find time to read, watch TV, read blogs, and write a couple of posts a month. My wife, who has as many responsibilities as I do but no interest in theology or philosophy, spends her online time on Facebook.

    While women may bear more of the burden in in some homes, most MO and moderate-yeshivish couples I know are pretty egalitarian when it comes to sharing the work of running a household.

    As I said on Shilton’s blog, I think that women in the OJ world just have less motivation to go OTD / become Orthoprax.

    FYI, JP is a profoundly disturbed man who projects his own sexual hang-ups onto others. When I first joined the blogosphere, I thought of him as a mildly annoying, sometimes entertaining troll. That was before he did the online text-based equivalent of sexually harassing a 20-year-old girl on her blog a couple of years ago. It’s yo’re blog, of course, and you’re free to host whomever you like, but you should be aware of whom you’re talking to.

    ReplyDelete
  2. G*3! Welcome! Thanks for your comments . . I have been enjoyed reading your thoughts on other blogs, and took a peek at yours today. Looks good, and I'm looking forward to reading more!

    >> But what makes you think that the women are busier than the men? . . While women may bear more of the burden in in some homes, most MO and moderate-yeshivish couples I know are pretty egalitarian when it comes to sharing the work of running a household.

    Of course every family is different, and each member of the couple pulls his/her weight in a different manner. And yes, many of MO families I know are probably comprably egalitarain to the secular families I know . . . I had initially meant the post to read a little more tongue in cheek than it did.

    >>I think that women in the OJ world just have less motivation to go OTD / become Orthoprax.

    Why?

    My reading of your comment on Shilton’s post was that you were suggesting that Orthodoxy demands more intellectually, and (with school hours etc.,) physcially from men. My point was that the MO lifestyle can also be very taxing on women who are also pulled in various directions.

    Thanks for the heads up re: JP . . . his response to yours only strengthened what you were saying.

    JP: I don’t need any vigilantes here. If you truly believe dropouts from Judaism are whoremongers, then please, say good riddance – your Judaism has one less wehoremonger. Do everyone a favour, and buzz off.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am removing all conversations with "Jewish Philosopher" (JP) as he is degenerating the comment threads. If you notice his comments - please do not feed the troll.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...