The Jewish Woman's Difficulties
The Jewish Female, Yesterday & Today
“Mädchen mach dir Locken sonst bleibst du hocken” (girlie, curl your hair or you won’t get a husband) was an old German expression directing the young woman to look attractive. Today the girls straighten their hair, along with their outlook, with innumerable other directives and qualifications, to be acceptable to the opposite sex. So what are the expectations? Expectations were that women were to have a dowry, to be attractive even a bit “saftig,” not too thin, with a possibly pleasing plump figure, to look feminine, to be somewhat shy and not too educated, to know less than their future intended, and to be somewhat dependent but not too much so. They needed to be able to cook and bake and feed their men well, to be good at housekeeping and make their intended male happy and comfortable and to satisfy his wishes and needs. They absolutely had to be able to sew so that his buttons were always firmly attached to his clothing. They were expected to be good mothers to their potential children and willing and attractive mates.
Today the expectations have changed. Potential partners need not marry. They are expected to be shapely, thin as rails with large bosoms; they are to be clever, educated, familiar with the classics, interesting conversationalists, helpmates, sex objects who can satisfy their significant other with their sexuality; to be there but to earn money unobtrusively without making demands, be good companions, keep a clean household, if one there is, allow freedom to their male, have no definite expectations of marriage and be forever young, sympathetic, have the wisdom of a sage, but allow deference in that aspect for their partner. If they do succeed in snaring an acceptable male, they must behave in a feminine manner. They are never to show their ambition, to make time for their “better half,” cook his meals without complaining, and contribute to the budget by working unobtrusively without making demands. They must silently do the chores that once were the male's, must take over if he had a “hard” day, and must praise and admire his efforts and his ingenuity. Never must a woman deride or criticize him no matter what disturbs her, how tired she is or what chores await her.
The Jewish female is in double jeopardy. There are very few potential partners left. Our population has shrunk and is a minute proportion of the world's population. The intermarriage rate has become a real problem, with the Jewish boys considering themselves liberal, which allows them to partner and to marry out of their Jewish faith. They are known to team up not just with folks who have no religion or who are Caucasians; they not infrequently show their “true liberality” by marrying orientals. If a glimmer of guilt exists, they will have these females “converted,” a sham task at best. The oriental female is skilled in flattering and sexually luring the potential mate with her feminine behaviors and satisfying the sensuality of the intended male. She can be likened to the colorful bird whose beauty gives him the gratification that he seeks.
Feelings of conflict and insecurity overwhelm the young Jewish woman today. She has to look pretty, have an education, contribute financially and emotionally to a potential partner, has to be a natural psychologist, work hard without complaining, be available as desired, not exhibit her intellect, be warm, caring and giving, behave like an oriental, be Jewish but not “too Jewish,” and find a Jewish male among the few that are possibly available. She needs to find the needle in the haystack!
Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.