I stumbled across this very insightful article regarding women and alcohol after fajr this morning:
That’s the summer I realize that everyone around me is tanked. But it also dawns on me that the women are super double tanked — that to be a modern, urbane woman means to be a serious drinker. This isn’t a new idea — just ask the Sex and the City girls (or the flappers). A woman with a single malt scotch is bold and discerning and might fire you from her life if you **** with her. A woman with a PBR [Pabst Blue Ribbon] is a Cool Girl who will not be shamed for belching. A woman drinking MommyJuice wine is saying she’s more than the unpaid labor she gave birth to. The things women drink are signifiers for free time and self-care and conversation — you know, luxuries we can’t afford. How did you not see this before? I ask myself. You were too hammered, I answer back. That summer I see, though. I see that booze is the oil in our motors, the thing that keeps us purring when we should be making other kinds of noise.
I noticed this a couple of years ago when I stumbled across some old episodes of The Good Wife on TV. I had previously started watching this series before I became Muslim, about nine months before I said my shahaadah. As a non Muslim, watching it kept me mesmerized. The women on the show were so tough. Diane Lockhart, the named partner at the helm of the firm, drank single malt scotch with her male counterparts. The private investigator, Kalinda Sharma, was a frequent barfly and, when she wasn’t involved in steamy sex scenes, she was drinking tequila or beer or any other concoction deemed more “working class”.
Then there’s Alicia Florrick. She’s the main character transitioning from being a stay at home mom to an attorney after she discovered her politician husband cheated on her. (Her husband was subsequently jailed for fraud but not jailed for his infidelity because that’s still a societal norm). Anyway, Alicia went from the kind of woman who drank socially – a glass or two of wine here and there – to someone who regularly drank not for fun, but to escape life.
I didn’t really notice the drinking much at first, not critically. They worked hard therefore they deserved to let loose, right? After Islam, however, I felt awkward watching all the drinking. Despite this, I found myself caught up in the plot again.
Back to the article:
The year before I get sober, I’m asked to be The Woman on a panel at the company where I work. (That was literally the pitch: “We need one woman.”) Three guys and me, talking to summer interns about company culture. There are two female interns in the audience, and when it’s time for questions, one says:
“I’ve heard this can be a tough place for women to succeed. Can you talk about what it’s been like for you?”
As The Woman, I assume for some reason that the question is directed at me. “If you’re tough and persistent and thick-skinned, you’ll find your way,” I say. “I have.”
I don’t say she’ll have to work around interruptions and invisibility and micro-aggressions and a scarcity of role models and a lifetime of her own conditioning. My job on this panel is to make this place sound good, so I leave some stuff out. Particularly the fact that I’m drinking at least one bottle of wine a night to dissolve the day off of me. [Emphasis added]
But she’s a woman. She probably learned to read between the lines before she could read the lines themselves. She thanks me and sits down.
“I disagree,” says the guy sitting next to me. “I think this is a great company for women.”
My jaw gently opens on its own.
The guy next to him nods. “Absolutely,” he said. “I have two women on my team and they get along great with everyone.”
Of course they do, I think but don’t say. It’s called camouflage.
Guy #1 continues. “There’s a woman on my team who had a baby last year. She went on maternity leave and came back, and she’s doing fine. We’re very supportive of moms.”
Guy #3 jumps in just to make sure we have 100% male coverage on the topic. “The thing about this place,” he says, “is it’s a meritocracy. And merit is gender-blind.” He smiles at me and I stare back. Silent balefulness is all I have to offer, but his smile wavers so I know I’ve pierced some level of smug.
The panel organizer and I fume afterward. “Those ******* *****,” she says. “********.”
What’s a girl to do when a bunch of dudes have just told her, in front of an audience, that she’s wrong about what it’s like to be herself? I could talk to them, one by one, and tell them how it felt. I could tell the panel organizers this is why you never have just one of us up there. I could buy myself a superhero costume and devote the rest of my life to vengeance on mansplainers everywhere.
Instead, I round up some girlfriends and we spend hundreds of dollars in a hipster bar, drinking rye Manhattans and eating tapas and talking about the latest crappy, non-gender-blind things that have happened to us in meetings and on business trips and at performance review time. They toast me for taking one for the team. And when we are good and numb we Uber home, thinking Look at all we’ve earned! That bar with the twinkly lights. That miniature food. This chauffeured black car. We are tough enough to put up with being ignored and interrupted and underestimated every day and laugh it off together. We’ve made it. This is the good life. Nothing needs to change.
This quote is exactly the entire plot of The Good Wife. Alicia Florrick, the housewife-cum-high-powered-attorney who cannot manage her personal life, her work, her marriage, her children, and her husband’s political scandals (and mistresses). Alicia, who instead of actually facing her problems, chooses to drinks (a lot) and slaps herself on the back as if drinking it up like a man and engaging in extramarital affairs like a man is some sort of accomplishment.
After a while the show starts to feel like Groundhog Day except that there’s no weird time loop sending her back through the same day over and over again. It’s just Alicia being Alicia’s own worst enemy. In fact she’s worse than her unfaithful, corrupt husband, because instead of Alicia just facing the demons in her life, facing her facade of a marriage, facing the fact that her kids are being pulled in all sorts of dangerous directions by their father’s completely irresponsible and illegal behavior, she drinks until it doesn’t hurt enough so that she can sleep and repeat it all the next day. It’s a solution that isn’t a solution at all.
((Also, let’s take note and keep in the back of our minds that a woman in America who has been liberated by feminism is the “token female” on an all male panel. She isn’t even allowed to speak for herself when a woman asks her what it’s like being a woman at her own job but instead all of the men on the panel correct her. Is this The Twilight Zone?))
Tangent aside, the author gets to the real crux of the problem:
Do you remember the Enjoli perfume commercial from the 1970s? The chick who could bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man?
I blame that ***** for a lot. For spreading the notion that women should have a career, keep house, and **** their husbands, when the only sane thing to do is pick two and outsource the third. For making it seem glamorous. For suggesting it was going to be fun. And for the tagline she dragged around: “The 8-Hour Perfume for the 24-Hour Woman.” Just in case you thought you could get one ******* hour off the clock.
Backwards and in high heels, baby. What made Western women think that behaving like men was the solution, when the vast majority of men since the Industrial Revolution worked themselves into early graves? Nowadays heart attacks and heart disease are “equal opportunity”, yet nothing genetically has changed in regards to the DNA of the average woman. What has changed is that stress, if left unchecked, increases the risk of heart disease. Women in the West are now, as a group, under more stress than ever before because they have adopted careers patterned for men and yet still try to run the house and rear the kids. Couple this with the financial stress in regards to families relying on two incomes being much more susceptible to bankruptcy than the traditional single income household, and suddenly paying hundreds to thousands of dollars for alcohol each month to “escape” reality is exposed not as a solution, but as another layer to the financial dilemma driving people to seek out dual income lives.
The same book also shows that single parent homes are even more vulnerable to bankruptcy than their dual income counterparts, which is frightening because men, instead of leaning in, are abandoning the family unit in preference to lives filled with online gaming and casual sex or hypergamy. Men are checking out. They are done, and they are falling back on their minimum requirements – entertainment, food, and sex (and/or porn).
For a society that believes so much in evolution, why is anyone surprised that men in the West are saying “If I can’t be the head of the household and at least get the respect for doing my role, I’m not going to stick around”. I’m not surprised. This is inevitable: If we see men as mere sperm donors, they are going to behave like sperm donors.
It also shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that if women are trying to gain power inside and outside of the home by behaving like men, that leaves men with nothing to do. That’s what feminism is all about – gaining patriarchal power by teaching women to behave like men. Gender stereotypes aren’t destroyed, homes are. Women fight and argue over the silliest things. “Don’t call me a waitress. I’m a server”, essentially saying that the -ess suffix showing femininity is insulting, so use the -er suffix that shows masculinity. Feminists complaining that men dominate as chefs and women do not, completely erasing centuries of women completely owning their own roles as cooks in their own houses. Because we all know that women cooking at home without receiving an actual monetary sum for their contribution is oppression, but doing the same thing at a job working for someone else is liberation.
Women are saying that the patriarchy is right and being a woman is horrible so we’re going to act like men. What are the men going to do? Men certainly will not want to do housework or cook or other traditionally “feminine” roles because women just confirmed that those roles are thankless and powerless. Men also can’t do their own roles because women are forcing the men out of those roles. So they check out! They’re done, khalas, hope you like raising your children alone.
What was surprising for me about this article was learning that women in the West are checking out as well, but not in a tangible way. Women are checking out with drinking. They are learning to push their emotions aside and then drink them “away”. (Of course, emotions never really go away like this because the root problem is never addressed). Even worse, however, is how they are actively being encouraged to drink away their problems by businesses:
I run a women’s half-marathon on a day in August when temperatures are fifteen degrees above normal. It’s a — what do you call it — a horror show. But I finish and someone puts a finisher’s medal on me. I’m soaked, chafed, limping, and still triumphant. Until they say: “The margarita tent is right over there!”
A yoga studio where I sometimes practice starts a monthly “Vinyasa & Vino” event: an hour of fast-paced yoga in a hundred-degree [37.7 C] room, followed by a glass of an addictive, dehydrating substance (made locally!). Oh, but it’s about mindful savoring, I’m told. Well, then. Apologies for thinking it was about mindful reciprocal advertising to an overwhelmingly female audience, and om shanti.
A local kitchen shop offers a combination knife-skills and wine-tasting class — yes, wine for people who have already self-identified as being so clumsy with sharp objects that they need professional instruction.
So we have a system whereby women are chained to work the way they used to be “chained to the kitchen sink”, all because of feminism. Women are chained to their houses, the cooking, their kids, their marriages, and now their jobs and for many of them, the only escape from the demands of work, home, marriage, and kids is to drink – often irresponsibly. On top of that, we have people exploiting these women by marketing alcohol to the women who should really be saying “no” and facing their problems.
This is liberation? These are our saviours? A society that dismantles the family, placing the burden of the male and female spheres on women, pretty much takes away all of the burdens placed on men aside from monetary child support, and then exploits those women for more money?
You’ll be happy to know I quit watching The Good Wife in Series 7 when the main character started making the most slap-dash margaritas I’ve ever seen and then stirring them with her finger. I’m not sure what happened after this but the absolute desperation of stirring something with a finger so it can be inhaled as quickly as possible just turned me off. Not to mention that Alicia Florrick was still living in Groundhog Day, doing the same things over and over and over again and still getting upset that her husband, who she still chose to stand beside, was still a filthy, corrupt politician.
I never saw how the show ended, but I don’t feel upset at not knowing what happened to Alicia. I saw the real message behind the show, which has been conveniently summed up with this quote from the article:
Is there nothing so inherently absorbing or high-stakes or pleasurable that we won’t try to alter our natural response to it? Maybe women are so busy faking it — to be more like a man at work, more like a porn star in bed, more like 30 at 50 — that we don’t trust our natural responses anymore. Maybe all that wine is an Instagram filter for our own lives, so we don’t see how sallow and cracked they’ve become.
Again, for emphasis, these are the people trying to save Muslim women.
No thanks. I’m fine. Really.