I have felt the need to write this post for almost a month now, but I just did not know what to say. I had so many thoughts, so much to say, yet at the same time nothing at all. I suppose I should start from the beginning.
It all began around March 1, when I glanced at my blog Stats and noticed something strange. That day an unusually large number of people were reading my post, 101 Reasons Why I Want to Get Married and the numbers continued to grow each day that week. There were tons of people reading it. I wondered why that was. When I tried to see where the traffic was coming from, it seemed that someone had posted it on Facebook. Lot's of readers? Yay! That is exciting, I thought. But in the back of my mind I was suspicious, because the few comments that the post received were not positive ones. Pretty soon I caught on to the fact that there was something going on. Finally, after some asking, an anonymous commenter enlightened me, "This blog has gone viral...kinda to show what's wrong with frummies... It's clear you have zero concept of marriage and are being forced into this situation by your community. The cultural implication of this posting are very far reaching. "
That pretty much sums it all up, but it didn't really stop there. For the most part it seems a lot was said on Facebook about my post, and I cannot track that down, but the post received a lot of feedback through comments, emails, and some other sources, most of which were all highly critical of the post, and of me personally. For those who are curious, here are some of the things people out there had to say:
1. Mark who called my post "Depressing" Read it here
2. "Rolling Eyes and Laughing"
3. An online article on My Jewish Learning, who calls my post both thoughtful and sad
4. Then there Jordan who liked both mine and Coral’s post and decided to make a webpage that generates random numbers from each of our posts. You have to hit “refresh” a couple times to get the full effect.
And to top it all off, the reason why I am writing about this now is that last week Frum Satire wrote about how "lame" my post is, here.
I can understand that people didn't like my post- unless I write about only boring and non controversial topics, people are not going to like or agree with everything I write. Sharing different perspectives is one of the wonderful parts about writing, and particularly blogging. What surprised and confused me was that people did not simply dislike the post, but they were offended, outraged and upset by it. It triggered a strong reaction. I say this because if the reaction was mild, if I had not hit a sensitive spot, then it would not have received such feedback. This surprised me because I did not think there was anything special (in a good or bad way) about the post. Why were people so upset about it?
To be honest, I have no idea why. And I can hear the critics already responding to that statement, telling me that of course I do not understand because I am a close-minded person and I can't see past my own tiny bubble, and that the biggest problem with my post is the very fact that I don't see any problem with the post. The only reason I could see for outrage is if someone thought that everything I wrote is true, which it was not, and I guess that was not obvious. Or perhaps, even if it is not true, people are outraged because it represents a certain mentality that people (particularly those who are far removed from the frum community) dislike. I can understand that while most of those reasons were not true for me, there was truth to my post, and the fact is that the Orthodox community puts an unreasonable amount of pressure on its young people to get married. In that regard, I can most certainly agree that this attitude is quite unfortunate.
The reason I am writing this post, “in defense”, is that I feel my post was misunderstood. This was clear to me from the fact that most people who attacked me accused me of being, to sum up, a typical close-minded, clueless, naive, anti-feminist, frummie. I know that I am not that way in real life, despite how my post might have come across. (Well, I am frum, but I am not frummie. The difference in my opinion is whether you think for yourself.) You don’t have to believe me when I say any of that, since none of you know me in real life. I can see why I came across that way, but I do not think that most readers understood where I am coming from, and therefore read the post the wrong way. I feel people really missed what I was trying to say in the post for the following reason.
I keep reiterating over and over that this post was meant to be humorous and funny and people just didn't get it, but that is not entirely accurate. I am not a funny person, as those who know me in real life will attest to, and the only people who actually get my sense of humor are those who I am really close to and who really get me, which is a small number of people. I did not really mean that the list was meant to be funny, but just that it was not meant to be serious. It was meant to be….amusing. Meaning, and this what I feel like no one really gets; MOST of the reasons on the list are not actually reasons that I want to get married!!! I stated from the beginning that many of those reasons are ridiculous! Of course the post is "lame" if you think I actually believe half those things!! Or if you are expecting to roll on the floor laughing! It horrifies me that there are people out there who truly believe I want to get married because I am under tons of social pressure by my family and community who pity me for being single, to find a husband who will take out the garbage and kills rodents and teach me Torah, while I clean and cook all day. Perhaps I should not have titled the post reasons why *I* want to get married, but reasons in general.
Then there were the people who understood that I was not serious, but were still offended. Why? Because there was truth to a lot of what I said, even though it was not serious. The bottom line is that the Orthodox community does put a lot of pressure on its members to get married. Despite my guess as to why this post really hit the spot with so many people, like I said originally, I am still puzzled at the fact that it received so much attention.
Another reason that this whole situation was thought-provoking for me was that I have never received so many personal attacks as a result of a post. It made me realize that people write things on the internet that they would never say in person. The internet gives people the room to be brutally honest with no consequences. You don’t know me and I don’t know you, and no one will know if you say whatever you please. In fact am sure that some will take this post as an opportunity to continue to critique my original post, and continue to attack me personally. At the end of the day, though, readers only see the side of myself that I put forward, and they do not know the real me, especially if they only read one post. This was a good reminder for me that even though I sometimes think only a few people read this blog, anyone could read what I write and it is important to think about how people can misunderstand what I write. I am considering taking a short break from blogging to reflect and think, or at least on posting a bit less, for the time being.