Sandy Rashty

Do not argue with me on this one

January 17, 2014 12:54

Listen up, you young unmarried girls. If you’re looking to get hitched fast, there are some very simple steps to follow.

Please don’t argue with a man. He’ll think you’re too smart, informed, or that you’re looking to emasculate him. It’s a no-no.

Secondly, don’t dare turn up to a dinner date without immaculate hair, a full face of make-up or the most attractive and flattering frock selling in Selfridges. You’ll look sloppy, uninterested, undecorated on his arm, or worse, natural. Again, it’s a no-no.

These were some gems of dating wisdom being shared by thousands across the globe who read Five Ways to Turn Off a Guy on last week.

It resulted in a torrent of activity on Facebook and Twitter as readers frantically shared the all-knowing guide with family and friends — warning them against the mistakes that make a man quickly lose interest. Some criticised the “offensive, disrespectful and dumb” piece, but others, worryingly, read the article with absorbed interest.

Offensive, disrespectful and dumb

At home, I heard my younger sister jabbering about the article with friends over the phone — discussing what rules they had or had not abided by in the past. They might have been laughing, but I leant back in my chair in disgust.

I became increasingly irate at the thought of an influential Jewish organisation promoting such tripe on their website. The article was likely to be read by impressionable women looking for a religiously-sourced route to happiness.

So I did what any modern woman would do. I tweeted. I said that the UK representative of Aish would be seen to endorse the offending article, unless of course, it denounced it.

But I was instantly attacked by a flurry of Jewish boys on Twitter.

It was “ridiculous” to hold Aish UK accountable for the actions of, one insisted. “Apologise!” another demanded, despite admitting having not yet read the article.

As I was not looking to attract, appease or seek approval from these busy blokes, I went on to break rule number one: I argued with a man.

That evening, Aish UK issued a formal “rejection” of the piece. “Whilst it may be sound advice for men or women to avoid intellectually bludgeoning the other — we firmly reject any notion that suggests women should present themselves as any less intelligent or intellectual than men,” declared an Aish UK spokesperson. Hooray!

That same evening, deleted Five Ways from its website. “Based on the response to this article, it seems that the points the [authors] set out to convey were not expressed clearly and accurately... We apologise for hastily posting an article that deals with such a sensitive topic.” Hooray again!

But was this really a win for Jewish women?

Should we be thankful that the article was removed (once complaints were made) — or rather question why it was written, published and circulated in the first place?

The sad fact is that age-old expectations of women, from personal relationships to careers and communal roles, are still widely held, whether they’re published or not.

Look to your left or right, and you’re likely to spot a woman beside you. Look up the ladder, and women are noticeably absent from the most influential roles. It seems that saying yes to a man and fluttering mascara-laden eyelashes does not hold the key to success.

But no matter, UK Jewish women are now bucking the trend, with the rise of groups from United Synagogue Women championing women as shul chairs; to the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, which promotes women’s role in religious life; and even the Union of Jewish Students, who elected their first female president in seven years.

So listen up girls, if you’re looking to break boundaries and attract an equally ambitious man, it might be best to dismiss the defunct article. Game-changing daughters, wives and mothers use their wit, brain and charm to get what they want: they don’t nod or prance around Selfridges, ready for next week’s date.

January 17, 2014 12:54

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