This might make me a bad feminist, and probably get me excluded from any gender studies programs that I might theoretically want to enter, but I really hate the word “mansplaining”. Urbandictionary defines the word as “inaccurate explanations delivered with rock solid confidence of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation”.

I’ve heard the term used twice, once at a lecture/roundtable discussion on gender issues in domestic violence law, and the other in an online forum discussing tzniut. In both contexts, the conversation went something like this: A topic on gender was being discussed. A man offered a possible explanation for something seemingly “anti-women”. A woman angrily disagreed with the man, and told him he was wrong by saying “Thanks for mansplaining that to me, but you’re wrong”.

To me, the problem with the word is that it makes assumptions about the accuracy of a person’s argument, just based on his gender. It’s the same exact problem that feminists have been fighting for years, only the roles are now reversed. If a woman offers a possible reason as to why male domestic violence victims are offered fewer victim services than women, she’s adding to the discussion, but if a man offers the same explanation, he’s “mansplaining”, and therefore wrong and obnoxious.

Isn’t this the same type of behavior feminists have been trying to fight, when the behavior is at the expense of women? Sheryl Sandberg laments how male CEOs are viewed as keen businessmen, but the same CEO with the same traits but female is viewed as “mean, hostile, and agressive”. If a man plays hardball in a negotiation, or demands perfection from his employees, he’s doing business as usual, but if a woman does the same thing, she’s Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Feminists say this attitude is part of the reason for the glass ceiling, and is holding women back from achieving as much as they can. Still, we downplay men when they try to address the problems that we tell them are problems, simply because they are men. 

Newsflash women, it’s okay for men to be feminists. It’s also okay for men to want to help solve “women’s problems”. Look, the fact of the matter is, if men want to help work towards solutions for gender inequality, we should welcome them with open arms, not shoot down their totally legitimate voices by accusing them of “mansplaining”. What we’re saying when we use that term is, “I don’t really care what you just said, because you’re a man and I don’t trust men’s motives”. That’s not just unfair, it’s the epitome of a double standard.

To me, “mansplaining” is just as offensive a term as “that’s so gay/retarded” or “Don’t Jew with me”. It’s simple, really: If women don’t want to be judged based on their gender, we shouldn’t do the same to men.


Niddah Diaries: Scheduling Sex

A frequent topic that arises when talking about niddah is the pros and cons of scheduling sex. Usually, though, this topic arises specifically in regards to mikvah night. Having to leave your house at a specific time on a specific day can certainly be less than easy. Then, coming home and feeling the dual strains of wanting to have sex but also wanting to finish up household chores, etc. can be strenuous to say the least. Thankfully, though, since I don’t have kids yet, this particular challenge is not as difficult as it could be. Still, some days are busier than others, and there was definitely at least once when it was questionable whether I should have gone to the mikvah either Tuesday or Wednesday, and I chose to go Tuesday [without consulting a Rabbi or Yoetzet Halacha], since Wednesday was a little hectic for me.

But, today I want to talk about scheduling sex on the bigger scale. This past week has been finals time for me. I’ve got papers to write and law school exams to study for, plus I’m still working part part time. I’ve been going to bed really late and waking up really early, using my keurig on an hourly basis.

I’ll probably get my period in the next couple of days, meaning that I won’t be able to have sex for the next two weeks. Knowing that, I want to “stock up” as much as possible, and utilize this time that I CAN have sex as best as possible. But, I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I’m worn out.

If I wasn’t constrained by Niddah, I’d say, great–go to sleep this week, but sex the night away after your finals are over! But, I can’t, because I’ll still be niddah for another week or so after the end of finals.

I’m coming to terms with this two-week on, two-week off thing. I actually might think that I kind of sort of like it. But, I still wish that I could PICK the two weeks to be on and the two weeks to be off. Now, I’m left with the choice of either foregoing sex for a month, or foregoing sleep during finals, neither of which is particularly ideal.

My Secret Life

This blog is the one and only secret I keep from my husband, and it tears me up inside. I pride us on having amazingly honest and frank communication. He knows all my dirty secrets, and I, his.

I find myself posting less frequently now than when we were engaged, because now I live with him and in a one bedroom apartment, it’s fairly difficult to work on the computer without him at least asking what I’m doing. We have plenty of moments where I’m just nonchalantly surfing the internet and he’s playing video games, sure, but if he hears me furiously typing away, he’ll probably notice something’s up.

So, I find myself having to write posts before he comes home for work, or while I’m on my lunch break. When I write on my lunch break, I’ll write the posts in an email and discreetly post later, because I don’t want my coworkers to see my blog either.

My life would certainly be easier if he knew about the blog. He’d probably even encourage me to write MORE, which I’m sure you dear readers would appreciate. But, I don’t want to share this with him. I want to feel that this is my space where I can be open and honest. I don’t write too many negative things about him, because there just aren’t that many negative parts of him. But, on the off chance that something does come up, I want to be able to write about it. I want to not feel that I have to censor myself on this blog for fear that he might be reading. So, I stay private.

My husband used to be a writer, and has a bunch of published materials floating around the internet. Every now and then he’ll mention these articles, and I’ll want to compare it to my experience blogging. But then I realize I can’t, because he can’t know about my blog. He’s now a computer programmer, and I could certainly use his help in figuring out how to work certain features into the blog. But again, I can’t.

I imagine at some point I’ll tell him. I’ll open up all the old archives for him, and let him read it. It will be like showing him my diary. Which I did. The diary that I kept in middle school had all sorts of angsty pre-teen entries in it (“I hate X, because she pretended to be my friend but was really just using me!” and “I have such a huge crush on Y, but he’ll never like me because I have too many pimples. Sigh.” ). I recently found that diary and showed it to him. I would have died if anyone read that diary within a year or two of me writing it, but now that so many years have passed and I can look back at middle school and laugh, I was fine with it. In fact, I was glad that he read it, so that he can understand a little bit more about my childhood and how I developed into who I am today.

But that takes time. At some point, I’ll be ready to look back at this blog and laugh, at which point, I’ll want to share it with him. But for now, this is my secret place, and I’m alright with that.