For years I’ve questioned my political and philosophical leanings. Back in college, I joined the Democratic Socialists of America. But I pretty quickly felt that their overall approach was a bit too hardline for me, even though I agreed with the majority of their tenets. I did that quiz by iSideWith.com, and the result was 63% Green Party. Uh, ok. I’ve been to the Green Party’s website and have read some of the materials they have produced. I would not define myself as being so invested in things like the environment and being a pacifist. But whatever.
But besides trying to find a political party to align with, I’ve noticed something else in my day-to-day interactions. I find myself clashing more and more with people who are staunchly left-wing/progressive; in spite of me seeing myself as the same. This has really come to a head in this past week with the premier of My Unorthodox Life, which has caused a whirlwind of discussion in Jewish groups and on social media. My general take on the show is that it is an inaccurate portrayal of both off the derech people and Orthodox Judaism. I’ve pointed out several times that Julia Haart (the show’s protagonist) looks ridiculous as a 49 year-old woman whose daily wardrobe incorporates outfits that expose her belly and cleavage.
The knee-jerk response from progressive feminists have been a firm “stop policing her body” and “your subscribing to misogynistic standards”. This really took me aback. To me, my comments regarding Julia’s immodest dress is not coming from that place at all. It is coming from a place where I was raised (not by Orthodox Jews mind you), that dressing with taste means that you don’t need to expose your body. Your clothing is to flatter it. It belies class to show all your goods to the world. That goes for women or men. But apparently, I need to be schooled on my own behavior:
I was raised with those same ideas. They are inherently misogynistic.
Julia is terribly wrong about how she thinks about sex and female empowerment. But this attitude of a woman’s body being “goods” is inherently misogynistic. It frames the female body as an object.
— Dr. Dainy Bernstein (@prof_dainy) July 15, 2021
The Major Points of Contention
To me, being progressive/liberal means to be tolerant of various ideas. To hold respect for any and all cultures, morals and faiths. To not try to push my ideals upon others. But in light of that, I still want to be able to maintain and be proud of my own ideals. Even if they are unpopular or archaic. Here are some areas where I especially tend to annoy/infuriate many of my liberal peers:
- Modesty and Sexuality. It seems like the mainstream liberal take on sexuality is that it should be free an unrestrained. Everyone defines for themselves their limits. On one hand, I agree that in the privacy of your home, do whatever you want. On the other hand, I do not want my sons going outside and seeing the unrestrained breasts of grown women bouncing around everywhere. I also don’t want them thinking that it is acceptable for them to go outside, showing their underwear or wearing clothing that shows the outlines or bulges in their crotch. I don’t want them learning ‘sex ed’ in school at the age of 11, 12 or 13. I think it is tacky and unbecoming for women or men, gay or straight people to make out in public.
- Feminism. I was tempted to make this heading the ‘#MeToo Movement’ – but the reality is I fully support the right for women to speak out and seek justice against male pigs in power who take advantage of women unabashedly. But I also take issue with the fact that feminism has largely ignored the fact that men are biologically wired to be sex-driven creatures. So to think that a woman should be able to wear whatever she wants, and a man needs to ‘control himself’ in spite of it, is just BS to me. And also, why don’t feminists admit that they themselves, weaponize sex? If they didn’t, then why feel the need to over-sexualize yourself to begin with. Think about it. When a man wants to assert himself publicly, does he put on a skimpy shirt and skin tight pants to do so? I think if these feminists were 100% honest, then they know good and well that a woman being able to dress provocatively is a power move. A move that says “I know I can drive you crazy. And social mores say that you can’t have me. So I will just dangle this carrot out in front of you because I can.” It’s really quite cruel to men if you think about it.
- School Choice. I’m not quite sure why liberals are so dead set on promoting public schools over alternative options like vouchers for private schools or parochial schools. The way that public school districts are set up are based on racist and classist policies that they should actively be trying to dismantle – not throw a life raft to.
- Israel/Palestine Conflict. Every human on this earth has the right to live in security and peace. With that being said, Israel belongs to the Jews. The State of Israel has made many concessions for peace; and the Arab response has been that they want Israel destroyed/eradicated. So I don’t care what prominent Democrats are saying about Israel and trying to infuse anti-semitic rhetoric into what they are saying is a human-rights platform. Nope, I won’t join in on that.
The older I get, the more exhausted I get with trying to fit the mold of a label. I do also realize that the struggle is internal as well. I’ve always had a longing to fit in somewhere — in spite of finding out time and time again that this is unlikely to happen.