October 4, 2012 | 3:09 pm
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
When I read the paper this morning, I found something rather disturbing, which grew worse when I noticed no one else addressed the issue: a magazine called Family Circle held a cookie contest between the incumbent First Lady, Michelle Obama, and the opposing candidate's spouse, Anne Romney. Apparently, this has been going on since 1992, but I just heard about it today. This contest took place right before the first presidential debate, and got coverage almost as serious and profound. No one mentioned the burning issue of the matter, but I sure hope someone noticed. If not, we, as a society, have some serious problems. As the men of both houses discuss the very serious matters of foreign policy, financial situations and stability in the Middle East, the wives compete in baking. In other words: as the men compete for the title: Leader of the Free world, the women compete for the title: Best Frosting. Did someone build a time machine that brought us back to the 50's? As much as I would like to believe in that, I will have to settle for what this really is: sexism and humiliation in disguise.
Since I am not from the States, and our pre-election time runs quite differently, I might sound like a crazy person to some of you. After all, this has been going on for a decade now, and no feminist organization is yet to shut it down. So with my foreign point of view, let me tell you this doesn't look good. This contest points out the wife stereotype women fought for so long to make disappear. The only reason I can think of for why this is still going on is the cultural differences between us. To you, this is a routine campaign event prior the election. The wives are addressing potential electors who don't show interest in the debates, by making something much simpler than world peace. In a way, this is completely okay, and even admirable, because in Israel there are neither debates nor any particular interest in the wives of the candidates. Our pre-election culture is not nearly as developed as yours, and yet, I can't relate to some of your choices for what's proper for that time. Perhaps you find it right to put the fight for women’s equality aside for a day, for the important effort to find the next US president. Perhaps this is the day when even the most radical feminists put down the torches, because this baking contest is a way to get more people to vote.
I'm not in any place to say if this is right or wrong in your eyes, the same way I don't like it when people put themselves ahead of us, deciding for us what the best strategy with our neighbors is. I am just sharing my thoughts with you, and telling you what I, the foreign newspaper reader, saw today.
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